If you’d said that to me a few years back, I would have been seriously pissed at you!
Unfortunately, I’ve come to agree that we often find different ways to undermine the people we say we love, even though we don’t really mean to.
Here’s an example.
Example No. 1:
I’ll start with a joke to lighten things up:
A mother is pushing a pram down the street carrying her 10 year old child. A woman approaches her and says, with sympathy, “how unfortunate your son is disabled and can’t walk!”. The mother looks indignant and replies, “Of course he can walk! He just doesn’t have to.”
Not so funny when it’s you doing it – or rather, me.
In my misguided belief that I was being loving, I did things for Jim, my ex-husband, that he was perfectly capable of doing for himself until he stopped trying contributing to the marriage and became totally passive – and I became resentful.
If you had asked me whether I loved him, I would have said, “of course! What a silly question!” But my behaviours certainly didn’t reflect it.
Here’s a list of behaviours that chip away at your partner’s self-esteem, some of which, I’m ashamed to say, were mine.
- They say something and you roll your eyes. This clearly says, “that’s a stupid thing to say!”.
- When he (this is a ‘he’ thing) does something around the house and you re-do it, you make it clear that he’s not meeting your standards. Is it any wonder that he stops pitching in?
- You say something that’s supposed to be funny but actually hurts your partner’s feelings. It’s even worse if you do this in public. And then, when they complain you reply, “I was only kidding!”
- When you make a promise and fail to keep it. This makes your partner feel they’re not worth the effort.
- Insisting you’re right and your partner is wrong. This makes it clear that it’s more important for you to be right than to be happy! Sometimes, letting it go has a positive impact that is out of proportion to the issue involved.
- Being critical and complaining about everything that’s wrong with your partner.
- Making decisions without consulting them.
Each of these behaviours are easy to remedy and replace with something positive.
All it takes is for you to pay attention and be aware that your words and behaviour have an impact and can hurt. If you really love him, would you still say or do it?
Watch this space for tips to replace those undermining behaviours with more loving ones.
With love and gratitude
P.S. My third book, ‘Open Your Heart: The 7 Secrets Of Strong And Loving Relationships’ will be launched on Thursday, 21 September 2017
P.P.S. I enable women build strong and loving relationships, first with themselves and then with others. That’s because your relationship with yourself shapes all your other relationships.
If you’d like to find out how you can do that email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE one hour exploratory conversation.