His: Initial Response
If we fix me this will all be better. I went to therapy weekly. I saw a psychiatrist for medication. I tried so many things: neurologist, endocrinologist, exercise, yoga therapy, naturopaths, supplements, chiropractor, acupuncture, neurofeedback, energy work, gluten free and sugar free and dairy free diet. There’s more.
My psychiatrist said he’s never seen someone try so many different things as I had. I was in a hurry to fix me. If I just get better, I can get back to work and Linz will be happy.
Why do I have this problem with pornography that makes things so hard for Lindsay? Why couldn’t it be alcohol? Or just anything els!.
I couldn’t handle Lindsay being upset about anything, but especially if she was upset with me. I couldn’t even comfort Lindsay when she needed it because I thought it was my responsibility to help her feel better but it was hopeless. In my mind, whenever she was upset, I was failing in some way. I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders making myself responsible for the happiness of all these people I love.
Her: Initial Response
If we fix him this will all get better. My intentions were so pure: I wanted him to get better. I loved him. It pained me to see him in pain. It pained a lot of people to see him in pain. He did all the things. Seeing him take action to get better gave me hope—or so I thought. The problem with this thought was that when I perceived he wasn’t taking action I’d lose hope.
As humans I think it’s inherent to want to fix all the things. Some things we can’t. Have you ever thought you knew exactly what someone else needed but when the solution was offered they didn’t take it? How did you feel? The question here is why? Why do we want to fix people? Is it truly to help them or is it so that we can have a good feeling inside knowing that we helped them?
It may sound like the answer would always be the same, but it isn’t. Consciously, I wanted Danny to get better for his sake, for his health. Unconsciously, I think I was scared to death of the “what if” questions. What if he never gets better? What if we can’t find him the medications? Although my intentions were pure (with the tools I had at the time), I was in this constant state of mind that “once he gets better we’ll all be ok.”
The problem with this statement is when you flip it: “If he doesn’t get better we won’t be ok.” To me, this put an unbalanced amount of responsibility in Danny’s hands. And it got to the point (after a year or two) where I finally had the thoughts like: I need to be able to be ok NO MATTER WHAT. Whether we find him the right cocktail of meds, I need to figure out a way to be ok. If he never works again, I want to figure out a way to thrive as a working mother of 3.
The beautiful thing here is that my thoughts shifted from Danny and his actions to me. And guess who is in control of me? Me. Being willing to shift my thinking from him to me allowed me to get to where I am today.
So what about you? What are those circumstances in your life where you think: “If this changed I’d be happy.” “If he just did __ I wouldn’t be so annoyed with him.” Think about it my friends! This applies to all relationships! Even the one with ourselves. xxx
Our: What Worked & What Didn’t
Did all of these things help Danny? No. Did some of them? Yes, absolutely. Take home point, whatever works for you, do it. Danny believing that he would find something that works for him was the most important part of this process. And going after it.
Danny thinking he is responsible for Lindsay’s emotions did not work. Lindsay thinking Danny is responsible for her feelings did not work. Danny would try, in vain, to control things so Lindsay could be happy (so he could be happy). Lindsay would try to get Danny all the help in the world so things could go back to normal and she could be happy. All variations of this did not work. It SLOWED us down.
So what works then? It works when Danny makes himself responsible for his own thoughts/feelings and not for Lindsay’s. It works when Lindsay makes herself responsible for her own thoughts/feelings and not for Danny’s. This is an on-going practice. We remove incentive to control each other (in order to feel better ourselves). And we get to work on owning our own stuff. Incredibly freeing. Has helped everything about our relationship with each other and ourselves.
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