Share this with someone who might benefit.

I get messages from those who are with someone who claims to have changed, but something doesn’t feel right to them.

What they feel is usually accurate. There are specific thoughts and feelings inside you that can help you tell if someone has actually changed and healed from being emotionally abusive or if they still have a ways to go. 

Listen by clicking on the play button or read the transcript of this episode below.

The first thing I want to get out of the way is someone’s review of the show. I don’t really read reviews on this podcast, though I do on my other show, The Overwhelmed Brain. On this show, I like to keep things succinct. But this is very relevant. I mean, all the reviews are very relevant, but this one I wanted to share because you might relate to it. Here it is:

This person wrote, “This podcast was what finally gave me the ability to understand exactly what was happening to me in my toxic relationship with an extremely manipulative narcissist and to explain what I was experiencing to other people and to finally get out of the emotionally, verbally,and physically abusive relationship.

“Please listen to this if you feel in any way that you are in an unhealthy relationship. I say this all as someone who those who know me would describe as strong, educated, successful, and independent. And I still got stuck in the trap. It can happen to anyone. And you are not crazy or alone. This podcast saved me from going further down a terrible path.”

I want to thank the person who wrote that and everyone that writes reviews for the show. Most of them are revealing what is going on or what has gone on in their lives and in their relationships. And a lot of them can be difficult to read for me. Difficult in the way that I hate to see anyone go through any type of strain or stress in their relationships.

That strain or stress could come in the form of emotional abuse, narcissistic abuse, any type of psychological or even verbal abuse, and, of course, physical abuse. It hurts to see that! It really pains me to see that. But it also drives me to continue doing what I am doing here. And I wanted to read this because I know a lot of people can relate.

You might be able to relate to this. There are so many people that get into a relationship, and they describe themselves as strong, intelligent, educated, successful, and independent. Not all of these words fit everyone, but you could probably relate to two or more of them.

Unfortunately, what I see over and over again is that highly functional people will get into very dysfunctional relationships by no fault of their own. They just miss the red flags because they don’t know the red flags existed. That, or they were conned.

That can happen, too, being conned. They might get into a relationship, or you might have gotten into a relationship or had or have a relationship in your life where you felt conned.

The person who’s conning doesn’t always know they’re conning, either. I say that from personal experience because I used to be the person who would be charming, who would appear as very caring, loving, and supportive of the person that I was with. Then, later on, I’d do this terrible behavior.

I didn’t have the best behavior back then. I had to go through a lot of healing and changing to get to a place where I am today, where I can look back and say, Yeah, that was me. That was who I was. That was what I did.

I feel awful about what I did to the people I loved. And most of my behavior was silent manipulation, silent control, very covert, and a lot of narcissistic tendencies.

And it took me several failed relationships and, finally, a marriage and a divorce to take responsibility. I finally took responsibility for my behavior. I finally decided that perhaps I was the common denominator for all these failures in my life. And that’s what changed my life: It was taking responsibility and deciding not to look at them or focus on the other and just start focusing on myself.

That meant looking at someone and accepting them for who they are, and accepting their decisions even if I didn’t like them. I mean, “accepting” is the wrong word. More like “supporting” their decisions and accepting that they made those decisions. I may not like whatever decisions they’re making, but if I have a problem with their decisions and their direction in life, it’s my problem, not theirs.

That’s what changed me. Seeing that my problem with them was my problem, not theirs, changed my entire perception and my entire philosophy, and, of course, my behaviors. They all shifted. Everything shifted. And I became a different person. I finally started focusing on myself because I was so focused on other people needing to change for me.

So I say this with a huge amount of humility, knowing that I did wrong. I did hurtful behavior most of my life. I mean, I’m going to be transparent about it. In every single relationship up to the one I’m in now, everything before this, I was a different person. And I needed that final nail in the coffin. I needed my marriage to fail me so that I could finally see that perhaps I was the cause of all these issues that kept coming up.

