As the Houston marriage therapist, one of the first things I tell my clients is that I can only help them if they are willing to be helped. Almost universally, couples tell me that of course they want to be helped with their marriage problems or they wouldn’t be there, but there are always a few who can’t seem to help fighting against me whenever their behavior is called into question.

Whether we’re talking about people who don’t listen or those who give up, their responses inevitably focus on what the other person needs to do to change instead of recognizing what they might be doing wrong. Even when specific stories are used to illustrate the ways in which they’ve engaged in a troubling behavior, they can’t seem to accept the idea that it’s wrong when they do it.

Houston Marriage Therapist: Holding Up That Mirror

Unfortunately, there are some people out there who just don’t have the capability to look into a metaphorical mirror without distorting the image they see. These are often the people who are constantly cycling through friends, jobs, and relationships because they believe their own actions to be justified and think that others should change for them and accept them as they are.

At its heart, this is a way of unconsciously evading responsibility and refusing to see or admit to our own dark side. No long term relationship can survive this kind of behavior without it eventually causing marriage problems. Generally speaking, many of us have this personality trait when we’re younger, but it slowly falls away as we become more mature and realize that everyone makes mistakes – even us. There are a sad few out there who never come to this realization, but most of us can.

How? By continually holding up that mirror to our actions. It may not click on the first time or even the 99th, but eventually most people start to see – sometimes reluctantly – that they are not without blame.

The bad thing about holding up that mirror if you are in a relationship with a person who can’t seem to see their own faults is that the typical reaction you’ll get is defensiveness. You’re attacking them for no reason – how dare you! It can lead to unintended fights and hurt feelings on both sides.

That’s why the best way to get your partner to see the role they play is to create a safe environment and encourage them to hold up the mirror themselves. This is not easy, but understanding often comes through repetition and feeling comfortable. Need help? Contact the Houston marriage therapist.