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"How to take control of my own life?"

Hi, Ayal,

I have found a lot of great insights already by reading your question and answer pages, and so I'd like to ask a question of my own.

Ever since I got married I have felt stagnant... like nothing much has changed over the past three years. I am having trouble moving forward and using my intellectual knowledge practically in my life.

Lately, I have also felt like I am too loud, too bossy, too overbearing... and I think it stems from my feelings of powerlessness to take control of my own life and my desire to move both myself and my husband in the right direction for our future.

Your insights will be whole-heartedly appreciated. :)

P.S.--I am also considering a future in the military if you have anything to say about that. :)

Hi - Thank you for your question. What jumps out at me here is that you said you feel stagnant ever since you got married - so this seems to be the place to start. When we marry someone, what happens is that we are really having the opportunity to see ourselves, our own issues, because we marry someone who matches these issues in us - someone who has similar issues going on. So in effect, when we marry, in many ways we are looking into a mirror. And this is the true gift of marriage in many ways. We get an opportunity to work through our stuff because it will inevitably show up. However, unless we choose to see these issues, and realize it is our own stuff being reflected back to us, the marriage will usually run into trouble, or end, or, as you said, you will feel stagnant and bogged down.

You spoke of feeling powerless - this is a key feeling. My question to you would be, when else in your life did you feel this way? Is this is a reoccurring theme in your life? If it is, then you can see that it will of course show up in your marriage too. Where else did you feel powerless in your life? As a child? Or did you see people living in a powerless way? Did you see someone not taking care of themself or not being responsible for themself?

You also mentioned that you think you need to be the one to move both you and your husband forward in life. Why is that? Are you responsible for his life? I wonder if it's possible that you were told as a child that you were responsible for the happiness of others - that you got the message somehow that it was your job to take care of others. If so, that can be an incredible burden - if we think we have to take care of others, it gets pretty hard to move ourselves through life, or even know who we truly are, because we are carrying them, or trying to, on our backs. It can not only make a person feel incredibly anxious, but also feel as if their own life is getting lost because they have to take care of the life of someone else. This can exhaust your own energy to move forward. And, if there is anger or resentment about it, (but as a good child who is supposed to take care of others, you feel guilty about feeling resentment), you will expend a lot of energy to hold that anger and resentment down. This will not allow you to use your creative energy to move forward as all your energy may be going into holding your true feelings down.

If a parent has that issue, that they are incapable of taking care of themselves, they will pass that belief onto their child - if they do pass that issue on, the belief that people are not responsible for their own lives - you, as their child, will get a double message: (1) that you have to take care of them, but also, (2) that you also are not able to take care of yourself. The underlying message behind this issue is that you are not powerful or strong enough to take care of yourself, because your role models weren't. You weren't shown how that is done.

Another issue that may be happening here is the issue for a woman of not losing her self identity - as women, we know that we have many many facets to our being. We have creative minds, we have our intellect, our intuition and feelings, we have a body. It can happen that when relating to a man in an intimate relationship, parts of ourselves can get lost. In other words, there may be an issue here of being related to sexually but not intellectually. If this is so, then one of the areas of work both you and your husband have to do will be to learn to see and embrace each other as whole beings - you may need to see that he is capable of taking care of his own life, and he will need to see that you are more than a body.

You, however, will also need to recognize your own wholeness - when you do that for yourself, it will allow him to reflect that back to you. He can only reflect back to you what you have within yourself. So, if you have any issues of not being seen for who you really are, it will show up in your marriage. There are questions to ask yourself here - were there ways parts of you were not validated, or valued, or shut down? If so, this will be the area to start tracking and healing and understanding. When you know that you are a whole person, responsible for yourself and not others, and you fully acknowledge and value all those parts of yourself, then you feel alive and creative. You don't need anyone else to validate who you are, because you are the one doing that for yourself. You are responsible for your own life, in other words.

This may be contrary to the message you got as a child. Then you truly have yourself. That is when I think your life will move forward. If this is the unconscious issue being passed back and forth between you and your husband - each person thinking they are not whole and thinking that it is someone else's job to validate them or get them where they need to go, then things will definitely bog down. You can only move yourself forward - you can only work to change yourself - your husband's job is the same - he is only responsible to change himself. No one can do that for another. When you do that for yourself, and you move forward, it will be up to your husband whether he moves forward, for himself, as well. We can't help but move forward once we tackle and overcome an issue in ourselves.

As far as your question about the military goes - you of course have to be the one to choose what direction to take in your life. One issue that does jump out at me though is this: the military does take control over a person's life. When a person joins the military, they are to a large extent, saying that they are turning their life over to someone else's control. This can be a good thing or a not so good thing depending on what a person needs. If you have an issue that says people are not responsible for their own lives, and others have to do that for them, then it would follow that the military would appeal to you as it does just that and fits this belief. If you feel you need external discipline from others to get your life going, then the military would fit that belief. If you believe you are responsible for your own life, then the military may not suit your belief system. I would say, before making a large decision, I would invite you to do some inner questioning and searching. See what answers you get, and if after examining yourself you still feel that the military is the right place for you, then you can make that decision. However, in the final analysis, only you know what is right for you. And the responsibility for your life rests with you.

Best wishes, Ayal

26. "My daughter's a brat, what can I do?"

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