I needed to change my thinking from believing it was somebody else’s fault to realizing it was really mine. I went from thinking they were doing something that was hurting me to knowing my behaviors were hurting us and hurting them.

There was a lot of enlightenment during those times. The enlightenment was learning how to behave like a healthy person and how to love in a healthy way.

I tell my girlfriend all the stuff I used to do. I tell her how I used to behave and how I used to be jealous and judgmental, and critical. I tell her how I would make the person that I care about feel guilty in order to make them change. I wanted to change them. I wanted to control them.

When I tell her this today. When I tell her this is what I used to do, she says, that doesn’t sound like you at all. I’m very grateful she says that! But that’s who I was. And it took a huge step forward in my emotional mentality, my thinking, and my psychology to finally take responsibility and admit that I was this person and I did these behaviors.

I figured out if I wanted any kind of healthy, long-lasting relationship that I’d have to stop trying to look at and control other people and just make decisions for myself. That’s when the big change happened to me. I took my focus off the other person and started making decisions for myself.

That meant if I didn’t like what they were doing, if I had a problem with them, then it was my problem, not theirs. If I didn’t like their choices or behaviors, then I needed to work on myself, either choosing to accept them as who they are, or if I didn’t like who they were, maybe I needed to go. Maybe I needed to change. Maybe I needed to be the person that left because if I stay and I try to change them, that’s abusive.

At least the way I was doing it, I was very abusive. It’s not healthy. It’s emotional abuse to cause someone to feel bad about who they are. So again, I’m being transparent. I’m being very open to you, to let you know who I have been in the past.

This was about, I’d say, a good ten to twelve years ago. At about that time, I started learning about myself and learning about my behaviors and realizing what emotional abuse is and was, and figuring out which behaviors made up emotional abuse.

It’s all good from there. I mean, this is where my healing started. I went through a lot. And I’m not trying to play the victim here. I’m just saying I went through a lot of learning. I went through a lot of trying to figure myself out.

When my marriage ended, I made the one choice I had never made before after a breakup: To stay single.

In every other relationship that ended, I would always seek another relationship because I wanted to be happy. That’s where I thought happiness came from.

I believed happiness came from another person. I believed other people were the source of happiness in my life. That’s a lot of pressure on someone. When you make someone the source of your happiness in your life, what ends up happening is you drain them of their happiness because you’re not fulfilling yourself in any other way.

That’s what I did most of my life. I made that other person the source of my happiness. And because they didn’t always succeed at that, I then had to try to control them to make it happen. I wanted to be happy, so I would try to control the person to make me happy. Again, in covert ways. I was a silent manipulator.

My control tactics were silent. I tried to make them think that they were the reason for the relationship failing. This is a terrible, terrible thing to admit, but this is who I was. And I wanted to get that out there because it helps to know where I came from. I think it helps to know who the source of your information is.

I’ve come from a different background than most people that talk about this stuff. Their background is usually, at least from what I’ve seen, on the victim’s side. The person who actually went through the suffering instead of the person who perpetrated the suffering. It doesn’t mean I’ve never been emotionally abused myself.

There were times, but I was certainly 99% the person who did it, and I think it’s important for you to know that so when I talk about this stuff, you know where I’m coming from. I think it can be helpful for somebody who’s actually done the behavior to be able to talk about it and give you tools to counter it.

I want you to counter this behavior, get away from it, or work with the other person – communicate with them. And it’s not always easy to communicate with someone who’s doing emotionally abusive behavior, who’s being toxic.

This is why I do this show. I want you to be able to communicate and make empowering decisions. I want you to be able to make a choice to leave or not. I want you to have the ability and the strength to make decisions that are right for you.

I say all of this because the other thing I want to talk about today is it has to do with the people who joined the program that I created, Healed Being. That is the program for emotionally abusive people that want to change.

That’s another benefit, I guess you could call it, from me being in that healing space. I can share all the steps to healing for other people. I believe a lot of them can be good. I believe a lot of them can be healthy or healthier.

