I have 2 kids and have been living with my boyfriend for 2 years now but the problem i have is that he goes out of his way to do favors for his extended family and its like me and the kids are secondary. . .then he gets upsets with me for telling him how i feel and thinks i dislike them. . . also he does not like to inform me of what he is doing and when i feel upset about these issue he refuses to talk about it with me and this really makes me mad. . . . .i feel like i am not getting the attention i deserve what can i do
I understand how frustrated you are. It’s very difficult to be with a partner who doesn’t put forth the effort to understand your feelings.In reading your letter, in became clear to me that your boyfriend has a very fragile ego. A person with a fragile ego has such a brittle sense of self and as a consequence is unable to absorb any criticism. Criticism for such a person is like battery acid on raw skin.To protect himself, he refuses to let the criticism come anywhere near him. He justifies, defends himself and/or counterattacks you. All these behaviors serve to keep the criticism off of him.The only way to communicate with such a fragile person is to use my X, Y Formula, which is fully outlined in my book, Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First). The formula starts with a Lead In, where you check if he’s available for a conversation. If he says he’s free, then deliver a Disclaimer, which is a positive, supportive statement that will put him at ease. The Disclaimer should make reference to a trait of his that you value, especially a trait that will be helpful to the discussion you’re about to have (perhaps that he’s a giving person or fair minded).Next deliver my X, Y Formula, which is your problem statement. X refers to what was done or said and Y refers to how you feel about it. Since he’s fragile, avoid the word ‘you’ under any circumstance. Your X, Y Formula would sound like, ‘I feel sad (or hurt or whatever you feel) when special favors are done for members of the extended family (not I feel sad when YOU do favors for YOUR family).Conclude the X, Y Formula with a Suggestion for the Future, so he knows what he can do to make it better. This suggestion should be in the positive form, telling what would work better for you, not what he shouldn’t do.Remember to use a gentle tone, since heated discussions are intolerable to a person with such a fragile ego. My formula works for the majority of people who use it and I am hopeful that you will do fine.When he starts to get hot under the collar, you also need to be prepared to steer the derailing conversation back on track. When this happens apply my First Aid techniques right away.Ask him Cool Down Questions such as ‘It seems that I’m offending you, what did I say that landed wrong? Or what can I say that will feel better for you?’ If he’s still upset, take a break and re-approach at a later time using a newly worded Lead In, Disclaimer, and Problem Statement.Let me know how you make out.