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post #61 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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The post below is clear, concise and brutally honest.
Thank you.

While I'm as susceptible to a desire for validation as anyone, especially when I'm frustrated and hurting (I won't deny that I'm avoiding all validation here), I do want to try to understand better what is going on in life. If I'm not at least somewhat honest (I acknowledge I have a confirmation bias), I have no chance of improving things.

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The goal here is to collaborate - not compete.
I appreciate your commitment. Thanks.

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In that vein I will share my personal experiences. M2 (label scheme for partners here - is to take first letter of screen name and append '2'. Your wife is D2) would tell you I was a very good provider, but a somewhat disengaged parent.
Well, I also usually feel like a disengaged parent. I feel like I'm far too often not entirely present when I am with my son, and that just kills me. Nothing gets my shame reflex going like thinking about how I treat my son.

Part of it is the competition, lol. My MIL is a retired preschool teacher. She is *amazing* with my son. Very focused on him when she is with him and constantly finding ways to engage with him - playing, talking with him, singing songs, creating activities, the works.

And my wife grew up with a preschool teacher for a mom, so that is her model and she is very similar. Of course, because of that, she desperately wanted to start an in-home daycare for our son, but I would have wound up being primarily responsible for it (since she is the breadwinner), and I just couldn't, sadly (yet another frustration she had with me/our lives/the universe). Not too mention, our house is already overfull with kids stuff everywhere, and I couldn't live with taking that to next level. I wanted *somewhere* to go that wasn't entirely devoted to kids...

So I might be comparing myself to the wrong people, lol.

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There are some truly delightful dinner time games - that teach and entertain.
Sounds great! I'm all about finding teaching opportunities while also having fun with my son. He really is the brightest point in my life, despite all the chaos he creates...

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post #62 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 04:49 AM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

I am not sure it is necessarily a great idea to try to teach kids, or anyone not directly asking for it.

Just live life with them. Model virtue. Be open to their questions. Seek the answers together.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #63 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 04:58 AM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Originally Posted by Dazedconfuzed View Post
New to this forum, but I've lurked a bit and finally thought I might be able to get some direction from this community.

I've spent a lot of time in the last year or two trying to better understand life and love, and while I've made some progress, I am still struggling, so I thought I might see if anyone else can help me find the answers I'm looking for.

I had what I considered to be a 'perfect' relationship/marriage for almost 15 years. About five or six years ago, everything fell apart between my wife and I, and I've been trying to find my path forward ever since.

One of the biggest issues to come out when things crashed and burned was how needy I was, not just with my wife, but with other people in general. Experiencing a feeling of being 'cut off' or 'disconnected' from others really had an adverse affect on my mental and emotional well-being. Sad to say, I realized just how emotionally attached and dependent I had become, and how damaging that state was not only to myself, but to my marriage and to my family. I think my wife still resents me for my looking to her and our marriage to meet my needs (fair enough).

In all my research, it's clear that I can't look to others or to external circumstances (like marriage or friendships) to get my 'needs' met. I feel like I've made a lot of progress in becoming strong and emotionally independent and self-sufficient, but I still feel like I have a long ways to go, so I thought I'd get some input from those who may have accomplished their own self-sufficiency in life.

How do you maintain a relationship like a marriage without becoming attached or dependent on your spouse? How are you able to keep the distance necessary to ensure that someone like your spouse can't affect your mental or emotional well-being while still having to find a way to work with them every day?

How do you meet your own 'needs' for things that seemingly would require another person, such as friendship, intimacy, or sex? I've done pretty well living on my own, independent from others, but I still can't shake the feelings of loneliness and depression from lack of connection to others (and from a lack of sex)?

Finally, has anyone been truly successful at creating such a solid sense of self-respect and self-worth such that no amount of criticism, negativity, or hostility from your partner can shake your feelings about yourself? Are you able to let their opinion of you slide off your back without causing any pain or hurt, either to yourself or to the marriage? If so, what do you think enabled your ability to achieve that?

My wife has made overtures recently that she would like to connect more (though I'm not sure what that actually involves or looks like), but I've stayed distant, concerned about putting myself in a position where I again could become vulnerable to getting attached to her or dependent on her, which could easily destroy my marriage all over again.

In addition to personal viewpoints, can anyone recommend any resources that might help me in my journey?

Thanks in advance!
I need to read the rest of your thread, OP, but wanted to respond to the bolded.

My husband is a naturally confident, secure person. He never did anything to be that way; it is just his natural state.

Now, there are many advantages to having that personality type. It is great for marriage, because he is never needy. Some women, like me, find neediness a complete turn off. So his type and mine complement each other well.

