Bryan told me once that he tends to protect people he cares about by making their decisions for them.
I don’t remember all the details because it was a while ago, but he told me a story about how one of his brothers got into some trouble with drugs and, rather than burdening his mom with the decision of how to handle the situation, Bryan took care of it himself. He protected his newly-divorced mother from having to decide how to handle her wayward son. I understood his perspective, but I think his mom would have rather known than been kept in the dark for her “protection”.
Similarly, a couple of months ago when I (yet again) asked Bryan why he never complimented me and gave me the verbal affection I crave, he explained that he was protecting me from myself.
“I’ve heard your story,” he told me. “I know how much you invest your heart in relationships. If I were to tell you what a sweet, smart, thoughtful, kind, beautiful, godly woman I think you are, wouldn’t that cause your emotional investment in this relationship to deepen?”
I was fairly glowing at this point. “You think I’m sweet? And smart? And beautiful and kind?”
He smiled slightly. “Yes, but I don’t tell you those things because I’m trying to protect you from investing too much before I’m sure which direction this relationship is going to go.”
He told me that, while I am all of those wonderful things, he has some reservations about my defensiveness and occasional passive-aggressive behavior. He also told Toby that I can be too serious and need to loosen up.
While I appreciate that he has been trying to guard my heart for me, I would rather have him tell me what he really thinks of me (the good and the bad) and allow me to make my own decision of how much to invest in the relationship. He is not protecting me. He is destroying us.