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The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing #4005
09/16/10 07:10 AM
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This is taken from Dr. Robert Alter's book "It's Mostly His Fault", which has since been republished as "Good Husband, Great Marriage". This book is written for a male audience, but these lies apply to both genders. Just replace the genders, if you are female.

Quote

To be a good husband, you have to change yourself, and to change yourself, you have to quit telling yourself the lies that keep you from changing yourself. These are the five big lies that we men tell ourselves so we don't have to change. They come up early on in therapy, and repeatedly and strongly, so I have to correct them - early on, repeatedly and strongly.

  • The first big lie is, "I don't need to change."
    Yes, you do. Or your wife wouldn't be telling you to read this book. Don't be a moron. Next.
  • The second big lie is, "She's the one who needs to change. There's something wrong with her. She's always angry...She's hypercritical...She's oversensitive...She's too emotional...She's too needy..."
  • The third big lie is, "I'll change when she changes."
    Nope. That's not the way it works. You have to change first.
  • The fourth big lie is, "I'll never be able to change enough for her, so what's the point of trying? Nothing is ever good enough for her. She always wants more from me. She's always angry at me. She's impossible to please."
    If you're trying to get into a building by hitting the right code on the numeric keypad by the door, and if the code is 971, you don't get in if you hit 425, or even if you hit 972 or 917. It's not that the door will never open or is impossible to open or doesn't want to open, it's just that you haven't hit the right code yet, but when you do, the door clicks open, and in you go.
  • The fifth big lie is, "I can't change. I've always been like this. This is me. This is just who I am."
    First of all, if that's true, God help us.

    Second of all, only God gets to say that: "I AM THAT I AM." Or maybe Popeye, "I yam what I yam." Not you!

    Third of all, it's not true. That's not the way it works.

    All that stuff you think is you isn't really you. It's who you believe you are, who you've been told you are, who you would swear on a stack of Bibles you are, but it's not who you are.

    I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but most of the stuff you think is you is stuff that's been conditioned into you by you by your family or society or religion or gender. Most of the ideas that you hold so sacred aren't your ideas at all, but somebody else's ideas that've wormed their way into your noggin and now swarm around in there like so many fruit flies. Those things that you do, those ways that you have, that impregnable fortress of delusion and denial that you somewhat euphemistically call your personality, that's not you!



This has been edited quite heavily for brevity, as it's actually an entire chapter.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: AntigoneRisen] #4103
09/16/10 04:54 PM
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I say "ouch" to lie #4.

Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: herfuturesbright] #4121
09/16/10 05:03 PM
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It's hard to know sometimes whether it's reasonable to ask a spouse to change. If you knew about your spouses hot temper (for example) when you got married, is it reasonable to ask them to stop years later? I have that problem with my husband.

Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: herfuturesbright] #4122
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I am going to have to check out this book. It looks really good. And I say that as someone who used to think "I'll never be able to change enough for her" - when I found the right code, when I changed the right way, she responded so quickly it made my head spin.


**Formerly known as Cuthbert Calculus**

"There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots."

Glad Tidings

Gladstone's Sucess Story
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Gladstone] #4131
09/16/10 05:16 PM
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I envy your wife, Gladstone. I know that saying this sounds like I'm putting all the blame for my marriage on my husband...and I'm not...really, I'm not! I get so frustrated and feel so hopeless though, when I try to express my pain and it gets turned around instead to "woe is me, my life is hell" with a lot of "well you never" or "well you always" thrown in for good measure.

In fact, this morning, he actually said the exact words: "I'll never be able to change enough for you."

Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: OurHouse] #4139
09/16/10 05:21 PM
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OH -

One time with my IC I said I didn't want to make it sound like it was all his fault, because I'm certainly not blameless and I'm certainly not perfect.

She said - you know what? You're right, *BUT* you are trying to clean up your side of the street, and his garbage is so plentiful with him not cleaning up his side, and you can't keep your side clean. It's not saying you don't still have garbage, but you're trying to work on it and his garbage is the most pressing issue right now. If he would take care of his garbage, or at least keep it on his side of the street, you could work better on yours.

Just like sometimes you're not being paranoid, they ARE out to get you - sometimes the other person is the problem that can't be fixed.

I think the lesson is not to let people off the hook because we're not perfect, but to recognize where they're truly crossing the line, and where you're just trying to shove the blame off.


