Some years ago I read Harry Guntrip’s Schizoid Phenomena, Object Relations, and the Self. I often think of something he wrote in that book, that many of us would rather be bad than weak. Now that seems paradoxical at first but think about it — it is often more satisfying to believe that we, in our “badness” ,create the behavior in others that bothers us, because that way, if we become good, then they will change too.
If my mother treated me badly because I was bad; if my lover is abusive because I am not good then all I have to do is change, become good and then I will have the mother I wanted, the lover who will cherish me.
But if I have no control over my mother’s behavior or my lover’s abuse, then I have to live with knowing that I cannot change them, that I have to deal with who they are as they are.
To accept that I cannot determine the behavior of others means I must be more aware of my own choices and what drives them. I have to surrender my illusions about my power to control others.