Blaming your partner is a weak position in a conflict. It only increases the likelihood that your partner will be defensive rather than open to hearing you. Presuming good intentions, on the other hand, allows room for productive dialogue. That rule applies to both partners.

You may think your wife is hypersensitive, for example, while she thinks you lack sensitivity. In your mind, it is not what you just said that made her angry, but the meaning she made of what you said. Correcting her misinterpretation is not the best place to start. She hears your explanation as nothing more than rationalizing your insensitive behavior. Whatever your intentions, there is an effect.

You are certain that she is angry for the wrong reasons. She acts as if she knows your motives better than you. You are now angry that she is hurt. To her, you are just impulsive and inconsiderate.

So, what is true here? Who is responsible for what? How can you frame your challenge constructively? How can you proceed in a way that moves you toward mutual understanding and resolution?

If you continue to look for who is to blame, you will conclude that it is your partner. When you “win” an argument, you create a loser, and then the partnership loses. On the other hand, if the partnership respects the imperfection and complexities of human interaction, each partner will listen with the intention of understanding the other’s experience. Simply put, mutual understanding and acceptance are much more useful than reciprocal blame.

If the non-ADHD partner can respect the reality of ADHD symptoms and still take care of herself in relation to those symptoms, the partnership will benefit. If the ADHD partner can avoid a narcissistic tendency to be right, or the self-loathing tendency to feel permanently flawed, then the actual problem is one that the partnership can resolve. That is different from trying to determine which partner is the problem.

Blame doesn’t work. The bottom line is this: Strong partnerships can deal with life’s challenges far more effectively and easily than alienated individuals. 

One Response to Blaming as Weakness

  • Terry: Thank you so much for Blaming as Weakness. I am caught by both horns of this bull with all his sh__t. The post has helped me today with a problem I am having. Great support group Monday. Thanks. EH

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