Tanya is married (but now separated) to a man who cannot respect her boundaries and who is basically stalking her in the form of copious declarations of love and compliments. It has become violent now and the more he pursues her, the more she wants to get away from him. Yet she confuses this deep codependency with love. She deeply questions whether there is something wrong with her and should therefore accept his advances.
Today’s topic is, “Why can’t I love him the way he loves me?” It’s a viewer question from Tanya. Thank-you for writing in, Tanya. I got your letter and I have to say, it was quite a profound letter you wrote me. I’m going to read snippits so all the viewers can see where we’re at. Basically, you’re speaking of your husband you’re currently separated from. When you met, you had told him you weren’t looking for a serious relationship. “I had been going through bad incidents, I was broken inside, and had nothing to give. In return, he refused to accept that, and somehow manipulated me to think I had plenty to give.” Big words, Tanya. Your question, essentially, is what’s wrong with you that you can’t love him the way he loves you? Now that you’re separated, there’s been some yo-yoing, some back-and-forthing, it’s gone to some violence, and he can’t accept that you’re not in the same place he’s at. He calls you 10-15 times a day—we’ll talk about that. He has never been able to accept your boundaries.
(1:50) A couple things I want to highlight. Number one: you’re not crazy; you’re 100% normal. I want you to trust your gut feelings. It is not healthy for a loved one, a close relationship, not to accept your boundaries. If you say no, it is 100% important for the person in your life to accept your no. When you feel you have nothing to give, or you are broken inside, obviously you have work to do on yourself. But the reality is, when you have work to do, when you need to work on yourself, your cup is empty. You cannot give when there is an empty cup inside you. You have to work on yourself, look within yourself, and then you have to give to others from an overflow, once you have a full cup. And I see here that one of the big draws to this man is that you like the attention; somehow that was a hook for you. Some people don’t want to be alone, and they’ll accept just about anything just not to be alone. Some people have such a low self-esteem that they will doubt themselves and their gut feelings, as you have doubted yourself and your gut feelings.
(3:05) What I recommend to you, Tanya, is that you go and get some therapy to work on yourself, to strengthen your sense of self, and your sense is right and wrong for yourself, so you’re not swayed and manipulated. I feel you have been immensely manipulated by this man. I feel that presenting you with a ring one month into a very shaky dating experience is so inappropriate—I cannot even tell you how inappropriate it is! It’s clear to me that he is, and I’m going to say this gently to you , I think it’s dangerous what’s happening. Tell someone, tell a few people what’s happening, so you’re not alone. These things don’t end up in a good place, especially when violence begins. He’s obviously quite an insecure gentleman, and he’s obviously unable to hear your no and hear your boundaries, so he has to go and get some work done. I don’t want you to be alone on this, Tanya. I want you to call someone, tell your family and friends, and frankly, get some marriage counselling, quickly. I don’t think it’s a good idea that you see each other once a week, and that he’s calling you 10 or 15 times a day. That’s a red flag for me. You need to regroup, look at what you need inside, go get some therapy in terms of your self-esteem and your self-worth. Love yourself, Tanya. You are worth listening to your gut feeling, which is telling you right now, this doesn’t feel right. There is nothing wrong with you. In fact it is very unhealthy for you to think that you should be loving someone who is obsessing over you, frankly stalking you a little bit, and it’s unhealthy. Your instinct is correct. You do not need to love him the way he loves you, because the way he loves you is unhealthy. You need to honour yourself, hear yourself, empower yourself, and go get some good therapy.
I’m going to suggest two books: The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Learner, and Codependence No More by Melody Beattie. Excellent resources for you; just pick them up, read them, and you will become very clear about what I’m saying. Go online and look at the different codependent sites, because what is happening here is clear evidence of codependence, and frankly it’s going in a dangerous direction, and I’m understating it. Good luck, Tanya, and email me again if you want to. Have a fabulous day.