Something that I really struggle finding is some good articles on how therapy influences relationships. The only good resource I have found is this post- https://faithallen.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/marriage-after-child-abuse-how-much-do-we-owe-our-spouses/ . I am struggling with this issue right now more than ever, because I am protesting against my boyfriend’s treatment of me.
We have been together on and off for five years and four of them I have spent in therapy. My boyfriend has helped me so much along the way and has lent me his supporting shoulder. I am extremely grateful for this. I think he has the kind of depth, understanding and kindness that few people have. Aside these good qualities, there is a certain dynamic which has always dominated the relationship- namely I was the victim, in need of help and advice; and he was the wise councelor, ready to lead me towards the better future. I think over the time we have both grown quite tired of this dynamic for different reasons. He because, well, being always the strong one is not particularly nice and rewarding job and me, well, I will write longer about this in the coming passage.
Being a victim has its own specific drawbacks. Namely, you are willing to put up with all kinds of treatment, just because you feel helpless. You feel as if never ever would you manage without this other person, so better to keep him satisfied. Even though I still feel I need my partner, my dependence has definitely decreased. I have also started developing my own protest and rebellion against my boyfriend, mostly concerning his lack of respect towards me. To be more exact, I find it very difficult to accept how he assumes that all his wishes (which are more often presented as demands) are to be fulfilled no matter how he communicates them. To give an example- I am a messy person and my partner is very clean. In the past he has found it completely justifiable to yell at me to change my habits. Such things as a dirty cup on the table could totally set him off and cause an anger outburst. Furthermore, at the same time he was extremely allergic to me asking him (in a much more polite manner) to change something in his behavior. So our life together was organized in a manner that I was to give in and constantly apologize for making him angry. I did this, because, well, I thought that everybody would be annoyed by my behavior and my partner’s behavior was completely justified- I, in fact, was responsible for his anger. Partially, I also did this, because I was so dependent on his support and approval.
These days I am not putting up with this behavior anymore and this has created a deep crisis in my partner. Add to this the fact that some more people in his life have complained about his anger outbursts and rude behavior, and he seems to be completely devastated that he is perceived in such a manner. It pains me to see, how this kind of feedback instantly makes him think that he is a bad person (whereas I would rather perceive him as an unpolished diamond), but I also feel that it is vital for me to step up every time he is trying to make me responsible for his anger. I find myself in a difficult position, because I have absolutely no idea, how this issue could be addressed without him entering to therapy as well. He, however seems to be quite opposed to the idea and thinks that the main problem is that he has trouble controlling his angry response and not the fact that he is so easily irritated.
This is just one example as to how my changes are challenging status quo in our relationship and it is possible that I will continue posting about the influence of therapy on my relationship.