Let me not be so vain to think I'm the sole author of my victories and and a victim of my defeats. -- ze frank
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Curious] #4150
09/16/10 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Curious
It's hard to know sometimes whether it's reasonable to ask a spouse to change. If you knew about your spouses hot temper (for example) when you got married, is it reasonable to ask them to stop years later? I have that problem with my husband.


Curious, welcome to Marriage Advocates! Yes, it's totally reasonable, and an act of love for yourself, your spouse, and your marriage, to ask your spouse to eliminate things that you don't like. Many of us got married when we and our spouses were still immature, and have had a lot of adjusting to do to have healthy relationships.

What do you think about starting a thread of your own?

Hugs to you, better days are ahead!

_____________________

This week's keyword: infidelity


"I have everything I need." and "I am exactly where I am supposed to be." ~Louise Hays
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Curious] #4250
09/16/10 09:42 PM
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AntigoneRisen Offline OP
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Quote
If you knew about your spouses hot temper (for example) when you got married, is it reasonable to ask them to stop years later?


Yes, of course. The idea that we, or our needs, are static (set in stone) is ridiculous and ludicrous.

I have the right to request that anyone change. Anyone has the right to refuse to change. Anyone has a right to terminate a relationship based upon a refusal to change.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Gladstone] #4252
09/16/10 09:45 PM
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I recommend the book. As I said, though, it's aimed at men. I've found it useful for hard cases, but only when the husband himself is the person I've recommended it to and he's willingly read it.

You've got to have respect for any PhD willing to write a book with a chapter called "How to Know When You're Being a Man As Opposed to When You're Being an [Bleep!]".


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: NewEveryDay] #4279
09/16/10 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by NewEveryDay
Originally Posted by Curious
It's hard to know sometimes whether it's reasonable to ask a spouse to change. If you knew about your spouses hot temper (for example) when you got married, is it reasonable to ask them to stop years later? I have that problem with my husband.


Curious, welcome to Marriage Advocates! Yes, it's totally reasonable, and an act of love for yourself, your spouse, and your marriage, to ask your spouse to eliminate things that you don't like. Many of us got married when we and our spouses were still immature, and have had a lot of adjusting to do to have healthy relationships.

What do you think about starting a thread of your own?

Hugs to you, better days are ahead!

_____________________

This week's keyword: infidelity

Hugs to you too, and thanks to you and Antigone for the replies.

I'll think about blogging. I don't have a crisis at the moment but I do have ISSUES!

Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Curious] #4320
09/17/10 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by AR
You've got to have respect for any PhD willing to write a book with a chapter called "How to Know When You're Being a Man As Opposed to When You're Being an [Bleep!]".


OUCH!

Great shot, great Scott!

Well, given that very few men are willing to spend money reading a relationship book, you gotta give the guy credit for a whole bunch of stuff. Guys ARE willing to pay David DeAngelis $250 for his course on "How to have the date you deserve with fabulous looking women." That is my long title. Men see the blurbs promoting the book and think one thing.

Most guys can talk about their emotions in terms starting with mad, then going through glad, to sad and finally horny. Now they DO have other emotions, just can't verbalize those feelings.

Plus, they are socialized to repress their emotions on the one side and not talk about them on the other side. Ugh!

Men marry women expecting that the new love of their life will not change and women marry men expecting that their White Knight will change; they are both wrong.

Life within the concept of gender mating is so confusing for men and for good reason. Until quite recently in human history, men had some say in the rituals of male and female role models and how things ought (hate that word) to be. Men knew who they were supposed to be and so did women. Rebellion against stereotypical behavior threatened survival. Society enforced the rules.

In western culture, life for men has been going downhill for decades. Women now rule the roost with a vengeance, some saying get even for all the repression visited upon women in centuries past. There is a point there, but a weak one.

For the most part, a male with a wife and a couple of kids is held hostage to the whims, rightly or wrongly, of his female partner. If she decides to get a divorce, she gets the bulk of the estate, even in community property states, custody of the kids, even in states with a strong joint custody law, spousal support, even in Texas, child support because the male is the one making the most money, and the house, cars and even the guy's dreams.

I am sorry to say this, but all too often, a woman's discontent is based on boredom. Hubby can mow the yard, help in the house and with the kids. He can be a devoted family man and a solid provider. Yea, he was a good catch. But yuck, he is boring.

And for every devoted husband, there are guys who come home, sit in their chair and expect to be waited on. Their only exercise is lifting one cheek to entertain everyone with their flatulence.

Yuk!