But there are drawbacks, too. Sometimes I feel like I can never really get through to him, can never really make him understand how I feel, in all my own neediness and insecurity. He just cannot relate most of the time. That leaves me feeling lonely and not understood.

Bottom line: no relationship is perfect. We all have challenges we are dealing with. It is probably just part of the human condition. If we did not have challenges, how would we grow? What would be the point to having been born at all?

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #64 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 05:07 AM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Originally Posted by Dazedconfuzed View Post
It is a kind of self-actualization I'm talking about, I guess. Achieving a high-level of self-actualization undoubtedly allows one to stay mentally and emotionally independent from others while still living in complex relationships with them. I can imagine a truly self-actualized individual needs nothing from others and can probably do a great job of not allowing themselves to be adversely affected by others in their life.

If you need nothing from others, they have no power over you.
I think those people are born that way, though. Most of us are not ultimately going to be that way.

The rest of us might be better off embracing ourselves and loving ourselves in all our fragility.

Jmo.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #65 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 05:44 AM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Maybe.

Or, it's just a normal move to be emotionally self-sufficient.

If I am protective of my own emotional well-being, no one outside myself can have a negative impact on it.

No one can hurt you unless you let them. That sort of thing.

And one of the easiest way for others to hurt you is to expect something of them or from them. Hurting you doesn't even have to be something that they are *trying* to do. Most people don't *want* to hurt other people - we mostly hurt ourselves. No expectations, no upsets.
You are certainly right about this, but it is awfully hard for a sensitive person to accomplish.

You really do seem like a sweetheart, OP. You are intelligent and empathetic. I am sure your wife sees the genuineness in you. It is undoubtedly part of what keeps her in the marriage.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #66 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 06:00 AM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Originally Posted by Dazedconfuzed View Post
New to this forum, but I've lurked a bit and finally thought I might be able to get some direction from this community.

I've spent a lot of time in the last year or two trying to better understand life and love, and while I've made some progress, I am still struggling, so I thought I might see if anyone else can help me find the answers I'm looking for.

I had what I considered to be a 'perfect' relationship/marriage for almost 15 years. About five or six years ago, everything fell apart between my wife and I, and I've been trying to find my path forward ever since.

One of the biggest issues to come out when things crashed and burned was how needy I was, not just with my wife, but with other people in general. Experiencing a feeling of being 'cut off' or 'disconnected' from others really had an adverse affect on my mental and emotional well-being. Sad to say, I realized just how emotionally attached and dependent I had become, and how damaging that state was not only to myself, but to my marriage and to my family. I think my wife still resents me for my looking to her and our marriage to meet my needs (fair enough).

In all my research, it's clear that I can't look to others or to external circumstances (like marriage or friendships) to get my 'needs' met. I feel like I've made a lot of progress in becoming strong and emotionally independent and self-sufficient, but I still feel like I have a long ways to go, so I thought I'd get some input from those who may have accomplished their own self-sufficiency in life.

How do you maintain a relationship like a marriage without becoming attached or dependent on your spouse? How are you able to keep the distance necessary to ensure that someone like your spouse can't affect your mental or emotional well-being while still having to find a way to work with them every day?

How do you meet your own 'needs' for things that seemingly would require another person, such as friendship, intimacy, or sex? I've done pretty well living on my own, independent from others, but I still can't shake the feelings of loneliness and depression from lack of connection to others (and from a lack of sex)?

Finally, has anyone been truly successful at creating such a solid sense of self-respect and self-worth such that no amount of criticism, negativity, or hostility from your partner can shake your feelings about yourself? Are you able to let their opinion of you slide off your back without causing any pain or hurt, either to yourself or to the marriage? If so, what do you think enabled your ability to achieve that?

My wife has made overtures recently that she would like to connect more (though I'm not sure what that actually involves or looks like), but I've stayed distant, concerned about putting myself in a position where I again could become vulnerable to getting attached to her or dependent on her, which could easily destroy my marriage all over again.

In addition to personal viewpoints, can anyone recommend any resources that might help me in my journey?

Thanks in advance!


Hi Dazedconfuzed

Firstly, can I just commend you for articulating your situation so well and being so honest. It's clear that you have made a conscious effort to take ownership and responsibility for your current circumstances and that is actually the first step on your journey towards self worth, self respect and ultimately, self-love. It's actually really exciting to hear because in all the years i've been working with clients, this is the single more important trait that i've observed in those who have managed to free themselves from the pain that they experience on a regular basis.

