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Don’t Be Fooled: Your Partner’s Bad Behavior is NOT your Fault or Responsibility, No Matter what they say

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Do you find yourself in a relationship where you always seem to be the one apologizing, even if you are not sure what you did wrong? But you know that if you aren’t the one to say “sorry” or take responsibility for the argument or disagreement your partner will ignore for a long time.

Your Partner's behavior is not your responsiblityIf you reflect, do you realize that your partner never or almost never says s/he are “sorry” or apologizes. Or if s/he does, it’s more a sorry about your feelings not about what s/he did wrong or how s/he hurt you. In fact, if you try to get him or her to see how they hurt you, they attack you. S/he will blame you for their bad behavior. Saying things like “You made me get angry. Stop nagging me and I won’t get so angry. Stop telling me what I did wrong, you are making me mad.”

Do you find that almost every situation or misunderstanding seems to be your fault and escalates quickly until you to take responsibility and say it wasn’t your partner’s fault but yours?

 It may start by a follow up conversation with your partner about an agreement you two made about an innocent activity. It could be something like your partner would pay a bill, make a reservation or do an activity.

When you kindly and gently follow up to check on things, you find out your partner hasn’t done what was agreed to. However, instead of simply taking responsibility, your partner doubles down. S/he attacks you. The person blames you for nagging them and chasing them. S/he may even deny ever agreeing to do the activity. Or the person may blame you for NOT reminding. You feel stunned, confused and scared.

You’ve seen this type outcome 100 times. You know you need to be quiet, accept the blame. But this leaves you feeling really confused because you know you were right, yet…you find yourself questioning yourself. You feel angry and frustrated at yourself. You feel weak and ashamed that you always take this treatment from your partner. Yet you feel so powerless to change the course.

You are always making excuses for your partner. You often say things like: “if only they could see how what they are doing hurts me…” “They are good person, they just don’t realize what they are saying or doing…” “Why can’t they just listen to me and see my point of, I really want to help them…I know they are really good”. But time and time again, by being patient, by giving in, by trying to explain your perspective, the outcome is the same, you are wrong, it is your fault and if you want peace you must be “sorry” take the blame and let it go it without acknowledge of your feeling.

You’ve learned that the best way to settle the situation is to take the blame, accept responsibility and apologize. You’ve learned or rather you’ve been unknowingly tricked into thinking all things are your fault and that you are responsible for your partner’s bad, aggressive and often emotionally abusive behavior.  

You may be even be accused of being very difficult to be around. Your partner will may be even suggest you are lucky they put up with you because you are so difficult. You may even feel deeply hurt by these comments, but powerless to get your partner to see your point of view or validate your feelings.

This is not a healthy dynamic. Your partner’s behavior, regardless of how good, smart, educated and successful s/he is, is not your fault. The ONLY person we are responsible for is our own self, thoughts, choices and behaviors.

If you are finding that you are becoming a shell of your former self and loosing self-confidence; Listen to this giant red flag. If you are finding that you are often ignoring your feelings or minimizing them by saying “maybe I am over reacting” or “may it is my fault” STOP. It isn’t.

If you find yourself constantly trying to get friends opinions on the situation and see if you are being “to difficult, too demanding, asking to much or overly emotional” STOP

These are signs of a potentially unhealthy relationship and possibility emotionally abusive relationship.

If you keep trying to fix your partner, get him or her to see things from your perspective with no success or having been trying and failing to “make them aware”, STOP. They don’t want that knowledge. S/he wants the status quo. S/he doesn’t want the information you are giving them. S/he want his or her way and things to stay as is.

You may be wondering why and how is this possible. They are good and nice in other ways. There are many complex psychological and emotional reasons people behavior in such hurtful ways to the people they claim to love.

If you want to really change something you need to start with yourself. I work with many people in relationships such as this. The first step to improving your relationship is to take responsibility for yourself and stop taking the blame and responsibility for your partner. You may be saying that’s not easy to do and how do you do it.

That is where therapy comes in. Through the process of therapy I help people see things more clearly. Re-establish healthy relationship boundaries. If you would like help to heal and improve your part of the relationship contact me to make an appointment to learn how I can help you.

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