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Here is an example: Don and Joyce are in a continual power struggle over how to handle their children. Joyce tends to be authoritarian while Don is fairly permissive. When Joyce gets frustrated with Don's parenting, she generally yells at him about his permissiveness. Don often listens to Joyce rant and rave at him. Sometimes she goes on for over an hour and he just listens. Then, when he tries to talk with her, she refuses to listen. Don then feels victimized, complaining about how Joyce yells at him and refuses to listen to him.
When I asked Don in a counseling session with him why he sits and listens to Joyce, he stated that he hoped if he listened to her she would listen to him. I asked if she ever does listen during these conflicts, and he answered "No."
"Why do you need her to listen to you?" "I want to explain to her why I did what I did with children." "Why do you need to explain it to her?" "So she won't be mad at me."
Don allows himself to be yelled at by Joyce as his way of trying to control Joyce, hoping to get her to approve of him. Then he tried to explain to further control how she feels about him. When she won’t listen, he feels victimized by her yelling, blaming her for being such an angry, controlling person.
If Don were willing to take responsibility for approving of himself through his connection with his Higher Power, he would not listen to Joyce when she was yelling at him. Instead, he would set a limit against being yelled at, stating that he would listen to her only when she spoke to him with respect and only when she was open to learning with him. But as long as she has to approve of him for him to feel secure or worthy, he will not set this limit. Until Don opens to his spiritual Guidance for his security and worth, instead of handing this job to Joyce, he will be a victim of her unloving behavior.
Taking responsibility for our own feelings of worth and lovability through developing our spiritual connection, instead of giving that job to others, moves us out of being victims and into personal power.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?", "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?", "Healing Your Aloneness","Inner Bonding", and "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?" Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org