It’s Not You, It’s Him (or Her)

Let’s set the scene, shall we?

You’re madly in love/lust with a God we’ll call Val (if you’re a male reader replace that with a Goddess we’ll also call Val).

Val is sexy and gorgeous and you’re as whipped as Paris was by Helen of Troy.

But being with Val, while exciting, is starting to have a detrimental effect on your self-esteem.

Val’s often unreliable, not calling when he says he will and showing up late for dates, if at all.

His moods are unpredictable; sometimes he wants to bend you over in aisle 13 at Walmart and sometimes he seems to want to bend any woman besides you over in the Large-and-Lovely department at Target.

You think things like this; he would call, show up and want me all the time if I were prettier, smarter, more independent, less needy, more perky, less available, more understanding, less demanding and the beat goes on.

Recently, while participating in a Dating Awareness Teleseminar with Dr. Gary Penn, Dr. Penn typified this train of thought as “very young thinking.” He said:

“When we’re young and in trouble with our mother we think, ‘What did I do wrong?’

“I’m 5 or 6-years old so when my mom is angry with me so I think I must be a bad boy, I take ownership. I don’t have the wherewithal at that age to realize that maybe it’s not about me. Maybe my mother is out of control or has her own painful history and trauma. I can’t determine who’s at fault so I automatically go to ‘What did I do?'”

Dr. Penn asks us how many times, as adults, have we been in situations where someone is treating us poorly and we automatically think, What did I do to make you talk to me this way, to treat me this way?

Instead of thinking, you really want to hurt me, you really want to make me feel bad about myself. And that’s on you, not me.

Granted there are times we screw up and people get angry with us and it actually is our fault.

But if we find that we’re constantly in trouble or being punished for reasons we don’t understand only with our romantic partner, it’s likely not us, but them who are at fault.

If we’re involved with a narcissist or an emotional abuser (which both fall neatly under the moniker “Asshat”) and bad behavior is a staple, we have to step away and ask ourselves which side of the sidewalk belongs to us? Are we really worthy of the criticism coming our way, or should the Asshat own it?

Have you found that no matter how you twist yourself into a pretzel to try to elicit more loving, consistent behavior from your lover that nothing changes? That no matter what you do, you cannot count on him?

If you answered yes chances are you’re deep in Asshat Territory and need to start asking your partner the right questions.

Not, “What did I do?”

But, “Why do you want to hurt me?” “Why do you want to devalue me?” “Why do you want to blow our relationship up?”

These question may not change your partner’s behavior. But they’re the beginning of shifting your attention from trying to please hence change your Asshat, to trying to please yourself and change your choices, not who you are.

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