Learn How To Gain Respect By Putting Yourself First

By

Learn How To Gain Respect By Putting Yourself First
Are you exhausted from trying to gain approval from all your loved ones?

Melanie grew up with a narcissistic mother who demanded that Melanie conform to her concept of how a child should behave. To protect herself from her mother's anger, blame and disapproval, Melanie tried to be the "perfect child." She got excellent grades in school, was obedient at home and never did anything to cause her parents to worry about her. She would listen for hours to her mother's complaints, becoming a mother to her mother by the time she was 12-years-old. Melanie learned to be a caretaker and was always trying to prove to her mother that she loved her.

Yet no matter what Melanie did to please her mother, it was never enough. Her mother would always find something to scream at her about, something to blame her for, something which, in her mother's mind, justified her intense disapproval. Not only did her mother not feel loved by Melanie, her mother would often accuse Melanie of being selfish. This crazy making situation created much confusion for Melanie and she absorbed the belief that there was something wrong with her.

In Melanie's mind, the only way she could feel like she was a good person was to prove to others who were important to her that she loved them. This pattern continued in her marriage. Melanie married a man much like her mother — a narcissistic man was who constantly demanded Melanie's time and attention. Again, no matter how much time and attention she gave to her husband and no matter how much sex she had with him, it was never enough. Like her mother, her husband was never happy with her and was frequently angry, blaming and disapproving of her.

The same pattern continued with her children. Fearing her children's disapproval, Melanie completely gave herself up to her children, attempting to meet her children's every need. The more she did this, the more demanding and bratty her children became.

By the time Melanie consulted with me, she was physically and emotionally exhausted and depleted. She was getting sick a lot and felt profoundly depressed. She felt like she just wanted to give up on life. She was still constantly trying to prove her love to her family as well as to her friends and it wasn't working at all.

This article was originally published at Inner Bonding . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Margaret Paul

Author

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Take our FREE Inner Bonding course, and click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer. Visit our website at innerbonding.com for more articles and help, as well as our Facebook Page. Phone and Skype sessions available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression
Other Articles/News by Dr. Margaret Paul:

Are You Addicted To Love?

By

Have you ever felt confused about whether your feelings in a relationship were coming from a healthy place or from a wounded place? This is Mari's concern: "How would you describe the difference between obsession/addiction and devotion? When you are deeply in love and moved to be emotionally and physically intimate with someone, how can you tell ... Read more

How Do YOU Feel About That? Avoiding Projection In Relationships

By

"I think I'm an open person, but Sarah keeps telling me how closed I am. She gets furious when she wants to talk about our relationship and I don't." Matthew, in his late 20s and married to Sarah for 2 years, had consulted me due to relationship problems and was feeling a lot of confusion about their relationship system. "There ... Read more

Get Over Fights Like A Grown-Up

By

Most couples fight at times. Unless they fight unfairly—hitting below the belt and saying very hurtful things or becoming physically abusive—this is generally not a problem. Couples who engage in verbal or physical abuse need to either get help on both an individual and relationship level or leave the relationship. Ongoing verbal and physical ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.