Dependency and blame:
- Who wants what from whom?
- What happens if they don’t get it?
- Why now?
These are the three questions that writer David Mamet says each scene in a play or film should answer. They’re questions I find myself asking in treating couples, as well. This post will deal with the first question.
Why does someone want something from someone else? That’s a childish stance toward life, where the emphasis is on getting, not giving.
Another term for that is dependency, which is the idea that you have to do something for me so I can feel good—and I get to stand back and tell you how you got it wrong!
Move beyond dependency and blame with therapy
But isn’t that what everyone does?
You may be surprised to learn that many people generate for themselves and look at a partner as someone to share the fun with, rather than someone to bring the sense of excitement to life.
If you’re stuck wanting something from someone else in order to have a good life and feel you have no idea how to generate for yourself (or that you shouldn’t have to), you’d benefit from treatment with a good therapist(read more here). That way you can get an idea of how relationships and life can work without dependency and blame.
Dependency and blame: they travel in pairs!
Whenever you have dependency, you have blame.
If you know how to generate the good feelings and make things happen in your life, you don’t have to blame other people for not “doing” you correctly. You can take responsibility for your own life and happiness, which is infinitely more satisfying than waiting around for someone else to step up and give you the life and happiness you want.
Stay tuned next week for more lessons from David Mamet. If you’d like to work on your dependency, give me a call at 212-353-0296 or send me an email, and we’ll get started. I look forward to speaking with you.
Diane Spear, LCSW-R, owns a private practice in the Union Square/East Village area of Manhattan (New York City). She specializes in anxiety, depression, couples, and parenting treatment, and has been helping people find the joy in everyday life since 1995. She is accepting new patients. To learn more about Diane’s approach to treatment, click here.