“When there are so many things we ‘should’ do and ‘have to’ do, we are stating our belief that we don’t have any choice in the matter. When we use the language of obligation, we cast ourselves as victims in our own stories. The truth is, you actually do things because you intend to, because you want to, because you choose to. Even the things you don’t necessarily love doing.” - Steve Chandler, master coach and author of 30 books, including 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself
Are You a Victim?
As adults, we do exactly what we want to do. Really, we do - even as we might be saying we don’t wish to do it! Don’t trap yourself into feeling a victim by using words of obligation, such as “I have to” or “my partner gives me no other option.” You always have another option! Instead, say “I choose to (fill in the blank).” When you do, what insights does it give you into your motivations? And into your options?
For example, I commonly hear “I have to nag my partner because otherwise nothing would get done around here!” Except you don’t! What happens when you say “I choose to nag my partner because that’s the way I choose to get things done around here!” That’s more accurate, in fact. And it shines a light on your choice. Do you really wish to nag? Or would you prefer to choose another way to communicate your concern and encourage your partner to get things done? And for that matter, how do you think your partner feels about your nagging? Does knowing you choose to nag instead of treat him or her with more respect endear you to your partner?
Once you start realizing that your actions are choices – even when they are in response to someone else – you can stop feeling victimized. Which is always a better way to be in a relationship.
None of this happens over night. But making time in your schedule for exercise, making mindful choices and meditation have long-term, physiological benefits. Can you create more time for one or more of these activities?
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples courses: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - Next live session begins October 6 - this eight-session seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship, and Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship - Next session begins November 10 (may change slightly) - This new seminar is designed to help couples become more intimate on every level. Both seminars are given by phone, so anyone may participate.