Today, I was working with a client who really regrets putting his parents as a priority over his wife for the first years of their relationship. He is now doing a lot of repair work on his marriage and learning how to set healthy boundaries with his parents.
When someone puts their parent first over their spouse, this does not happen in a vacuum. It frequently occurs within the context of a young adult who was controlled in an unhealthy way as a child.
I recommend that adults read more about how to recognize and heal from a controlling relationship with their parents. A common book that many clients have found helpful is “If You Had Controlling Parents” by Dan Neuharth. You can find the book on Amazon.
The child grows into an adult whose body and mind are still conditioned to feel afraid of their parent. They are so afraid of their parent’s reactions due to past emotional control sometimes paired with harsh physical discipline that they are afraid to set boundaries with their parent.
Because the adult child is still afraid of his or her parents, they do not put their spouse first. This can come in the form of “we are going to dinner with my parents even though my spouse wants to stay home and rest.” It can come in the form of, “even when my parent is critical of my spouse and gives advice that was not asked for, I am not going to say anything to stand up for my partner or my relationship.”
There are lots of ways this can play out, but the worst part is that the marriage bond is severed. I cannot even begin to unravel the damage that occurs when someone fears their parent’s reactions and then repeatedly does not put their partner as #1.
Your significant other is supposed to be your #1. Your priority is supposed to be first and foremost to the needs and benefits of your partnership, not the relationship with one of your parents or a sibling or anyone else.
If you need help breaking free from the bonds of control by a parent so that you can make your partner your #1 priority, please Register to see of our Relationship Repair Associates today.