If you’ve read The Stories We Tell Ourselves, or this blog for any length of time, you know that I tend to revisit the same themes on a consistent basis. That’s partly due to the fact that my clients tend to wrestle with the same issues over and over. It’s also why I wrote a book that deals with the issues of stress and anxiety in daily life and in relationships.
One of the book’s main themes is taking ownership for your responsibilities in your relationships. Put another way, when a new client walks into my office with his wife, and the first words out of his mouth are, “She’s always on my case about work,” that statement can tell me a bit more about him than it does her (even if his statement is true).
What it reveals to me, more often than not, is that the husband is having difficulty taking ownership of his responsibilities within the relationship. According to him, his wife’s behavior is the problem. His behavior, on the other hand, is just a reaction to his wife’s perceived shortcomings.
But when either person in any kind of relationship can’t own their respective roles and responsibilities—especially when conflict inevitably arises—the relationship cannot be healed.
For true restoration to occur, both parties must stop pointing fingers at each other and learn how to point at themselves. Before saying, “You’re the problem,” they need to see themselves as a chief contributing factor.
Then, once both parties own their roles, they can work on the problem together.