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Practical Therapy: Knowing and Understanding Relationships Vol. 3

Updated on May 12, 2010

The War Within. The... Booty??? Without

In our last segment, we were discussing destructive behavior, in the form of having outrageous expectations to hold a potential relationship partner to.

We further discussed that this destructive behavior is made even more so, by the truth that it would take a rare individual, that could hold themselves to the same set of expectations, and furthermore, keep those same set of expectations.

We ended by asking ourselves some of the truly important questions that matter, when either entering into or thinking about entering into a relationship, that we want to be a lasting, loving and fruitful relationship.

These questions are further defined, in our next segment.

Part I: Mental Preparation, continued: The merger of individuals

Every human being that was, is or ever will be, was, is or will be a product of their past. From the time we are born, we are bombarded with a multitude of stimuli. We are thrust into a social group--family or foster care-- all of which are considered, at different stages of development, pending on the individual, to be dysfunctional or deemed undesirable to some degree.

Ergo, our only recourse--would you believe it?--is to mature, grow-up, and eventually spread our wings and fly solo. However, not before having already been conditioned with your governing parentages' moral, social and spiritual beliefs.

Now, flying solo, you'll fly troubled skies, take frequent lay-overs in depression, uncertainty and doubt, where you will amass a large collection of skeletons as souvenirs, which will clutter your closet, to no end, and finally, you'll find yourself bogged down, with persistent and very unwanted baggage.

The thing is, though all of the former is unavoidable, none of us have to live in this manner, for our entire lives. In fact, the majority of us don't. The sad thing is, though we don't have to spend our entire lives this way, the majority of us spend more than half of our lives figuring that out.

So, what happens during the interim, before you come to the realization that we don't like what our lives have become?

Well, that's obvious, particularly, if you're reading this series. Most of us become masters of disguise and deception. We become adept at showing those around us our extraordinary thespian talents. We become so enamored in the character that we've created that, when a measure of superficial success is obtained, we convince ourselves that this character si truth above the us that carries the emotional baggage.

We convince ourselves that, because we don't like the directions that our lives have taken, that no one wants to know the person that our lives have, so painstakingly, molded us into. We become lost to ourselves.

The problem with this--for those of us that are really having a tough time with this--is that it is very easy to fool people that you only have to spend minutes or hours around. The reality of this subterfuge is that it doesn't matter how many temporary people you fool, throughout your lifetime, because every single day of your life, you will have to deal with yourself, alone.

Redundant? Maybe.

However, no word hits home better than "alone"!

Everyday, you have to face the world, "alone". Every accomplishment and every failure, you will experience, "alone".

Now, before I continue, I want to be clear that this is not to say that we will not have people in our corner, cheering for us. This is to say that nothing that we brave has the same effect on someone who is not directly involve. In a race someone must lose.

So, why "alone"? Well, because we live a lie. No one knows who "you" are. How can anyone share anything with you. They don't even know that that person exists. You can't allow them to share or help, in anything, for fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Why? Simple. You've never truly evaluated your self worth, by asking the important questions, to the one who matters most, YOU. You've never come to understand and--more importantly--respect the trials of your life. If you haven't done this for yourself, how can anyone else? The shame of it is that, until you except what your life has made you, most of the benefits of your experiences remain wasted.

Now, we've talked about temporary acquaintances that you may have through-out your life and the negative impact that not really knowing or understanding who you are can have, on the quality of the relationships that you share with them--not to mention, the quality of life that you must endure, on a solitary basis.

You might ask, "What does that have to do with an intimate relationship?". The answer is, "Everything".

What happens when someone becomes attracted to the character? You may find yourself mutually attracted. Do you push that person away? In some cases, the answer would be yes, because they've spent their lives pushing anyone who tries to get close, away. But, in most cases--by "most" I mean the people who have had the standard issue of life malfunctions--we tend to invite any level of normalcy.

Particularly, in the case of low self-esteem, the individual has led his or herself to believe any number of self-depreciating things: "I'm too fat. I'm too skinny. I'm not pretty enough. I'm not smart enough.", so that when anyone suggest the slightest hint of interest in them, they shut themselves off, perceiving a threat. They don't want to risk damaging their self-esteem further. They already do a well enough job of that, without any help.

However, this coin has a mirror image. Also common, in cases of low self-esteem, though this person has led the same self-depreciating beliefs, their response to the suggestion of the slightest bit of intimacy is exactly the opposite. Instead of closing themselves to the possibility, they become a tidal wave of eagerness, all too willing to please.

In either case, low self-esteem or not, the mask that you use to hide your flaws and insecurities is a very ephemeral and mostly ineffective mask, when placed under close scrutiny.

Funny beings, our specie.  Human beings are naturally intuitive and irritatingly curious.  The more doors that bar their way, the more determined they are to get beyond them.  But since most of us choose the normalcy of trying at a relationship, the maze of doors is a short lived exercise in patience.  Defenses begin to waiver, under an onslaught of affection.  Illusions are no more, the more a person picks and prods.

For the objective observer, the only logical path, for the person of scrutiny, is to raise the white flag and surrender to what he or she has allowed to happen.  Lower the defenses and let the person who has spent time, trying to know and understand them, know the real person that they keep hidden from the rest of the world.

Some people do exactly this--at least to a point that ground can be broken, for a good foundation to start on, with a relationship.  Many more, however, continue to perpetuate their act.

In our next segment, "Mental Preparation, continued: emotional dueling" we will explore the affects of perpetuating a facade at the expense of someone else's emotions.

Mental preparation is an extremely in depth topic, which is one of the most important aspects of owning an intimate relationship.  I would like to continue to explore this topic, as we move along, that we can truly grasp a complete understanding of all of the elements involved.

Until next time, well met and be well, my friends.


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    • Juelstephen profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

      Thank you, Nellieanna. I humbly except your praise. It is refreshing to find a kindred and appreciative spirit. It is my wish to continue to provide quality content.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Again - a most perceptive, astute and (I feel sure) first-hand spotlight on the situation which so very frequently overshadows people's ability to really know themselves and so, to relate to each other. Fact is, even if one is at least a tad beyond all that - there are so few others who are. And in the case of a relationship, it IS like a tango - takes two, at minimum!! However it is often sufficient to be a "family" of one and much preferable to being yoked unequally where there is no desire to reciprocate with honesty. Fortunately, being "all of a piece" within oneself also provides a wonderful kind of optimism!

      You truly have a clear eye and a phenomenal ability to explain what you see.


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