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I am feeling suffocated and trapped in my relationship. The father of my child comes from an extremely dysfunctional, controling family and he has no awareness of this dysfunction. We are currently in counseling. There have been some small shifts, although I am concerned about what the future holds for me and for my child. The self-development work I have done, and continue to do, has unravelled a great deal of my own genetic dysfunction, yet I am struggling to have a voice in this relationship. I realise I made the decision to have this man in my life and I have to bear the consequences - I cannot leave because I depend on him financially. If I did leave, I would be concerned he and his family would have a negative influence on my child during access visits. Is his behaviour going to improve through awareness or am I going to be able to learn to manage him better?
March 18, 2015
Thank-you for your question.
It is hard to predict if people are going to change or not, however I think it is important to hang in there for awhile longer, as making change for most is a rather slow process; requiring a great deal of patience.
If you choose to stay then it is equally important for you to not lose hope or give-up on your partners potential. You obviously saw his potential when you fell in love with him, and although your vision of him has been clouded, I feel continuing counseling could restore it.
Having said all that I also believe to create good boundaries in the relationship, it would be good to have a time frame for how long you want to give your partner to heal the dysfunction, and for both of you to heal your relationship. Once you reach the time limit you may decide to continue investing in the relationship, or you may decide to make other arrangements and leave the relationship.
On another level the discontentment and anxiety you are feeling with your partner has actually been triggered because you have had a child.
Having children is both a gift and also deeply challenging.
If either of the parents have not done any previous personal development before they have children, then their own early childhood pain will surface, which often creates inappropriate behaviors and dysfunction.
So apart from relationship counseling, your partner would probably require some individual counseling sessions to address his wounded inner child. Which in the long term would mature him as a parent and coach him in making better boundaries in regards to his family.
Parenting doesn’t get easier as time goes by, in fact the challenges will become greater. Children are emotional creatures and their emotional lives become even more overwhelming when they become adolescents.
Getting help now will potentially hold you and your partner in good stead for when your child reaches adolescense.
On another level for some reason because your partner has a number of unresolved issues, having a child has specifically triggered a lot of resentment in him, and sadly it seems he feels burdened by having to ‘look after you’ and his child. Unfortunately this is quite common for the person who is the main provider in the household.
In a perfect world it should feel like an honor to be able to provide for your partner and your children, not something you should resent or become angry about. But we don’t live in a perfect world.
His resentment and your reaction to it feels like it is creating a rift in your relationship, and as he is the main provider he probably believes he is entitled to have the most control and authority in regards to how ‘his’ money should be spent and how you should behave in the relationship.
The need to have power over another is also quite common in relationships. And requires work and compromise. However it must make you feel very sad and disappointed because the person he has become is clearly not the same person you fell in love with.
I would strongly advise that you approach the subject about his resentment in a counseling session, because the truth is, he made need help identifying his feelings. Many people behave in a certain way that they believe is okay, only because they have gotten away with it in a dysfunctional family system.
I feel if he accepts his feelings then he is well positioned to change things in a more positive manner and you will have less anxiety about feeling you are his ‘burden’ and undeserving of his support.
Remember to put a time frame on how long you feel you can work on your relationship, this will empower you to know that you do have choice; as there is always choice.
The angels are asking me to remind you that you are really vulnerable at the moment and that you need a great deal of tenderness, not hardship. Be tender with yourself as your partner is not able to offer you tenderness at this time.
You have been through a great deal to become a mother, however every woman needs to be reminded that it is such a vulnerable state of reality when they become mothers. It is both precious and scary. The present day consciousness about motherhood ignore the states of vulnerability that women feel, and the tenderness required to nurture mother and child.