"But I just want him to hear my feelings — to understand how his behavior makes me feel."
"Aren't you wanting him to understand your feelings so that he will change? Isn't telling him your feelings a way to make him responsible for your feelings? Isn't this just another form of control?"
"Oh my God, I can see that! I didn't know I was doing that!"
"Lillian, until you get your eyes off him and think about how to take loving care of yourself in the face of his anger, you will continue to feel like a victim and try to control him into changing. It hasn't worked for the 20 years of your marriage. What makes you think it is ever going to work?"
"I didn't know what else to do. I've been so miserable. I thought the only other thing I could do is leave and I don't want to leave. I love him."
"Yes, I know you love him. So leaving is not an option and neither is changing him. It's time to control what you can control, which is you. I suggest that when he is yelling at you, taking loving care of yourself would mean disengaging — not getting into it with him while keeping your heart open. Compassionately acknowledge the pain you are feeling, being very kind and gentle with yourself, and then go do something you enjoy doing. Are you willing to practice doing this?"
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.