My three youngest children often play together for several minutes; sometimes hours. Day in and day out, they find shared games and discover common interests. The past 18 months have seen them spend more time on Roblox – a global online gaming platform. They have even begun to explore creating their own games. Besides the occasional squabbles, it has been somewhat intriguing seeing them play and work together.
This day, my daughter, Claire, comes to me crying. She reported that her immediate elder, Richard would not let her be. It was her turn to play a game and he was literally breathing down her neck, critically observing and correcting her every move. I called Richard and asked him to please let his sister be. “She is capable of playing the game without your help”, I said, but he insisted that he did not want to risk her losing. He is a very competitive person so it was tough intervening and explaining to him that it was okay to lose a few times and that she would get better with time. I also explained to Claire that Richard was only looking out for her because of how much he loves her but she wasn’t having it.
I recall a time in University. It was my birthday and I had friends visit me and bring gifts. This one person who had frankly been disturbing me also came with a gift. His was different. Besides the unique way it was wrapped, I opened it to find photos of himself. He had sent me about fifteen printed photographs of himself. I felt that was ridiculous of him and I told him so. I returned not just the photos but the gifts as well.
How often have we felt somewhat suffocated by those who love us? Do we smother our loved ones too?
So what should you do when you feel smothered in a relationship?