I believe many of them can stop the behaviors and work on their coping mechanisms and ability to be transparent, just like I am today. I try to be as transparent and very vulnerable with you. One of the big steps that emotionally abusive people have to take is being vulnerable about what’s happening inside them at a very deep level.

And when they can be vulnerable with you, they can share this stuff; share their fears, hurt, shame, embarrassment, guilt… When they can be open about those things, what ends up happening is they don’t create any type of block or cover. They don’t get defensive. They don’t get protective because they’re sharing something they know can make them look and feel weaker and more exposed because it can feel very exposed when you share your vulnerabilities.

Sharing your vulnerabilities can feel like you are shedding all your emotional armor and showing somebody who you really are at the deepest level. Just like when I used to be jealous. This was actually maybe twenty years ago. I healed from jealousy a lot sooner than other behaviors, but when I was jealous, I was deathly afraid of being abandoned and left alone.

That jealousy turned into controlling behaviors so that they wouldn’t leave me alone. I was very clingy. I was very possessive. I wanted to be with these people, the source of my happiness because I believed if they were with somebody else, they might find them more appealing and leave me.

I carried this fear of abandonment, rejection, and being alone with me throughout many years and a couple of good relationships. And my fears turned into bad behavior.

And I finally decided that I would rather enjoy the time we have together than have to constantly think about being with the person and being left or stranded. I constantly thought about those things. It was very obsessive thinking. I have episodes on obsessive thinking at if you’re interested in that.

But I learned that I needed to express my true feelings about jealousy, my thoughts about my jealousy, why I needed to be possessive, and why I did certain behaviors back then. So I started sharing that I was afraid to be alone. I was afraid that they would leave me. I started being honest about it, which was scary as hell because that meant feeling exposed.

And that was the first time I really started understanding what it means to be humble and what it means to be vulnerable and allowing yourself to be exposed in front of people or with people that you trust. Because if somebody is trustworthy, being vulnerable with them is only going to bring you closer.

If they’re not trustworthy or you don’t trust them, then it’s harder to express yourself. It’s harder to be vulnerable with them because you think they’re going to crush you during your most vulnerable moments. They’re going to hurt you. And so this is how abusive behavior can start is that you feel like you’re going to get hurt or the person who would be abusive.

They feel like they’re going to be hurt, so instead of feeling that, they push that hurt onto someone else. They don’t want to be hurt themselves, so they would rather push it onto you so that you feel bad. The emotionally abusive person is going to push what they’re afraid of back onto you so that you feel bad and they don’t have to feel afraid.

Maybe you’ll feel guilty. Maybe you’ll feel like you’re being controlled, and you probably are, because they don’t want to feel hurt. They don’t want to feel afraid, and they don’t have good coping mechanisms to deal with that, so they push this behavior onto you, these abusive behaviors.

Vulnerability is where I started my healing journey. Being vulnerable and telling people that I cared about ‘this is why I’m doing this.’

That wasn’t always easy because sometimes some very selfish stuff came out of my mouth. What I said was all about me. And that’s hard to say, but this is sometimes where the emotionally abusive person needs to go.

I’m telling you all this because when somebody joins the Healed Being program I mentioned above, I’ll get messages every now and then that say, “Hey, the person I care about has joined your program, and they say they’re doing the lessons. Then they’ll tell me that their partner or loved one will say something like, ‘I’m doing the lessons, why can’t you just forgive me so we can move on?’

When I read this, I slap my hand to my forehead and tell myself they’re not doing the lessons! They’re not doing them because one of the first lessons tells them to stop focusing on the other person and just focus on themselves. And I explain why.

The reason the emotionally abusive person feels the need to do this is because, when they’re focused on the victim of their behaviors, that’s the precursor to control. The perpetrator wants the victim to think a certain way and say certain things. They want them to come to a certain decision.

So I tell the perpetrators who want to heal, “This is what you’re doing. You’re focused on them, wanting them to change, wanting them to make a choice or whatever. You want them to have a certain thought. All of that focus is on them, but it needs to be on yourself.”

