There are some dynamics/behaviors/things in my relationship I want to change. Yep, I do. Change can only be accomplished if a person wants to change.
I learned a long hard lesson that took many years to get firmly embedded in my life. . I spent years changing to please my spouse, and anyone/everyone else. I wanted to be likeable - actually, I wanted EVERYONE to like me. I thought my world would come to an end if someone did not like me. How did I develop that 'ideal''? Oh, I guess it had to do with my family dynamics and how I became a people pleaser.
I have been a recovering people pleaser for years!
Two people in a relationship have 2 different sets of priorities. Understanding them, and working together to make sure both lives are fulfilled is a good goal. Trying to insist the other person change their list to fit your own agenda - nope, not a good idea.
We cannot change where we came from. We can embrace the parts we love, discard the things we do not like, and make sure we find positive things to replace those negative things. If you just leave an empty hole, old behaviors will surely creep back in to fill that gap. It takes work to make those changes.
We cannot change other people's 'problems.' We can surely see how they affect the person, and how they affect us - but unless someone wants to address those problems, we really are powerless.
We cannot change how our partner relates to their family. They were in that relationship long before they ever knew us. If there are problems, we have to believe we didn't cause them, we can't control them, and we also can't cure them. For us, we can choose what we wish to participate in for our own comfort. This dynamic was very difficult for me - -my family thought my spouse was the next best thing to sliced bread. They embraced him, loved him, and welcomed him. On the opposite side, my spouse's family did not accept me. It was not a comfortable place for me to be. It really was an impossible situation since both sides had such different dynamics.
We get into a difficult area when we try to control how someone feels. I can choose what I do with my own feelings,
This is the area that causes a lot of problems for me. The dynamics are what I want to change. Yep, I want them to change. Disagreements go something like this,
Liz: "I am angry/upset/disappoint because such-and-such happened, or I am angry/upset/disappointed because you did such-and-such. (Such-and-Such can be anything from 'came home late' or 'left a mess' or 'did something opposite of what we both discussed and made an agreement about.')
In my current life, things feel very edgy when I state an issue, a feeling, a problem and I am met with things like "I did not." "You are exagerating." "That's not true." "I did too." Then upon further discussion to work out the details, it gets further complicated with my paradigm, and there is further disagreement "That's not what I said." "When did I say that?"
I really do not want to have my view adjusted. I really do not want to feel dismissed. I really do not want to feel there is something wrong with how I feel! I really do not want to be told that my view - compared to anyone/everyone is so off kilter . . .or just plain wrong.
I have been choosing for quite a while to just back out of disagreements that turn into these types of power struggles. I will not be backed into a corner. I will not change or adjust my feelings so my spouse won't be angry. I will not feel manipulated by angry words that get tossed at me inferring I think I know better than everyone. No, in fact I do not. But I do know about me. My hopes and dreams and likes and dislikes. And what is important and valuable to me. And what will make me happy and what will not. I have a lot of successful relationships. I have some people who were in my life that I have chosen to limit my exposure to - because it takes too much work and effort to be in a relationship with them. They are too needy. They suck the life out of me when I try to spend time with them. Or, they expect things out of me that I am not willing to give. These are choices. Made by me, with careful thought about my own well being.
I can honestly say I would love to have a good relationship with my spouse. I would love to renegotiate the structure of our relationship. I have changed a whole honkin' lot over the past 20 years. The dynamics of our relationship needs to be adjusted to get it to a comfortable fit. I have been unable to acquire that in my marriage. It is a big conundrum to have joy with my friends, joy at school, joy in my solitude, joy in just about every area of my life, except with my spouse.
Last night I agreed to enter into the most hopeful discussion with my spouse that we have shared in a long time. I did feel he wanted to hear me. And then it started to turn very sour. And I was unable to steer it back onto the tracks. And then it ended with him in an abrupt emotional explosion.
It was really the saddest thing that has happened in a long time. Not horrible. Not angry. Just sad. That situation last night was sad. My life is not sad. What happened last night, truly sad.