When Your Love is Not EnoughBy Dr. Margaret Paul
November 27, 2023
Do you believe that if you can just love someone enough, he or she will eventually love you back?
When Kent and Julia met, Julia knew she had met her soulmate. Kent was everything she had always wanted in a partner - smart, open, caring, affectionate, funny, and creative.
They had a whirlwind romance, fell madly in love, and married within six months of meeting. However, it didn't take long before little things started happening that confused Julia. For example, when Julia came home from work upset because of a conflict with a co-worker, instead of listening to her and caring about her feelings, Kent launched into a detailed description of his day and all the challenges he had. Over time, Julia discovered that Kent was able to turn almost every conversation into something about him.
The Honeymoon was Over
Not only that, but within the first year of their marriage, Julia somehow found herself doing most of the chores around the house. Being a very caring and giving person, she would graciously do the things that Kent asked her to do, only to discover that he kept asking her to do more and more while he was doing less and less. And if Julia didn't do them according to Kent's expectations, he would become annoyed with her, putting her down for her ineptness.
Over time, Kent managed to control Julia into being there for him and doing most of the stuff around the house, while he was rarely there for her and did little to help with the everyday running of the house. Occasionally, he would be the open, caring, and affectionate person that she fell in love with, giving her the hope that he really was who she thought he was. Julia really loved who Kent was inside, who he had presented himself to be when she fell in love with him.
Kent had presented himself to be a very interesting person. He seemed to read books, seemed to have hobbies, and participated with her in her interests. Yet now Kent spent most of his time in front of the TV and would refuse to read any of the books that interested Julia. What happened to the man she thought he was?
If Only She Could Love Enough
Julia believed that if she could just be loving enough to Kent, he would feel loved and filled and would be open and loving with her. But the more she gave, the less she received back.
Feeling lonely and confused, Julia finally reached out to me for help. She discovered in the course of her Inner Bonding work with me that she was a caretaker and Kent was a taker, coming from much narcissism. She realized that he would just keep absorbing what she gave and keep demanding more, no matter how much she gave and how much she loved him. She realized that he was a very empty person, with no real sense of self. She realized that all her love could not heal him - that her love was not enough.
No matter how much Julia loved Kent, her love would never fill him. If their marriage were to work out, Kent would need to learn to love himself, to fill himself with his own spiritual connection, rather than depend upon Julia to constantly fill him. Julia would need to do her own inner work to stop trying to fill up Kent and start taking care of herself. Julia saw that if Kent was not available to do his own inner work, their marriage could not survive.
Healing Her End of Their Codependent System
Julia worked hard to pull back from the codependent system she had participated in. She started speaking up when Kent ignored her feelings or put her down or made unrealistic demands on her. She spoke up for herself and disengaged when Kent would get angry. As a result of this, their marriage went into turmoil. At this point, Julia told Kent that either he get help for himself and start working on learning to define himself and fill himself up, or she would leave.
Fortunately, Kent did receive help. It was a slow process for him, but he did learn to take responsibility for his own feelings, access his spiritual guidance, connect with his essence, and define his own worth. As both Kent and Julia learned to take care of themselves, they were able to share love with each other in new and satisfying ways.
We can never love someone enough for them to feel loved within if they are not loving themselves.
Heal your relationships with Dr. Margaret’s 30-Day online video relationship course: Wildly, Deeply, Joyously in Love.
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Your emotions are a great gift, letting you know when you are on track or off track in your thinking and behavior, or when you need to attend to what is happening with a person or situation. Today, practice learning what your painful emotions are telling you, rather than avoiding them with your various addictions.
By Dr. Margaret Paul