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Old 09-27-2009, 07:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Emotional Manipulation

Hey Everybody,

Could you please share with me any resources or wisdom you know of that deal explicitly with stopping emotional manipulation -- not in the alcoholic -- but in yourself?

I noticed the last time I was home how my mother would make snide comments, and say hurtful things to make you feel stupid if you didn't do what she wanted when she wanted. It could be something like giving my nephew an object she didn't want him to have and how inappropriate it was that he not get up and get it himself, or it could be making my sister stop the car so many times during the safari trip to take one hundred and eighty close up pictures of zebras and elephants that my niece peed her pants. She knew the little girl had to go to the bathroom, but she had this insane idea that getting the pictures she wanted to make a photo book for the girl was more important thant the two year old girl's comfort and well being. And the strange thing is that people do what she wants, it's like they can't say no to her, even when she's unreasonable.

Suffice it to say, I have noticed that I seem to think I know better than the alcoholic in my life what he needs.

Did I mention my mother forced my father to quit drinking when I was seven or so? She has steamrolled over him, expressing all his opinions for him for as long as I can remember.

Did I mention my sister's husband couldn't be with us during our family reunion weekend on safari because he was on a coke binge? And she's tried to get him to quit drinking for the past five years?

In addition to going no contact, what would you suggest I read? I have read Melody Beatty. I have been in individual counseling since June, also. Thanks in advance for reading this far.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you gone to al-anon?
It helps me in situations w/ my A and with others too . I cannot tell you how helpful it has been for me

"The Language of Letting Go" is a good one too (by MB)!

I would suggest setting some boundaries and sticking to them. Boundaries are needed to keep relationships healthy.

The things you have listed seem to be things that are happening to others. They will have to decide for themselves if they are unacceptable or not. And what action if any to take if any.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Being aware that we are doing it - is the most important first step, so hats of to you for being aware. i adore my mother, and she has improved greatly, but she is very, very codependent and has those moments of the immaturity and the snide comments. She has MUCH improved, so much so, that I feel guilty even saying that. But, I can relate to what you mean. Once it is brought into your awareness, you will begin to see it in yourself and catch yourself when (and hopefully before) you do it. The biggest advise I can give is to constantly "check your motivation". Be cognizant of what you are going to say, why you are going to say it, and what you hope the outcome will be. If you find you are saying things to punsih or be hurtful - then you've achieved awareness!! Then you can maybe just stop yourself from the line of thinking that led you to believe that what you are about to say or do is necessary, and can think of a more production way to handle an event with pure motivation. My mantra for a very long time has been and still is "check my motivation.". You probably can't help your mother, but you can certainly recognize it in yourself. I remember when I first became aware of this type of behavior, it was so blatantly recognizable in my mother, it made me shocked that I had never noticed it before. Now, she does it sometimes, and I will in the nicest way possible ask "why did you say that?", and sometimes she'll say "I'm not sure" and really think about it. But, that was only after I shared some stories of my own with here explaining that I could relate to the pain that had brought her to that place of feeling like she had to say those things. When she realized I wasn't judging or condemning her, but just sharing an observation, she was very open and even asked me to let her know when I feel like she is doing that, because she is very often not even aware. It has been a good growing experience for us both. But, that's just my mother, and we all know everybody is different.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Eight Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation
Emotional Manipulation is Also "Covert Aggression." See: "Psychopaths: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" Here is a list adapted from an article by Fiona McColl.

There is no use in trying to be honest with an emotional manipulator. You make a statement and it will be turned around. Example: I am really angry that you forgot my birthday. Response - "It makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment - but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (don’t be surprised to see real tears at this point) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry." Even as you are hearing the words you get the creeped out sensation that they really do NOT mean they are sorry at all - but since they’ve said the words you’re pretty much left with nothing more to say. Either that or you suddenly find yourself babysitting their angst!! Under all circumstances if you feel this angle is being played - don’t capitulate! Do not care take - do not accept an apology that feels like bullshit. If it feels like bullshit - it probably is. Rule number one - if dealing with an emotional blackmailer TRUST your gut. TRUST your senses. Once an emotional manipulator finds a successful maneuver - it’s added to their hit list and you’ll be fed a steady diet of this ****.