For every guy who beats his wife, there is a wife who eviscerates her husband with the Devil's tongue and the put downs to his manhood. And a few who beat the whey out of the poor guy knowing full well he won't turn her in to the cops - too demeaning to his manhood.

No matter the gender, being a better person is most often too much trouble and too much effort, with little perceived reward for so doing.

And the real killer is that men and women want to blame the other side for the problems associated with moving through life. And of course while you can cure ignorance (if willing) but you can't fix stupid.

Go forth and be the best you can be, whether man or woman, whether married or single; work at it instead of just giving lip service. Point the finger back at oneself for picking the wrong mate or having an adolescent attitude. Be the best husband or wife or parent one can be and seek and acquire wisdom to help the process.

That wasn't a lecture, it was a series of observations. Just one fair warning; if you are a male, do NOT under any circumstance go read any part of the Goddess thread. You will go blind.

Larry

Last edited by Larry; 09/17/10 12:27 AM.

It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Larry] #4436
09/17/10 02:57 PM
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Quote
Most guys can talk about their emotions in terms starting with mad, then going through glad, to sad and finally horny. Now they DO have other emotions, just can't verbalize those feelings.


A lot of this book is dedicated just to this issue. Men are socialized in such a way that only two real emotions are "manly": anger and lust.

It isn't just men who enforce this gender role. I participate on another board that is really a question and answer site. I know I've responded, "Of course, he's human. Are you loony?" at least a dozen times to women posting, "Is it ok if my husband/boyfriend/fiance cries?"

I've also been threatening (and discussed with Star) doing a blog entry about how women are often the most sexist towards our own gender. I really must carve out some time for that...

Quote
Men marry women expecting that the new love of their life will not change and women marry men expecting that their White Knight will change; they are both wrong.


Anyone who marries thinking that they will not have to change is sadly, and grossly, mistaken. It's probably the most complex undertaking any of us attempt (save perhaps parenting): the merging of two disparate lives. It requires a great deal of adjustment, and adjustment is change.

Quote
For the most part, a male with a wife and a couple of kids is held hostage to the whims, rightly or wrongly, of his female partner.


This has neither been my experience nor my observation. I must add the caveat that I'm from rural West Virginia, which was (probably still is) very patriarchal and out of step with the modern world. I think that sometime this decade realization of the Civil Rights movement might be achieved. grin I also spend a great deal of time with couples from different, highly patriarchal, cultures.

My observation and analysis is this: for every man complaining about nagging, there is a woman complaining about being ignored. Nagging is what happens when a request is made, ignored, and must be repeated.

Quote
I am sorry to say this, but all too often, a woman's discontent is based on boredom.


Also not my observation. Sometimes, yes, but not very often. Of the divorced women I know, there is me (which I've told you my reasons previously), my best friend who divorced her husband due to his reluctance to give up his crack habit (not kidding), my friend who divorced her husband due to repeated incarcerations because of his alcoholism, my aunt who divorced her first husband because he would go on Acid trips, beat her, and even hold a gun to her head and threaten to shoot her if she fell asleep, 4 due to infidelity on the part of the husband, and most of the others for extended unmet emotional needs - aka: neglect. I must say that one of the 4 who is divorced for infidelity on the part of the husband also divorced previously because of her infidelity.

Obviously, anything said about gender tendency is a generalization. (My brother and his wife both have anger and substance abuse problems.) Just as obviously, women can and do behave badly.

One of the problems I see for men, and even feel some sympathy for, is confusion about expectations. Even in my generation, they were socialized to expect to provide financially for the family, and take care of the heavy lifting and technical chores: car maintenance, lawn mowing, home repair and improvement, etc. They expected to be a disciplinarian for their kids, as well. What blindsides them all too often is the emotional role in the marriage is now usually considered their primary role, and it supersedes all others. That is something they haven't prepared for at all.

Quote
In western culture, life for men has been going downhill for decades.


I would agree. It seems to flow by necessity from any gain in women's equality. If you are on the top of the hill (which men once were), you have to go down when equality hits. Sometimes there is misandrism, which I also detest, but often people mistake no longer getting preferential treatment for being oppressed. This is not only noticeable when discussing gender equality, but when discussing racial equality.

Quote
And for every devoted husband, there are guys who come home, sit in their chair and expect to be waited on. Their only exercise is lifting one cheek to entertain everyone with their flatulence.


True, that.

Quote
No matter the gender, being a better person is most often too much trouble and too much effort, with little perceived reward for so doing.


