There are many people in the world who feel that it is easier to allow others to have their way, then to create any sort of discomfort for another. I have seen many of these types of folks come into my practice over the years and the one thing that they all have in common is a sense of resentment toward the very same people that they allowed to do as they pleased.These sorts of situations vary widely, however the end result is the same.
Let’s take a relatively minor situation to begin to understand how this can become a real problem when not addressed in a timely fashion.
Years ago I had a client who had to wake up very early for work since she worked in a high school. She would complain often about her family members calling her at all hours of the night awakening her and then being unable to fall back asleep. I suggested that she remind the people in her life in a kind pleasant way to be mindful of the time when they called her and to give then the times that would work for her schedule. She had a very hard tine doing this because she thought that they ought to know and just do it. The only problem was that she never really made this request clear to the people in her life. It took a bit of work to get her to finally approach the people in her life and just make this simple request to them. She found to her great surprise that most of the people in her life were more than willing to respect this need of hers to get a decent night’s rest. For the one or two who couldn’t remember, she needed to reinforce this need of hers on the phone by reminding them that she needed to wake up in only a few hours and to just not do it again. In a few months time the problem was gone..
Grandparents being expected to take care of their grandchildren even when it is not convenient for them to do so is another area that comes up regularly in my practice. It seems that once a grown child has a baby they feel it is their right to do as they please so long as grandma and grandpa are able to take care of their children. While this may be okay some of the time, many of my older clients who have had this situation arise have had a very difficult time letting their children know that they are too tired to take care of the grandkids for the many hours they are expected when they agree to babysit. They get resentful of the fact that this is an expectation placed upon them that they never really agreed to, they just never were able to say, “no” to the request, being fearful of hurting their relationship with their grown child. In this case I advise the grandparents to have a discussion with their grown child about the circumstances that would work for them. They are instructed to tell their grown child that they have already raised their own children and are too tired to handle the grandkids for any longer than a couple of hours – or whatever works for my client. To the amazement of my clients they find out that though their grown child may be a bit disappointed that the built in babysitter is no longer available “on call”, that the time restraints are respected and the relationships that may have gotten a bit sticky, have come back to a healthy love and respect for one another.
In relationships with our primary partners many times the woman will think that the man will know by ESP what it is that she wants or doesn’t want. Sorry to tell any of you who may feel your “hints” are all that are needed, that this is not the case.
I had a client who was very sick of the fact that her husband was never willing to bring her any gifts or show the sort of appreciation she felt she deserved just for being his partner. She was very upset about this during our session together. She was also pissed off that he never called to see how she was doing during the day. She felt like she didn’t matter to him any more. I asked her if she had ever told him that this lack of attentiveness really bothered her. She told me that she had let him know on many occasions. I asked her how she let him “know” and she told me that she had spoken about her friend whose husband did these kind things for her and how happy it made her. I asked her what the response was from her husband and she said, “nothing”. I told her that all he knew was that he was a good provider and doing what was expected of him. I suggested she have a conversation with him. She was to first thank him for being a great provider and then tell him how he could get a much happier partner in life. She was then to ask him if there was anything that she could do to make him happier. She was a bit apprehensive about having this conversation, but went home and did as I suggested and was amazed that it was just as I told her. He never knew any of that mattered and thanked her for helping him to make the relationship stronger because he really loves and cares for her and wants to know how to keep her happy. The only thing he requested of her was to be more affectionate. She said she could easily be more affectionate having her needs fulfilled by him.
Leaving clues and dropping hints or worse ignoring these situations all together is never going to end up giving you what you want. To attain what you want you need to respectfully request it and explain why it matters to you. To be honest, it is also in your best interest to ask the other party if there is anything that you can do on your end to make their life easier or happier as well. In this way true communication is had building stronger relationships without the anger or resentment martyrdom naturally brings with it.
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