An emotional manipulator is the picture of a willing helper. If you ask them to do something they will almost always agree - that is IF they didn’t volunteer to do it first. Then when you say, "ok thanks" - they make a bunch of heavy sighs, or other non verbal signs that let you know they don’t really want to do whatever said thing happens to be. When you tell them it doesn’t seem like they want to do whatever - they will turn it around and try to make it seem like OF COURSE they wanted to and how unreasonable you are. This is a form of crazy making - which is something emotional manipulators are very good at. Rule number two - If an emotional manipulator said YES - make them accountable for it. Do NOT buy into the sighs and subtleties - if they don’t want to do it - make them tell you it up front - or just put on the walk-man headphones and run a bath and leave them to their theater.

Crazy making - saying one thing and later assuring you they did not say it.If you find yourself in a relationship where you figure you should start keeping a log of what’s been said because you are beginning to question your own sanity --You are experiencing emotional manipulation. An emotional manipulator is an expert in turning things around, rationalizing, justifying and explaining things away. They can lie so smoothly that you can sit looking at black and they’ll call it white - and argue so persuasively that you begin to doubt your very senses. Over a period of time this is so insidious and eroding it can literally alter your sense of reality. WARNING: Emotional Manipulation is VERY Dangerous! It is very disconcerting for an emotional manipulator if you begin carrying a pad of paper and a pen and making notations during conversations. Feel free to let them know you just are feeling so "forgetful" these days that you want to record their words for posterity’s sake. The damndest thing about this is that having to do such a thing is a clear example for why you should be seriously thinking about removing yourself from range in the first place. If you’re toting a notebook to safeguard yourself - that ol’ bullshit meter should be flashing steady by now!

Guilt. Emotional manipulators are excellent guilt mongers. They can make you feel guilty for speaking up or not speaking up, for being emotional or not being emotional enough, for giving and caring, or for not giving and caring enough. Any thing is fair game and open to guilt with an emotional manipulator. Emotional manipulators seldom express their needs or desires openly - they get what they want through emotional manipulation. Guilt is not the only form of this but it is a potent one. Most of us are pretty conditioned to do whatever is necessary to reduce our feelings of guilt. Another powerful emotion that is used is sympathy. An emotional manipulator is a great victim. They inspire a profound sense of needing to support, care for and nurture. Emotional Manipulators seldom fight their own fights or do their own dirty work. The crazy thing is that when you do it for them (which they will never ask directly for), they may just turn around and say they certainly didn’t want or expect you to do anything! Try to make a point of not fighting other people’s battles, or doing their dirty work for them. A great line is "I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" - check out the response and note the bullshit meter once again.

Emotional manipulators fight dirty. They don’t deal with things directly. They will talk around behind your back and eventually put others in the position of telling you what they would not say themselves. They are passive aggressive, meaning they find subtle ways of letting you know they are not happy little campers. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear and then do a bunch of jerk off **** to undermine it. Example: "Of course I want you to go back to school honey and you know I’ll support you." Then exam night you are sitting at the table and poker buddies show up, the kids are crying the t.v. blasting and the dog needs walking - all the while "Sweetie" is sitting on their ass looking at you blankly. Dare you call them on such behavior you are likely to hear, "well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam can you honey?" Cry, scream or choke ‘em - only the last will have any long-term benefits and it’ll probably wind your butt in jail.

If you have a headache an emotional manipulator will have a brain tumor! No matter what your situation is the emotional manipulator has probably been there or is there now - but only ten times worse. It’s hard after a period of time to feel emotionally connected to an emotional manipulator because they have a way of de-railing conversations and putting the spotlight back on themselves. If you call them on this behavior they will likely become deeply wounded or very petulant and call you selfish - or claim that it is you who are always in the spotlight. The thing is that even tho you know this is not the case you are left with the impossible task of proving it. Don’t bother - TRUST your gut and walk away!

