This week an otherwise emotionally functional woman from Brighton took it upon herself to bear the emotional problems of her boyfriend and smile while doing so. Rather than forcing him to deal with his emotional baggage collected during an averagely screwed-up life, she decided she would attempt to happily work around his issues. In addition she decided to try to change herself in order to become a better fit with his fucked-upness, and to take the blame for any momentary dysfunction between them.
At the same time, in the absence of relationship perfection, she took it upon herself to feel guilty for both him and herself for their collective failures. While the man has never explicitly refused to bear any guilt himself, his passive-aggressive behaviour reveals precisely who he thinks is to blame whenever they fall out. "It's fair enough," the woman said chirpily to a friend in the pub after three glasses of wine had got her talking honestly about the relationship. "I have yet to surpass the level of perfection demanded by my mother, so I just have to accept it's all my fault."
The man was not available for comment.