Is Your Partner Too Self-Involved?

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Is Your Partner Too Self-Involved?
Tips To Recognize If Your Partner Is Emotionally Abusive

Relationships: Tips to Recognize if your Partner is Emotionally Abusive

The problem that I find with my struggling couples is the narcissistic concept they hold of romantic love. They believe it is something they are entitled to feel based on the devoted actions of their partner to their needs. I often hear the complaint "but I'm just not in love with him/her any more" and that one of the couples has "outgrown" the other or has become bored.

In working with them, I see the need to get each one out of their self-centered orientation and focused on what each of them is contributing (or not) to the health of the relationship. To expect that rush we first felt in early relationship years is unrealistic. Couples need to learn to accept the individual responsibility for their own internal growth and stability so that they bring something to the partnership, and that participation is what feeds intimacy, appreciation, acceptance and love. When these components are present in a relationship there is an ongoing bond that tolerates the ebbs and flows of long-term attachment without the expectation that the other person is responsible for the "romance" in their lives.

Ever look around at who stays married, and who doesn't? Overweight people far outnumber the thin and beautiful in successful marriages. The svelte and attractive get far more dates but don't seem as able to close the deal. Perhaps it's because the thicker daters aren't as narcissistic, or maybe they just settle for less.

On the other hand, maybe they're built for comfort. I suspect they're just focused more on things other than their own appearance, and that turns out to be an asset in relationships. I think the expectations and the ways they connect with others is a factor, too. Perhaps the unlovely have an easier time believing they're loved for themselves, rather than for their looks.

Many modern brides get focused on the "production" of the wedding, seeing it more as a theatrical event than an emotional and/or spiritual experience. This leads to a narcissistic outlook (it's all about me looking perfect, getting exactly what I want) rather than a healthier focus on the spiritual import (it's a blessing on the future of the couple) and the happiness of your spouse, friends and family—ideally, it's an opportunity for members of the new "family" of in-laws and friends to get acquainted, to bond, and to support the happy couple.

The drive to get everything "picture perfect" raises the stress level (the fainting bride was suffering from exhaustion and stress) and tends to create power struggles between bride and groom, mother and bride, mother-in-law and bride. And even the bride's parents can be talked into spending much more than they can afford, which leads to arguments between that couple.

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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.
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Dr. Tina Tessina

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Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
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