Emotional manipulators somehow have the ability to impact the emotional climate of those around them. When an emotional manipulator is sad or angry the very room thrums with it - it brings a deep instinctual response to find someway to equalize the emotional climate and the quickest route is by making the emotional manipulator feel better - fixing whatever is broken for them. Stick with this type of loser for too long and you will be so enmeshed and co-dependent you will forget you even have needs - let alone that you have just as much right to have your needs met.

Emotional manipulators have no sense of accountability. They take no responsibility for themselves or their behavior - it is always about what everyone else has "done to them". One of the easiest ways to spot an emotional manipulator is that they often attempt to establish intimacy through the early sharing of deeply personal information that is generally of the "hook-you-in-and-make-you-sorry-for-me" variety. Initially you may perceive this type of person as very sensitive, emotionally open and maybe a little vulnerable. Believe me when I say that an emotional manipulator is about as vulnerable as a rabid pit bull, and there will always be a problem or a crisis to overcome.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Can relate to every rotten type of emotional manipulation written here.
Thank God I am out of it right now, and never taking this @*##x ever again.

Thanks for posting it for us URMYEVERYTHING.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ditto - I see so many of these signs, it's scary. I will be reading and re-reading this throughout the day. I like the pad and pen idea - I am so used to the "what? I didn't say that?"... and "crazy making" is exactly the proper term for it! Thank you for posting this!!
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My therapist recommended some books by Hariett Lerner (sp?). "The Dance of Intimacy," "The Dance of Fear," and "The Dance of Anger." She writes about how our past and current relationships with our family of origin have a direct effect on our relationship with our romantic partners. With helpful examples of how others have resolved their issues. Very good stuff. Not specific to alcoholism/codependence, but dysfunctional relationships in general.

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Old 09-28-2009, 09:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you LTD, I will definitely check those out Friday at the bookstore.

Thank you, URMyEverything, In reading through checklists I always see one or two elements of my behavior there, some of which I can take note of and work on. Although I manipulate with guilt more often than I’d care to admit, a great number of the things on the list are painful behaviors he’d exhibit more than I would. It's so much easier to see faults in other people, we judge them by our actions and ourselves by our ideals. I'm going to have to read the list over a few times, and read some other books, I think.

I agree, Jadmack and Peaches, the "fighting dirty" is something I have certainly encountered it with the alcoholic I love. He is proud of the fact that he can "go for the jugular" and say really cruel things that he "didn't mean" the next day. It's great to get away from that.

Then there's this issue: if I have a headache you have a brain tumor. I have a serious problem with his verbal abuse. On the other hand, he has a life threatening disease and wants to commit suicide the day before my birthday. It's a headache for me, but brain tumor for him situation.

No accountability, he scores there. But then again, no accountability for me if I keep contacting him.

Daisy30- I didn’t mean it to seem I was seeking input as to how they could fix what I didn’t like about their situations, but to try to illustrate patterns around me that, when I see them and I repeat them that make me go UGH! Thank you for reminding me to go to a third Al Anon meeting. The second group I went to (in May, just before he moved out) was really helpful. I will go back.


In terms of boundaries, I have said if he wants to have a relationship that he has to be sober when he is with me. I do not want to go to his new apartment, I want him to have that space to do his own thing and I don't want to get on his back or cringe if I see beer cans everywhere.

So, he has been sober when he's with me since June, we get together for about 24 hours once a week and are respectful and get all the good aspects of our friendship and love back. But although we've maintained phone contact during the day, I called on one evening and he was, no surprise, very drunk. And though I knew in my gut I should not do it, I needled him with something that strikes me as emotional manipulation masquerading as a boundary.

