In a recent post I wrote called "Stop Fighting!" I had a question about a statement I made and I'm reprinting the question and answer here because it's one I get a lot!
In my post I wrote:
"Perhaps you've heard your partner defend herself with, "I was like this when you met me," as if broadcasting her lack of personal growth during the time you've been together is somehow redeeming or acceptable; that who we are when we meet is all we are ever required to be in a relationship."
Which prompted the question:
What if the statement has nothing to do with "lack of personal growth", but the feeling that one's partner has the excessive need to control or change an individual or situation? It can be argued that there is a fine line between one being adverse to change or feeling they are being manipulated.
There is one simple question you can ask yourself to determine whether or not your partner's requests are designed to support your personal growth or whether or not they are designed to manipulate and adversely change you. That question is this: "Will making this change lead to a better or worse version of me?" For example, if your partner begs of you to use crack with her, the answer is pretty simple, this will not lead to a better version of you.
If, on the other hand, your partner requests that you take your dirty dishes from the living room, to the sink, rinse them off, and put them in the dishwasher when you are done - well, presumably this will create a more personally-responsible you who is likely more disciplined than the former version of you.
Typically, when our partner makes requests of us they are requests that help us become better versions of ourselves. If, in the scenario above, the dishes in the living room are actually your partner's, then that may be an example of feeling manipulated or controlled, rather than encouraged to grow.
Asking yourself "Will this choice add to, or take away from, who I am designed to be?" is a great question for most life situations you in which you find yourself.
Michele O'Mara, LCSW