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The Burden of Expectations Creates Two Faces

I recently had a conversation with a young women, who seemed very concerned that she was one way with her friends and colleagues — light, fun and dynamic and a different way with her husband — withdrawn, cranky, timid and on edge.  Of course her automatic inclination was to blame her husband for this.  She pointed out that he was too critical of her, he was mean at times, she was never good enough or smart enough for him.  In her mind, it was he who made her become timid and distant.

This isn’t the first time I had heard someone describe this phenomena of having two faces.  Most people, who describe themselves as having this experience, much prefer the person who can relate to friends and colleagues than the repressed old bag they feel they have become with their spouse.  The longer and more intensely one focuses on the other as the cause of their differences in personality,  the more they feel distant and panicked at the thought that they should no longer be together.  I have witnessed people spend years waiting for the other to change so that they can….be happier, be skinnier, be richer, have more fun, be a better parent, a better host and a better friend.  Waiting around for the other to make it possible for you to do and be these things in an endless cycle and energy suck that not only splits two people apart but it splits the individual apart.   I believe that not being a consistent person in relationships actually contributes to one's overall anxiety and even the physical manifestations of this anxiety.  It’s a lot of stressful work trying to figure out who to be with whom and when to be it. What would it take to merge these two personalities together to create one person?  Read more.....

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