IT’S NOT ME-IT’S YOU!
I’m ok but there’s something very wrong with you!
When couples are in conflict, each person has a tendency to see themselves as right and their partner as defective or wrong. This makes sense, why else would they be in a fight? However, this tendency has been identified in all manner of conflicts and is known as the Fundamental Attribution Error, in which people assign all the positive traits and history in the situation to themselves and most of the negative ones to their partner. This may feel quite satisfying at the time but it is also extremely destructive to the relationship. It’s hard to step outside yourself, but evidence suggests validating your partner and understanding their perception irrespective or it’s correctness will help connect and save you from going down the same road over and over when fighting.
Tip: Next time you notice yourself thinking of a negative quality in your partner, try testing out the following ideas:
- Have a look at ways you display that very same negative quality
- Have a look at ways your partner displays the opposite of that quality
- Think about your common ground in the scenario (e.g. we both care deeply about the kids)