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Stress in Relationships: "Kicking Your Seeing-Eye Dog"

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posted on Oct, 1 2015 @ 05:50 PM
Hey, I was just browsing today, and found an interesting chapter excerpt from Stress in Relationships about this interesting viewpoint on stressed relationships between intimate partners.

I thought I'd present it here, and offer it up for discussion.

This one in particular caught my eye. On the site linked above, there's a section in Chapter 10 that is subheaded Relationship Destroying Patterns.
have any of you dealt with the same sort of thing? I believe I have.

To succeed in our relationships ... we must learn to recognize and deal with the hidden relationship-destroying patterns within us. Not only must we know how to deal with these patterns in ourselves, but we must also know how to deal with similar patterns in other people as well.

... Take the issue of control, for instance. Much of our relationship stress comes from our conscious and unconscious efforts to change or control other people. We want others to behave in certain ways, and when we can't get them to, we become angry and resentful. The more we try to change them and fail, the more angry, frustrated, and depressed we are likely to become.

And here's the part about the Kicking Your Seeing-Eye Dog:

When we "fall in love" with someone, we often hope that their strengths and talents will become available to us, and that we can contribute our strengths and abilities in return. ...

Like a person who knows he or she is blind, we often hook up with others who can function as "seeing-eye dogs" for us in life. When we find someone who can fill this valuable role, we tend to marry them to keep them around.

But then a very curious pattern emerges. This is the pattern I call KICKING YOUR SEEING-EYE DOG. Often, it begins very slowly, but eventually it becomes full-blown and threatens the survival of the relationship.

KICKING YOUR SEEING-EYE DOG is the pattern whereby you try to change or mold your partner into someone who thinks, feels, and acts just like you.

Instead of respecting and appreciating your partner's differences, you begin to judge them negatively for being the way they are.

Instead of keeping yourself open to what their differences have to offer you, you embark upon a foolish and futile project to change them to be the way you like.

This very common pattern makes no sense at all.

Indeed, if we were aware of it, we would stop it very quickly. It's as though one day we recognize we are "blind," so we go out and find a seeing-eye dog to be our partner.

Then, we bring the dog home and every time it tries to pull us in a certain direction, we kick it for disturbing us. This is exactly what we do to our spouses and other loved ones. No wonder they resent us and claim, quite correctly, that we don't respect or appreciate them.

Do you guys have any experience with this sort of thing?

I'm mostly interested in talking about personal relationships, but it seems the theory would by extension also apply to political points of view on a macro level.

posted on Oct, 1 2015 @ 06:01 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

Yes, it happened in my first marriage. I will not let it happen again. I allow my current wife to be who she is and she allows me to be who I am. It is a beautiful thing.

posted on Oct, 1 2015 @ 06:12 PM
a reply to: Baldryck

How did you deal with it at the time (or at least try to do so)?

posted on Oct, 1 2015 @ 06:17 PM
Really great analogy. Thanks for sharing it.

posted on Oct, 1 2015 @ 06:26 PM
a reply to: kosmicjack

I'd be happy to discuss it at all levels......
it seemed really pertinent to American citizens at large in today's climate.

posted on Oct, 2 2015 @ 02:09 AM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

that's pretty much exactly what I have been doing recently. I did it in the past too and thought I had gotten past it. Nope same old me same old exact problems.. I learn how to do other things better, but the exact thing you brought up I never progress. It's even more strange I don't seek control over anyone else. I let people be themselves. Too much so some times when people do stupid things I let them.

But then I get in a relationship and it's be more like me be laid back and cool.. And yet I'm too laid back so I always look for someone who's more into planning, has a bit more energy to get up and want to do things.. And then I start feeling stressed they are trying to ruin my chill..


posted on Oct, 2 2015 @ 01:05 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

Just had somebody telling me I would be unteachably crazy. Well... she had a point and tried to change me, that's when I knew it was fruitless. So yes, I know exactly what you're talking 'bout. It's not easy to refrain from such tendencies but I think it's worth the try. And when people don't even try to do so, I just (try to) forget it and move the frag on.

The last session of painting was good though, think I need a little drama in my life to have something to art-iculate.

edit on 2-10-2015 by PublicOpinion because: (no reason given)

edit on 2-10-2015 by PublicOpinion because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 2 2015 @ 01:22 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

At first I fought it. I fought her trying to change who I am. There were many arguments. We had children. It's hard to leave when there are children. So over time I just gave in. And ended up miserable. When they grew, I left.

After 20 years of marriage. Yes it was expensive, yes she nearly broke me financially. But being able to be who I am without judgment or dealing with passive aggressive correction on a daily basis is worth every penny.

After awhile being on the inside you don't see it. Looking back from the outside looking in, the only reason I am grateful I stayed for so long was to be there for the children until they grew and moved out.

posted on Oct, 2 2015 @ 03:52 PM
a reply to: Baldryck

I see it. Being treated as though you are seven years old and too dense to understand; being sneered at and stomped away from; staying in the other room; hunching the shoulders like a whipped puppy and ducking the head at the site of you; it's utterly ridiculous.

And really hard to address, because the other refuses to listen to it, throws their hands in the air, and then stalks off.

Impossible to talk to. Days and days of 'punitive' behavior......