-Do you want to live with me? (me)
-Yes, I keep telling you, I want to move by xx park, and we'll have a place for the dog. (him)
-Do you really think that will happen?
-I want that more than anything.
-Me too, but I don't think . . . .
-You don't think what, Darlin
-I don't think it can happen if . . .
-if what?
-If you keep drinking
-Insert long deflection and rage on his part about how he is sorry that he's not my hippy father where he insults me and my family and this is who he is I knew it when I met him etc
-that doesn't change the fact that we can't live in the same house if you're drinking
-go f*** yourself (he says)
-OK fine (and I hang up)

This is the first fight in about 60 days; I feel like I kicked him in the gut, and he kicked me back.

"I have every confidence in your ability to work this out on your own" is a line I must have repeated twenty times last June when we were in the process of separating amicably. It feels so much healthier than "When are you going to quit for me?"

Compared to a lot of people posting here, I realize It's not like we're married, it's not like we have kids. I appreciate the advice, as Peaches suggested, taking a good long hard look at my motivation before I talk to him. And in detaching, to do it with love.

Because as much as I want to lie to myself, and as often as I encourage him to lie to me on the topic, he really isn't interested in quitting.

This is not a battle I can win, or want to win. The leaves are falling and it's beautiful out though. Time for coffee. And Al Anon Wednesday.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:29 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sounds like progress to me.

You were able to look at a situation and think about it rationally.Then you decided what your role was in it. Good for you!
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, for my birthday I went to Al Anon and it was really refreshing to not feel alone and to admit my misstep about trying to control something I can't control. Previously I would have owned up to this foolish behavior by speaking with the alcoholic I shouldn't be trying to control. Doh, that never worked. He would react the same way he always has, and I would buy into the power struggle, and nothing changed. He's too close to the situation to be rational, or to have even a flickering interest in peace and stability as the outcome TODAY.

It meant so much just hearing the voices of men and women who know because they have learned how to navigate peacefully around what seemed like roadblocks; they have learned how to detach with love.

Daisy, I'm very grateful for you stating the obvious, it really wouldn't have popped into my head as the next logical step this morning unless you'd said it. Thank you!
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Old 09-29-2009, 07:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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:day2 What a great way to spend the day! 7
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Covington,

I hope you don't feel bad about what you now realize you have been doing. I've done it too and I'm sure I still do it in certain circumstances. A lot of Recovery is about becoming conscious and aware of what we have been and still do (unconsciously and automatically) in our lives.

Awareness of what you are doing is half the battle! So good for you! Here's what I have been trying to teach myself and practice:

1. Admit you have a problem with manipulating others. Going forward, for me, this also means that I accept that I am not always right, even if I am the clean and sober one.

2. When dealing with others, don't react right away. For me, the automatic reaction is often anger. I believe I have used and sometimes still use angry outbursts to make people do what I want them to do. I have also used tears, begging, threatening, and proclamations of, "You just don't love me" or "You just don't care about me" or expressing my loyalty to them, and "All the things I have done for you and THIS is how you treat me?!" Teach yourself to just step back and LISTEN.

3. Examine your initial (withheld) reaction to the other person, examine what you are feeling, and breathe. It is OK to say nothing and do nothing.

4. Ask yourself what it really is you think you want or need from this person.

5. Decide whether or not it is the other person's responsibility to fulfill your want or need. You may also want to ask yourself if it is healthy for you to want or need another person to give you these things.

6. If it is neither their responsibility, nor healthy for you, say nothing and do it yourself.

7. If it is reasonable and healthy for you to expect them to fulfill this want or need, ASK them to help you.

Book to read: Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward

Hope something here helps. Doing this is not easy and is often painful so I suggest, as always, Al-Anon and other social support.

P.S. It is also helpful to at some point to begin to develop a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the positive attributes of the significant others in our lives. And yes, even the alcoholics and addicts.

Because when you relate to people with appreciation and gratitude for who they are and what they have done and may continue to do for us, and shift our focus away from the negativity, we become more confident in ourselves and the decisions we make. It's works kind of like the old saying "Two wrongs do not make a right." What it really comes down to is this: Live your life and deal with others with INTEGRITY.
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Covington,

I hope you don't feel bad about what you now realize you have been doing. I've done it too and I'm sure I still do it in certain circumstances. A lot of Recovery is about becoming conscious and aware of what we have been and still do (unconsciously and automatically) in our lives.

