The Relationship Trap: Let’s Talk

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“Let’s talk tonight,” said Callie.

“Oh no, not again!” thought Darren as he gave Callie a blank stare, feeling like a deer in the headlights.

Darren knew from past experience that “Let’s talk,” meant, “Let’s talking about what you are doing wrong, and about how you are not meeting my needs, and about how hurt and unloved I feel.”

It was not that Darren was a closed man – far from it. He would have loved to talk with Callie about her own learning experiences and about his. He would have loved to talk if he felt her openness and caring about herself and him. But he hated talking with her when he knew that her focus was to get him to validate her and make her feel secure. And he knew from the tone in her voice that she was feeling abandoned due to her own self-abandonment and she was projecting this abandonment onto him.

But he felt trapped. If he said yes, he knew they would end up in a fight. If he said no, he knew Callie would be furious at him, accusing him of being closed and not working on their marriage. And Darren had never learned how to manage the loneliness and heartbreak he felt when Callie not only didn’t see him, but was angry and blaming toward him.  So sometimes he would angrily walk away, saying that he didn’t want to talk, and other times he would give in, talking in the hopes that he could say the right thing that would pacify Callie. Which, of course, never happened.

“It doesn’t work to talk and it doesn’t work to not talk,” said Darren in our phone session. “I end up feeling trapped and awful either way. I don’t know what to do.”

“Darren, I know from past sessions that you feel lonely and heartbroken when Callie doesn’t see what an open and loving man you are – like you are with your sons and your friends. I know that you keep defending yourself to try to get her to see you, but it never works. But the real problem is that you are not seeing you. You are not seeing your own feelings if loneliness and heartache when Callie treats you unlovingly, nor are you moving into compassion for your own feelings – which means being very kind and gentle toward yourself. Instead you either give yourself up or leave in anger. In neither case are you taking responsibility for your own feelings. There is no chance of Callie seeing you when you are not seeing you.”

If Darren learned to see himself and move into compassion for his own feelings, he would then be able to take loving action for himself, which would be to disengage from Callie without anger, engaging in talking with her only when he experienced her as being open to learning. Until he did this for himself, their dysfunctional system would continue as it is, with Callie pulling on Darren and Darren giving in or resisting.

“Darren, the way out of this relationship trap is to be focused on taking loving care of yourself – of your own feelings, rather than trying to control Callie by giving yourself up or leaving in anger. As long as you are trying to convince her that you are a good guy and try to get her approval, or resist being controlled by her, you will continue to feel trapped. Only when you give yourself the approval you are seeking from her will you attain emotional freedom.”

It is not easy to move out of trying to control your partner or not be controlled and into true loving action toward yourself, but it is the only way out of a dysfunctional relationship system.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process – featured on Oprah. Are you are ready to discover real love and intimacy? Click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer, and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

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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