Am I the problem?
Your survival strategy isn’t working.
Thank you so much for your questions and responses to my last email. Last week, we talked about the stories we tell ourselves about our partners and how those stories breed resentment and conflict. This week, let’s talk about the stories we have about our own identities and how those narratives stop us from having the relationships we want and deserve.
I can’t stop thinking about this reader’s question, because I’ve seen it over and over in my practice.
I’ve been with my girlfriend for two years, and we’ve lived together for six months. We fight a lot, and usually, it’s because I feel like she’s trying to control my every move. When I’m working late, she always wants to know exactly when I’ll be home. She nags me to take the trash out. I’m starting to feel suffocated, and it seems like we’re fighting constantly. It’s getting tense at home, so I’m spending more and more time out of the house.
I grew up with tons of rules about what to wear, how to speak, what to eat, and a million more. I’m from a conservative home where being gay was the worst thing you could be, and when I came out, it was a nightmare. When I left home, I decided I wanted to live without any rules at all and be the boss of my own life. (I even own my own business so I don’t have to answer to a manager.) I love my girlfriend and want to be with her, but I feel like my independence is being stifled. How can we fix this?
To this reader: I’m going to be very direct with you — and help you find your power.