“I Do All of the Giving in My Relationship”

Response to a question from a reader.

Lana:  I do all of the giving in my relationship with my boyfriend and all he cares about is himself.  He’s rude and totally self-centered.  I feel down on myself for not standing up for myself.  I’d appreciate some advice on what I should do.

Jane: You're talking as though your response is an objective reality response.  I suggest you consider that it is, instead, an emotionally triggered response.  The issue for you is probably not about your boyfriend being self-centered.  It's not about some outrageous thing occurring.  It's not about you standing up for your rights.

It's probably more about that you give and give and give and expect to get a certain thing back in return.  And when you don't get it back, you get upset. So you're upset, not because he's a horrible person, but because there is something you do that is not in your best interest.  You do it for a particular result you think you're going to get back.  And when you don't get it back, you get upset.

But you shouldn't have been doing it in the first place.  You did it for the wrong reason.  And that's the reason you're upset, not because he's being rude.  The cause of patterns like that are unconscious childhood limiting decisions*.  In your case it might be something like "self-interest is selfish," or "being selfless is virtuous."

In general, every time a person makes a limiting decision*, they also create an emotional defense system, which defends you against feeling the pain of that limiting decision*.  This often takes the form of certain kinds of behaviors people do to compensate for or buffer yourself against the limiting decision*.  That is, by definition, controlling other people.  This is just the way the human psyche works. People are manipulating each other all of the time on subtle levels.  And it's not on a level that people usually notice or see. 

If you have the limiting decision* that going after your own self-interest is selfish, then you may think the way it works is you are supposed to give others what they desire and they are supposed to give you what you desire in return.  And you might think that if you keep over-giving, your boyfriend will have to eventually give to you.  Since you believe going after your self-interest is selfish, you very likely avoid giving yourself what you need and desire.  As a result you end up being needy or controlling, which other people may experience as draining.  This means they're less likely to give to you.

You are holding in place a dysfunctional pattern between you and your boyfriend – actually both of you are probably holding it in place.  When you clear the limiting decision* that is causing you to do that, and as a result stop doing it, you will no longer be participating in that dysfunctional way of relating with him.  And then that will put pressure on him to change how he is relating to you.

*Limiting decisions: An NLP term used in NLP TimeLine counseling sessions to mean unconscious decisions, made in early childhood, that are some form of that life doesn't work, and usually that there is something inherently wrong with you -- such as "I am powerless," "bad," "unlovable;" "People can't be trusted," and so on.  Limiting decisions are never true.  NLP TimeLine counseling sessions facilitate clearing limiting decisions, in order to release the negative patterns in your life that are caused by them.  For more information on limiting decisions and NLP TimeLine sessions, go to: http://www.janecohencounseling.com/content/counseling-services

I invite you to leave any questions or comments in the below comments field.

Author's Bio:  Jane Ilene Cohen, Ph.D. is an Intuitive & Transformational NLP Counselor, and an NLP & TimeLine Master Practitioner and Hypnotherapist, with a private practice in San Diego North County (Encinitas). She does individual counseling with children and adults (includes the NLP TimeLine Process and hypnosis), works with couples, families and other relationships, and facilitates groups and workshops.  She is also the Founder of the "Life is Meant to Work" thought system.

For more about Dr. Cohen's counseling services, go to www.janecohencounseling.com/content/counseling-services .  For a free phone consultation to decide if this is right for you, or to make an appointment, call Dr. Cohen at (760) 753-0733.

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