I tell them they need to reflect and work on their own behaviors. They need to heal their own behaviors. I talk all about that in the program, but in there, I get into the details to help them understand that every time they look to another person, every time they look to you to change for them, they’re not healing. They’re just doing another manipulation

If you and I were in a relationship and I looked at you and said the following, “I’m doing the program. Why are you still upset about this? Why can’t you just see that I’m going to be fine? I’m not doing those behaviors anymore, so don’t think about leaving. Just stay because I’m doing this program. This is what you wanted, right?” If I said that, where’s my finger pointing?

My finger is pointing at you, wanting you to do something different, wanting you to change, wanting you to change your mind, wanting you to say something that I want to hear.

To heal, the emotional abuser has to point the finger at themselves and keep it there. They have to say, ‘I am responsible for my own behaviors. I am responsible for what I’ve done. I am responsible for what I am doing. If I don’t like something, that’s on me, it’s my problem. I’m dealing with it. I need to heal with it and from it. I need to do everything I can for myself, even if the relationship doesn’t survive.’

This is what I teach. And I’m telling you this in case you know someone who’s trying to change or is in the program or whatever. If you know someone who’s trying to change and they’re pointing the finger at you, asking you, ‘why don’t you accept this? Why can’t you see that I’m doing the work?’ Then they’re not doing the work.

The work is about them. It’s not about you. You have your own healing to do, but their healing and work are about them. For them to heal and change, their focus, which is one of the many lessons, must be on themselves.

When it’s not, I’ll give you an example from my own life when I was married. At that time, I would see something my wife was doing, and I’d get upset about it. Then I would do something to try to change or control her.

In that moment, my focus in on her. What I really need to do is take that focus and turn it back toward me. When I do that, my finger’s pointing back at myself. I need to tell myself, Okay, so you don’t like something she’s doing. What are you going to do about it? Not to her, but for yourself. What are you going to do for yourself in this situation?

My first thought might be that I need to change her. Well, that’s not for you. That’s to her. Oh, right. Got it.

Again, this is about when I started my healing journey. Right near the end of my marriage, I started doing all this. I started thinking this way. When I getting healthy, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind when I became triggered was, ‘I don’t like what she’s doing, so what am I going to do about it for me?’

Then I’d have a little bit of internal dialogue: “Well, if I don’t like what she’s doing and I can’t point the finger at her and change her, then I guess I’m either going to have to accept her for the way she is, or I’m going to have to leave (like I was saying earlier).” That’s what came to my mind. I mean, I’m either going to have to accept this, or I need to leave.

My first response to that was, “But I don’t want to leave.” Then I said, “But I can’t accept it. I can’t accept her being this way.” So I was in a dilemma.

But I remember telling myself, ‘You have to choose one or the other.’ I decided, okay, then I’ll leave. And boy, that was hard to say because I didn’t want to leave.

I thought, Why can’t she just change and make us happy? If she would only change, we would be happy. I would be happy, which meant we would be happy because I was selfish, and I thought if I was happy, we would be happy.

But that was my thought process. Like, I can’t accept her the way she is so I’ll just leave. And when I said I’ll just leave, I had to stop myself and ask, what the hell are you saying? Leave? You’re going to leave because you can’t accept her behavior?

I heard myself talking like this. I heard what I was saying. You’re going to leave because you can’t accept who she is? And again, there’s another first for me. I just realized how immature that was. I can’t accept somebody for who they are, so my automatic response was that I needed to try and change them.

Just hearing myself say it out loud, I felt like an idiot. I felt like a mean-spirited, a mean person. I felt awful because here I am thinking it’s important for her to change for my happiness, for our happiness, but I never considered that I really wasn’t accepting her for who she was. I really thought I accepted her for who she was, but I was dense then. I was an idiot.

I can look back and think no wonder she was becoming more and more depressed around me because that’s who I was! I really believed that I was this loving, accepting person. But I was doing behaviors that were very different than that. They were the opposite of love.

