Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Flourishing Relationships - I can do anything better than you!

Remember the old song "Anything you can do"  from the Irving Berlin musical "Annie Get Your Gun"?
"I can do anything better than you!"
The lyrics start like this: 
ANNIE: Anything you can do I can do better 
......I can do anything better than you 
FRANK: No, you can't 
ANNIE: Yes, I can 
FRANK: No, you can't 
ANNIE: Yes, I can 
FRANK: No, you can't 
ANNIE: Yes, I can, yes, I can 

The song is just a bit of fun, but this kind of "I'm better than you" attitude can easily erode a relationship and even over time destroy it.

Here is a scenario ( I am using the male in this story to be the bad guy, but it could easily be the female, so please bear with me):

She comes home all excited at having achieved something that was important to her. She tells her partner all about it and his response is to ignore what he has just been told and talk about his own achievements as if they were of a higher standard and more valuable than hers. In other words he comes up with a better story. Sound familiar?

She now feels that her achievement has no or little value and her self-esteem plummets. She feels resentment and anger at her partner's response.

If this scenario is repeated each time one of the partners has an achievement, or an opinion, or even just had a fun time, the attitude of being "better than you" creates more and more resentment which erodes the relationship.This is one form of  emotional abuse.

If you always feel that you have to be better than your partner and find yourself "telling a better story", get help to heal your insecure self and stop doing it. 

If you are in a relationship with someone who is always telling you that they are "better than you" you also need help, so that you can decide whether or not the relationship is viable. 

For a relationship to be healthy, both partners must value and encourage each other in what ever they do. It is all part of loving someone and helping them to grow as a person.

Hilary Thompson
The Out and About Therapist
Facilitator at Flourishing Relationship Retreats

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