You’re in recovery. You’re changing. You’re finding your voice. Finding your strength. Standing up for yourself. Creating values. Making boundaries. And sticking to them. It’s all good and you feel so proud of the changes you’ve made. You’re Wonder Woman. But suddenly, you notice that your guy is getting angrier and more distant the stronger you become.
What happened? He’s supposed to be totally amazed at your transformation. He’s supposed to be totally blown away by the fact that you’ve stopped nagging him, or obsessing over where he is or why he hasn’t called yet. He’s supposed to feel more empowered now that you are gaining some independence of your own. But none of that is happening. Instead, he’s angry, suspicious, perhaps even more aggressive and just plain ‘ol nasty. In fact, he now wants nothing to do with you.
Years ago, I read Dr. Phil‘s “Relationship Rescue,” which claimed that if YOU (only you) changed your ways, the relationship would be saved. It was based on the idea that you were only in control of changing yourself and not your partner, and that as soon as you improved your outlook on your life, it would inherently change the dynamics between you and your partner and make for a happier, peaceful relationship. And this would be true, IF you were with a healthy individual whom you love and who loves you in return. It does not work in a dysfunctional, unhealthy relationship and the reason is simple.
When you recover, when you change the very core of your belief system and actually, for the first time in your life acquire values (where before you had none) you transform the Laws of Attraction which initially brought you and your partner together. You’re different. You’re no longer on the same level as your partner. In fact, according to how radical your change is, you’re on a totally different planet!
Water seeks its own level. Think about it. It took me years to understand this concept. But it’s true. Like attracts like, and when your position in life moves or changes from one place to another so do the people in it. Think of the blue collar worker who marries an uneducated girl. She becomes a housewife, raises the kids and then, when they go off to college, she decides to go to college herself and become an attorney. Suddenly, there’s a socio-economic disparity between this couple that wasn’t there before. If the two individuals within the marriage are strong enough, confident enough within themselves and still have a lot in common then the marriage might last. But if the relationship was shaky to begin with and each within the marriage do not have much self-confidence, the husband might feel “intimidated” or threatened by his wife’s success, while the wife might feel as though she no longer has anything in common with the husband. It happens all the time.
And the same can be said for your situation. Your current relationship, or the one you had before you decided to do your personal overhaul, was forged on a dysfunctional dynamic. Take, for example, the love addict/avoidant model. In order for this relationship to work, one person must be pursued (the avoidant) while the other must be the pursuer (the love addict). The moment one of these people changes this particular dynamic, (you stop pursuing, for example) the relationship falls apart. An avoidant can’t be an avoidant if there’s no one to avoid! In simpler terms, your partner needs you to be unhealthy and dysfunctional because he is too!
My point? Don’t sell yourself short for the sake of holding on to the relationship. Continue to follow your path. It’s hard to do, because initially you feel like you might be losing something. But, believe in yourself. The healthiest thing you can do is to continue to make wonderful strides in recovery and allow your current relationship to run its course.
Bottom line: when you change for the better a true sign of a loving, caring partner is one who supports your changes and encourages them. Have the continued courage to recognize this and move on if necessary.