Now before I go on, I want to make a really clear distinction here. Often when individuals embark on this journey and they recognise that they are too reliant on external parties to meet their needs, they end up going from one extreme to another. They believe that they need to be the sole provider of everything and ensure that every perceived negative behaviour from the external party ends up sliding off like teflon. This is actually a slippery slope and it can sometimes backfire and lead to even greater inner resistance.

Why? Firstly, because we are human beings and it's absolutely ok with having human emotions which vary from joy, happiness, love to anger, frustration, sadness etc.
Secondly, because we can develop avoidance strategies that prevent us from dealing with the negative feelings. If we don't truly integrate those emotions and feelings, we ultimately suppress them and that eventually comes to the surface again at some point, leading to even bigger problems.
I'm not saying that you can't approach it like this, but I just wanted to point out some potential warning signs.

So then that leads us to the question - how do we go about integrating these feelings?

Well, that's a whole other beast and I could go on forever about it however in my professional opinion, there are two key areas that you will need to work on:

1) Truly process these feelings. Discover what your personality is truly craving and the very thing that you are craving from the other person is the very thing that you must develop within yourself. This process is like peeling layers of an onion. As you learn more, you will continue to uncover other hidden gems.

2) At present, you're out of balance in terms of energies. There is too much of a requirement to get your needs met by your wife etc and that needs to be balanced out by truly developing the 'disowned selves' within you. In simple terms, you have over-developed the part of you that is dependent on others, needy etc and under developed the part of you that is self reliant, free-flowing, light-hearted etc

When you can take this two step approach and make a commitment to developing a true relationship with yourself, you get to experience the magic of life where you, not only, grow and develop yourself, but you then get to truly experience the magic of relationships and be able to recognise their true function - a vehicle for GIVING Love and not getting. However, When you take this approach, you will be amazed at what comes back at you :-)

So anyway, be patient with the journey. It's not an overnight thing and can sometimes take a bit of time, but when you make a conscious commitment to change, then you are setting the platform for a remarkable life.

Hope that all makes sense?

All the best
Sri
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post #67 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 06:08 AM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

Finished your thread. I don't think things look that bad. She definitely sees your value. That is why she is still with you.

Do you see your value?

Your marriage is the way many marriages seem to be evolving these days: female breadwinner, male sahd. Not what either of you expected, but how life seems to be going for more and more folks.

Is your wife disappointed? Sure. Is she coping? Sure. Will you two eventually rebond and appreciate what each other went through? I think so.

Try to be kind to yourself, OP. Keep being kind to your wife.

And keep being honest with her and with yourself. Again, you seem genuine, and that is something very precious, and worth much more than money.

I did not hear defensiveness in your posts. That is very good.

Take heart, OP. "This too shall pass."

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #68 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Simplify. Achieve one action.
I was re-reading your post, and it occurred to me - starting this thread is definitely a 'one-action' for me this week, lol. It has helped, for sure.
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post #69 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Do you see your value?
Not most of the time, no. Depression has something to do with that, I'm sure.

I do see myself as being able to provide value to my son, and that is important. That is part of why I won't take myself away from him by getting a divorce, and why I try hard to avoid drama and conflict with my wife when he's around.

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Again, you seem genuine, and that is something very precious, and worth much more than money.
Yeah, don't fall too much for my 'nice guy' schtick. I'm not some inauthentic and deceitful brute, but I ain't no wonderful person, either.

Last edited by Dazedconfuzed; 03-24-2017 at 01:24 PM.
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post #70 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 12:59 PM
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Do you see your value?
I do see myself as being able to provide value to my son, and that is important. That is part of why I won't
take myself away from him by getting a divorce, and why I try hard to avoid drama and conflict with my wife when he's around.
The best thing a father can do for his child is love his mother.

You are both putting your son first. This has to stop. You need to focus on improving your marriage.

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post #71 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Do I have this right -

She expected to be the stay at home mom, and then you suddenly lost your job and by circumstance became the stay at home dad because you needed her income?
In short, yes. We always had this dream of one of us being able to be our children's primary caregiver. I'm not exactly sure *how* we actually thought that was going to happen. Probably something along the lines of my wife staying home but building her own business or something.

Funny enough, my wife was looking so forward to maternity leave. She had all these plans for starting a 'mommy-blog' or something while also enjoying time with the new baby.

Turns out, her maternity leave time was way shorter than it appeared going in (who knew three months could go by so fast? lol) and we were overwhelmed just trying to keep everyone alive (it took us a couple months just to get breastfeeding going), forget about taking on projects.