I finally got it. I finally came to that moment of revelation where I said, if I can’t accept her, I should leave. And if I can’t leave, then I have to accept her. And boy, that shift happened inside me at that moment. It was the shift of me realizing that I have not been accepting her at all for who she was and the decisions she makes.

That realization changed everything. It started my healing process. And that healing has continued up until this day and will continue for the rest of my life because sometimes old patterns of thought sneak up on me. And as soon as I feel a little bit judgmental, I have to stop and say, whoa, what’s that? I don’t want to think that way anymore. That’s bad. That’s unhealthy. That’s toxic.

And I take a step back mentally and ask myself, Okay, what’s going on? Because right now, you’re not accepting this person for who they are. That step back and reflection moment has been a huge help me stop old patterns of behavior and think more clearly before doing or saying anything.

Again, I’m just sharing this because there are times when somebody you care about will appear to be going through changes. They’ll appear to be doing the right stuff. It looks like they’re taking the right steps. Maybe they joined the program. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe they’re reading books or articles. Whatever they’re doing, it seems like they’re going in the right direction. Maybe they’re going to therapy.

Whatever it is, it’s important that you always see their own finger pointing back at themselves. Never at you. That’s one of the main points I want to make today in this episode. Because when you feel like the finger is being pointed at you (And again, this is for the people that say they’re healing and working on themselves), and that you need to do something or you need to accept them and you need to cater to or accommodate or change for them – whenever you feel that finger is being pointed at you, they’re not working on themselves, they’re working on you.

I don’t want them to work on you. You don’t want them to work on you! That’s not what I teach at all. And this is mostly for people who are trying to continue a relationship together. It’s for those who want to “salvage” the relationship and really know there’s a better person under there. They’ve seen that better person, but that person disappeared. Where did they go? The controlling, manipulative, or emotionally abusive person has come out instead.

In order to heal all of that, that finger needs to be pointing at themselves. And like I said, all that means is the emotionally abusive person has to say, “If I have a problem with you, that’s my problem, not yours. Because either I’m going to accept you for who you are, or I’m going to support you for the decisions that you make, even if I disagree with them, and I’m going to love you as you are, or it’s my problem, not yours.” That’s really what it comes down to.

This is what you should see. This is what you should feel from them. Because one of the other things I teach in that program is that when they start changing, I mean for real, when they actually do the work, when their focus is on themselves and not on the other person to change when they’re doing the work, the person that they’ve hurt is going to notice it.

They’re going to see it. They’re going to feel it. They’re going to notice changes. They’re going to notice differences. And it’s going to surprise them. That’s when you know changes are taking place. Because the victim of the emotionally abusive behavior, when they are no longer feeling oppressed or blamed or guilty or responsible for all the relationship issues, when that disappears, you feel it.

You feel completely different. So you don’t even need anyone to say, look at what I’m doing. Look at how I’m changing. Look at all the stuff I’m doing for us. They might say something like that, which is not a good idea because they need to do it for them. They need to do it for themselves because even if they get into a different relationship, the same stuff is going to come up.

Whether they are reconciling with you or getting into a new relationship, if they don’t work on this stuff, it will reoccur. This is why it’s so important for anyone who does emotionally abusive behavior and wants to change that. They have to do it for themselves. They can be motivated by the person they’ve hurt.

They can say, I will never hurt you again. And hurting you now, I feel that through and through. I finally have empathy, and I’m going to stop doing it. And you motivate me to want to change. But regardless if you’re in my life or not, I need to do this for myself because it’s in me. It’s not about us, even though it affects us.

It’s not about you, even though it affects you. It’s all about me. This is a personal healing journey. This is what I need to do for myself. And as I said, when they do the work, you notice it. You should never be convinced that they’re doing it. You should never feel obligated to now forgive them and move on because they’re doing it.

That comes in time if it ever does. It’s up to the person that was hurt to get to a point where they can say, wow, you are different. I would like to see what happens. I would like to go forward with this and see where it takes us. But that’s up to you if you are in this position. Their job is to work on themselves.

