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Fix Your Partner - the Blog

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Every week I will introduce a topic that comes up in counseling with my clients and offer ways you can navigate the issue if it shows up in your relationship.

Want a happy relationship? Learn to take ownership.

By Marlon Familton, May 11 2015 10:30PM

The ability to take ownership is a critical step in repairing relationship hurts. If you are in a relationship with a partner who is does not take ownership for their own words, behaviors, or contribution you just might be miserable. If you don’t get ownership, you probably get defensiveness, justifying or dismissiveness. This leaves you having to take all the blame, which is of course unfair and will leave you angry and eventually resentful.


When confronted with your emotions or needs, you may also witness your partner shifting into their own shame and guilt. This often leads to that defensiveness and fighting. Here, you may find yourself backing away from what you need, or putting your emotions aside to help them feel better. Either way, you won’t feel like being cuddly and intimate.


To work on this you will have to model taking ownership and eventually ask for it from your partner.


On the other hand, if you are the one who cannot take ownership, you have some work to do. If you leave your partner with all the responsibility, you will find them moving distant from you. If you cannot own your contribution they will not feel empathy or compassion from, instead they will feel unfairly treated and become angry and resentful. This will lead to less, not more intimacy, emotional or physical. You will not be seen as an emotionally safe person, so they will not come to you with emotions and problems. Instead they will learn to need you less.


In chapter six of my book Fix Your Partner in 10 Easy Steps or Less!, I dig into repair and ownership. Without ownership you cannot have repair. Without repair, eventually the rug will have so much stuff swept underneath, things will leak out and poison your relationship. So learn to take ownership of your own behavior. Live by the motto, “take responsibility and give credit” and you will find yourself in happy relationships, at home and at work. Try it!


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