You are not responsible for anyone else’s feelings.
Are you an empathic person who feels others’ pain and then takes responsibility for their feelings in an effort to alleviate their pain? Is it hard for you to feel others’ pain without trying to fix them?
Often, empathic people become caretakers to try to alleviate others’ pain so they don’t have to feel that pain. And takers are generally very attracted to caretakers in relationships.
This is the situation with Tiffany:
“My husband lays his feelings at my feet often and in my own shame, I feel responsible for his feelings and will ‘pick them up’ most always, and abandon my little girl. When I do hold on to myself, and I don’t abandon my littler girl, my husband gets angry and manipulative and unkindbecause his tactics to get me to take care of his little boy are no longer working. It takes all I have to hang on to me, but sometimes I’m able. What is the best response to him when he turns ugly and unkind while I’m hanging on to me? How do I communicate that I’m working on loving myself and that he needs to back off and own his own feelings?”
Tiffany will feel shame and take responsibility for her husband’s feelings as long as she believes that she is responsible for his feelings. If she didn’t believe this, then she wouldn’t feel shame for not taking care him. Her husband likely picks up her shame, which gives him the green light to pull on her to take care of his feelings.
The fact that her husband gets angry and manipulative and unkind when she doesn’t take care of him indicates that he is very stuck in his wounded self and unable to care about her at that time. His wounded self just wants what he wants, regardless of how this affects her.