And if they really, honestly, genuinely do the work, they’re working on their coping mechanisms. They’re changing behaviors. They’re focused on themselves. They’re reflecting. They’re asking themselves questions. They’re stopping themselves as I sometimes do, thankfully. It’s much rarer. But it happens when old patterns of behavior appear.

They should say, whoa, what’s this? And let me think about this. Let me take a step back and reflect on this because I don’t want to think that way anymore. I don’t want to have those thoughts. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I don’t want to do those behaviors. So let me think about this, work on it, and not put it on them.

I don’t want to be hurtful to them anymore. I don’t want to push my fears, defenses, self-protective behaviors, or coping mechanisms onto them. I need to work on this on myself and work on this in myself so that I heal and feel better in myself because I guarantee this is what happens:

When the emotionally abusive person starts to feel better inside themselves, and they’re no longer pointing the finger at you, they’re no longer thinking, ‘you’re the problem for my behavior,’ or ‘you’re the reason for my behavior, and you’re the problem in the relationship,’ when they’re no longer focused on you changing but instead focused on themselves healing, then everything changes automatically.

That doesn’t mean if you’ve closed off your heart that you’re just going to open it right up. It could. Some people close up their heart forever, and there’s no way back in. That happens. But some people still have that door cracked just a little bit, just in case. And that’s a personal choice. Sometimes, like in my relationships, all my relationships, they closed their heart.

They sealed it. They didn’t want to deal with me anymore, and good for them. They needed to do that. They needed to protect themselves from my behaviors, and from who I was. And that needed to happen. That’s what caused me to start looking inward and realizing I needed change. And you could just say their focus was on themselves and not on me.

It works the other way, too. When the victim of hurtful behavior starts focusing on themselves and asking themselves, what do I need to do for me? How do I need to protect myself now that really doesn’t have anything to do with them but has a lot to do with me and for me? Because it works both ways.

The emotionally abusive person needs to focus on themselves, and the victim of that emotional abuse needs to focus on themselves and ask themselves, am I going to allow this anymore? Am I going to accept this kind of behavior? What do I need to do for me? What do I need to do to keep myself healthy, to be happier, to feel safer?

Is it with this person? Is it not? Should I give this a chance, or is it too late? This will depend on if you’ve sealed your heart shut or not. If you’ve sealed your heart shut, then it’s hard to open it back up because it’s the ultimate in self-protection. Sometimes you just have to take a step and protect yourself no matter what.

Even if they’ve fully changed, you can see the changes, and you know they’re different, but if your heart’s not in it, it’s hard to get back to it. There’s just too much negative association with their past behaviors. That happens. So this is what I tell the emotionally abusive people who want to heal.

I say if there’s still love in their heart, there’s a chance. Boy, you really have to show up. You really have to do the work. You really have to reflect. And you really need to keep that finger pointing at yourself because as soon as you say, why can’t you see I’m doing this? Why can’t you see that I’m changing?

You’re showing the behaviors that you used to show, just in a different way, because what’s happening is the abusive person is now putting an obligation or an expectation on you, and you feel it. You feel that expectation, and it’s just more control.

The main point of my episode today is when the person in your life says they’re changing, says they’re working on stuff, and seems to be really dedicated to doing it and dedicated to changing, but their finger is pointing at you in some way, and you feel it.

You feel the expectation. You feel the obligation. You feel maybe the guilt trip. Any of that proves to me that they’re missing a few steps of this process. And one of the main steps is focus. And that focus requires a finger pointing at themselves.

What often happens, or the reason this often happens is because their primary goal is to keep the relationship intact instead of their primary goal being to heal themselves.

And that is, I was going to say a fine line, but it’s really not a fine line. It’s a very distinct line that shows you who’s really interested in showing up as a healthier person. It’s either I’m showing up as a healthier person for me and, yes, for us as well, or I’m showing up as a healthier person to keep us from splitting up because you always can tell when somebody is willing to go the distance when the relationship doesn’t have a chance of surviving, yet they still want to heal themselves.

