What is wrong with my spouse?
What is wrong with him?!
What is wrong with her!?
Something is definitely wrong – with them.
The Blame Game
Often when relationships get in a bind you start to wonder who that person is that you married. They were so good to me at the beginning, what went wrong? And with that question usually goes the next question, “What is wrong with them?”
With our fingertip access to tons of information we ask the internet for some help. Certainly, there’s no harm in that, right? So, we start our search looking for answers. Soon we find some solid information.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder?
The logical progression of internet searches will end up with two categories. For women looking to find out what’s wrong with their husband, it comes up with Narcissism. He is narcissistic, that’s it! I knew it all along. You share that with your girlfriends and they all agree, there it is, done deal – he’s narcissistic. (whatever that means!)
For men looking to find out what’s wrong with their wives it’s very similar, but it is usually Borderline Personality Disorder. Yes, that’s it, Borderline. I knew something was wrong, now I know what it is. When you check with your guy friends they agree (Wrong! Men don’t share this stuff with their friends). You keep it to yourself, but now you know the truth, whatever “Borderline” means. Once we find a good label, we have something we can work with. It’s something wrong with them, now I have proof! The internet said so.
And it’s definitely not me!
But what if the internet led you astray? What if you have been duped? Consider this, nothing is wrong with your partner, or you. What is wrong, or what is going wrong, is that you are creating a False Narrative about the person your spouse is. That’s the bigger problem, you have begun to believe something is wrong with them. In fact, that’s actually THE problem.
It is quite rare that someone really has Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder, although it is true we all display aspects of both of these in small doses. The truth is that we are all just trying to make life work the best we can. Sometimes we are scared and vulnerable. Sometimes sad and lonely. At times we feel belittled or invisible. We are just real humans who need to be believed in. We just want the benefit of the doubt and just a little grace.
False Narrative vs. True Narrative
To get your relationship to the place you want it to be, it will never work if you hold fast to the False Narrative. Did I just say never? Yes, it will never work if you hold the False Narrative! You must reclaim the True Narrative that they are just a human trying to make life work the best they can, with the tools they have. Challenge what you believe about your spouse, they’re not your evil nemesis thwarting all your efforts in life. They’re just trying to get through life, just like you are.
To get more tools, like considering the True Narrative, talk to one of our great therapists here at Grace Counseling. With a little self-reflection and personal responsibility you can change things dramatically!
Ken Curry, MA, LMFT understands the complex issues couples face in relationships. He also leads five weekly men’s groups, and has written a series of books on his Solid Man Process, available on Amazon.