I see a waving field of hands!!
This week I had a young woman as a new client who told me that she decided to have a child, instead of a termination or adoption, because her husband demanded her to. She did not want to have a child, but she did, because she felt like his wish and opinion had greater value than her own. She resents her husband and now wants out of the relationship (though she does love her child).
Another one of my clients always gave into her husband and stayed home when he complained about her going out to do things for herself, like meet with friends, or get her hair done. She had become lonely, isolated and felt like the only way she could get her way was to get angry.
Both of these women were diminishing her own desire and Wise Voice in order to make someone else feel better. And both of these women were extremely unhappy and felt lost in her own life.
Women are trained to care for others, and that’s not a bad thing. We are exceptionally good at relationships and compassionate care. I’m not advocating that we become heartless, selfish, narcissists in order to live well in the world.
However, I am advocating for:
- Putting yourself first (that’s the only way you feel full and whole and have room to be caring for others)
- Knowing yourself so you know what you want and think
- Being able to let someone else feel their own discomfort and not be responsible for trying to make it better
- Taking charge of your own life and not waiting for things outside you to change so you feel better
- Changing a situation that doesn’t work for you, rather than thinking something is wrong with you if something’s not working
When my client began to stand up to her husband and calmly and directly let him know that she was keeping her date to meet her friends, she was super surprised that his complaining was short lived. She began to realize that when she changed how she was responding, she often got a different response from him. She began to run her own life, rather than waiting around for him to change – which was never going to happen.
How are you not in charge of your life? Who or what are you waiting to change so you can feel better? What are you blaming your bad feelings or difficulties on?
You can go through life reacting to what life throws you, or you can go through life choosing how you want to respond based on what’s right for you. Which do you want?