Don’t lean on the wrong person

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When you’re looking for support from someone,

be sure it’s a person who is capable of giving!

Have you ever noticed that some people just aren’t able to make supportive, caring comments when you need a kind word?

Not everyone has that “nurturing” ability. And when you continually look to the non-nurturing type to provide you with support, both of you will end up miserable. The other person will sense that you’re disappointed, even if you don’t say anything. They may feel inadequate that they didn’t give you what you seemed to want, or annoyed at you for expecting them to be “that kind” of friend.

This situation is very common in codependent relationships, where needs are often unspoken, out of fear you’ll be rejected or that the other person will get angry. The partners end up playing a “guess what I need” type of game, in which no one comes out and directly says what they are thinking, or what they would like. It’s frustrating for everyone, but the pattern goes on and on, often for years. Meanwhile, the person who wanted a supportive comment will turn to a friend and complain how unloving their partner is. And yet is that really fair?

If you want something from your partner, state it clearly and without game-playing. Say it nicely. It doesn’t have to be a curt demand. If you’ve just told your partner all about what a bad day you had and instead of responding, he or she simply flips on the television, you have the choice of seething inside at the apparent rejection and feeling hurt and upset, or of speaking up!  Keep your voice calm — there’s no need to create a big drama out of this — and say something like, “Hey honey, I had a rough day and I could really use a hug and a ‘poor baby’ comment or two. Can you help me out here?”   In many cases, it will turn out that the other was really not listening to all you said, and assumed you were just chatting and that no response was required.  Of course, it can also be part of the pattern that they ignore you a lot and tune you out, as a way of withholding their affection — that’s a power play common to abusive relationships.

When you take the time to “retrain” the other person by asking politely for what you want, you might be surprised that they will actually give it to you.

your happiness guru,

Evelyn Brooks

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