Have you ever had the experience of trying to resolve a conflict and running up against your partner’s self-blame in a way that stops any exploration or possibility of a resolution?
This is the situation with Renee:
Hi Margaret, thank you for your great work. My partner and I fall into conflict quite often. I am always the one trying to resolve things and move towards reconnection. Most often in our communication, he goes off on: ‘Fine, so just blame me then; it’s my fault again. I am the one to blame, then, aren’t I?’ – and on and on about blame with no resolution until days later, if at all. Yet I truly do not feel like I am blaming him. I express to him that it is not at all about blame, but rather trying to understand where and why we fell into disconnect. It doesn’t work, he gets more defensive, I get more angry, and he goes off into his self-protection bubble, leaving me feeling abandoned and unheard. The self-blame game seems to be one of his default modes. What do you suggest?