In this article I will define a predominantly male condition called Counterdependency and attempt to educate and coach women married to these men in their efforts to reach and influence their husbands in an appropriate manner. If you are going to effectively communicate with him then you first need to understand him.
The first of the four main counterdependent characteristics – Grandiosity can pose as being confident and attractive, in reality it has many ugly features including being highly opinionated, know it all, arrogant, black and white in thinking patterns, overly focused on goals, and flaunting with material possessions. Deep down these grandiose men are profoundly insecure. They are Donald Trump on the outside and needy little insecure boys on the inside.
This insecurity is what drives male counterdependents deeper and deeper into their #1 addiction – work. The more that they achieve and amass the more they feel like an acceptable man. Counterdependent traits make them supermen at work. However, superman doesn’t play well for long at home. It is great in the beginning – flying in and rescuing the damsel in distress, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, making lots of money, making all the major decisions, etc. However, eventually Mrs. Superman is going to want a real and healthy marriage, which requires 2 actual human beings. She will need qualities like humility, vulnerability, flexibility, intimacy, depth, being able and willing to share power, etc.
Have you ever asked yourself why you married such a know it all? The answer to that is rooted in your childhood. Which one was the unbending, rigid, and non-listening parent for you? I guarantee you that your marriage is simply a not so instant re-play of your very similar childhood relationships. Counterdependents can be trained, but only by powerful, highly assertive spouses. If you are not strong enough then you need to come down to the emotional gym at your local therapist’s office. Your husband is your teacher – he is forcing you to stand up, find yourself, look him eye to eye and demand to be counted as an equal.
The 2nd trait of Counterdependency is Independence. Counterdependents want to do what they want to do when they want to do it. They learned growing up that ultimately no one was there for them except themselves. They are like the lion with a thorn in his paw – they go hide in their caves alone in their pain never thinking of asking their wife to help them.
The 3rd attribute of Counterdependency is broken down into 3 different but related parts – Obliviousness, Self-Absorption and Addictions. All three have the same result – isolating the man in his own world, cut off from his wife and his children. Thick skin can be a great attribute to a successful salesman, but it is a marriage killer. These guys are always on a mission. They are competing at all times in all things. They aren’t about enjoying the journey. If you are going to reach your Counterdependent husband you are going to have to burst his bubble of self-absorption and then pull him towards both you and the kids.
The final Counterdependent quality is Control. When they we little these men grew up with at least one parent who was one or all of the following: controlling, critical, raging, abusive, neglectful, out of control, abandoning and addictive. Their whole childhood was about hating that feeling of being out of control. Rest assured that their whole adult life is about making sure that they don’t have to feel that sickening feeling again.
Now, let me give you some feedback – #1 you are not a victim of this man of all the men on the planet to be solely in charge of loving you, #2 you chose him for every single day of your marriage, #3 he is a reincarnation or the embodiment of some of your unresolved issues with your parents, #4 you will achieve no success with him if you rage, nag, berate, attempt to control or other wise try to punish him.
What you need is a calm, powerful non-reactive voice backed up by strong boundaries with consequences. If you don’t have those abilities within you yet – you need to begin therapy immediately in order to gain the strength that you need to successfully go to war and win your husband back. In effect he has been captured by his dark side. The man that you fell in love with is still inside of him – do you remember that guy? Leaving the marriage without working on you and on it is a disastrous choice for this reason – if you don’t fix you I guarantee you that the next guy you get in a relationship with will be the same guy with a different name and face. Don’t go through this nightmare twice if you don’t have to.