“I feel like I’m always walking on eggshells with Rosalyn,” my client Sean admitted during our recent Skype session. “I hate that we can’t talk about problems in our relationship. As soon as something comes up that isn’t going her way, she attacks me and blames me. I don’t know what to do.”
Sean is not alone. I hear this over and over from my clients. One of the most common reasons for this issue is that people in relationships often fall into a toxic, caretaker-taker dynamic. What does this mean? One of the partners – “the taker” – is needy and demanding, using anger and blame to get what they believe they need from the other person. The other partner – “the caretaker” – is also controlling, but in a much more covert way.
The caretaking partner often sacrifices his/her needs to try to please the taker in the hopes of gaining approval or simply avoiding conflict. Not only does this system not work, but the toxicity of the dynamic worsens with time. The more the caretaker gives up his/her needs for the sake of the taker, the more the taker demands (and ultimately loses respect for the caretaker). …
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