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TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Im in a relationship with a woman and I seem to be emotionally

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Im in a relationship with a woman and I seem to be emotionally impacted by her too regularly. I try to talk about issues that cause us upset, but she is reluctant and if she does, the issue alway seems to get twisted that I am the one that has caused the situation.
Alternatively her unreasonable behavour is because she is tired and that is my fault too.
I feel that I'm being controlled, always walking around on egg shells. Its like a vicious circle, iy affects my sleep and then I get blamed for her not sleeping.
She has become better over the caorse of our relationship, but I think the whle situation is cause by anxiety. She has a way of turning everything into a problem or seems to think that it is alright for her to behave in a certain way but then picks me up for doing the same.
For example, she will work during our lesure time and complain how busy she is. If I am busy and have to work, she complains and makes an issue of it maximizing the guilt.
If I point out she does work, she denies it. I feel I'm being emotionally abused, this is preventing us from committing, I don't want to sign up for a lifetime of emotional upset.
We do have many things in common and I'm hoping she will change, but I feel that I'm just fooling myhe does a lot for me, but then I feel that there is always a price. I contrbute to the relationship financially, she does more of the domestic chors, because she works from home and runs her own business, so has more control over her time.
I have a demanding job which she makes me feel guilty over, even though it provides for our life style and financial security.
She always seems to be concerned about other women and makes me feel awkward if I notice someone attractive.
She seems to question me all the time and I feel I'm being set up or that she is trying to catch me out.
We go through periods of getting on well and then bang, a massive upset from know where. She does not drink, but if we go out she expects me to drive, which makes it difficult for me to enjoy a drink. A little thing I know.
Friday night I had driven 400 mile round trip and arrived home to go out to a local pub 1 mile from our house and we argued over who would drive.
I made the point that I was tired of driving and that she did not drink and it was only 1 mile from the house and what should have been an enjoyable evening turned into upset.
It felt like control, I do my fair share of the driving and pay for all our meals. I feel uncomfortable asking her to take it in turns to drive, this is just an example of our relationship that we can't even get right.
My approach would be that if I do not drink and the location is only a matter of minutes to drive, I would offer to drive, its logical.
I have suggested that we see a relationship councilor, but she is reluctant.
I feel like I'm with someone who is phonologically damaged and I don't know how to communicate or deal with them.
Or it might be me who is unreasonable and the mad one.
I need to find someone to talk to and understand whether its me and how I can get help and manage the situation. I'm 52 and don't want to suffer for the rest of our relationship like this.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 9 months ago.
Every relationship is a two-way street, and each partner is 100% responsible for their own behavior. There is no chicken than came before the egg in any relationship with a history of 2 weeks or longer because both partners are reacting to expectations based on traces of what they heard&saw the other do before: so snarlups in couple interaction are endless chains. But that also means that any substantial and consistent change in what either partner does in the endless chain of frustrating interaction BREAKS the chain and forces new responses and ultimately CAN ALTER the habitpattern of the interaction from that point onward.You DO need a SKILLED couples counselor to interrupt the vicious cycle of what goes on between you two. There are also two power dynamics that affect the process of couple interactions: 1. the Pursuer-Distancer Dance, and 2. the Reasonable-Emotional Dance.1. The Distancer has more power than the pursuer, because he/she backs away from the other until the other behaves in a way acceptable to the Distancer. He/she who is more willing or quicker to SHUT OFF the switch of attention and togetherness can implicitly dictate the conditions under which she/he will play ball.2. The more Emotional partner in a couple interaction usually gets the center stage in an interaction, esp when it becomes heated (ie emotionally intense), and this frustrates the more Reasonable partner, who usually thinks he/she's got the better approach to the solution, and doesn't LIKE playing second fiddle to the Emotional drama of the other--so his Reasonableness is actually somewhat undercut by ANGER that he's not getting to win the argument--and he doesn't accept the meaning and validity of the Emotional partner's emotions to HER--so SHE's aware that he's discounting every feeling that she has, at least often enough to make her feel like he views her as a defective human. (That's as far as I want to go for now, but it's pretty endless.)
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 9 months ago.
It sounds like you have been living together for at least a year--ut it would be valuable to know if the relationship is good enough for both of you that you both WANT to improve its emotional dynamics enough to commit to marriage. If that is the case, then you have a significant piece of Distancer-power in your hands: That you cannot commit to marriage if you feel blamed too often and steamrolled by her emotional volatility. But the way you need to present couples counseling to her is careful: "I've been talking about us seeing a couples counselor for some time already, because I don't know how to cope with the runaway arguments we have, and I can't commit to a lifelong future with you unless we both learn how to handle our interaction better, so it doesn't keep getting out of control. I know I can't make this improvement BY MYSELF, because I need you to join with me and an expert in relationship interaction to make it happen."If the subject of her emotionality has been a matter of contention, then approach that like this: "I know I always try to be Reasonable, and sometimes that doesn't work for you; because even though I don't realize it, somehow I'm showing disrespect for your emotions. I'm not very comfortable with some of your emotions, but I don't want to be criticizing you for what you're feeling. So I want us to get an expert in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy who can help us improve our frustrating emotional interactions."Before you approach the suggestion above, look up Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy online for your area (I presume in the UK) and get in touch with and interview the person (a woman would be better, because your partner might assume any man would be "against her" even though EFCT NEVER takes sides "against" either partner. The therapy is focused on improving the emotionally frustrating argument cycle (a repetitive pattern) that can be fundamentally altered by peeling off the layers of superficial emotions and addressing the deepest layers of emotional expression--which usually are calling out for a safe and secure attachment relationship with each other.EFCT begins with one session for the couple, and then normally schedules 1 session for each partner alone--at that point the therapist can assess whether both partners have the capability to go deep into their inner thoughts and feelings or not. If not, then the one who can't do that would be invited into individual therapy. That means that IF your current emotionally-colored assessment of your partner's personality does match what a professional psychologist would discover, your partner would get the choice between giving up on her relationship with you and embracing her own need for personality development (which might include what functions as some aspects of "reparenting" to make up for what was lacking in her mothering experience).I say IF, because it's always possible that an very REASONABLE man could be unaware of his own emotional structures that might need as much careful nurturing and repair as his partner's apparent lack of emotional control. But if that were the case, then it's not too late to make that sort of commitment to your own development, because life gets much richer (though not necessarily much easier) when one expands his self-awareness and familiarity with his own emotions--which are actually a major source of MEANING in life. Midlife is a great time for expanding the meaning of life, and Jungian analysis is very well established in UK.(Self-disclosure:) I'm past midlife, trained in EFCT, dedicated to a long-term book project ("Emotional Dynamics of Love: Psychology, Neuroscience and the Experience") that is now culminating in interview research into emotional dynamics of long-term marriage, and personally committed for over 30 years to Jungian dream interpretation and sharing emotional and consciousness expansion with my Jungian therapist wife.

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