Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

Ok so last night I went to grab a beer with a buddy of mine. We don't get a chance to do that often. For some reason he seemed compelled to tell me his situation with his wife. That's fine I have no problem listening to him, was a bit odd since he had never really done that before.

He tells me of their troubles over the past few years. How him and his wife just don't see eye to eye on things much. He goes on to say over the years that they have been in and out of counseling, anything that was suggested for his wife to do/try she usually doesn't.

He tells me they were having a discussion the other night over certain issues, he asked her why it was she wasn't working on x, y, z that the counselor had suggested. Her response was, she didn't do this or that because he didn't do this or that. So basically he is saying that she purposely will not do whatever was asked of her or that she knows she needs to do because he isn't.

I asked why he wasn't. He said that was what he didn't understand, he was doing what the counselor had asked of him, but that she wasn't. That is why he was so confused by it all. Its like she was looking for an excuse not to do her part. So his question to me was, are there some people who purposely will work on whatever they need to, because it seems they are living their lives based on what their spouse will or will not do?

I'm assuming there are people like this. What are your thoughts? Are there people who live their life based on what someone else will or will not do? Are they dependent on others to make them happy and their happiness depends on what another person will or wont do to make them happy? If so, why?

Also I will add, IMO, I think thee might be a difference between a person who will not do something that was suggested because they are simply checked out of the marriage, and someone who purposely wont, because they are dependent on another person and live their life based on what another person does or doesn't do.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

Someone very wise once pointed out to me that The Marriage is what holds you together, and both people need to be doing whatever they can for The Marriage. In order to have a good marriage, the marriage itself has to be more important than making yourself happy or making the other person happy. It should be about both people drawing strength and happiness from this thing that they've both worked hard to build and sustain, moreso than from each other.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

Almost everyone I know says the same thing about changing. They whine why should I do all the work. Why should I change when he/she isn't doing anything. I of course am thinking well somebody has to get the ball rolling why NOT me. I mean the only person I have control over is me regardless.

However it's rare to find people that truly get that concept. Most are still stuck waiting for the other person to do something or for them to make them happy instead of looking inward.

I think it's fear that is at the root of this. People fear that if they do all the work the other will never do anything. And that's simply not true. If you change the other person has no choice but to change. Even if that change means finally finding gumption to set boundaries and say "no" for once. Either way the relationship changes even if it ends. And there is the rub, the fear isn't it? That my changes won't mean anything and I'm left with that truth. Most would rather stay in denial than face that reality.
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Old 06-21-2011, 12:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

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If you change the other person has no choice but to change.
Nope. They are quite at liberty to sit and ignore your changes and carry on doing exactly what they did, possibly resenting you for changing, maybe getting more miserable. But they don't have to change. Unless your change is so profound it literally pulls the rug from under them, they can ignore you and your changes.

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And there is the rub, the fear isn't it? That my changes won't mean anything and I'm left with that truth. Most would rather stay in denial than face that reality.
I think it's more based on the knowledge you can only change yourself, and if you do, and the other person doesn't, what did you do it for?
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Old 06-21-2011, 01:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nope. They are quite at liberty to sit and ignore your changes and carry on doing exactly what they did, possibly resenting you for changing, maybe getting more miserable.
I agree what I was saying is if YOU change I mean truly change then it's unlikely you'd take crap anymore. That changes the dynamic because you are now in charge and no longer a doormat. The other can do nothing that's true but you now will no longer tolerate it. Hence the dynamic changes.

Lets say I'm married to an alcoholic. I finally start changing by attending Al anon, quit being co-depedent, etc. The alcoholic says whatever I'm not giving up the booze. But I've changed I'm stronger so I now have the courage to leave. That other person might not have changed but I certainly have changed the relationship because now I'm out of it.

Make sense?
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Old 06-21-2011, 01:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nope. They are quite at liberty to sit and ignore your changes and carry on doing exactly what they did, possibly resenting you for changing, maybe getting more miserable. But they don't have to change. Unless your change is so profound it literally pulls the rug from under them, they can ignore you and your changes.



I think it's more based on the knowledge you can only change yourself, and if you do, and the other person doesn't, what did you do it for?
I so agree with this. I do think that if you change, then it can set the stage for them to be able to change or at least try. BUT there are some people who regardless of what you do or not, they wont change, because they more than likely choose not. I do agree to, its probably fear based.

My husband is this way, he is fearful of change, he also has actually told me the same thing your friends wife told him Jamison. My husband also comes from a family where everyone else is to blame, and they do not try to change themselves, they leave everything else up to others. To me its not very logical thinking to think your life and happiness depends on someone else to make you that way.
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Old 06-21-2011, 01:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree what I was saying is if YOU change I mean truly change then it's unlikely you'd take crap anymore. That changes the dynamic because you are now in charge and no longer a doormat. The other can do nothing that's true but you now will no longer tolerate it. Hence the dynamic changes.