Awareness of what you are doing is half the battle! So good for you! Here's what I have been trying to teach myself and practice:

1. Admit you have a problem with manipulating others. Going forward, for me, this also means that I accept that I am not always right, even if I am the clean and sober one.

2. When dealing with others, don't react right away. For me, the automatic reaction is often anger. I believe I have used and sometimes still use angry outbursts to make people do what I want them to do. I have also used tears, begging, threatening, and proclamations of, "You just don't love me" or "You just don't care about me" or expressing my loyalty to them, and "All the things I have done for you and THIS is how you treat me?!" Teach yourself to just step back and LISTEN.

3. Examine your initial (withheld) reaction to the other person, examine what you are feeling, and breathe. It is OK to say nothing and do nothing.

4. Ask yourself what it really is you think you want or need from this person.

5. Decide whether or not it is the other person's responsibility to fulfill your want or need. You may also want to ask yourself if it is healthy for you to want or need another person to give you these things.

6. If it is neither their responsibility, nor healthy for you, say nothing and do it yourself.

7. If it is reasonable and healthy for you to expect them to fulfill this want or need, ASK them to help you.

Book to read: Emotional Blackmail by Susan Forward

Hope something here helps. Doing this is not easy and is often painful so I suggest, as always, Al-Anon and other social support.

P.S. It is also helpful to at some point to begin to develop a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the positive attributes of the significant others in our lives. And yes, even the alcoholics and addicts.

Because when you relate to people with appreciation and gratitude for who they are and what they have done and may continue to do for us, and shift our focus away from the negativity, we become more confident in ourselves and the decisions we make. It's works kind of like the old saying "Two wrongs do not make a right." What it really comes down to is this: Live your life and deal with others with INTEGRITY.
L2L this is very helpful…I always appreciate your level-headed, logical advice! I agree that being conscious and aware of our feelings and reactions is the first step. I just wish that I had had the good fortune to come across this advice earlier so I would know to examine my motivations behind my reactions to xabf. Particularly helpful would have been learning how to control my automatic reaction – which is often anger. Perhaps xabf’s tv would have emerged unscathed!

My question is: how do you determine whether or not a need/want is healthy and therefore appropriate to be fulfilled by another?
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Old 09-30-2009, 10:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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well i'm gonna go out on a limb here and say we should never expect OUR wants/needs to be fulfilled by another.
Amen Anvil Amen

I gave up trying to get my wants and needs met and now I just have expectations
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:15 AM   #15 (permalink)
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well i'm gonna go out on a limb here and say we should never expect OUR wants/needs to be fulfilled by another.
i guess i'm having a hard time understanding this. in a romantic relationship, it's unreasonable to have wants or needs? like, the need to be loved, respected, understood by your partner? the need for forgiveness? how are those things so out of line?
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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supposedly...

if you are healthy you are already happy and fulfilled by yourself, if someone comes along that is healthy too, you will be sharing the happiness you already have...

it is not that you are miserable and the other brings with him THE joy, THE good times, etc. etc... its more like both are building their own worlds and enjoy sharing...

love, respect, understanding etc are of course valid needs or expectations... but they dont arrive magically, the couple works on them every single day, words match actions....

those great mutual feelings you talk about come "naturally" though... no one is asking for them explicitly or demanding them from the other, or explaining how they look like or afraid the other will leave or obligated to be with the other person...

that world is starting to be known to me and ahhh its very relaxing, nothing like the rollercoaster i was used to lol

just my two cents.......
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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i guess i'm having a hard time understanding this. in a romantic relationship, it's unreasonable to have wants or needs? like, the need to be loved, respected, understood by your partner? the need for forgiveness? how are those things so out of line?
Here's how I see it. I have wants, needs, and expectations. But, it is MY job to meet them.

If I am with someone who does not fit, it is my job to look elsewhere. Not their job to do what I want. If I want to be loved, respected, understood, and forgiven, then I must seek out loving, respectable, understanding, forgiving people to be with.

