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The Not So Secret Reason Relationships Fail

Updated on January 2, 2015

Robert Clinton


A Book I Once Read

gave me the best understanding of people and relationships that I have ever had. The book was published 40-50 years ago, and it is rarely mentioned or read in the circle of people that I am in. It is called "I'm OK, You're OK", by Thomas A. Harris. This is a book worth reading, if you want my opinion. My uncle sent it to me after a tough break up, and it was instrumental in me getting through it. I was distraught and depressed when it arrived out of nowhere, and I looked at it with a pretty stiff dose of pessimism.

If it had not been from the most successful person in my family, that paper back would have went in the trash. Instead, I read the preface and it piqued my interest. The day was well into the evening when I began reading those pages, and I didn't put it down until I had finished. I was hooked on the information and understandings that were contained on the pages. Now, the title of this hub was about a secret, wasn't it? I guess you are expecting me to tell you about it. Well, don't despair. The secret that I spoke of is the key to communicating that I found printed on the pages. "I'm OK, You're OK" offers a real in depth understanding of how and why people say and do the things that they do. It talks about how our experiences shapes our perspective, how to understand said perspective, and how to reshape it. I walked away empowered by the knowledge of my fellow man/woman. And, the knowledge of myself.

I learned what causes people to stop communicating, and how to correct that problem. In essence, all parties must maintain an adult/OK point of view of themselves and the other parties during any interaction for true progress to be made. The book explains more possibilities and positions that are essential to understanding all of this, but to include it all would be too much. To make it as to the point as possible, the three potential mental positions are parent, child, and adult. Once the parent or child get involved in a situation, things are likely headed downhill. The parent represents the habits and attitudes that you learned from your environment (family) growing up. And then there is the child.

The child is the collection of emotions and responses that we record in our minds in relation to our experiences. Once you are able to identify them when they start to interfere in your life, the freedom is fantastic. Ever since I read this book, I have felt and do feel strongly that almost any situation can be overcome by two people who openly exchange ideas. The Egyptians built the pyramids without any modern technology, and even though I wasn't there, it's pretty obvious they didn't achieve such an accomplishment without clears lines of communication. From what I can tell, just two people can not achieve anything together without communicating with each other, much less 200,000 people. If you understand yourself and the people around you, that will allow you to look at things from a different perspective. That different point of view makes talking to others much easier. Now there is a freedom that I had never known in life. How about you? In closing I would like to add a little disclaimer. You may find as some other people do that some of the conclusions the author made in the book were a little overboard. That is OK with me. It was the idea underlying the conclusion that was a real gem for me, and I hope it is for you , too!


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    • rclinton5280 profile image

      Robert Clinton 6 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      Your words are kind, and so are your ideas. Thank you for taking the time to read my hub. Here's to growing....:)

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 6 years ago from Southern California

      Good points, and I agree. Without communication, no relationship can survive, and thrive.

      A newer book that covers this topic is "Mars and Venus Starting Over" by John Gray, Ph.D. It turns out that many of our "mistakes in relationships are because of conditioning in our childhood, like you said, and we mimic the roles played by our parents. We also tend to deal with unresolved hurt from the past by using unhealthy behavior in each relationship until we make peace with what we felt (hurt) in our past.

      I didn't know this, and the book has helped me identify so many things about myself. It's always refreshing to see others look for enlightenment/self-improvement by reading. I guess that's a perk for going through a bad breakup. You can grow from it, or become bitter... the choice is yours.

      Thanks for the hub.