Do you imagine exactly how you’d like things to be between you and your significant other and then end up disappointed, frustrated and unhappy when they don’t turn out that way?
Perhaps you’ve spent the day imagining that you’d have a cosy evening together or even go out for a relaxing dinner when they came home from work. Instead, they tell you they’ve had a hard day, are not in the mood or come in and either turn on the TV or spend the evening chatting to friends on-line?
Or perhaps you have an issue you really know needs to be talked about, yet every time you raise it you either get stonewalled or else what you hoped would be a reasonable discussion somehow gets away from you and you end up having a blistering argument where one or both of you say the other one is being unreasonable and has to change?
Any of this sound familiar? If so would it shock you to hear that you may be suffering from an addiction? We tend to think of addictions as things like alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, the internet or even food. But the fact is some addictions can be almost invisible and we may not know we are in the grip of one. However, if you are trapped in a cycle like any of them I have described above, you could be suffering from that psychologists call ‘addictive demand’ which is the belief that certain things need to be a certain way or we want someone to behave in particular way in order for you to feel happy or loved. The results of this addiction are usually far from what you expect and usually just end in hurt feelings, disappointment and anger at the other person. Even friendships can be similarly afflicted where one party expects the other to behave or respond in a desired way and becomes upset when they don’t – usually attributing this to the friend’s ingratitude or lack of sensitivity.
Once you are in the grip of addictive demand, you continue to set yourself up for more disappointment as things will never be quite the way you would like them to be, the other person will never respond the way you want and you will find more and more situations where they do this. The results can then be devastating to both parties as very often the other person is completely unaware they have done something wrong, and this can drive a wedge between you which can lead to relationship breakdown.
What’s the solution here? Now, understand I am in no way advocating anyone remains in a relationship where their partner or their friend does nothing to discover and meet your needs. But if you are consistently disappointed by the way those close to you appear unaware of what it is you are hoping for, then before ditching that relationship you need to just look at whether taking a different approach may serve your needs better.
If you are constantly demanding your partner change their behaviour to match your inner vision of how they should behave towards you, ask yourself honestly whether or not it is their behaviour that’s causing you unhappiness, or your reaction to it? Do you feel it is their job to make you happy? Only you can do that. Also, have you told them what it is you were hoping for without getting emotional about it?
Instead of getting upset when they come in from work and go straight to the computer or TV or else tell you they are tired, take a radical new approach to the situation. Detach from it emotionally and instead say something like: ‘I was looking forward all day to you coming home as I thought we could enjoy relaxing together but I understand if you need to unwind in your own way.’. This way you state your needs and expectations but not in a way that demands they stop or change their behaviour. You also take back your power in the situation and often when we start demanding people behave in a certain way, this stems from feeling powerless. When you can take this approach and speak about it without getting angry or critical, you not only become empowered you open up the way for them to give you what you want without feeling pressured to do so.
As Michele has often said in her videos when we change our behaviour the other persons behaviour automatically changes as we create a different dynamic. The pattern is automatically broken and new energy can come in.
It’s all about letting your partner or your friend know what you hoped for. You have told them that you would have preferred that they did something different, but if they prefer to do what they are doing instead, that’s okay with you. Once you have made this clear, let the whole thing go and above all, don’t give them the ‘silent’ treatment or allow an atmosphere you can cut with a knife take over. Happily get on with what relaxes you without them. You may find that taking this new approach frees you both up to discuss just how you can meet each other’s idea of what kind of love you both want.
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