“My husband is always telling me what to do. How can I keep living with a person who tries to control everyone?” Gail was so frustrated she was almost in tears.
How often do you fume about someone’s attempts to control you? In some relationships it happens way too often for comfort-especially in “co-dependent relationships” where both partners are in agreement that one partner’s needs are more important than the needs of the other.
If someone else seems to control your life now, try looking at the bigger picture.
· Did someone else manage to control you before?
· Have you had at least one person like this in your life for as long as you can remember?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, the real issue is to discover how you are cooperating in maintaining such an unproductive relationship-and to explore your options for changing.
Changing may be a lot easier than you think if you take it in baby steps.
WARNING: If you are in a relationship where you are being physically or emotionally threatened, this will help you change the way you think, but you must still take steps to insure your own safety. If you are in danger, your safety must be your first concern.
First practice changing the way you talk about your complaints-especially the way you talk to yourself about them. You must learn to stop seeing yourself as a victim.
Your goal here is to see yourself as a fully functional, mature individual who is participating in the discomfort of the relationship.
Since you are probably sure that the other person needs to change first, this may be a difficult task. Stick with it. You need to stop blaming anyone and change your attitude instead.
Notice how you and the controlling person have played out some agreements that you may have never recognized before. These examples may help. You probably won’t like the restatement, but see if it rings true anyway.
· “My husband rules our house with an iron hand.” This could turn into “I have agreed to be ruled by my husband in our marriage. I have done this by doing what he has told me to do (probably) since the beginning of our relationship. I have also taught our children to follow his instructions directly or by setting an example for them.”
· “He makes all the decisions. He tells me what I will do.” This could be:”I ask him for his guidance before I choose to do anything. When I want to do something on my own, I ask permission; then when he refuses, I do not do what I would like to do.”
· “How can I learn to live with a person like this?” could become: “I choose to live with this man because he provides things for me that I want and need, even though I sometimes resent the cost. I am afraid to stand up for what I want because I feel I’ll risk losing the emotional and physical security he has provided for me all these years. I am also not sure I could make it on my own without him. I have very little confidence in my own ability to take care of myself and our children.”
Each restatement is another building block to move to a position of responsibility.
You may feel very strange and unfamiliar with this new perspective, but the more often you focus on thinking this way, the more quickly you will reclaim your own power.
Learn more and claim your f*ree copy of 24 Tips for Having a Great Relationship at http://www.BeingHappyBook.com . Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurie Weiss, Ph.D., internationally known therapist, consultant and author, has been helping people create conscious, loving relationships for 34 years.