How do you know if your spouse is really changing? Are they more concerned with being applauded for their efforts, or with actually making real changes that are evident in their behaviors? Dr. Hawkins talks about one of the signs that your partner is not changing behavior and that they are probably not making as much progress as they would like you to believe.
Signs that Your Partner is not Changing Behavior
In any relationship, personal growth and change are expected and often celebrated. When we embark on a journey of self-improvement, we hope that our efforts will be recognized and appreciated by our partners. However, there’s a fine line between healthy self-improvement and an unhealthy need for validation. In this article, we will explore signs that your partner may not be genuinely changing their behaviors despite their claims, and how this can impact a relationship.
The Need for Constant Validation
Dr. David Hawkins, the director of the Marriage Recovery Center, has observed a concerning trend among Christian men: a growing need for validation and recognition of their changing behaviors. These individuals become indignant when their partners fail to notice the changes they believe they’ve made. They may demand acknowledgment, saying, “Is he really changing?” This need for constant validation can be a sign that genuine change is not occurring.
Genuine Change Doesn’t Require Self-Promotion
One crucial indicator that your partner is not changing behavior is their reliance on self-promotion. If someone is genuinely transforming their behaviors and attitudes, they shouldn’t need to constantly draw attention to their efforts. True change doesn’t require breaking one’s arm patting themselves on the back or becoming angry when others fail to applaud them. Authentic change is an internal process that doesn’t necessitate external validation.
Silence Speaks Volumes
Rather than seeking recognition and validation, those who are genuinely changing their behaviors often choose to remain silent about their efforts. They understand that personal growth and transformation are not performative acts. Instead, they quietly and diligently work on themselves, allowing their actions to speak louder than words.
Emotional Maturity Takes Time
Another important aspect to consider is that true emotional maturity takes time to develop. If your partner is genuinely working on themselves, they won’t expect immediate recognition. Instead, they will understand that personal growth is a journey that requires patience and perseverance. It’s not about making a sudden grand entrance into emotional maturity but about consistently and steadily progressing.
Everyone Will Notice Authentic Change
When genuine change occurs, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Your partner’s transformation will become evident in their actions, words, and the way they treat you and others around them. When change is real, it doesn’t need to be loudly proclaimed; it naturally radiates from within. Everyone will notice the positive shift in your partner’s behavior and attitude.
Self-Promotion Indicates Lack of Progress
On the flip side, constant self-promotion and the need for validation may indicate that your partner is not changing behavior. When someone is truly growing and changing, their focus is on the internal transformation, not on seeking external approval. A reliance on self-promotion suggests that they might be trying to compensate for a lack of real change.
In conclusion, it’s important to be vigilant and discerning when it comes to assessing whether your partner is genuinely changing their behaviors. The need for constant validation, excessive self-promotion, and impatience for recognition can all be signs that authentic change may not be taking place.
Instead of seeking applause, those who are truly growing and evolving focus on the internal journey of personal growth. Remember that true change is a gradual and silent process that eventually becomes evident to everyone. In the end, actions speak louder than words, and authentic transformation will shine through without the need for self-promotion or indignation.
Also read: How to Use Safe Place in EMDR
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.