Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Control: Holding on Too Tightly

There are many things I have learned over past decade or so that makes me wonder about other people’s motives, and even my own. In relationships, we all would love to trust the person we’re with and have that be the best friendship we’ve ever had. We want to trust our friends, the ones who we confide in, the ones we think who are keeping our innermost secrets. Reality is harsh sometimes. We sometimes find out the hard way that people aren’t perfect. It hurts. It feels like betrayal - but is it? Or is it more or less just being human? I guess it depends on the level of “betrayal”. My trust begins with myself - the ability to forgive, and hopefully forget if possible. There are so many outside people interjecting into relationships - giving them unnecessary advice, whether or not it’s genuine. The problem with that is, if that one outside person is negative and unforgiving, the person in the relationship taking the advice will then most likely not forgive his or her partner. Why do you think so many marriages end up in divorce these days? Back in the day, divorce wasn’t heard of - why? Because forgiveness played a huge role. “Stay by your man” - remember? But that seems to be more looked upon as chauvinistic, or perhaps degrading to women. But what if it isn’t the woman who needs to give the forgiveness, and the woman ends up betraying her husband? What about in gay and lesbian relationships? It works both ways. Stand by your partner, if it’s not an abusive situation of course. That’s entirely different. I’m speaking of two people distancing from one another, as well as infidelity, if it can be resolved and genuinely apologized for and forgiven.

You may disagree with a lot that I have to say about this, and that's okay. And of course, they see my outlook on everything as “too open”, but that’s what works for my relationship. We rely on a foundation of friendship. My best friend is my wife. If we distance from one another, we get back on track and resolve the issue(s). My gripe isn’t about my own relationship, (for now), but for my friends who come to me spilling their marital or relationship problems. The one thing that I know every friend will say about me is, I go by what has happened to me in the past, and what I did that worked best for the situation. I never say, 'do this' or 'do that' - because I can’t give that advice. I can only relay what I have done in the past that has worked out. I had a couple whom I’m friends with come to me individually because they decided to break the relationship off for whatever reason. Each person gave a different reason and that’s fine - none of my business. But when you call me for advice, I will listen to you and just tell you what I have done in the past ---that’s it.

I truly believe if you do not trust your partner and constantly believe he or she is out cheating on you, then your relationship is doomed to fail. The worst part is, when you are too controlling, anything you are squeezing onto too tightly will slip from your grip faster than lightening. If your partner is going to cheat on you, there is nothing you can do about it. Let go of the control. Let things happen. Prepare to be able to forgive, or leave the situation if you cannot tolerate it. Trust more, control less. Will you get hurt from time to time? We. all. do. But we can’t live in a state of paranoia with one person we are truly in love with. We have to be able to give them wings when they want to fly and give them a nice soft landing when they want to come “home”. The worst thing in the world is a partner dreading to go home because he or she is too scared of their own counterpart. How sad is it when “home” becomes a dreadful place to return? 

Look at the person you love, whether he or she is your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend -- and expect nothing more than what they can give to you. Expect them to be human. High expectations = more disappointments which leads to mistrust, bitterness, resentment and loneliness in the future. I know a woman who was so devastated over her divorce, that she threw away every friend, every relative who wanted to be there for her and even moved across country just to start over. She lives with one cat and speaks to no one. If she does contact me, it’s a very short and shallow conversation, but sometimes, there’s a glimmer of hope that she’s starting to open up, and then it’s back to crawling into her shell once again. She feels a sense of safety there. And the really sad part about this is, she refuses to talk to her daughter because she also communicates with the father.

So, my point of that story is, if you let yourself become controlling, bitter, resentful, unforgiving, unapologetic and isolate yourself because you refuse to trust anyone else, you’ll most likely be alone due to fear. And if you go to people (friends & family) for advice on your relationship, take it with a grain of salt. Take in what they have gone through and think about how you can possibly apply that to your own situation, or not. Don’t deem the person as a shady character who is only out for personal gain - thank them for listening to you and most of all, for sharing themselves with you. An outside person can only give you advice or past experience type of stories. Ease up on your loved one, ease up on those who want to be there for you and most of all, ease up on yourself. Being controlling has many negative side effects. Be free from it...and let others be free from it as well.

You must first have a good relationship
with yourself before you can have a
good relationship with others. You have
to feel worthwhile and acceptable in
your own eyes. The more independent
you are, the better you'll be able to connect
and relate with others
. ~ Gary Emery

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

2 comments:

the walking man said...

One thing that will doom any relationship or friendship is carrying the other persons baggage simply because they gave it to you and you picked it up. I have enough in my own bag thank you.

Leesa said...

I disagree with one fundamental statement: "An outside person can only give you advice or past experience type of stories."

I ask the person probing questions - what do you want out of this relationship? Do you feel like this person brings you closer or further from your goals? And I suggest how their actions either is part of their core being or not. On one side, if a guy friend of mine says that he is just interested in as many one-night-stands as he can have but he is starting to form certain relationships to limit these encounters, I point that out. Perhaps he really wants something else, or perhaps he did not know that he was limiting his consequences. Then we reexamine goals. I would not have any personal experiences that were relavent in this example, so I don't tell my stories.