And that, too.

Quote
And the real killer is that men and women want to blame the other side for the problems associated with moving through life. And of course while you can cure ignorance (if willing) but you can't fix stupid.


The real killer is this idiotic "Battle of the Sexes", as if we aren't mutually codependent. Our species requires it for continuation. In that battle, people forgo understanding in favor of disdain, communication in favor of sarcasm, and cooperation in favor of ego.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Curious] #4439
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OH, I wrote a post in my blog about this. I believe that if my wife had made the first move instead of me, and changed first - than things would have been better for us temporarily, but it wouldn't have lasted long. I really think that her "bad behaviors" were a direct response to my much worse behavior. I think my making the first move was important, in the long run.


**Formerly known as Cuthbert Calculus**

"There is enough sadness in life without having fellows like Gussie Fink-Nottle going about in sea boots."

Glad Tidings

Gladstone's Sucess Story
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: AntigoneRisen] #4447
09/17/10 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AntigoneRisen
This is taken from Dr. Robert Alter's book "It's Mostly His Fault", which has since been republished as "Good Husband, Great Marriage". This book is written for a male audience, but these lies apply to both genders. Just replace the genders, if you are female.

Quote

To be a good husband, you have to change yourself, and to change yourself, you have to quit telling yourself the lies that keep you from changing yourself. These are the five big lies that we men tell ourselves so we don't have to change. They come up early on in therapy, and repeatedly and strongly, so I have to correct them - early on, repeatedly and strongly.

  • The first big lie is, "I don't need to change."
    Yes, you do. Or your wife wouldn't be telling you to read this book. Don't be a moron. Next.
  • The second big lie is, "She's the one who needs to change. There's something wrong with her. She's always angry...She's hypercritical...She's oversensitive...She's too emotional...She's too needy..."
  • The third big lie is, "I'll change when she changes."
    Nope. That's not the way it works. You have to change first.
  • The fourth big lie is, "I'll never be able to change enough for her, so what's the point of trying? Nothing is ever good enough for her. She always wants more from me. She's always angry at me. She's impossible to please."
    If you're trying to get into a building by hitting the right code on the numeric keypad by the door, and if the code is 971, you don't get in if you hit 425, or even if you hit 972 or 917. It's not that the door will never open or is impossible to open or doesn't want to open, it's just that you haven't hit the right code yet, but when you do, the door clicks open, and in you go.
  • The fifth big lie is, "I can't change. I've always been like this. This is me. This is just who I am."
    First of all, if that's true, God help us.

    Second of all, only God gets to say that: "I AM THAT I AM." Or maybe Popeye, "I yam what I yam." Not you!

    Third of all, it's not true. That's not the way it works.

    All that stuff you think is you isn't really you. It's who you believe you are, who you've been told you are, who you would swear on a stack of Bibles you are, but it's not who you are.

    I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but most of the stuff you think is you is stuff that's been conditioned into you by you by your family or society or religion or gender. Most of the ideas that you hold so sacred aren't your ideas at all, but somebody else's ideas that've wormed their way into your noggin and now swarm around in there like so many fruit flies. Those things that you do, those ways that you have, that impregnable fortress of delusion and denial that you somewhat euphemistically call your personality, that's not you!



This has been edited quite heavily for brevity, as it's actually an entire chapter.


OMG thats fracken WF to a T.......


Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepair to die.
"Constant and determined effort breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles."
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Gladstone] #4452
09/17/10 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Gladstone
when I found the right code, when I changed the right way, she responded so quickly it made my head spin.


Interesting. I have certainly tried my share of codes, but nothing ever materialized quickly (in a positive way), and if I really wanted to see a head spin, I'd have to stumble across Linda Blair on one the gazillion movie channels that I have.....

I know. Every person is different. Every sitch is different. In my world, the change has been gradual -- on both of our parts. Not sure how to interpret it, or whether it will ultimately provide me with what I need, but it's been a positive metamorphisis, so maybe it's best to just leave it at that...

I do know that I'm not afraid of change. I'm always looking to EVOLVE. I wasn't always like that. I used to want everything predetermined, mapped out, and scheduled. Too boring for me these days.

TBC

Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: ToBeContinued] #4543
09/17/10 08:38 PM
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I told all five of these lies to myself and within my marriage, for most of my life.

I don't think it's gender-based.

I do think these are essential in a wayward mindset.

The last six years, free of those lies, have been much better. Even when it wasn't fun. And my DH still tells himself two of these...at times...and then he doesn't. Then he does again.

