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Looking Inwards

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

posted by Andrew

I was called to an intervention the other day, between an old friend of mine and her son. She was convinced that her son’s rebellion against authority and her way of life was indicative of him being on drugs.

Apparently he had changed a lot over the course of the last couple of years, and this caused my friend a lot of distress. He went out a lot, came home late, didn’t tell her where he was going, and seemed very different from the clingy boy that used to clasp his arms around her waist only a few years ago.

I sat down with them both and let them talk about each of their versions of events. In doing so, we came upon a powerful realization. This was not an issue about drugs. This was not an issue of teenage substance abuse or social crime. This was an issue of a mother not wanting to let her son grow up. Because she didn’t like what was happening, and didn’t understand what was going on, she preferred to label it as a drug problem.

I wondered how much of this goes on inside our marriages too. When things turn bad, there is the temptation to apportion blame to one person, and the temptation to blame it on something concrete such as drugs, infidelity, alcoholism or poor anger management.

The reason people do this is that it places the blame for what is going on squarely on one person and one issue. It is seldom this simple. A husband who accuses his wife of infidelity is often overlooking  the intimacy issues that have existed in their marriage for quite some time. The wife that accuses her husband of drugs overlooks the impact of her anger problem and the effect this has on communication in their marriage.

Quite often the infidelity or drug use does not exist. But it is simpler to blame it on this than confront the reality of the larger issues that are not being spoken about.

The key to overcoming marital issues is to share the blame for what has happened and take responsibility for the outcome and how you choose to overcome this problem. It involves a level of introspective examination that may seem uncomfortable to some, but often in the time of greatest discomfort comes the greatest opportunity for growth.

1 Comment »


Comment by Gregory

August 22, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

As much as I hate to admit it, I think you are right. My wife is a real bitch sometimes and I get real mad at her but Im just as bad sometimes too.

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