I encouraged both Mike and Karin by telling them that there were steps they could take to improve how they felt about themselves. That although Dr. Bruce Fisher
Dr. Fisher said the one who does the leaving
Mary knew she had to get out of her destructive marriage. Her husband Bob was emotionally unavailable, drank a bit too much, and treated her like a maid. Nothing she did or said was good enough. Although her self-confidence was at a low ebb, she mustered enough courage to leave Bob. Even though she was now a single mother of a four-year old boy, Mary thrived during her first few months of "freedom." She felt in charge of her life again, and she wasn't taking the daily hits to her self esteem.
However, the years of psychological abuse had taken a toll, and Mary's feelings of low self-esteem were preventing her from finding and keeping a job. In therapy, we discovered that it was her fear of making mistakes, of "screwing up" the way Bob had told her she would. Mary remembered him saying, "No one will ever love you, ever. You have nothing to give!"
Jim's story was that he was sure he didn't love Ann anymore. He thought he was living a lie that was hurting everyone, including his children. Jim stayed in his marriage much longer than he probably should have, and by the time we met, his esteem was in the gutter. He finally broke the news to his family that he was leaving. Although relieved, he felt like a complete failure. His wife's last words were: "You're a self-centered bum."