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Accountability vs Blame in Relationships – What is the Difference and How Can You Adapt the Former?

Accountability vs Blame in Relationships – What is the Difference and How Can You Adapt the Former?

Updated on Aug 29, 2023

Reviewed by Katina Tarver, MA (Mental Health and Wellness Counseling) , Life & Relationship Coach

Accountability vs Blame in Relationships - What is the Difference and How Can You Adapt the Former

The concept of accountability vs blame in relationships tells whether you have a happy and healthy relationship. It even helps you understand whether you guys can beat all seasons of life.

Here, you’ll know how each dynamic impacts your relationship and how you can improve yourself.

So, keep reading!

What is Accountability in Relationships and Why is it Important?

Accountability in relationships means taking responsibility for your actions and how your choices affect others. 

When you practice accountability in their relationships, you build trust and foster happiness. You also learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating the same ones. 

But there are more reasons to practice it. So, let’s keep reading…

Reasons Why Accountability Is Important In Relationships

In today’s world, most people aren’t brave enough to accept their faults. However, it brings so many benefits to your life! C’mon, let’s check a few here!

1. It repairs broken trust and increases dependability

When you actively practice accountability in your relationship, you regain the lost trust. If you accept your mistakes without excuses, you show your partner that you are willing to work for the better. 

It gives them closure about hurtful things and fosters forgiveness. Your partner then tries to believe that even if you mess up, you will eventually clean everything up. It increases vulnerability and openness. 

2. It helps you learn from your mistakes

When you accept that you have made a mistake, only then can you find out where you actually went wrong. 

So, accountability for your actions helps you learn from your mistakes. You reduce the chances of hurting your partner by doing things over and over again. 

3. It makes you grow as a person

When you try to figure out how you might have hurt your partner, you automatically become more compassionate. You recognize your partner’s hurt and learn to put yourself in their shoes. This leads to further character development.

4. It increases your self-esteem

When you take responsibility for your actions, you show that you are not defined by your mistakes. Your choices and views aren’t because of your past, and forgive yourself.

Rather than feeling victimized by your situation, you perceive that you can control certain things. 

5. It can make a relationship much more loving and happy

When you start practicing accountability in your relationship, you also take responsibility for each other’s happiness. 

Since you don’t want to repeat blunders, you think through the effects of your actions on your partner. As a result, your relationship naturally improves!  

But not everyone understands the concept or is willing to acknowledge its benefits. So, now, let’s check the other side of the coin here…

What is Blame in Relationships? – Causes and Negative Impact

Blame in relationships is when you put responsibility for whatever wrong happens to your partner. You shame and punish them and avoid working on the root of the problem.  

But of course, people won’t be this twisted without a reason. So, let’s jump into that!

Causes of Blame In Relationships

Usually, partners that resort to blaming are called “toxic.” But every blamer doesn’t have a twisted personality. Rather, this happens because of several reasons like these…

1. It’s easy to put the blame on your partner

It is simpler to put the blame on your partner than to deal with the consequences. So, by blaming someone else, you try to get away from your duty, i.e., fixing your own problems. 

2. It’s a defense mechanism

Blaming your partner also protects you from facing negative emotions such as shame and guilt. You can avoid the heavy feeling of knowing that “you’re the problem.” 

You can keep lying that you have worked on your relationship enough. You can thus continue to deflect all the criticism and push away the real work on your partner!

3. It feeds your need to be in control

When you blame your partner, you get to have the upper hand in the situation and your relationship. As you deflect the criticism, you don’t feel powerless. 

You feel that your actions are completely right and that you’re still in control over your life… which is obviously a life!

4. You can’t understand, deal with, or communicate your emotions 

Sometimes, you may resort to blaming when you can’t express your feelings. You feel that your partner is responsible for your negative emotions. 

Probably, you can’t process your feelings alone. So, you relieve yourself by pushing it off on your partner. 

5. To protect your ego

When people mess up, they choose to look like a victim. So, you blame your partner and protect your ego from being looked down on. 