It means accepting others exactly as they are, and then evaluating whether or not they belong in my life.

So, to answer your question, no, I don't think it's out of line to want or need certain things. But, it is out of line to expect a particular person to change who they are to meet those needs. I hope I'm making sense here.............

L
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Last edited by LaTeeDa; 09-30-2009 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 09-30-2009, 12:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2009
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L2L this is very helpful…I always appreciate your level-headed, logical advice! I agree that being conscious and aware of our feelings and reactions is the first step. I just wish that I had had the good fortune to come across this advice earlier so I would know to examine my motivations behind my reactions to xabf. Particularly helpful would have been learning how to control my automatic reaction – which is often anger. Perhaps xabf’s tv would have emerged unscathed!

My question is: how do you determine whether or not a need/want is healthy and therefore appropriate to be fulfilled by another? .... in a romantic relationship, it's unreasonable to have wants or needs? like, the need to be loved, respected, understood by your partner? the need for forgiveness? how are those things so out of line?
Hey Queenie Sweetie, :ghug2

First, thanks for the laugh about the TV! I hope it was a BIG, LOUD event when you destroyed it. I am giggling at the picture of you smashing it. Felt good didn't it? Way to go, I'm with ya' sister. I LOVE to smash things when I'm angry. Pumpkins are safer to smash than things made of glass though. And much less to clean up cause you can smash them outside.

On a more serious note, it makes me feel good that something I say makes sense AND is helpful! :O) So thank you for the reply. I can only answer for myself and how and what I am learning, practicing and trying.

I understand that you wish you had known this kind of thing earlier. I often feel like that! Kinda' like when I got diagnosed with ADHD at age 40. I was so ANGRY and pained when I finally understood WHY I AM THE WAY I AM and how much EASIER my life could have been if I had only KNOWN this and therefore would have been able to make accommodations in my life in order to compensate in practical, planned ways, for my disabilities and weird ways of doing and not doing things. I remembered ALL the frustrations, all the people I had pi$$ed off, all the YEARS I truly suffered from this disability that were WASTED.

I let the anger last a few hours. I called my brother and vented and cried about my frustrations and losses. I called my girlfriend and vented and cried about my lost opportunities and effects on my past relationships. Then I sat with myself and cried. Then I decided what I would do about it in the future. Then, I went to sleep. I haven't felt sad or angry or anything about it since.

So,


1. Feel your feelings.
2. Get them out (emote / release the feelings) but in a HEALTHY thoughtful way. Like go out and buy yourself a couple pumpkins (healthy and cheap compared to TVs) to prepare for future anger (this is you being thoughtful) and not glass objects (unhealthy to smash your TV because you could get glass in your eye AND you would have to buy a new one). Smash the pumpkins and scream at them. Alternatively, join a gym and get your frustrations out 20 minutes a day 3 times a week.
3. Now you feel better because you released the feelings instead of penting them up inside of you. AND you directed them at an inanimate object and NOT A PERSON or his belongings, AND you didn't get glass in your eye. (Nobody got hurt)
4. Go to sleep.

The way I look at your frustration about the timeliness of this lesson is this: Life is a journey. We don't know how long it will last. And we don't know what we will see along the way. When you are READY to take another path off the main road you have been following, you are ready. NOT BEFORE. There was something the universe HAD to bring you Queenie to experience and to learn from, in order to get to THIS point in your journey. This is the process of self-actualization.

For me, all my life, I kept walking along the path, many times wanting to give up because I have always been so AFRAID of what was around the corner. Seems everything life brought me has been so very painful. Many times I have wanted to STOP the journey out of the pain and suffering that I keep experiencing. At 42 I now realize the problem is not that the journey is painful, it is that I keep taking the SAME path off my main road (which leads to alcoholism, addiction, codependency, infidelity, etc).

Sorry, did I get off topic? (ADHD)

As for knowing whether or not a need or want should or could be met by another person...I have the sense that you may be putting the cart before the horse. Are you asking specifically because you want to determine whether or not it is reasonable to expect something from someone else in fulfillment of your needs, such as a "current" relationship with an addict?

