So you’re the top-dog in your relationship. You call the shots. Well bully for you…pun intended. I know this lofty place makes you feel big and important, but it’s a false sense of importance. Underneath the bravado you feel inadequate, and putting your partner down is your effort to feel powerful. Trouble is, true power can only come from doing inner work. And be aware that this inequality is bad for you, your partner and your relationship.
How so? Because you’re never going to feel big until you explore why you feel small. Usually that comes from childhood. Perhaps you had a parent who criticized you. Or never praised you for a job well done. Maybe you could never be right with Dad or Mom. If you said black, they said white. Your feelings and opinions were never acknowledged. Or maybe it was a teacher who said you would never amount to anything.
Whatever it was, you need to bring it to the surface and deal with it. Understand that the people who put you down were acting from their own insecurities and did to you what you are now doing to your partner. Replacing their negative voices in your head with positive self-talk is very important. Praise yourself when you do a good job, use affirmations that lift you rather than tear you down, take a self-esteem class, if necessary get professional help. Also, tell your partner what you learn about yourself and make a gigantic effort to stop your critical judgements of them.
Why is it a problem for your partner? Because you are undermining their self-esteem. They may not be brave enough to stand up to you, but rest assured, inside they are angry and resentful. Buried anger will no doubt hit you in the face in undercurrent ways. Passive resistance perhaps. Forgetting to do something you’ve asked them to do. Having a lot of headaches at night. Or they could simply get sick of it and leave. Or perhaps have an affair.
Why is it a problem for your relationship? Because the best, most satisfying relationships are between equals where both partners are respected, allowed to have their own point of view, listen with the intent to understand, are not invested in being right, don’t play the blame game, and are committed to their own growth.
Hopefully, Mr./Ms. top-dog, you will do the work, relinquish this destructive behavior and endeavor to create a mature, equal partnership. I guarantee it will be well worth the effort!
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites, including www.amazon.com