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Doc@DrIrene.com

Huh? Your Advice Confuses Me...

Confusing Advise

March 21, 2001

Dear Dr. Irene,

I am diligently reading your wonderful and enlightening site. Flattery will get you everywhere...

In the "abuser pages" I read a list of tips you wrote about how to stop controlling and abusing, how to stop all angry behaviours. Great advice. However, the following advice confused me:

 * It is not your responsibility to take care of another adult; that belongs to them. Yes.

and:
 
* Do not accuse your partner of being "selfish." It is their job to be Self-caring. Yes. If your partner is selfish, he or she is by definition not taking care of the Self. (He or she is taking care of the ego.) Your partner cannot grasp that being selfish compromises integrity and has nothing to do with caring for the Self. If you accuse your partner of selfishness, you will likely have a spat. You won't get anywhere; might as well save your breath. (OK to ask once or twice.) The only person who can make your partner Self-caring is - your partner.


It confuses me, because I cannot apply it to my life. It makes me feel, that the little help and caring that I want/need from my husband may also be unjustified Not unjustified! But, not freely forthcoming either!  

It is not his responsibility to take care of me! It's not. He is justified in doing only what pleases him and living almost like a bachelor! "Justification" concept does not apply here. He is free to choose  whether or not he does only what pleases him, almost living like a bachelor. His choice. 

YOU on the other hand are free to choose whether or not you choose to accept his choices. If you don't like how he lives/treats you, and if he does not respond to a couple requests that he modify his behavior, the only sane choice left to you is to decide whether you will put up with it - or cut your losses. You already know your insane choices: nagging, cajoling, bribing, hoping, etc.  

Cutting your losses may be what hubby needs to "wake up," though you should never ever back away as a strategy to wake him up. You back away when you simply can't take any more...

From your site I came to realise that my husband is indeed "selfish". But now you say I cannot say that? It won't help for you to say that to him. What will you accomplish besides another silly fight?

Again, that he is justified in caring only for himself? It has nothing to do with whether or not he is "justified" in doing what he's doing; he's simply doing what he's doing. All the finger pointing/ wishing and hoping / etc. in the world won't change that. For long.  If you do squeeze anything out of him or her, it's like pulling teeth. More trouble than it's worth...

 

So, do I unjustly expect him to take care of me? Again, no "unjust" expectations. It's just not happening. What is my mistake? Thinking you can somehow make him/ convince him/ teach him to take care of you when he does not want to 

 Confused,   B.  Hope that helps.  Dr. Irene