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Attention: The information provided in this forum is intended for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Who's the bad guy in your relationship?
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
When relationships get in real trouble, partners find that they then need to protect themselves from their greatest confidante; the person whom they've allowed themselves to be most open with. Because this person knows their vulnerabilities well, they feel especially unsafe. And, they begin to see their partner as the bad guy. If only he (or she) would change, we'd be happy again. They often hide behind emotional walls. And, they are also likely to take to heart the adage: The best defense is a good offense.

Can you relate to this? How does it play out in your relationship?

For this and more of Dr. Becker-Phels Blogs and info on relationships, please visit The Art of Relationships.
rohvannyn responded:
When we have bad times, I usually blame my spouse instinctively, but that's internal. She seems to blame herself too. Of course, what that should do is make me wonder if I'm really the bad guy after all?

She's had a lot of abusive relationships and a lot of manipulative people have taken advantage of her, which has left her with some serious emotional scars. At times I get resentful that I'm left suffering for what others have done, but at the same time I can't leave out the possibility that I'm behaving inappropriately as well.
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
Love can be a wonderful salve for such hurts; especially if it is applied with healthy communication. I hope the two of you can talk openly when you struggle. While you cannot talk her out of her self-criticism, you can let her know that you love her just as she is. If there are things that she does that upset you, communicate that to her at the appropriate times (not in the middle of her self-beatings) -- but make sure you let her know that you love her even though there are some things that you very much want her to change. Meanwhile, it would be important for her to give you the same message. Admittedly, this can be a tricky balance. If your personal or relationship struggles go deep (which it sounds like they may), you might want professional help in working this through.

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