How To Get Your Needs Met When Someone’s Not Listening

In my last post, I defined co-dependency. The key ingredient in it is that the supposed “victim” gets something out of the spouse’s bad behavior. Today I want to look at it from a different angle. Above all, a marriage is meant to be a friendship. It cannot be a one-way street. If one person is indulging in something harmful and the other person either tries patiently to get the spouse to change, or allows the indulgence because of some reasonable reason (such as illness), I came to the conclusion that this does not constitute co-dependency. However, there is a catch. If the life of the couple centers around the person who is being indulged and the other person’s life has no quality and his or her needs are not being met, then there is cause for concern and cause to want to investigate further. Let’s take the case of Sally and Al that I brought up in the last post. She is not co-dependent as she is getting nothing out of Al’s drinking binges on weekends. She hates it and has been unsuccessfully trying to get him to change. She doesn’t want to leave the marriage because she loves him. She does not appear to be enabling him yet she is not putting strong enough obstacles in his way either. Her needs for love, attention, care, and friendship in the marriage are not met. It is at this point that a person whose needs are not being met must take a second look at how she is dealing with the problem. She has tried nagging and of course,...
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