Dear Therapist: 'My husband thinks everything is his fault'
My husband says sorry at the drop of a hat. He thinks that makes our children, or any member of the family happy. He thinks any wrong done is his doing. Of course, this takes a toll on him. How can I help him not to take this burden on himself and view things and situations neutrally? — Name Withheld
Dear Writer, from your description, it appears that your husband may be guilt-prone or has an inflated sense of responsibility. These personality traits usually stem from early childhood experiences and sometimes from temperament of the child. As such, this is deep-rooted and would require intense and conscious personal work to decrease such tendencies. You can guide him to be more rational and balanced whenever you notice such behaviour but much of the changes that you wish to see will need to come from his own understanding and initiative. One of the ways would be, for instance, is to question his beliefs and thoughts and check if it’s based on evidence or reality. Your husband may also become anxious if an apology is not offered and both of you will need to understand the nature of fear. It would be worthwhile to seek professional help (therapist or counsellor) to develop strategies to decrease the need to engage in people-pleasing.
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