This is why a no is a good indicator of where somebody is in their healing. And what I mean by that is if they ask, well, do you think there’s a chance that we’ll stay together? And you say, I don’t think so, or no, and they say, then what’s the point of healing? What’s the point of changing? Because if we’re not going to be together, then I’m really not saving anything.

That shows you where they are in their healing. They’re not healing. They’re not in that space where they can say, it’s going to hurt if we break up, or if this is the direction you want to go, but I still need to work on myself no matter what.

And that’s the hardest thing for some people to do is to make it about them and not about us because “us” will come if they are healthy. That means if I am healthy, then there can be an us. It might be. I mean, it doesn’t mean there will be, but there can be. But if I am not healthy, then there can’t be an us.

The person that needs to heal from doing the abusive behavior needs to keep this in mind. The majority of people who listen to this show are either victims of emotional abuse or trying to figure out the difficulties in their relationships so they can work on things or communicate better.

I’m telling you this because it’s important for you to know where they should be in the healing process if they are working on their healing. They should be in that space of looking at you, supporting you where you are, accepting you for who you are, and realizing they need to work on themselves whether the relationship survives or not.

It doesn’t mean they can’t say, I hope the relationship survives. It doesn’t mean they can’t say that. It just means I’m going to heal and work on myself no matter what. And that could mean that the relationship still doesn’t work. But if I don’t work on myself, then I’ll never have a healthy, happy, long-lasting relationship.

I’ll leave this here because if you are in any type of relationship, romantic, family, platonic, whatever it is, and you want to see changes in the other person, you want to see them stop doing the behavior and they actually want to stop doing the behaviors, they want to be healthier and heal, and they want to treat you the way you deserve to be treated, then I think it’s important to understand what that looks like.

And it’s not so much just what it looks like. It’s what it feels like. When somebody is healing, you feel it. You no longer get the glare. You don’t get the inflection in their voice. You don’t get the words that they used to say. It’s almost the opposite. It’s like they’re actually following my definition of love, which is supporting the other person’s path to happiness, even if you disagree with that path.

What that means is whatever decisions you make for yourself, they are for you. And if somebody loves you, they’re going to say, wow, I want you to do things for you. I want you to be happy. And if you make decisions that make you happy, that makes me happy. And if you ask, well, if I go out with my friends one night, are you going to be okay with it?

And if they say, if that makes you happy, that would make me happy. If they say that, that’s a very healthy response. And there can’t be any later anger about it. Like if they say, oh, no, I’m happy. Go out with your friends. That’s great because whatever makes you happy, I’m happy.

Some other people will listen to this show and say, okay, this is what I need to do to make them think I’m a better person now and that I’m healing and doing better behaviors.

What will happen is, let’s just say they said, “If it makes you happy, that’s what makes me happy. That’s what I want for you is for you to do things that make you happy,” but then a week later, they say, “When you went out with your friends, you were selfish!” If they say that later, then they didn’t mean what they said earlier.

If something like that comes out later, they didn’t mean, “whatever makes you happy makes me happy.” So you have to be aware of this. They didn’t really want you to go out because they held onto the upset about it.

You just got to watch for these things. Whatever they hold onto. If they said that they were going to be okay with something and then later on, they were not okay with it, they weren’t okay with it to begin with! Which means they’re not really in that healing space.

Again, it comes back to my definition of love:

Supporting the person’s path to happiness. Supporting their decisions. Supporting who they want to be because it makes them happy. And if they’re happy, I’m happy.

That’s my philosophy and belief about love: If you’re happy, I’m happy.

If my girlfriend’s happy, I’m happy. And I know if I’m happy, she’s happy.

There are some little nuances in there, of course. But for the most part, you understand. I hope this is helpful. Thanks for joining me today. Share this with others that might benefit.

Share this with someone who might benefit.

Paul Colaianni

Host of Love and Abuse and The Overwhelmed Brain

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