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Accountability vs blame in relationships-the difference between the two

“Invisible Attack” in Intimacy! Complaining and accusing can kill a love relationship

“We obviously love each other very much, but we always quarrel over trivial matters.”

“Actually, this is not a big deal, but the more quarreling two people get, the more fierce they are. I don’t know what they are arguing…”


Regardless of couples and husbands and wives, I believe that everyone has this kind of feeling to quarrel over trivial matters, and it also makes many people think that it is easy to get along with each other. In fact, don’t worry, this kind of thing can be said to be a problem for almost everyone, let’s talk about the reasons for it!

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01. Accountability vs blame in relationships-Why does this kind of psychology exist in relationships?

Let’s start with Gottman’s (2000) love laboratory in 1986. The results of the experiment found that the reason for the breakup of lovers who love each other is not a major difficulty, nor is it that two people are not in love with each other enough, but that life is trivial. In an intimate relationship, in addition to sweet talk, we will always criticize, complain, accuse, or even verbally toward each other, but how to express and accept negative comments is related to how long we can stay with our partner. Two common negative comments in relationships:

Accountability vs blame in relationships

When we express negative opinions to the other half, there are actually two different ways: Accountability vs blame. Although the two sound alike, they both make negative evaluations of others, but their nature is different and their impact on intimate relationships is also completely different.


In the “Love Lab”, Gottman studied the reasons for the end of intimacy. They found that accusations are a major cause of the breakup of partners, but complaints are not; accusations are negative and worthy of vigilance, but complaints are certain. Under the conditions, it may be positive and constructive.

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02. Accountability vs blame in relationships, what is the difference between the two?


1. Accountability in relationships

When one person complains to another, it is often not a general attack, but a comment on a specific issue. For example, “We haven’t traveled together for a long time”, “I don’t want to hear you anymore, you cant spare time anymore”, “You have alienated me recently”, “When facing your parents, you dont have enough These are all opinions on a certain issue.


Moreover, the content of the complaint is likely to be accurate, that is, the problems mentioned in the complaint are likely to reflect real facts. Sometimes, we complain and feel angry and bounce back because it happens to be said by the other party. The more accurately the other party said, the stronger the anger of the complained person.


But in fact, we are anxious to deny or even become angry. Many times it is because we still cannot accept our own flaws deep in our hearts. “I don’t even love those parts. How can you still love me?” Or “I can’t Admit that I have such a problem. Because I cannot be the one who needs to take responsibility for the problem in the relationship, I dont want to be the wrong party.However, because of this, complaints are more likely to be constructive. Everyone has shortcomings and problems, and the closer the two people are and the more they understand each other, the more likely they are to point out the problems that exist in the other person, and these problems may be raised by other people around them.


Accountability vs blame in relationships, the two are different.

When a person is complaining, the complaint itself also contains the emotion of request and need. The reason why a person complains in a relationship is not to demean or suppress the other person, but to hope that the other person can notice the problem and improve it. For example, when a person complains that “you are alienating me” and “you always have no time”, what they actually want to say is: “I hope you can get closer to me”, “I hope you spend more time with me I”.

So remember: when the other person is complaining about you, they don’t want to make you sad, they want you to be better. However, there are two points to note:


a. You need to make it clear that the other party is not a habitual complainer. In fact, it is easy to see that health complaints are directed at a specific problem. Once the problem is improved, the complaint will stop. But those who complain habitually will not appear happy after the problem is solved, but will immediately find new problems and continue to complain. In this case, complaining is no longer beneficial to the intimacy, and even to you cause some damages.


b. If you are the complaining party, you feel that you are not a habitual complainer, but you notice that in your relationship, you repeatedly complain about the same problem, and the time and frequency of complaining are many, the other party may not be so. Value you and this relationship, and are not willing to take better care of your feelings and make adjustments for you.

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2. Blame in relationships

Accountability vs blame in relationships, although both are negative evaluations, unlike complaints, blame is a kind of judgment. When you accuse your partner, you are making a negative conclusion about this person or certain characteristics, and use this conclusion to attack.


When you say “We haven’t traveled together for a long time, and I don’t want to hear you say that there is no money anymore”, it is a complaint, but if you say “You never want to spend money on our travel together, you will always Its your fault if we spend money on useless things, and we cant go out to play.Then it becomes a kind of accusation. The object of your criticism has changed from a problem in the relationship to the other person himself.


Accountability vs blame in relationships is different from complaining in that blame is devastating and non-progressive. It is not an accurate indication of the problem, but a widespread attack.


Accusation and contempt are the two most lethal among the four killers (accusation, contempt, defense, and resistance) that Gottman discovered that led to the breakdown of the relationship. In a constructive relationship, both parties should make each other feel that the relationship is safe and relaxing. When there is stress or crisis, the other half will care, support, and protect themselves. But when accusations and contempt occur, the two parties will enter a hostile and unequal state, which goes against the nature of the relationship.


Therefore, whether you are being negatively evaluated against your partner or yourself, you can first think about, Accountability vs blame in relationships, what is the nature of negative reviews, and whether they are complaining or accusing!

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