So many, many people are in situations like this....if only that "adult size" person knew how to state their case calmly, own their own responsibility, listen actively, and work to meet somewhere in the middle......

but after an episode it takes days for things to smooth over, and then only after you totally drop it and then "make nice." But never reciprocates with that same overture of peace.

posted on Oct, 2 2015 @ 09:57 PM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

You're pretty close. It's the past though. I am away from it and am happy and peaceful now. I don't hate her, (I don't hate anyone really), I accept everyone for who they are. I don't try to change them. If you just *know* how someone is and accept it then just be you, the world is a much more beautiful place to live.

Stay away from emotional vampires. Don't let it affect you. You are not responsible for anyone's feelings but your own. Constantly seeking others' approval and you become their prisoner. I am my own warden now.

posted on Oct, 2 2015 @ 10:01 PM
a reply to: Baldryck

Exactly. I'm glad you see it.

Extend it to the outer world / the larger society, and it becomes more complicated than just you and another person in an enclosed space.

Sometimes, you just have to walk away, at either level.

posted on Oct, 5 2015 @ 03:52 AM
What I have observed in my long term marriage is that each of us embraced and loved the other exactly as they were.
Each of us wasn't happy with who/how we were, ourselves, and hoped that the relationship would be a vector for our own change - he hoped that being with me would influence him to become more like me, and vice-versa.

I did find this to be effective - we learned from each other, but it was not from an effort coming from the other to change us. It was our own personal endeavor. It was sometimes done osmosis-like (having reactions similar to our mate just come out at certain times) and sometimes through lengthy and somewhat opposing struggles to discuss our different ways of thinking and feeling.

That is why I am always suspicious of the complaint people have that their mate wanted to change them... I want to ask, "Are you sure it was just their agenda??? That in some unspoken way, you two didn't match up precisely on an agreement to help each other become what you each wanted to become??? ...and when that became difficult to do, or you reached a limit in your willingness or capacity to change, or your goals changed, you suddenly blamed it all on them? " Since the agreement was implicit, maybe even subconscious, it is also easy to deny later and escape accountability.

What is funny is that as we change, we run into the problem of the other not really thrilled at the change - My husband is not really happy when he points out I am becoming french - he likes my american ways. I am not happy when he becomes american - his value to me from the beginning was exactly the way he was different than I!
Hell, we can't have both of us being the same - the whole magic of our relationship was in our contrast and how we compliment each other!

I think that relationships are constantly in a state of flux and there is some friction involved. I guess I've learned that the friction is good - I've let go of the concept I grew up with that perfect relationship is constantly harmonious, peaceful, and easy. That's the latin part I've picked up - tango is sexy, waltz is boring!

posted on Oct, 5 2015 @ 04:29 AM
a reply to: BuzzyWigs

I got caught on the first example in that article, of the woman who wanted her husband to do things she asked him to, and saw it as a lack of care for her that he didn't?

This is something that I observe around me a LOT in other couples and friends. I have some suspicions that it is especially common in more rural areas, only because that is where I observe it more. Our more "intellectual" friends don't have the same problem (they have others).

It is the big mommy syndrome - the woman does everything at home, and often works outside the home as well. The man becomes a big child, leaning on her in an infantile way.

She complains that he doesn't get up off his butt and do more of his share, but what I observe is that she is simultaneously encouraging and causing this behavior! Asking him to do things is sort of wimpy and resigned "he won't do it anyway, I know I am wasting my breath", or filled with mixed body language.

Because some of these women are very close friends, I know them well enough that they get a sense of security from being the one who does everything - she knows he is dependent, and that increases the possibility (in her mind) that he won't be straying. He might mess around with another woman, at the worst, but won't leave her.
It also gives her a justification for making all the big decisions without his input - I'm the one doing, so I can call the shots.

The couples I know who live in more metropolitan areas, with a more intellectual ethic system often have the opposite problem - he might complain that she isn't bringing home the bacon, all the while making sure she has her needs fulfilled by him financially and he is calling all the shots. He gets the same sense of security (she wouldn't dare leave me, she needs my protection) and power.

I look at couples and see their interaction as a symbol of their personal ethics - imagine the man is the mind, the woman the body. Which one is dominant? Which one is the power role? Which one is dependant? This is their choice. They came together and formed this relationship structure because it reflects their values. They both feel the mind should be the decision maker and leader over the body, or they both feel the body and emotions are wiser, more dependable and realistic, and should keep the intellect from getting too inflated with it's ideas.

I usually don't dare to point out this contradiction in my friends, between their behavior and words. I did so gently, once, and she recognized and acknowledged what i saw as true - but also saw it as me trying to discipline her and make her act differently to have more integrity. I don't give a # what other people do or be, and I don't feel comfortable with them projecting their internal authority onto me. She saw it as being a helpful guide or authority, and I wanted no such position. She began to expect me to reprimand her or critisize her when she "fell out of line" and started doing everything for him being his mama.

So I don't speak what I observe anymore. It eats at me at times, because it seems clear as day, and seems stupid to hear these couples complain while simultaneously re-creating the situations they complain about.

posted on Oct, 5 2015 @ 07:41 AM
a reply to: Bluesma

Thank you for taking the time to make these posts. That is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about.

When it comes to couples, I think it is important for them to recognize the behavior in themselves that perpetuates the 'system', and also to communicate to the other what they see happening. It's not easy - often painful, for one or the other.

But if both can own their respective contributions, it can help. Thanks again, Bluesma. I always enjoy your posts.

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