Lets say I'm married to an alcoholic. I finally start changing by attending Al anon, quit being co-depedent, etc. The alcoholic says whatever I'm not giving up the booze. But I've changed I'm stronger so I now have the courage to leave. That other person might not have changed but I certainly have changed the relationship because now I'm out of it.

Make sense?
If you're going to leave (e.g.), you've changed. The relationship has changed. The other person doesn't have to have changed at all. In your example, the other person can still be sitting there like a sack of sh1t as you walk out of the door, totally unchanged.
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Old 06-21-2011, 01:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

Ouch. Painful subject for me right now.

I've gotten stuck in the mentality of...

-If he does ______, then I will be happy.
-If he doesn't, then I will not be happy.

I've allowed my own personal happiness to be determined by my husband's actions. Not good.

The biggest problem occurs when I get so focused on him and refuse to work on myself. Someone always has to be the one to make the first move and I *want* it to be him so badly that I'll stubbornly stand still, waiting for him. I agree completely with the fear theory. I'm afraid that I will change and he won't. Can I be okay with that? Does he really need to change or is it just projecting myself onto him? Maybe I just want him to change so I don't have to.

Obviously this is something I'm really struggling with right now. Allowing someone else to determine my own happiness is not healthy and I rationally know it. It's still in my head, though, and I honestly don't know how to get it out of my system.

My biggest fear? That I will never be happy in my marriage.
The problem? I've handed the responsibility for my happiness to my husband. Meaning I've given up control of something that should be my responsibility in the first place. With that loss of control comes fear. Fear that he won't be able to give me happiness. Sounds pretty silly, huh? If I can figure out how to mentally wrap my mind around and start living the fact that this is *MY* responsibility, it'll probably be the best thing that's ever happened to me.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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MGirl exactly. I'm doing better with this but I find I still occasionally fall into that trap of focusing on him instead of me. And wanting him to change so I don't have to. And yet truthfully he's happy with the way things are. So where does that leave me? His thought process is that as long as we aren't fighting and I'm being affectionate and nice then it's all good. I however want more than that.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

I have been involved with someone years ago just like that. He wouldn't do squat unless I did or made the first move. He lived his life in fear of lots of things. I felt kind of bad for him actually. Fear can really paralyze a person.


I ended the relationship over several factors, but him living his life based on what I did or didn't do, was part of it. It became draining to say the least. I almost felt he was so enmeshed in my life that he didn't even have a separate life of his own. I think it comes too from people not having very good life coping skills. They were never taught how to be happy or make themselves happy.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

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MGirl exactly. I'm doing better with this but I find I still occasionally fall into that trap of focusing on him instead of me. And wanting him to change so I don't have to. And yet truthfully he's happy with the way things are. So where does that leave me? His thought process is that as long as we aren't fighting and I'm being affectionate and nice then it's all good. I however want more than that.
Nailed it, Mag.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Why? because she never had any intention of owning slightest tiny bit of this problem. Sounds very familiar. Whatever it is, whatever the circumstances, it's not her fault and not her problem and not her responsibility. And it's a waste of time and effort to push the point. "She" didn't do such and such because she was never going to.

My wife has hired fired scads of therapists over the years. None of them lasts more than 3-4 visits. Why? Because in her mine their function is to validate whatever she says, whatever she wants. Anyone disagreeing with that premise is gone. Oh she may have briefly agreed to do such and such one or two times but she literally would say to me as we're walking out of the office - "That's ****ing bull**** I'm never doing any of that. I have a list of things YOU have to complete and that's what we'll review."

And by extension it goes to everything. All aspects of life. There are two sets of rules in the world, one for the Queen, which aren't rules at all but an endless list of permissions, and everyone else. She needed be concerned with being accountable to anyone for anything ever. Make the fist move? Nonsense. Initiate? Are you daft? Self Improvement? Does GOD go to self help seminars, well maybe He should, by I don't need to.

And after 2 or 3 sessions when the therapist reminds her what the point of this is, she stands up, does a "Yuh Fi-hud" and walks out.

So it's not about basing your life on the other person at al. Hell, there might not even BE other people in the world sometimes.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

Runs you are to much at times!

A few years back when my husband and I talked about seeing a therapist, this is what his thought pattern was around that.

Him: If we see a male therapist, he will just take your side because he probably likes you.
Me:
Him: If we see a female therapist, she will probably take you side too, because she probably hates men.
Me:

Even though he hasn't said that in awhile, I'm sure he still feels that way. Even our therapists are based on whether or not they side with me and not him. it all has to do with how he perceives things He does have a whacked way of thinking at times. Or should I said, negative.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:51 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Living your life based on someone else making you happy or not

Did she jump up call him a ****ing faggot mama's boy to his face take a swing at him and push him back down in his chair when he tried to get up?

Yeah that was awesome. It was FAMILY therapy with 2 of my 3 little boys.
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