You Can Influence Your Partner But You Cannot Force Change
Let’s start with differentiating between what trying to influence someone to change for you is and what trying to force someone to change through well-rehearsed manipulation and projections of blame is.
Influence: is to affect by gentle action; exerting a guiding influence upon; to help modify, sway or persuade.
Manipulative Forced Change: trying to control or manipulate something or someone in their ability to change their own development of changing behavior such as conduct, thoughts or decisions while being manipulated through drama, usually the blame game. Basically, both of them are about wanting to get what you want or need from the other person to feel loved.
Sometimes our commitment to our beliefs is often so strong that we are easily convinced that our way is the only right way. However ardently we believe that our partners or others would be happier if only they did what we told them to do, which of course is the right thing to do in your mind. The hardest part of a relationship is resisting the temptation to try to change them to fulfill your every need. Every human being has been blessed with a unique nature that cannot be altered by outside forces, called Free Will. We are who we are at any point in our lives for a reason, and no one person can say for certain what another should be like. What’s harder than talking yourself into making difficult and necessary changes in your life? Getting the people that you love to make them for you by them changing.
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According to the professionals, here are 10 reasons why you are wasting your time trying to change someone to meet your needs. If they don’t fulfil most of them from the start, you can be guaranteed as the relationship moves forward, it will be less.
- Your partner is not going to change. Love just isn’t enough to change a person’s basic nature and upbringing.
- Rather than trying to “fix’ your partner, focus on improving your own life. Many people who stay in dysfunctional relationships with the unconscious desire to change their partner end up doing a dysfunctional co-dependent dance called the pleaser and the fixer.
- Focusing on changing your partner can prevent you from focusing on the real issues in your relationship. Be honest with yourself and ask: what are you really trying to accomplish by getting them to change and for whom?
- Avoid name-calling and don’t attack your partner personally. Remember anger is usually a symptom of underlying hurt, fear, and frustration so keep things in perspective. Avoid defensiveness and showing contempt for your partner (rolling your eyes, ridicule, name-calling, sarcasm, etc.).
- When you change your perspective at the way you look at things in your relationship, it will change for the better. This doesn’t mean you should tolerate any kind of abuse or disrespect. It means that you take the burden of expectations off the shoulders of your partner and put them where they belong, on you.
- Stop the “blame game” and examine your part in disputes or conflict. Focusing on changing someone allows old wounds to fester. Listen to your partner’s side of the story for you can be guaranteed there are times when you feel mistrustful or hurt even when your partner has shown you there is no reason to feel that way.
- Double check your fact and your perspective on the evidence presented that is causing you hurt or anger. Don’t jump to conclusions too fast with very little evidence to back it up.
- Practice letting the small annoyances be just that, small annoyances and not allow a simple incident escalate into a full-blown argument over nothing. Learn to be a little more like Teflon, letting the small things roll off you and asking yourself why it bothers YOU so much. Own your annoyances.
- Take responsibility for your part in the conflict or dispute and you will promote good will. It only takes one person’s ability to do this to change the dynamics of a relationship. You literally change the other person’s brain waves when you admit to being accountable for your part in the issue.
- Stop with the criticism or constant complaining. Criticism is a personal attack and complaining is focused on your needs not being met over the issue. Neither is healthy for a relationship, not allowing you to feel you have each other’s back.
Susan Z’s Verdict
Trying to change your partner stops your ability to practice forgiveness of self and others. Not condoning the hurt done but allowing you to move past it. Remember, your partner and you should want the same thing, a happy relationship. Accepting that people do the best they are capable of, it may sometimes be obvious they are not trying at all, then it’s on you. This doesn’t mean that you accept your partner’s hurtful actions but you can come to a more realistic view of them and give them less power over you. If your relationship is basically healthy, develop a mindset of acceptance and forgiveness about daily disappointments.
Susan Z Rich is an emotional addiction counselor, spiritual intuitive and holistic therapist. She counsels others to see life in a more positive way and teaches personal accountability for life choices. She is also the author of several children’s books and Soul Windows…Secrets From The Divine.