And maybe I do, too...before we catch ourselves and stop.

Evolving, TBC...with you on that.

Great thread.

LA


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Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: LovingAnyway] #4596
09/18/10 02:13 AM
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Quote

I don't think it's gender-based.

I do think these are essential in a wayward mindset.


I'm in complete agreement. There are certain concepts in that book that are not specific to any gender, and these are a good example.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: AntigoneRisen] #4615
09/18/10 04:53 AM
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question is does it only apply to married men?


Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepair to die.
"Constant and determined effort breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles."
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: AntigoneRisen] #4633
09/18/10 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by AntigoneRisen
Quote

I don't think it's gender-based.

I do think these are essential in a wayward mindset.


I'm in complete agreement. There are certain concepts in that book that are not specific to any gender, and these are a good example.


As the victim of a limited budget, I don't buy many books. After thinking about it, I put this one third down to be hunted down at used bookstores, libraries and finally, if neither of those work, bought with real money, probably from the used section of Amazon.

Good one AR.

Larry


It's often the truth we hide from ourselves that causes the most damage in life.

My old email address no longer works.
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Larry] #4693
09/18/10 06:40 PM
09/18/10 06:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,883
Gateway to the West
N
Not2fun Offline
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Not2fun  Offline
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Gateway to the West
AR,

I loved this......some good stuff to chew on....

Not


" If you couldn't change your partner when you were together, you sure aren't going to now that you aren't together..." Words of the teacher of the court mandated parenting class...and the ONE thing that stuck out to me!!!
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: Not2fun] #4774
09/19/10 05:48 AM
09/19/10 05:48 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 517
Monterey, Ca
SIHW Offline
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SIHW  Offline
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Monterey, Ca
I have to say Dr. Robert is a pretty nice guy. I wrote them an email because I had a few questions about the book and I got a great reply.


Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepair to die.
"Constant and determined effort breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles."
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: SIHW] #4782
09/19/10 06:25 AM
09/19/10 06:25 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 915
K
kilted_thrower Offline
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kilted_thrower  Offline
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K
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Posts: 915
Thanks for sharing. I'll throw this book on my list of books to pick up next month.


Some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great. I just am great. --K. Powers

Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it. --Prefontaine



Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: kilted_thrower] #5208
09/21/10 04:57 PM
09/21/10 04:57 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 517
Monterey, Ca
SIHW Offline
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SIHW  Offline
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Monterey, Ca
OK EEERRRIEEEEE!

o_0' so we have been discussing this book here...someone sent me the book with a note inside. It read:

Dear SIHW,

Hoping this book finds you in a better place. We have all been wondering how you are since we haven't seen hide nor hair of you or little DS.

I know this is coming late but I was very disappointed to hear about the way WF left you and DS. I know the mistake he's making since I made it myself once but I was lucky enough to still have someone waiting for me when I got my head right. I know this doesn't help you now but this book really made me sit back and take a long look at myself. I hope it may help you get some of the answers to question you may have. I am also going to give WF my beat up and highlighted copy.

We miss seeing you two together at the PD when you would visit. Everyone here always commented how lucky WF was to have a good woman who seemed to love him very much. Please come by and visit soon it would be awesome to see you. Say hi to DS for us.

-M

I am rather floored......Should I go visit?


Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepair to die.
"Constant and determined effort breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles."
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: SIHW] #5749
09/23/10 05:12 AM
09/23/10 05:12 AM
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Vittoria Offline
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Vittoria  Offline
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SIHW, to your question ...... I posted on your thread, well about to. lol


26 yrs. married
There's nothing more powerful than a woman with an open heart ......
Re: The Five Big Lies That Keep You From Changing [Re: LovingAnyway] #7419
09/30/10 08:41 AM
09/30/10 08:41 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,887
HI
O
Orchid2 Offline
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Orchid2  Offline
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Posts: 10,887
HI
Originally Posted by LovingAnyway
.....I don't think it's gender-based.

I do think these are essential in a wayward mindset.

The last six years, free of those lies, have been much better. Even when it wasn't fun. And my DH still tells himself two of these...at times...and then he doesn't. Then he does again.

And maybe I do, too...before we catch ourselves and stop.

Evolving, TBC...with you on that.

Great thread.

LA



I agree with LA. These 5 Lies....can 'swing' both ways. Then again, so can being truthful. Both take effort, only one has positive results. grin

L.


Orchid
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