Can This Relationship Be Saved?

by Patricia Pitta Ph.D., A.B.P.P.,
Family Psychologist, Diplomate in Family Psychology
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Stop Blaming the "Other"
Solve Your Relationship Problems

The marital relationship is a tug of war for power and control. When one member of the relationship is more dominant or doesn't permit the expression for the self or the other, the relationship will experience a halt in emotional growth of the individuals and the couple will begin to experience disappointment, fear, and worry. Anger will become the predominant emotion which will envelop the relationship leaving the couple with a sense of utter despair, confusion and just feeling hopeless.

At this point, many couples think about leaving the relationship because they just can't understand and work with the dynamics in the relationship and can't tolerate their conflicted feelings. The impulse to run away is paramount, but the reality is you can not run away from yourself. It is essential that you know what your part is in the relationship that makes it not work for you. When each member of the couple can face their inner feelings and behavior patterns and takes responsibility for their actions leaving the blame behind, the couple has the opportunity for the marriage or relationship to be repaired.


Questions and Statements That Will Help You Take Responsibility and Stop the Blaming

  1. Are you allowing yourself to feel both positive and negative feelings towards your self and your partner?

  2. Did anyone from your family of origin have similar problems with relationship? Did they resolve them? If they did not, we find ourselves repeating the same patterns.

  3. Begin to think about how you will begin to take responsibility for your part in the problem. Ask how could you change your action or reaction to a problem?

  4. Ask yourself what is your part in your relationship not working? (eg. are you too passive, dominant, dependent, independent, aggressive, do you not listen, can you feel the other person's feelings, can you be empathic,). List them.

  5. Decide to change them one at a time. Talk with your partner and share your feelings about your responsibility and your part in the problem.

  6. Don't expect immediate results- Be consistent and realistic in your actions and reactions.

  7. Learn to nuture yourself. Do things that make you feel good both physically and mentally. Making behavior and character changes requires a great deal of energy; therefore, caring for yourself in a nurturing way will promote the growth for`these changes.

  8. If you find yourself getting stuck and not able to make changes, seek therapy.

Suggestion: If you begin to blame the other for a problem, stop and ask yourself. "What is my part in making and continuing the problem." Use your energy to figure your part rather than accuse or criticize the other. Once you have figured your part inappropriate actions, share your thoughts and feelings with your partner and make the behavior changes.

3/5/98

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Dr. Patricia Pitta is a clinical psychologist practicing in Manhasset, New York, for more than 20 years. She is a Diplomat in Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association and an Approved Supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Dr. Pitta is also the President of the Long Island Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

She has created a treatment modality that enables the partners to accept responsibility for their parts in relationship problems leading to resolution of issues without getting stuck in blame. She encourages self growth which enhances couple growth and family development.

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