It would be awesome if our parents could just get a grip and join the 21st Century. We wouldn’t have to keep helping them get through Zoom calls. We wouldn’t have to explain what nonbinary means. It’s so frustrating, annoying, aggravating, We spend a lot of time pissed off at how other folks act. The bad news is that if we are waiting for other people to change their behavior so that we can feel better we are going to be waiting a looooong time.
Many of us have an instruction guide or manual, for how other people should behave in a given circumstance. We believe that if we could just get our family members in line to be affirming of our LGBTQ+ child we would be happy. If our boss would take our suggestions, we could be more productive at work. It seems to make sense that we should have expectations of other people. A lot of the time we don’t even state what our expectation is. We think that our friends and family should read our minds and understand our desires without us having to articulate them. “If he loved me, he would know that I want him to spend more of his free time with me.” That is some magical thinking right there, people. It leads to so much unnecessary unhappiness.
The truth is that none of us can control how another adult behaves. If you are spending a lot of time in your relationship trying to manipulate and control the other person’s behavior you are stuck with a manual mindset. If you are in a relationship where each party feels responsible for filling the other’s needs, neither one of you is going to be really happy. I might be fleetingly happy if my husband happens to follow my manual, and I think that means he cares about me. But I don’t want to leave the responsibility for my happiness in the hands of other people. Why would I want to tie my emotional wellbeing to someone else’s behavior? That would be me giving away all my power.
When each party in a relationship is responsible for meeting their own needs they can enjoy one another. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make requests of your friends and family. What you need to realize is that whether they honor your request has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. When you free yourself from having manuals for people you can just enjoy them. I can show you how to take responsibility for how you feel regardless of anyone else’s behavior.