How to Stop Being Controlling in a Relationship

The “I Was Just Trying To Help” Syndrome

For a lot of us women, when it comes to our husbands, we have an unconscious refrain jingling in our heads that goes like this: “I know better than he does—I will help him do it right.” With this background music, we quickly develop an air of superiority. We feel qualified to instruct our husbands on how to vacuum the carpet, talk to the children, and negotiate with his colleagues. All the while we tell ourselves that we are simply helping.

For years I truly believed if I could just get my husband to be tidier, more romantic, and more considerate everything would be fine. I told him as much, and while that didn’t improve things at all, it did create wall-to-wall hostility and tension in our home.

For a long time I didn’t even realize I was controlling. I thought I was just being helpful, acknowledging how I felt, and being honest. Little did I know I was shooting holes in the bucket of our intimacy and romance.

On the road to learning how to stop being controlling, I tried to make modifications, tried to be more subtle and even thought I was improving at times. But all of it got me to the same lonely spot: wondering why my husband was withdrawn, distant and defensive.

It wasn’t until I learned to recognize my controlling behavior and make a different choice that the romance returned.

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