Many people come into my office hoping that their partners will change. They want them to stop being lazy, critical, or angry. Unfortunately, this stance rarely works. Change is a complex and complicated process that cannot be imposed from the outside. If someone is not motivated to change, chances are good that they won't. That's not to say change is impossible - but it takes time, effort, and a lot of hard work. So if you're hoping your partner will change, you might want to think again. Again, chances are good that they won't - even if they do, it will be a slow and challenging process.
This "other" focus leaves you in the space of a helpless victim of circumstances. It puts you in a role of a reactor versus an actor in your life. If you are making excuses for your negative behavior, pause and reflect. If you are always focused on what's going wrong in your life, it's time for a change. This "other" focus leaves you in the space of a helpless victim of circumstances. It puts you in a role of a reactor versus an actor in your life. If you are making excuses for your negative behavior, pause and reflect. What are the real reasons behind your actions? Focusing on being an active participant in your life makes it easier to take responsibility for your choices and turn them into positive experiences. So take a step back, focus on yourself, and start living the life you want to live.
Here is an example of how this plays out. "I yelled at my partner because he always leaves dishes in the sink and knows it upsets me. I've had enough of it. He intentionally leaves it there for me. I feel so disrespected." Here this person is reacting, and although those dishes need to be cleaned for sanitary reasons, the focus on the other makes it impossible to change your behavior. First, find the portion you did wrong; in this case, it is the yelling and assumptions. Then apologize & work on the yelling and check if this negative script is true. The result could be more peace. It can change the (possible) parent/child dynamic. Your partner might be putting it on you as well. "I try to remember but forget when I'm in a rush. And now I think, 'Why would I do that when she yells at me?' Nothing is good enough; why even bother?"
Long story short: Take responsibility. Don't wish for your partner to change. Simple but highly challenging to execute.
That is where couples therapy or individual therapy comes in. Therapy can be a beneficial way to improve your relationship. It can help you communicate better, understand each other's needs and perspectives, and resolve conflict more constructively. But couples therapy is not a magic bullet. It's not going to fix everything wrong in your relationship. And it's not going to change your partner. That's something you have to do yourself. But if you're willing to take responsibility for your role in the relationship, couples therapy can be a beneficial tool. It can help you learn how to communicate effectively, understand each other's needs and perspectives, and resolve conflict more constructively. And that can make a big difference in the quality of your relationship.