If so, you have much more work to do on YOURSELF before you can apply these things in a relationship. Not only that, RELATIONSHIPS with other people are not a means to an end, which lots of people use them for. Relationships are merely experiences given to you in order for you to PRACTICE what you learn about yourself and want to try out next.

With each new relationship, no matter what kind, you have the opportunity to learn more and more about yourself and use that knowledge to continue down the road. You learn the lessons you learn, look at the results of your past ways of thinking and behaving, then you make conscious changes to think and behave in more healthy ways.

The question for you really is not what kind of needs and wants you can reasonably expect others to meet, but (1) what are your needs and wants at the current time? and (2) do you have the ability to meet them yourself?

Every one is different. But think of children. From age 0-5 most are unable to meet most of their own needs. But by the age of 5 they are capable of doing LOTS of things to sustain themselves. They can feed themselves, make a PBJ sandwich with a butter knife, dress themselves, put on their shoes, etc. They may not do a great job of it but they CAN do these things (dependent upon their own unique abilities).

At what point do you, as a parent, decide that they need help? If the child's clothes are inside out, do they need your help to redress them and make them "right"? Apply the same to all the rest of the things the 5-year old is capable of. Does the parent really need to "fix" what the child has done or is doing in order to make it "right"? My personal answer for all of it would be No, as long as there is no harm coming to the child who cares if the peanut butter and jelly are on the outside of the sandwich, who cares if the clothes are skewed, etc?

Queenie, you are so much MORE CAPABLE of fulfilling your own needs and wants for yourself and your life than ANYONE else. You are probably just not accustomed to thinking this way. I think that is Anvil's point. A person who strives toward self-actualization and self-sufficiency is an independent person. Some would say that being such a person is the ideal. Interdependence in relationships however are more appealing to me than independence. Every one is different and has different ideals and ideas; like Anvil and I. We agree on many of these points yet our ultimate ideals are different. And that's OK. Thing is, YOU have to determine what is the ideal for YOU.

All those things you listed above, love, respect, understanding, etc are good things and yes, reasonable. However, you are asking in the context of a RELATIONSHIP. FIRST, you must address YOURSELF. Do you love, respect, understand, and forgive yourself? Without regard to anyone else, do you fulfill your own needs and wants? You cannot have a healthy, interdependent "romantic" relationship with another human being unless and until you are healthy and fulfilling your own needs and wants first. A healthy romantic relationship IS an interdependent one where BOTH people are self-actualizing to their own abilities and each is able to sustain himself independent of the other. I know this all sounds wishy-washy and all but it is real.

You MUST give to yourself those things you have been trying to get from other people in "relationships". If you do not know how, you must learn how. Then you must try. You must do this all the while continuing to practice these things in your life, all while having relationships with others. It is difficult and painful to go thru this but IT IS SO WORTH IT! The prize at the end of a self-actualizing life is much better than even an all-expenses-paid two weeks vacation at a luxury resort and spa in Aruba in the dead of winter!

For starters, you may want to Google "Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Needs" and read about self-actualization. Start at the bottom of the pyramid that Maslow developed and ask yourself if you are fulfilling those needs for yourself and your life. If so, if YOU are doing the work and paying for those things yourself, move up to the next level. For each level, evaluate your ABILITIES to meet those needs and whether or not you are doing so on your own.

I also recommend a book written by a woman named Regina Thomashauer. You can maybe get it at the library but don't take it TOO seriously. I enjoyed reading it because it was written in a way that sounded like it was my big sister who wrote it. And it was funny! Her theories are RIGHT ON. But she does have some weird sexual ideas that I disagreed with so I just ignored them. The book is called "Mama Gena's Owner's and Operator's Guide to Men." I got mine on Amazon for about $5. It really helped me (other than the sexual stuff like I said).

You may also want to Google and read about "Interdependence" or "Interdependent relationships".

Take care. Be good to yourself. Sorry this was so long...I have a lot on my mind.

__________________
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.


Peace out.
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