Living with a person who is overly critical and insists that things be done their way can, over time, wear their partner down mentally, emotionally and physically. Marriage is usually viewed as partnership where both people compromise for the betterment of the family unit. It can be extremely tiring when only one individual is bending. Everyone is different and there is no set remedy that will fix all situations. One of the partners needs to stay positive and that requires charging your emotional batteries. Ideally your spouse should help you accomplish this but if it’s not happening find something else and insist on spending the necessary time. For some people it may be physical activity as it gets the body moving and eases stress. For others it may be painting or writing. Or maybe it’s some time out with friends just to talk and laugh and get away in general. Take the time to heal yourself because if you’re not whole you won’t be able to help your spouse. By Cindy Abbate http://www.helium.com/items/2341232-how-to-deal-with-a-demanding-spouse
Don’t smother each other.
No one can grow in the shade.
Passive aggressive behavior takes many forms but can generally be described as a non-verbal aggression that manifests in negative behavior. It is where you are angry with someone but do not or cannot tell them. Instead of communicating honestly when you feel upset, annoyed, irritated or disappointed you may instead bottle the feelings up, shut off verbally, give angry looks, make obvious changes in behavior, be obstructive, sulky or put up a stone wall. It may also involve indirectly resisting requests from others by evading or creating confusion around the issue. Not going along with things. It can either be covert (concealed and hidden) or overt (blatant and obvious). A passive aggressive might not always show that they are angry or resentful. They might appear in agreement, polite, friendly, down-to-earth, kind and well-meaning. However, underneath there may be manipulation going on – hence the term “Passive-Aggressive”. Passive aggression is a destructive pattern of behavior that can be seen as a form of emotional abuse in relationships that bites away at trust between people. It is a creation of negative energy in the ether which is clear to those involved and can create immense hurt and pain to all parties. It happens when negative emotions and feelings build up and are then held in on a self-imposed need for either acceptance by another, dependence on others or to avoid even further arguments or conflict. If some of this is sounding familiar don’t worry – we all do some of the above from time to time. It doesn’t make us passive aggressive necessarily nor does it mean your partner is. Passive aggression is when the behavior is more persistent and repeats periodically, where there are ongoing patterns of negative attitudes and passive resistance in personal relationships or work situations. Andrea Harrn, http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/what-is-passive-aggressive-behaviour
No one can make you jealous,
angry, vengeful, or greedy
unless you let him.
Given their loss of awareness to their own needs, problems with boundaries, excessive dependency, and tendencies to try to change or control others, it is no surprise that codependents experience significant relationship difficulties. Sometimes their relationships feel one-sided. They are constantly caretaking or adjusting to the people around them while remaining out of touch with what is going on inside themselves. These one-way relationships make healthy mutuality and intimacy impossible. While many codependents fervently desire to soothe the deep loneliness and woundedness they feel through close relationships, most do not really understand some of the most basic aspects of interpersonal intimacy. One cornerstone for intimacy and, more generally, healthy interpersonal relationships is a basic respect for one another’s freedom to be who they really are and to take responsibility for that. Since codependents struggle with respecting themselves deep down, and since they are often trying to change their partners, there is a lack of this type of deep mutual respect for either themselves or their mate. Codependent persons can be either intimidated and threatened by their spouses, or look down on them as being needy or having a problem. But in either case, codependents do not look at themselves as a peer. Someone is always in an up or a down position. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
It is far better to be hated for who you are
than to be loved for who you are not.
Codependents often have a deep sense of powerlessness because they live with, or grew up with, people who are out of control. They can also feel victimized or controlled by others because they feel such a need to meet the needs of others rather than their own. Ironically, codependents can also be quite controlling themselves. And while they take excessive responsibility for keeping the peace or pleasing others, they also may expend incredible energy trying to change the other person. Since they blame the other person for their unhappiness, they assume they have a right to try to change that person. The codependent’s view of responsibility goes like this: My spouse is responsible for my unhappiness, and I am responsible to try to change my spouse or act in ways that don’t upset him or her. But this is backward. We must take responsibility for our own happiness or unhappiness, and a spouse must take responsibility for changing his or her own feelings and actions. Many codependents alternate between periods of trying to please their spouse, subtly attempting to change them, and brief outbursts of frustration when they directly express their resentments or expectations to others. Jason T. Li. Ph.D. http://lifecounsel.org/pub_li_overcomingCodependency.html
The best day of your life is the one
on which you decide your life is your own.
No apologies or excuses.
No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.
The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey -
and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.
This is the day your life really begins.
