Projections: When I think you're the problem
For years I thought "If only my wife were less anxious. If only she would just calm down. Why does she have to be so picky about everything? She's always trying to change me. She's always complaining that I don't tell her I love her enough. How can I tell her I love her if all she does is complain about how I do things. That doesn't motivate me to lover her. She always wants to do everything together. I never have any time to myself, and when I take time she wants to know how long I'm going to be?
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I just want to be left alone, my life would be so much better if I didn't have to deal with any of this. She never let's me just sit and rest she always wants me doing something. All she cares about is material things. If only she was more spiritual. If only she would meditate. If only she wasn't so dramatic. She's so judgmental. She needs to love herself more"
I thought that the answer to all my problems was to "get rid of my wife." So I left home. Then the guilt and the shame took hold of me. The truth is she is an excellent person with her own emotional issues like me. She was honestly the best wife a man could ask for when it came to being nurtured. She was responsible, industrious, loving, outgoing, social, ambitious, thoughtful, considerate, giving, fair and very emotional. But we both acted like teenagers often, and when we fought, that was who we recruited to fight our battles. The rebellious teenager in each of us. After all, our relationship began in rebellion to authority.
It wasn't until I learned about projections that I would come to realize how many mistakes we made as a result of a lack of knowledge and resources when we would get into relationship trouble. A projection is when we judge and lash out at someone else for exhibiting the same characteristic we own, but don't love about ourselves (we don't admit it either). We pawn it off as if it is "their problem," yet we are the ones screaming about it.
In truth my wife (soon to be ex wife) is perfect just the way she is. What she was presenting me with was the challenge of facing my own emotional demons, but the demons we're so strong they we're convincing me that she was the problem and I was fine just the way I was. Now I'm not saying she was right in judging, shaming and guilt tripping me. As I said earlier, she has her own issues she's working through.
But the fact remains that I was digging in my heels to be right about things when in truth I wasn't being true to myself AND I didn't know how to set healthy boundaries. In effect that actually may be the strongest lesson I've learned through all of this. Not setting healthy boundaries permits others to violate our psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical safety zones.
I wasn't being completely honest, I wasn't telling her how I felt. I wasn't putting forth my best effort. There was an energy of victimhood that I was living in, and I kept thinking she was the one acting like a victim and it was annoying me. In truth it was my own victimhood which was being dramatized by her that was annoying me.
The whole time I was accusing her of not knowing herself, being too judgmental, letting her value be determined by other people I was doing the exact same thing in my own way. This was a revelation. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Now I'm called upon to work on releasing my own judgments of her by healing the issues within me that give rise to them, so that my heart has a chance to love her freely.
This is the way it goes with relationships. We attract the people we need in order to help us grow personally. It just doesn't look as pretty as it does in romantic comedies. I'm convinced this business of life is much deeper than we all think. I've witnessed enough to say this isn't our first time here and it's certainly no accident. Love is the lesson. Relationships are the test.
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Posted in Community Post Date 12/10/2016