An insecure husband may seek to control his wife with questions as to her whereabouts, or he may use guilt to keep her from seeing her friends and relatives. ”If you loved me, you wouldn’t be going over there all the time.” In the end, she feels suffocated and breaks up with him. His prophecies of abandonment have been fulfilled.
He cannot see what he did wrong: “I did it because I loved her.” This is not love. His intentions are not for her safety, or for the “relationship,” they are for control.
Insecure people have no basis for predicting successful outcomes, they can only predict disaster in the future. They do not focus on solving problems in the present. They are obsessed with bad things that haven’t even happened.They act to prevent, plan, and control potential, future pain.
Insecure people cannot see what is wrong with preventing disaster. They persist in seeking control, despite a lifetime of failing to prevent the next disappointment. They do not see that their self-prophesied disasters are pessimism expectations fueled by their feelings of inadequacy to cope with life. They fail to understand that they cannot prevent the future by overreacting in the present. They do not know how to solve problems as they arise and deal with them as best they can in the present. That takes confidence.
All of this occurs below the level of conscious awareness. Insecure people need to become conscious of these vulnerabilities so they can change them.
Insecure people spend lots of time trying to make others happy or preventing their unhappiness. Instead they need to allow others to be accountable for themselves and take ownership over their own happiness. This requires one to chose to stop doing what is unnecessary and do something constructive by living on their own terms in the present. This may involve stopping what they “should do and making a choice on their own behalf.
Instead of giving well-intentioned advice, their homework is to find out for themselves what please them and then do it, perhaps for the first time in their lives.
1. What Pleases Me?
The first difficulty in carrying out this homework is that people do not know what pleases themselves. They have been so busy living up to others standards of good or bad, they have not had the confidence to develop standards of their own. I tell my clients to choose to do something that they would have passed up for concern of what others might think. They can catch themselves about to discount it as scary, pointless or frivolous. These are obstacles fromtheir past, which prevents them from changing for the better.They can also catchthemselves about to reject this opportunity, because it might not turn out perfectly. Instead, they canagree it doesnt have to.
2. I Have To Choose
Now comes a second difficulty. Performing this task requires a choice. If they dont make choices for their own happiness, who will? Many people are not used to making choices because they do not trust their own judgment (it is not good enough). Many people feel obligated to depend on the superior judgment of others. The necessity of making choices on their own behalf is an act of control. This is not merely reacting anymore, this is initiating an action. That can be scary for some. What if they make a mistake? Thats where courage comes in. Courage is the willingness to take a risk by doing what is hard and doing it anyways. This includes the risk of making a mistake. By making a choice anyways and using their courage it is a success. Success comes from doing what is hard. Making a choice for themselvesfor the first time is hard and that is why it is a success regardless of the outcomes.
3. What Doesnt Please Me?
A third function of this homework is that it requires people to ask themselves for the first time, What doesnt please me? If worrying about what other people think is pleasing to them, they can choose to continue. If it doesnt please them, they can make another choice.They can choose to stop! If blaming and criticizing their spouse givesthem pleasure,they can continue. But if it makes them unhappy,they can choose not to do it.