Questionnaire by guest blogger James Browning.
The publishing theory goes that women read relationship books and men don't. I don't know if that's true, but I do know that some men need them desperately--especially those who feel overly responsible for everything, including the happiness of their partners.
When I ask men why they stay in relationships in which they're being emotionally or verbally abused (something they often don't realize) they tell me a man's responsibility is to solve everyone's problems and make them happy. They suppress their emotions to the point of numbness. They avoid confrontation because they've learned from experience it will only lead to more criticism and make things worse.
Because their sense of pride comes from taking care of others, they think they're failing when their partner still has problems--something exacerbated by cruel criticisms like:
While they feel trapped, they're convinced that if they can only only work a little harder, sacrifice the life they want, and stop "triggering" their partner by having their own friends and interests, their partner will:
People who think, feel, and act in these ways may find they act in "codependent" ways. The term originally applied to people who enabled their family member's substance abuse, but grew to have a wider definition. To see if this may apply to you, take the following quiz:
Answer questions “YES or NO.” Keep count of your “YES” answers. If you're not sure, answer the question "yes."
PLEASE DON’T LOOK AT ANWERS BELOW UNTIL AFTER TAKING THE QUIZ
5 or less You have relatively healthy boundaries, confidence, and wisdom in relationships. You can care about people without feeling responsible for their choices.
6-12 Your life is shaped to a significant degree by the demands of needy people in your life. You often feel responsible for the choices others make, and you try too hard to help them make the right ones. You would likely benefit from the input of a competent counselor or support group.
13 or more You have lost your sense of identity and you are consumed by the problems of people in your life. You can’t be happy unless you are rescuing irresponsible people from their destructive decisions. In reality, however, your hope for sanity and emotional health is not in that person to persons getting well. You have to take steps to get well whether that person does or not. Find a counselor or support group to help you gain wisdom and strength.
Here are some materials about overcoming codependency.
Browning can be found at http://malecodependence.com/2014/03/28/self-acceptance/
Copyright © 2015, Randi Kreger. This post (or any part of it) may not be reproduced without prior written permission.
Randi Kreger is the owner of BPDCentral.com and the Welcome to Oz online family community. You can find her books "The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder," "The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook," "Stop Walking on Eggshells," and "Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing a Borderline or Narcissist," at her store at BPDCentral.com.