No, it’s not. It’s probably not even half your fault. I know, I know, I ate that one up like candy. “All relationships need work, and it’s never only one person’s fault”. But sometimes it is. In healthy relationships, yes, the share of responsibility for disagreements, need of compromise, grown up behavior, willingness to be wrong, etc, is more equally distributed, but if you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s not. It is not. One more time for y’all in the back, thinking it’s all your fault and that you need to ”try harder” the problems you are having in your abusive relationship are NOT your fault. It’s NOT you, it’s them.
If you’re being gaslit, being told that you’re crazy, things aren’t that bad, they didn’t say that, you’re way too sensitive, etc, the problems you are having in the relationship are being created and supported by the abusive half. Many people who become involved with abusers are naturally compassionate, introspective, empathetic, and self-examining people. We are easy to manipulate into “working on our side of the relationship” to excess, even when we are very aware that the abusive partner is not working on anything. In my second marriage, I would bring up some problem that I was having with his behavior to discuss it and try to find a solution. He would say something along the lines of “well, what about when you do THIS??”, diverting the topic to something entirely unrelated and entirely about me. Also something he’d never brought up before. I would go along with this attempt to hamstring my concerns because I wanted to present to him an example of listening to someone else. I hoped it would inspire him, but all it inspired him to do was repeat this behavior every time I tried to have a grown up conversation about our relationship. Significantly, the topic he brought up would not actually be discussed or resolved. Just thrown up as a distraction and then abandoned by him.
If you’re being gaslit or running into this diversion tactic over and over, and you are trying and trying to be heard, you may end up screaming obscenities at them. I did. I finally left him for a year and a half because, as I told him, “That’s not me. I don’t do that, but I’m doing it with you so I need to leave.” Being driven crazy is a thing, but it doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It means someone is Driving. You. Crazy. And probably on purpose. Gaslighting is purposeful. (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/gaslighting)
Abusers will often accuse their victims of being abusive, selfish (“it’s all about YOU and YOUR feelings”, which is normal if our feelings are consistently ignored or dismissed), or even narcissistic. Before you drown in the ocean of concern that perhaps these accusations are true, stop. If you have concern at all that you are any of these things and begin a journey of self-examination, you are not. You are not these things. Abusive people don’t accept that they are abusive. Selfish people do not give a fuck if they are selfish. Narcissists won’t even think of self-examination. They are perfect, the end.
It’s not your fault. You can’t work harder to fix it if they aren’t working to fix it at all. It is impossible to fix it if both parties won’t try, and if what they are “trying to fix” is that they still don’t have 100% power and control over you, that’s not trying to have a healthy relationship. That’s abuse.
If one partner is making it their goal to have power and control over the other, there is abuse. There is not an equal division of responsibility for the problems in the relationship when there is abuse.
You deserve better. xoxox