Relationship Woes

You return home after surviving downtown traffic unscathed but having retrieved several expletives you had safely filed away from this morning’s usage while driving to work. Now that you are on your way home rather than to the office, you don’t mind not putting that file back in the drawer. It’s completely open in your mind. “What the hell, this house is a bloody mess!” is the first thing you say when you get home. The kids vanish, and your exhausted wife explodes like a faulty pressure cooker. Forget about a pleasant evening at home.

What motivates you to do this? People become irritated and angry as a result of criticism. You could be the epitome of logic and rationality at work, and the public intellectual on social media, but the very repetitive negative behaviors that ruin your life have nothing to do with how good you are at critical thinking.

We all want to have some control over our lives. Is that what you’re missing? Workplace insecurity, an unsatisfying job, and suicidal drivers on the road. Then you come home to more responsibilities and chaos. Control is a mirage that fades as you try to grasp it. This is not the life you envisioned. What brought you here?

Blame your parents. They clearly did a poor job (please do note the slight sarcasm). It’s amazing how many people refuse to heal until their parents go back and fix something when they were five years old. Nonetheless, the truth is that children have a right to unconditional love. You did not choose to be born. And chances are you don’t feel like you’ve received ‘unconditional love.’ You probably grew up with a lot of obligations, like ‘you are the man of the family, you must look after your sisters,’ or ‘you must make us proud,’ or ‘we have done the best we can, now it is up to you to succeed and pull us all out of this mess.’ Some parents believe that parenting is a selfless act; this is not the case. You bring a child into the world; it is your responsibility to meet their needs. Parents are aware that their children will have to leave one day, but they continue to put them in debt.

What does this mean in your current situation? You’re married, but you have this overwhelming sense of burden and obligation. You will not thrive if you pass on that obligation to your children or make life difficult for your partner. Recognize and decipher your wiring system. If you’ve made less-than-ideal decisions, learn to examine why you made them rather than dismissing them as “water under the bridge.” That is how you learn to accept what has happened and make a decision to break the cycle so that your children do not repeat the behavior and you can, hopefully, transform your relationship with your partner into a more respectful and loving union.

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