And my wife has always been deeply ambivalent about staying at home vs working. She worked hard all her life (from the time she was 16), and she was raised to have working and being financially independent as her top priority. While she would have loved to be a SAHM, I'm sure, I'm also pretty sure she would have a lot of anxiety about that, also. She doesn't like working, but she doesn't ever want to stop, either. It's kind of a no-win situation.

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How much of your problems do you think are a result of her grieving the life she pictured for herself that didn't come to be?
Many? Most? Same for me.

My wife was not someone I got together with nor married because of some hot passionate lustful attraction. She was attractive, don't get me wrong, but superficially, she wasn't even really my type at the time (she, of course, very much *became* my type over the years). We felt we had a remarkably stable, deep, loving connection, and just thought the world of each other. I was never really the marrying type (I didn't think), and it still took me five years (and some committed inspiring on her part) to propose.

I actually had a dream that got me into action after she made it clear she was no longer content to just be my girlfriend. In my dream, I met my 'perfect woman.' The woman who checked all the boxes on my 'perfect woman' list that I'd had since I was young. That 'perfect woman' said to me, "Now that we've found each other, when are we going to get married?" I replied, "Right away, of course! You're the perfect woman!" As soon as I said that, I realized that meant my real life partner would be out of my life forever, and I had this experience of a huge black hole open up in my heart. A hole my real life partner had formerly occupied. So I told Miss Perfect, "I'm sorry, I can't. I need to be with someone else."

I woke up from that dream and went out and bought a ring, lol.

So, yeah - I was head over heels in love with my wife for 15 years. I still am not totally clear what constitutes a 'honeymoon phase', because I feel like I had a 15 year honeymoon.

I'm not sure she felt quite the same way, but both of us have had to deal with "How the hell did this happen? Where are we, and how did we get here? This wasn't supposed to happen, ever. What happened to our lives?" Those questions are still being bandied about. She recently reached a pinnacle in her career, and she confessed the other day, "I thought there would be more. I've gotten to where I'm 'supposed' to be, but is this really it?"

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Has she been doing any counselling just for herself? She sounds like she's got her own issues to unpack.
No. Sometimes I wish she would, but she's kind of like a guy. She's not at all comfortable with 'being vulnerable' and 'talking about her feelings' and all that 'emotional crap' (to use her words). Despite the fact that she is still very much a woman, with all the strong feelings and emotional-orientation that often comes with being a woman.

We're focused on MC for now (my request, after my spending several months in IC without really seeing the progress I wanted to see). We'll see what comes after.

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What does your marriage counselor actually say to you in terms of advice?
Essentially, that I need to build my own strength and my own life, be there for her if she needs me, and to not look to my marriage to help prop me up in life.
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post #72 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:06 PM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Not most of the time, no. Depression has something to do with that, I'm sure.

I do see myself as being able to provide value to my son, and that is important. That is part of why I won't
take myself away from him by getting a divorce, and why I try hard to avoid drama and conflict with my wife when he's around.



Yeah, don't fall too much for my 'nice guy' schtick. I'm not some inauthentic and deceitful brute, but I ain't no wonderful person, either.
I bet you have more qualities than you think.

Have you ever made a list of all the wonderful things about yourself?

Think about all the nice things people have told you about yourself over the course of your life. That could be a good thing to refer to when you're feeling down.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #73 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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You are both putting your son first. This has to stop. You need to focus on improving your marriage.
Maybe.

The reason I try to take care of so much is so she can give him her love as much as possible. I don't feel like I'm trying to neglect her just to be with him, even if that sometimes happens.

I get the father -> mother -> child dynamic, and I respect it and try to support her in supporting him. I'm just not very good at accomplishing that, I suppose.
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post #74 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:15 PM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Maybe.

The reason I try to take care of so much is so she can give him her love as much as possible. I don't feel like I'm trying to neglect her just to be with him, even if that sometimes happens.

I get the father -> mother -> child dynamic, and I respect it and try to support her in supporting him. I'm just not very good at accomplishing that, I suppose.
I bet you are doing a better job than you think.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #75 of 271 (permalink) Old 03-24-2017, 01:20 PM
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Re: Question on becoming emotionally self-reliant and self-sufficient

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Finally, has anyone been truly successful at creating such a solid sense of self-respect and self-worth such that no amount of criticism, negativity, or hostility from your partner can shake your feelings about yourself? Are you able to let their opinion of you slide off your back without causing any pain or hurt, either to yourself or to the marriage? If so, what do you think enabled your ability to achieve that?
Hmmm, it's pride; unfortunately a double edged sword


Comes with being a cat!
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