Do find that you often are having fights with spouse or partner because when it comes down to making a decision your partner only thinks his or needs, not yours, not that of the kids or that of the family? Does your partner seem to over react or have huge anger outbursts when your ask for your needs and perspective to be considered? Does your spouse or partner demand that you praise them or acknowledge them for what seems to standard acceptable behavior in as a spouse, partner or partner?
From small to large examples your partner just doesn’t think of you. If they run out on a weekend day to get a coffee or bite to eat they don’t ask if you would like anything. If you do ask them to get you something sometimes they can get angry or annoyed. If you point out they didn’t even ask you, they get defensive and say they were busy or hungry and require you to get over it and stop being emotional.
Do you find that when they make a decision, they over prioritize their work. You may ask them for a date night on a Friday or meet up for a lunch. They are never available. They are always too busy. Yet, often you can find that in them telling you about their week, you’ll hear how they went for lunch or drinks with a friend or a colleague, may be even on the same day or time they said they were too busy to meet you.
Other examples of this me-centric thinking is when you go shopping. The minute s/he is done getting what s/he wants they want to leave. Never mind if you have accomplished your goals. S/he is not interested. In fact, you find they get annoyed with for expressing your needs. These type of situations can immediately flare up and become tense.
At home you may find that your partner demands high level of appreciation for ordinary things or things you feel that are standard behaviors in a relationship or marriage or a part of parenting. Your partner may demand to be praised for taking out the garbage, or watching the kids as “away to give you a break” as though they are babysitting their own children instead of building a relationship. You may find that any little task they do to help the family requires praise, even though your contributions are ignored or minimized, especially if you are not making money.
When your partner speaks it is often from the perspective of “I”. S/he will say “I was really tired and I wanted to go to bed so I went to bed. You can’t expect me to always come and say good night to you or tell you. I was tired, you should know that.” Interactions are often from the perspective of your partner’s needs and with the expectation that you should know what they need without them having to communicate it to you.
If you find yourself thinking that your partner is selfish or self centred and can’t get them to consider your need perspective or needs this can be very isolating and demoralizing. Marriage is about a collaborative team effort with couples working together to meet both people’s needs. Couples need be able discuss and take the perspective of their partner. If you find that you are struggling to be heard or your needs acknowledged and are calling your partner selfish, this is what Gottman’s called one of the deadly horsemen. It’s time to take action.
If your partner won’t come to therapy, you can learn how to make changes yourself to better your relationship. Don’t turn getting help for yourself or relationship into a power struggle. Therapy only works if people want to get help and be curious and open to change. If your partner won’t come, that’s okay, you can do a lot with your half of the relationship.
If you want learn more. Contact us to make an initial appointment to learn how therapy can help you in your relationship.
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