"Sandra wants to end our marriage," Ted told me in our phone session. "She says that I am not meeting her needs."
I often hear this in my counseling practice.
How did we get the idea that marriage is about the other person meeting our needs, or about our meeting the other person's needs? How did we get so far away from personal responsibility for meeting our own needs that we expect others to do it for us? What are these "needs" that Ted was not meeting for Sandra?
"She said that I do not make her feel good enough about herself, and that I do not make her feel secure. her unhappiness. She's angry that we do not have sex very often, and that I'm not often affectate. to feel that way toward her when she is so often angry at me and blaming me. But she believes that the problems are all my fault, and maybe they are. "
"Ted, the problem is that regardless of you are taking responsibility for your own feelings. needs to feel happy, peaceful, and secure, and Sandra were to take responsibility for learning how to make herself feel good about herself, then both of you could begin to meet each other's need for emotional integrity and connection. of your emotional integrity, rather than something you have to do to prove to Sandra that you love her. "
"But what if Sandra does not want to take this responsibility for herself? What if she just wants to find someone else to meet her needs?"
"How often has Sandra threatened to leave the marriage?"
"Oh, at least every 6 months."
"So the chances are it is a manipulation to get you to do what she wants you to do. Instead of giving yourself up to manipulate her, why not start to do your own Inner Bonding work and learn how to take responsibility for your own feelings of adequacy and worth? Since giving yourself up or withdrawing and resisting her control – which is what you have been doing – is not working, what do you have to lose by learning? feel much more loving toward her even if she does not change if you learn to take loving care of yourself! about you giving yourself up and withdrawal. You can not feel turned on to her when you have given your power away to her and shut down. regardl ess of whether or not she changes. "
Ted was willing to do the work he needed to do to learn to stop taking responsibility for Sandra's happiness and take responsibility for his own. As he stopped caring relaxing Sandra and started to take care of himself, he began to feel much better toward her. He was surprised and guided to feel warmth toward her that he had not felt since first meeting her. It was challenging for him to let go of his caretaking addiction as his form of trying to have control over obtaining approval from Sandra, and it did not happen all at once. But over time, Ted could see great improvement in their relationship. He found it paradoxical that when he stopped trying to meet Sandra's "needs," things got much better!