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She had become imprisoned by her desire to give

She came to see me unhappy with her marriage, her home and what her future looked like to her.  She told me that she felt unloved, unappreciated, used and imprisoned.

As we talked it became clear that she had an immense wish to give and make those around her happy.  She ran the house, doing all the chores, driving their children to whatever they wished to go.  In her words she had become a dogsbody for the entire family.  But she didn’t want to ‘rock the boat’ and leave.  She felt helpless and lost by staying.  Stuck in a marriage she no longer wanted and paralysed with fear that if she left then she would destroy her children. From here she couldn’t win.

Her husband no longer made any effort at home to help her guide their children but had retreated and left it to her.  Consequently their children had turned to him when they behaved badly and by not working as a team with his wife he came across to them as taking their side.  Through this they had learnt to ignore her advice and play their parents off against each other.  He saw his sole contribution to her emotionally as taking her out for an occasional meal.  Their closeness had evaporated years ago.

One of her children, in his early 20s, had developed a tantrum strategy to get his own way; using anger as a weapon against her.

She was convinced she couldn’t leave.  She believed it was her lot to stick it out whilst the family walked over her and treated her with no respect, or love.  She had even convinced herself that this is what being married and having a family was all about.  Her husband believed it was just a stage she was going through and if he kept his head down she’d ‘get over it’.  He refused to see he had failed her.  Or that he had any need to change.  He refused to hear her or understand her needs.

Not all marriages should be rescued. This was a marriage that couldn’t and shouldn’t be saved.  It had died and needed to end.

Over the following weeks we worked to build her confidence and help her discover a love for herself.  To find out what she truly wanted and needed in life.  Through this she began to see how she had created bullies in her family. Emotional tyrants who had been so used to getting what they wanted, regardless of their behaviour, they had forgotten how to give or to respect her.  She began to see that she had become imprisoned by her desire to give, but that she herself had created that prison.  She saw she had imprisoned herself.

Once she realised this she was able to unlock her own prison door.