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Do I Do Too Much?

I was talking to one of my clients today. She got me thinking about how hard it is to sit back and let a relationship happen. I don't mean that you don't have to do your part. You do. But it's hard not to do your partner's part as well. My client is anxious. She's doing her part, but he's not responding in the way that she'd hoped he would. She wants to run, but she's working on holding her ground (that's part of her part). What's driving her crazy is that she can't control his part. She feels helpless and vulnerable, which she is.

When you love somebody, the stakes are high. If you're over the age of twelve, you've been smashed up by love a time or two. You don't want to give up on love, but you'd like to find a way to make it more predictable and less painful. So people start to try to manage it; not just your part, but the whole thing. You try to anticipate the needs, moods, and feelings of your partner so that you can accommodate them. You do this to keep them happy, so they won't be angry at you or worse, leave you.

Another way to do too much is to try to take charge of everything. Taking control would make things predictable. Take charge people start their sentences with. "You should...". It's not that their wrong; it's just that almost everybody hates to be told what they should do.

You'd think that if you work harder at your relationship, your partner would work harder, too. Sometimes it does work that way. It seems to work if you're working hard at your own part. Once you take on your partner's part, the opposite usually happens; your partner does less. The reality is that when one partner does too much, the other partner does too little. It's not a conscious decision, it just happens that way. So the more you do, the less they do.

When you do too much, you become the parent and your partner becomes the child. Becoming the parent in a relationship is death to intimacy. It breeds resentment and ultimately contempt in the doer, and resentment and loss of potency in the non-doer. Sex is usually a casualty in this type of relationship. It's just not sexy making love with your kid or your parent!

Being in an adult relationship means accepting that you only have control over your half of the relationship. Then your part is to soothe the anxiety that accompanies that reality.


sally

 

Check out the new video on How to Have a Fair fight.
Also see Emotional Maturity by clicking on the title. I hope you'll find it useful.

 

Sally LeBoy, M.S. MFT (14768)
>> Don't Justify It!
>> Guidlines for couples Communication
>> Being Alone
>> Appreciation
>> The Holidays (Again)
>> A Bitter Taste of My Own Medicine
>> Sex!!!
>> Do I Do too Much?
>> Managing Emotions
>> How to Have a Fight
>> Emotional Maturity