Two words…sounds like ‘personal responsibility’. Not only sounds like but is personal responsibility. Now I know these are big words and I know this is a big responsibility and I also know that these two words will bring the two of you closer two-gether!
So what is this big idea ‘personal responsibility’? Let me start off by telling you what it’s not.
It’s not making your partner responsible for your feelings. in other words your partner can’t ‘make’ you angry (unless of course they’re actually being abusive to you in some way). They can’t ‘make’ you jealous, resentful, depressed, anxious. They don’t have any control over how you feel or think unless you give in to their controlling behavior. We all have free will and we get to choose how we think, feel (with a few exceptions) and behave.
We can influence our partner. The more controlling we are the more we’ll probably push our partner away. The more loving we are the more likely they are to feel more connected and want to be closer to us. However how our partner chooses to respond is ultimately still up to them.
Now let me describe what personal responsibility is. It’s knowing that even though you have no control over people, places and things, you do have control over your own thoughts, feelings and behavior. It’s acknowledging that typically your thoughts and behavior cause your feelings so if you are feeling a difficult feeling you can shift out of it and into a more peaceful feeling by noticing and changing what you’re telling yourself about the situation. And for those feelings that you’re not causing like grief when someone you care about passes, or loneliness when you want to share love with your partner and he/she isn’t available or helplessness over your partner’s choices, you can manage these feelings and stay in control of them so that they don’t overwhelm you and cause you to react.
Once you make the decision to take personal responsibility your relationship changes. Taking personal responsibility gives you and your partner the opportunity to take ownership of your role in all of your interactions. And when you both do that there is no more blaming, nor more shaming and no more gaming.
So instead of hearing your partner telling you that’s it’s your fault he/she’s angry wouldn’t you feel more connected if you heard them say, “I feel angry and I’d like to learn what I’m telling myself, what I’m doing or what I’m allowing that is making me so angry?”
This isn’t a fantasy. When you take personal responsibility this all becomes reality. And in this reality both you and your partner will share your happiness with each other rather than playing the blame game.