Oh yeah, one of my favorite topics. The “kick it to the curb, eat ya up and spit ya out, get in, get on, get out,” craze. It feels soooo.. .what’s the word? How about “effing painful.” It can be truly painful if you haven’t learned how to spot folks who don’t know how to be intimate and step aside. Let’s look at this growing cultural psychological phenomenon.
What are you saying, we throw people away?
The way I see it, relationships have officially become part of our disposable culture: Like diapers, we toss marriages, engagements, friendships, business partnerships, boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, children—I’ve even seen grandmas cut off all ties with their shnuggly little grandbabies. Poof, wad ‘em up, toss ‘em, they are…GONE.
Sometimes all it takes is one sentence, maybe even one word. Then we take our toys and split. Like little babies. Waaah. We have bred a culture filled with people who don’t know how to stay when they don’t get their way. Folks who haven’t bothered to learn or aren’t capable of learning how to be intimate. Or how to stay! Yes, I have been guilty of this myself. We probably all have; things get hot or don’t go as planned, and we leave. The problem is, now that’s the norm, and frankly, if we want to be intimate, there is only one thing to do: grow up!
You might recognize some of these inner modern-day archetypes:
1) The Sociopathippa: You don’t do it for me anymore. Doesn’t matter if I meant what I said or that God heard me say “until death do us part.” I simply don’t mean it anymore, too bad you believed me, that’s not my problem.” Those of us who fall into this category (or have) say things like “I meant it at the time, I’m not the same person anymore, I was young”; the modern-day out-clauses for loss of integrity.
These people reinforce the idea that the spoken word can now be considered metaphor and that if you take it otherwise, it’s your problem.
2) The Narcissoli: We want to be free…I gotta be me… This usually happens when people ‘lead with the fake’ the routine they use to get into or lure you into a relationship. Then they become resentful or feel trapped when you actually think that’s who they are. Feeling suddenly trapped by their lies and your expectations, they freak and have to leave. Especially when you ask what happened to the person you fell in love with. Ya know, the gal who wanted sex all the time, or the guy who used to be so romantic and open my door. Now, I have a headache or you become invisible. Bye-bye!
3) Bipolaraus: I want you to think I mean what I say, but I only mean it when I feel like it; Got that? This is the crazy-maker scenario. People who on a good day really do mean what they say until, maybe, tomorrow, when they don’t. And it’s your job to figure that out. They differ from the “You don’t do it for me anymore” folks because they have less stick-to-it-iveness. These folks show their colors pretty quick. If you like funhouses, you probably will love this kind of relationship!
4) Neurotica (o): The energy junkies, suckers, vultures and vampires. They give to get, they love you and instantly want to be your best friend, can’t do enough for you and give and give and then ‘poof’ they’re gone. AND when they see you, they act like they don’t know you. Bizarre? But so true. It’s that they don’t know how to say NO, so they just leave. These folks mean well, they’re just well…neurotical!
Most relationships are fragile when approached from our wounds. That’s all. So we don’t have to get mad, sad or even. We just might want to pay attention! Compassion is the rule of thumb. How many of us fall slightly into one category or another. (My hand’s up.) And keep in mind, most of us want to be in healthy relationships, many of us don’t know how. I try and stay close to the folks who know how, keep on my path of learning and growing so I can stay in that circle myself, and then try and have compassion for folks who haven’t figured this out yet.
And while some of us crave someone to call us on our crap, keep in mind folks who are deep in unconsciousness might not feel the same. A seeker of truth looks for reflection; they understand that great relationships begin within, and can tell the difference between someone’s projection and an opportunity to explore themselves again.
My mom used to say, “Hurt people hurt people.” Made sense to me. Somewhere in our childhoods, most likely, we decide what we don’t like and make a decision to not put ourselves in that situation again. The problem is, this reinforces being externally referenced, i.e. I experience life from the outside in. Therefore, that person made me feel (whatever). So then I pick and choose my experiences (or so I believe) based on that person’s likelihood to hurt me or not. The alternative? I say, be responsible, have a daily practice of self-inquiry, try to stay awake and learn discernment, the ability to see and feel where other folks are on their journey as it relates to your reality, and continue to seek folks who have relationship skills and know how to use them!
Having said this, I still have teased out some legitimate reasons to change the form of a relationship sooner rather than later:
- Someone is physically abusive (one or more times)
- Someone is a pathological liar ( incapable of telling the truth)
- Someone is putting themselves or you in actual danger
Then I have found some other reasons that warrant a slower departure, after much consideration and attempts to reconcile (or at least part amicably)…
- Someone is unable or unwilling to communicate responsibly
- Someone is incapable or unwilling to keep their agreements
- Someone is repeatedly unwilling or incapable of seeing their part in the relationship
- Someone partakes in addictive behavior that created an unhealthy or unsafe environment (either emotionally or physically)
- Someone’s psychological needs becomes paramount and needs attention beyond the scope of either partner
- Someone’s behavior is constantly contradictory to the arrangements and agreements (implied or otherwise) set forth in the partnership
You are absolutely convinced, based on careful observation and counsel, that regardless of what this person says or does you simply do not share the same reality, and are therefore left to accept that the chasm is too great to createreal intimacy
- Take care of yourself. Like I always say, great relationships begin within!
About Maryanne: Maryanne is a relationship activist, coach, radio personality, award-winning author, and frequent guest on TV and radio talk shows around the country. Millions of people worldwide listen to her three radio talk shows each week: On Maryanne Live! she interviews experts in the self-awareness field such as Ram Dass, Dr. Helen Fisher, Jean Houston, and more; on The Power of We with her husband David Raynal, they look at fresh ways of changing old paradigms. Heart Talk with The Sole Sisters Kris Carlson, Eve Hogan, and Maryanne repaves the road less traveled, with stories of waking up and staying awake real-time.
Maryanne is a go-to expert for Hollywood Life and other online publications. Her blogs can be found on blogher.com, sheknows.com, askdanandjennifer.com, and dozens more sites. She’s appeared on shows such as ABC’s “20/20,” Disney’s “Soap Net,” and San Francisco’s KGO-ABC’s “View from the Bay,” etc. Along with a private practice, she leads transformational workshops for men and women, awarding the Certificate of Responsible Relationship, or CORR®, which is certified by the State of California for Continuing Education credits (provider # 4757). She’s the author of the award-winning book, Skinny, Tan and Rich: Unveiling the Myth, as well as Hindsight: What You Need To Know Before You Drop Your Drawers!, the 5-DVD workshop workbook Great Relationships Begin Within, and the CD series “Thrive: Seven Essential Truths.” Currently working on two new books and a Relationship Divination card deck. Maryanne’s gift is translating life’s complexities into practical tools for creating healthy, fulfilling, sustainable relationships. She’s recognized by her peers and students as a wise, witty, soulful teacher who walks her talk.