Tim was one of those ‘successful’ guys with the six-figure income, the nice house, two sweet kids, the beautiful wife, and a big yard.
From the outside, you’d have no idea that inside that beautiful house, his beautiful wife was…well, not so beautiful.
In truth, she was a bully. She consistently reprimanded and demeaned Tim.
Are you in a relationship with an abusive person?
Sometimes it’s hard to know. The word abusive has a stigma. Maybe instead you just think your partner is feisty or strong-willed or had a hard childhood.
It’s especially hard to identify abuse when you’re in what I call the DIZ, the ‘deep intimacy zone’ of primary relationship.
That zone where love blurs in with your partner’s worst behaviors and where it’s hard to see things clearly.
Was Tim’s wife abusive when she called him a liar?
She said he could not be trusted to do what he said.
After doing 9 of 10 things on a ‘honey-do’ list he recently agreed to, she harped on him for the one thing he missed.
Do you get chastised by your partner for what you don’t do, instead of appreciated for what you do?
If so, maybe you can relate to Tim. A man trying to do his best for his partner when nothing ever seemed to be good enough for her.
Tim was at a loss as to how to change the dynamic with his wife.
To help him, I asked him this question that I’d like to ask you as well.
Is your “she-worth” greater than your self-worth?
When I asked Tim, he looked at me mystified. And so I clarified.
Is your worth in her eyes more important to you than your worth in your own eyes?
If Tim were honest, he’d have said yes to my question. But his manly pride said no.
This discrepancy is something I see often with men I work with, like Tim, who are financially successful and maritally distressed.
In the real world, a man can’t reveal his weakness. But he can reveal his beliefs.
Tim soon revealed one such belief. “A good man makes his woman happy,” he said.
What he didn’t say was… even if that means giving up his identity, integrity, well-being, or his sense of self-worth.
But trust me, Tim didn’t know that he was doing this. Like many men, he was doing it unconsciously.
And that is precisely why I hear from so many men in their 40’s and 50’s, confused and disoriented after years of marriage, asking themselves, “How did I get here?”
And by here, they mean, not knowing who the hell I am with my own wife.
It’s that classic Talking Heads “Once In A Lifetime” moment.
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife.
And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”
So, how did you get here?
I’ll tell you how. I know because I was there once too.
Briefly stated, you forgot who you were. You deferred to your partner for your sense of worth and identity.
Just like me, Tim had given up his sense of self-worth for his “she-worth.” This is an unconscious form of self-crucifixion.
For me and for many men, self-crucifixion is a manly badge of honor.
I don’t need no stinkin’ well-being.
I don’t need no stinkin’ self-worth.
I just need to suck it up, be a man, love my woman, and keep my family together.
The problem is this doesn’t serve you, your partner, or your family.
You can honor your manly instincts to serve, protect, and love your partner and family without giving up who you are.
Are you curious to know if you crucify yourself to stay in relationship with an abusive woman?
Discover if so in the video below and learn what you can do differently to reconfigure that dynamic.
Working with me, Tim turned his marriage around by:
- Developing his own self-esteem independent of his wife’s esteem.
- Setting healthy boundaries when he experienced her behavior as abusive.
- Turning her complaints into requests.
Tim was that rare breed of man who admitted he needed help and took the initiative to get it, unlike most guys who fear getting help is a stain on their manhood.
And Tim started with one simple action. He sent me a quick email. And working together, he became accountable to transform old patterns into new behaviors that created the marriage he ultimately wanted.
Do you want to transform your marriage?
Previously Published on stuartmotola.com