Anger Management tips for satisfying relationships by Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Nice guys felt like a noose around Sharon’s neck

Why Do Nice Guys Make Sharon Panic?

Sharon enjoyed the flirting until Rudolph asked if she’d like to go out with him on a date. In the blink of an eye she said “Oh, I can’t. I’m really tied up and I’m not sure when I’ll be free.” It was as if Rudolph had pushed a panic button inside her and she had to destroy everything in her path to escape the danger that erupted out of nowhere.

Relief swept over Sharon as she drove home. But she couldn’t sleep. During the next few days she felt that old familiar sadness overwhelm her again. If only Rudolph would call. When he had walked over to her at the party she had come alive. He was just the sort of man she wanted, reasonably good looking, clean shaven, self-assured and seemingly well off. She smiled thinking about how she played hard to get before she allowed him to catch her.

Why Does Sharon Reject the Very Thing She Wants?

Because she wants two different things at the same time. The trouble is she is only aware of one of them- wanting a nice guy and a successful relationship. But there is also something else she craves and that is to feel powerful, and in charge of her life. She isn’t in touch with her need for power, so she can’t figure out why she keeps sabotaging good relationships. She is mystified as to why what seems wonderful at the beginning turns sour very soon afterwards.

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How did Sharon Develop a self-sabotage strategy?

Once upon a time when Sharon was a little girl the grown ups around her disappointed and hurt her. The only power and control she had at the time was to reject them when they tried to make nice. Paying them back by hurting and rejecting them was the only weapon she had to feel in control. It worked like a dream. Unfortunately Sharon never learned to develop other ways of feeling strong and in charge of her life. So she continues to use the old ways that now work against her. Now she is the loser. She sabotages her own hearts desire.

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Two voices compete for attention

Who is going to win -Power mad Sharon or Lonely Sharon?

Sharon’s two competing parts are Power hungry Sharon, and Lonely Sharon. Power mad Sharon thinks lonely Sharon is a loser, easily seduced and just plain dumb. She can’t trust lonely Sharon to judge the sincerity of guys. Just look at her track record!

Lonely Sharon falls for the sweet words and becomes a submissive lamb. Power crazed Sharon has to watch her like a hawk and swoop in before it’s too late. She doesn’t want to be left picking up the pieces of lonely Sharon’s broken heart again.

So, power mad Sharon allows lonely Sharon a bit of rope. “Go on, you can flirt a bit, enjoy it while you can.” But the moment lonely Sharon decides to take it a step further, power mad Sharon gets the guns out and blows the guy out of the water. Power mad Sharon enjoyed the chase but is ecstatic when she saves lonely Sharon from messing up.

Power crazy Sharon wins the battle. She feels proud of herself for being a good protector. Unfortunately she oversteps the mark every time, crushing the chances of lonely Sharon ever having a secure and trusting relationship.

But Sharon wouldn’t deliberately Sabotage herself?

That’s right, if she was aware of how she may be acting against her own interests, she would not see the guy as a monster. She really does want a partner, but she also wants to protect herself from being let down, and thrown out for a newer model. The fear of being let down is so huge that she uses her power as a sledge hammer to demolish every potential relationship before she has had a chance to see if they were safe.

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Photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

 

How can Sharon feel powerful and be in a relationship?

There are five steps that Sharon can take that will increase her chances of a making a good connection without living in fear of being dumped.

1. Ask herself what she likes and dislikes about the guy if there seems to be mutual attraction. Look for evidence of the good and bad things, so that her lens is neither too rosy nor too black. That balance will help keep her as objective as possible, making sabotage much less likely.

2. Take the time to check in with herself about what she wants from the potential relationship. This includes physical attraction, financial security, humor, empathy, as well as the ability to read her and respond that neither invades her boundaries nor leaves her out in the cold.

3. Speak to the guy about what she wants in real time as it happens, so he will understand her needs and attempt to meet her expectations. This act alone will give her power and create good boundaries so she isn’t wimpy and helpless.

4. Make space inside her for the fact that the guy may actually like her personal qualities. That will make her feel more secure and tamp down power mad Sharon’s need to bring out the sledge hammer.

5. Be clear about what hurts or disappoints her as well as what she enjoys in the relationship. Communicate it as it comes up, so that there is a mixture of strength, self-confidence and self-preservation.

TAKE THE RELATIONSHIP SABOTAGE TEST AND FIND OUT YOUR PROFILE

Read more about understanding the role of panic in relationship problems:

Understanding your panic attacks part 1 – facing your dilemmas

Understanding your panic attacks part 2- getting past shame

Understanding your panic attacks part 3 – fear of going it alone