Now, if you’re a blamer, you may think that blaming your partner doesn’t really hurt. But you’re so wrong. So, let’s check the issues here!

Impacts Of Blaming In Relationships

Often, while blaming, you assume that it’s okay to make your partner a scapegoat. After all, “you complete each other.”But you might need to pay a hefty price for it like these…

1. Your partner loses trust

When you don’t blame your partner for your wrongdoings, you lose their trust. It makes them feel that they can never depend on you. After all, no matter how much they try, you’ll never own your actions and put them through hell.

2. It impacts your partner’s self-esteem 

Constant blame causes your partner’s self-esteem to take a hit. Even if they haven’t actually done anything, they might even start believing that they are at fault. Their sense of right and wrong changes. 

3. It results in resentment

From constant blame for things your partner didn’t do, they obviously resent you. Naturally, they feel bitter towards you for false accusations and baseless criticisms. They feel frustrated initially, but it soon turns into bitterness and even hatred. 

4. It stops you from reflecting on yourself and your actions

When you avoid taking responsibility for your actions, you also don’t reflect on yourself and the consequences of your actions. You never learn from your mistakes and continue the same mistakes repeatedly.

5. You feel powerless

You make others responsible for the consequences of your actions. Eventually, you believe that you’re not in control of whatever is happening in your life. Even if it initially makes you feel in control, it backfires later!

So, if you feel guilty about blaming your partner and want to change, keep reading for a fresh new start!

How to Move to Accountability from Blame in Relationships? – 10 Expert Tips 

If you accept the fact that you’ve been pushing the blame on your partner, that itself is quite a lot of improvement! But you can make it even better by embracing these recommended tips!

1. Increase your self-awareness

When you become more self-aware, you become mindful of your wrongdoings. As a result, you stop feeling like a victim of your circumstance and give yourself a chance to redeem your mistakes.

2. Practice honesty

Practice honesty with yourself to see the truth for what it is. Let your partner know about your intentions honestly, and you’ll avoid a lot of misunderstandings. 

Acknowledge that you might have hurt them. It’ll motivate you to do things differently in the future. 

3. Learn to respond rather than reacting

It is easy to get angry, upset, or frustrated when you are held accountable. But to practice accountability, “respond” to a situation by understanding others’ stance.

Don’t “react” to the situation to deflect responsibility by getting defensive. Never think that the other person wants you to feel bad about yourself/

Think things through before you say anything regretful. 

4. Be kind and compassionate

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes, and you’ll be less likely to do something hurtful. You become more aware of how your actions may have affected or might affect your partner’s feelings.

5. Say no to blame-shifting

Once the blame game starts, it becomes a vicious cycle where you both point fingers at each other. You entirely focus on the responsible person and forget about finding a solution to the problem. 

You only waste your time this way, so stay away from the blame game!

6. Try to exchange feedback

Constructively criticize your partner to make them understand where they went wrong and ways to improve themselves. Similarly, ask your partner whether they have any complaints. Understand your issues and try to improve yourself.

7. Identify your role

Identify your role in the relationship, and try to find out what your partner expects from you.

Otherwise, you won’t be able to recognize whether what you are doing is right or wrong. You’ll also understand what you could have done to improve the situation!

8. Try to keep your word

Accountability is not only about taking responsibility for your mistakes but also about being committed to your word. So, follow through on your promises. Don’t leave your partner hanging with expectations.

9. Seek professional help

Remember, professional help can really do wonders. A counselor will help identify both of your toxic attitudes toward your relationship. You both can also become aware of each other’s trigger points. 

10. Do not overcommit

When you make commitments, you increase your partner’s expectations. And, when you overcommit, you set yourself up for failure. 

So, when you make excessive or unreasonable commitments, it inevitably leads to disappointment. They charge you for not meeting expectations, and the blaming begins!

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

If you are the blamer of your relationship, remember it’s not too late to fix things. You can cherish your relationship and become a better human being with baby steps!

If your partner is the blamer, they may not accept your claims. Seek a professional to communicate strategically. And things will get better eventually!

Once you both become accountable and mature partners, you’ll have the best relationship of your life!