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Blow Up Doll Marriage
Written By: Mark Smith


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A guy said something really funny but also very poignant in my Men's Group this week. My description of his wife's severe Codependency on their wedding day made him picture standing at the altar with a blow up doll. By both of their accounts she was a non-person, a chameleon, adoring, passive, inauthentic, too other centered, disconnected from her self, rescuing, overly nurturing, without boundaries and otherwise pretty darn lost.

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She didn't really know that she was all of those things at the time and she wasn't unhappy at all. Like most wedding day participants, she was completely stoned on love. The truth is that a lot of controlling, psychologically defended, arrogant, workaholic, needy, oblivious, self absorbed young fellas have enthusiastically stood at the altar with huge dopey grins as they gazed into the eyes of their blow up doll bride in a white dress. I did so thirty years ago. Beware though young fellas because blow up doll wives eventually blow up all the way when they explode in resentment, bitterness, disappointment, victimy thinking, rage, coldness, emotional cutoff and punishment.

When we are loved very well in childhood we find someone to love us very well in adulthood. When we are loved very poorly in childhood as the vast majority of us are, we find someone to love us with an addictive counterfeit love in the beginning of the relationship to seal the deal, but then settle into a long term deal that is eriely similar to the deal that we were raised in. I wrote two weeks ago about the male Counterdependent's process of change and growth in my blog 'Broken Man Abandonment'. The blow up bride is exactly the type of woman a Counterdependent selects. As the broken man gets in touch with his neediness, self-care, limitations, sadness, loneliness and his inner little boy his wife has a completely different Recovery process. She is busy gaining a voice, locating the fire in her belly, individuating from his agenda for her, finding her true place in the world, learning how to set boundaries, gaining respect, taking good care of herself, naming how her husband steps on her, healing her childhood wounds and moving to a place of equality in the marriage. It is like gutting a duplex whiling trying to live in it, very messy.

I love watching a depressed and oppressed blow up doll woman slowly transform into a solid, genuine, articulate, glowing, respected, powerful and healthy woman. It is a painful process though. I have one woman who is exhausted and very sad at the end of every grueling week of therapy with her husband on Tuesday, group therapy on Thursday and some near sleepless nights in between. Healing childhood wounds is very painful work. Learning to go to war effectively with a clueless husband is also very painful. We go through a lot of boxes of tissues here at Family Tree Counseling Associates. The pain and the work are well worth it though.

I believe that there should be a re-commitment 'wedding' ceremony when the 'new', middle aged, humble, sensitive, deep, balanced, healthy, involved man can look into the eyes of his new, genuine, fiery, present, happy, confident, substantial, healthy bride and make commitments that they are actually able to keep. The vast majority of us make commitments on our wedding days that we are just too unhealthy emotionally to ever keep.

As you read this blog posting does the couple I described sound familiar to anybody? I know that it does. You don't have to continue to live lives of distance, disconnection, sadness, loneliness, powerlessness, frustration, hopelessness and sexually blandness. You are too young for that. Get to work on yourself today. You don't have to wait for your partner to get on board. You needed your counterfeit, unfulfilling, reenacting of your childhood marriage to break your defenses so that you could access the real wounded you under the surface. Now is your time. You can probably even rebuild your marriage into something better than it has ever been before. It is all good. You have an opportunity to make your life better. Your spouse is not your problem at all. They are delivering on what you recruited them to do for and to you. Don't be bitter, just get better. Blow yourself up into a strong, determined, kind, powerful, joyful, loving, victorious woman who is a blessing to everyone she comes into contact with, even her husband but especially to her very own special self!

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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