Are you a pleaser-fixer personality married to a demanding-manipulator? It seemed like a win-win situation in the beginning didn’t it? Not so much now? There is hope but it’s going to require some retraining for both individuals. To start with, realize that you chose this person and made vows for better or for worse. So I recommend that you do your part, to make it better.
First Mr. or Mrs. Pleaser-Fixer, you will need to grow some self-respect. You’ll need to begin to recognize the signs of attempted manipulation. I say attempted because, we have control over whether or not the manipulator succeeds. Demanding personalities are a little harder to discern because we are trained to serve our spouses. Is your spouse making a request of you? Accommodate them if you are able. If they are making their love and acceptance contingent on whether or not you “perform” – that is a requirement and that would be considered demanding.
The demanding-manipulator will whine and maybe get angry when they realize that their pleaser-fixer is no longer working to make their world perfect. That’s a sign that you are making progress. They are starting to experience consequences and a good dose of reality. Don’t engage in their whining or anger. Be matter of fact. Here are a few examples. “ Dinner is not on the table because … “ and tell them the happenings of your day that threw your schedule off. “We don’t have your favorite drink, because when you drank the last one, you didn’t add it to the grocery list.” “I can’t take the family out on Saturday because I am required to go into work.” The whining and anger is their stuff – don’t take it on.
I myself, struggle with being a pleaser-fixer. I can tell you that it is very freeing once you have learned these concepts. Frustration and stress levels go down once you are no longer striving to reach unrealistic requirements. The demanding-manipulator will learn that they are part of a team effort. This is a win-win situation.