Displacement means responding to the wrong person or object. If it is too dangerous or uncomfortable to respond directly to the source of feeling, the response can be aimed at someone or something else. Getting rid of anger in an unrelated context, at an innocent recipient, is so common that the husband, angry with his boss, who comes home and kicks the dog is a cliché. Most abused wives and children are the victims of a husband or father’s displaced anger. Researchers have found that an abuser is likely to have been the victim of the displaced anger of his father. He learned hot to deal with anger by watching his father vent his feelings on the weak and innocent members of the family. From “The Enabler: When Helping Harms The Ones You Love” by Angelyn Miller
Anger is an acid
that can do more harm
to the vessel in which it is stored
than to anything on which it is poured.
Narcissism is a personality disorder. It stems from childhood abuse. When children decide that the world, and the people in it, are bad and that they are good, they have a skewed vision of life. They see the whole world as revolving around them. They see others as objects to gratify their needs. They lack compassion for others. In general they are incapable of maintaining a healthy relationship because they have to be in control all of the time. Often, narcissists are very charming in order to seduce people into liking them. Their ability to seduce people is amazing. They appear confident and therefore exciting. They want you to fall in love and bond with them so they can finally emerge as their true selves without being abandoned. If you keep your eyes open, you can detect a narcissist’s need for control and his or her self-centeredness. If you make a mistake they will be critical and unsympathetic. They will hold you to a high standard and exhibit disdain for what they consider weakness or vulnerability. by Susan Peabody http://www.loveaddicts.org/narcissists.htm
When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens,
I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary.
I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough
to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong,
or to cultivate a sense of purpose.
A chameleon can change color to blend in with its surroundings. A codependent man will change his likes and dislikes, opinions and thoughts, even how he dresses and the pastimes he enjoys to try to please someone he loves (or believes he loves). Seeing this as natural, but also as a great sacrifice the codependent man will in time begin to resent having to give up who he really is. Then he will expect the partner to change to fit him as he has changed to match her wants and needs. When that does not happen, as it rarely does, resentment starts and builds into inwardly focused raging sadness. Such a man will silently blame himself for not measuring up while at the same time outwardly blaming the woman he is in a relationship with. In the end he will most often demean and blame her until the point where she can’t take it any more and leaves the marriage all because he did not have the decency to let her go in the first place.
If you marry the wrong person for the wrong reasons,
then no matter how hard you work, it’s never going to work,
because then you have to completely change yourself,
completely change them, completely – by that time,
you’re both dead.
He doesn’t know why he is the way he is, and he can’t figure out why he keeps committing the same mistakes over and over again all the while expecting different results. He runs from woman to woman thinking that he will find balm for his wounded spirit. He doesn’t know he’s an image, and he’s totally unaware how his thoughts, experiences and images have shaped what he is today… One unhealthy characteristic of a codependent is that they tend to find themselves attracted to needy people and needy people are attracted to them. Playing the role of a caretaker and trying to fix everyone else’s problems was a codependent characteristic I myself had to deal with. It ruined every relationship I had with women, and it kept me in a perpetual cycle of stupidity. Codependent people are classic image-makers because they have never experienced truly loving relationships. Larry E. Coleman
If you didn’t see it with your own eyes
or hear it with your own ears,
don’t invent it with your small mind
and share it with your big mouth.
Advice giving comes to me about as easy as breathing. That does not make it a good thing necessarily because it is my inclination to give it whether someone asks for my thoughts or not. Feeling I can almost always see what others should do does not make my opinion accurate or the best for someone. It was a bit of a shock to learn that giving advice not asked for is a codependent behavior and a form of trying to control others. When someone asks my counsel and I respond with recommendations, that’s truly trying to help, assuming I don’t try to push them toward my guidance (that’s controlling). For a person with issues of codependency the line between giving advice and trying to control is a faint one easily missed if I am not cognizant of my tendency. Often the best use of my advice is to use it on myself!
The true secret of giving advice is,
after you have honestly given it,
to be perfectly indifferent
whether it is taken or not,
and never persist
in trying to set people right.
Hannah Whitall Smith
Helping people I care about is a good thing until lending aid causes me to repeatedly deny my own needs. When giving becomes overly one-sided I am not practicing love, I’m practicing codependence. It’s then without realizing it I am not giving freely but doing things in hope of being paid back for my efforts. The thinking is “if I help you enough then you’ll love me/respect me/help me/want me” and so on. Such an approach is me covertly trying to control the other person. Balanced giving and receiving is an important part of any good relationship. But when I hand over too much and get too little, frustration grows and animosity shows. In time giving too much will cause any relationship to become frayed and torn. Caretaking and helping myself is the first step necessary to being able to help others. Otherwise no matter how good my intentions are I end up eventually with “compassion fatigue” and wallowing in my codependency.
Don’t sacrifice yourself too much,
because if you sacrifice too much
there’s nothing else you can give
and nobody will care for you.