“It’s not my fault!”

This statement often comes from a client who has harmed their spouse. I admit, when I hear, “It’s not my fault,” I usually respond with suspicion. “Really? Are you sure? Then, why are you defending yourself?”

But as I listen to stories of childhood neglect, trauma, and abuse that many of my clients have endured, I’m more convinced that they may be right. The irrational beliefs, absurd fears, and harmful styles of relating from an abusive past may not be your fault—but they are your problem!

Many people have been raised on a steady diet of rejection establishing beliefs that they are not, “good enough,” “smart enough,” “pretty enough,” or “athletic enough.” Flat out not enough!

Others have been scarred by a consistent message of disdain. “I wish you were never born.” “You’ll never amount to anything.” “Why are you so stupid?” “You’re too needy. My life would be so much better without you.”

The real damage occurs when the statements are perpetuated as truth and you continue to tell yourself the same things.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” As a child you didn’t have the capacity to challenge hurtful lies, so you grew up with them and did what you could to survive. And you made it! Now, it’s time to put away childish things.

When my client says, “It’s not my fault,” I hear “I’m not willing to change my behavior.”

Taking responsibility for how you treat your spouse, even if you have endured hurtful words and actions as part of your past, helps you take a deep wound and change it into a solvable problem.

Are you willing to battle for what is right? To set yourself free from the lies that have kept you stuck in the past?

By owning your problems, even if they are not your fault, you may also stop the harm you inflict on your current relationship. You might uncover a marriage that is more rewarding than you ever imagined.

You can do this!