Marriage is a beautiful new beginning for a couple. But relationships can suffer when one spouse turns into one of your parents. You might have been married for a while and were happy and content. But, one day, you suddenly realize that your partner drives you crazy because they act just like your mother. (I’m going to use “mother,” but “father” is just as relevant.)
Throughout your married life, your husband picks at you when you do things, just like your mother used to do. Or, he finds it difficult to express his emotions, just like she does.
It drives you crazy because you feel yourself responding to him like you did to your mother as a child. And you may react this way without realizing it.
You feel bound up in old ways of doing things, as though you’ve fallen back into a space you never want to be in again.
Why do you want to live daily feeling unhappy in a relationship, as you did in childhood?
In a romantic love space, their behavior seems acceptable.
We tend to live in a fantasy world when we are in the “romance” of our new relationship. You might have noticed you’re shying away from a different relationship because it felt scary and unfamiliar. There’s a reason for that.
We tend to find a relationship that feels familiar because, in our world, it feels safe. The person does things that we feel comfortable with. They respond in ways that we are used to from childhood.
Of course, when you are being wined and dined and learning what you like from a sexual perspective, life is rosy.
You’re both in this dance of love space. They seem to be your perfect partner. There are so many things about them you love; anything that you don’t like seems to be hidden.
We often live in this space with rose-colored glasses on. Often for quite some time after our relationship begins. Deep down, their behavior is familiar. We feel warm and safe around them.
But life changes when you get married. Everything gets serious when you decide to live together or tie the knot.
Once you’ve moved in together, real life then begins.
The romance is still there for a while, and gradually, you notice their behavior that grates on you. The things they say and do that have you feeling like you’re back in front of your mother being told off or when you feel like you can’t do anything right around her.
These “familiar moments” get more and more frequent the more time you’re together, and soon life, your life, feels unbearable.
You didn’t get married to be thrust back into life with your mother. That split-second thought of, “Why did I marry this person?”
The answer is you married them because it felt safe. It felt familiar, and it was what you needed at that time. How, then, can you live inside this life and be happy?
What’s important here is exploring ways to live your life while still in this relationship.
So, if your spouse is acting exactly like your mother, there are three things you need to do.
1. Learn to recognize your wants and express them.
As a child, I thought I wasn’t allowed to have “wants” and wasn’t allowed to have them or express them.
If you’re like me, then this carries over into your relationship. You cannot get in touch with your wants, let alone speak them out loud. Doing this leads to friction and feeling run over, ruled, and controlled. You’re unable to be yourself.
When you’re like this, you aren’t being your true strong self. The self that knows what she wants deep down inside.
So, it’s time to shift that thinking, realize you can have wants, and express them.
Start with small things, like asking for the sound turned down on the TV or a cup of coffee. The more you practice this, the easier it gets.
2. Take time out to be by yourself.
Do you notice how much of what you do and where you go is based on his wants? This is another subtle thing that has happened and is not valuable to you or your relationship.
In a good marriage, you need to know how to take time out for yourself. What sort of things do you like to do that you’ve stopped doing? Maybe it might be that you wanted to go to the movies, and he doesn’t want to, so you don’t go.
Turn that around and decide that if you want to go, you go. He doesn’t need to be with you. Doing this is likely to feel strange at first. And, again, the more you do it, the happier you are likely to find yourself.
Go for those early morning walks. Or better yet, both in the morning and evening, if it’s what makes you happy.
3. Do what it takes to express how you are feeling.
Living in this sort of relationship makes us very likely to shut down our feelings, especially if we had a Mother who wasn’t comfortable with us expressing ourselves.
This is not about crying 24 hours a day. It is about saying you’re angry when you feel angry—expressing your disappointment when you think it. Being hurt and telling him that you’re hurt.
Believe it or not, your feelings have nothing to do with him. He may think it does, and that’s his issue.
On the other hand, you’re allowed to have and express your emotions freely, so do it!
So, stop and put into practice these three simple pieces of marriage advice, and you’ll feel more able to live your life, even though it feels like you’re married to your mother.
You might find a hidden side of yourself that you hadn’t realized was inside you. Let her out!
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