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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question

Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1164
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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My bf is mad at me What do i do? All i did was pretend to

Customer Question

My bf is mad at me
What do i do?
All i did was pretend to break up with him to see if he really loved me but now he is ignoring me
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Norman Brown :

Well, you are asking what to do about this unpleasant turn of events. Let's try approaching the solution through empathy.

Dr. Norman Brown :

Suppose for a minute that your BF broke up with you because he wanted to see how you would react. Would you be hurt? Would you be mad? Would you want to leave him alone for a week, so he would have to suffer like you've suffered? So maybe he'd wish he'd never tried a stunt like that? Would you want to HURT and SCARE him so he would feel what you had to feel? Would you be worried that getting even with him could lead him to get revenge in a new way, like flirting with some other girl your age?

Dr. Norman Brown :

Have you now thought about how you would feel if he broke up with you -- even if it was to make you show him how scared and jealous you would be?

Dr. Norman Brown :

After thinking through all these possible responses you might have, what do YOU think the best thing would be that YOU would want HIM to do to reassure you and perhaps make up for having played with your heart like that?

Dr. Norman Brown :

I'm very curious about what you come up with when you turn the story around and imagine HE has broken up with YOU just to test you. If you tell me all the things you'd feel and what you'd like HIM to do to help you get free of those bad feelings and make it up to you, then we can discuss how to turn that back around again. Then we can brainstorm about the moves you've thought you'd like HIM to make if HE did that to YOU, and perhaps decide which, if any you'd like to do to make it up to him.

Dr. Norman Brown :

Another way to understand the advice I'm offering you is this: He might stop being mad at you sooner, if you could really feel EMPATHY for how it felt to him when you did it. And then you could feel REGRET and REMORSE that's only natural when you realize you've hurt somebody, and you can't take it all back and expect all of the effects you set in motion to evaporate and BE FORGOTTEN.

Dr. Norman Brown :

What you did can't be Forgotten. But if you can really feel Empathy and Remorse and show both of these to him (even if you have to start by doing it thru emails), then you could get FORGIVEN--IF you make it obvious that you've felt his pain and your helplessness to make that disappear from his memory, so you'll NEVER want to try something like that again.

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