Relationships: The Dance of Victims and Perpetrators

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“He is always blaming me for the bad things that happen in his life, and then he tells me it’s my controlling him that is making him so angry. He yells at me and puts me down rather than deal with his own feelings. How can I get him to see that he is the one trying to control me? How can I get him to take responsibility for his own feelings rather than keep on dumping them on me?”

Lillian was clearly feeling victimized by her husband Rob.

It is always amazing to me when a person who is blaming their partner for blaming them does not realize that they both are trying to control each other – that they are both blaming!

“Lillian, when you are trying to get Rob to see what he is doing that you don’t like, aren’t you also trying to control him?”

“Oh…..Oh, I never thought of it that way. I just thought that if I could get him to see that he is blaming me, maybe he would stop and deal with himself.”

“But aren’t you blaming him for blaming you?

“Yes, I guess I am! So when he says I am trying to control him, he’s right?”

“Yes! Anytime you blame someone for your feelings, you are trying to control them. The two of you just do it differently. He does it with his anger and meanness, while you do it with your logic and explanations. He gets angry at your debating, and you debate when he gets angry. It is a circle between you – each of you reacting to the other with your own ways of trying to control.”

“Yes, but he…”

“Lillian, you are about to do it again. You want to complain about him rather than look at what you are doing and what you need to do differently to take loving care of your own feelings. Your eyes are constantly on him – on how he feels and how he acts and what he needs to do differently. Because he is the angry one, he seems to be the perpetrator and you seem to be the victim. But he could just as easily claim that you are the perpetrator with your constant nagging at him, which he feels victimized by.”

“But I just want him to hear my feelings – to understand how his behavior makes me feel.”

“Aren’t you wanting him to understand your feelings so that he will change? Isn’t telling him your feelings a way to make him responsible for your feelings? Isn’t this just another form of control?”

“Oh my God, I can see that! I didn’t know I was doing that!”

“Lillian, until you get your eyes off him and think about how to take loving care of yourself in the face of his anger, you will continue to feel like a victim and try to control him into changing. It hasn’t worked for the 20 years of your marriage. What makes you think it is ever going to work?”

“I didn’t know what else to do. I’ve been so miserable. I thought the only other thing I could do is leave and I don’t want to leave. I love him.”

“Yes, I know you love him. So leaving is not an option and neither is changing him. It’s time to control what you can control, which is you. I suggest that when he is yelling at you, taking loving care of yourself would mean disengaging – not getting into it with him while keeping your heart open – and go do something you enjoy doing. Are you willing to practice doing this?”

“Yes!”

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at http://www.innerbonding.com. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at http://selfquest.com. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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