Wednesday, October 6, 2010


“You must pay the rent!” the Landlord rants, “But I can’t pay the rent” pleads the put-upon renter, enters the rescuer, “I will pay the rent”! Ah, peace reigns; but at what price?

These roles (that of victim, abuser, and caregiver) are often played out in stories, movies, plays, and music are the stuff of life. They hit a common thread with many people because the truth is, most of us, have played one or all of these roles more than once in relationships either at work, school, socially, or with our families. How many times have you complained and whined (victim) about a situation in your relationship with a friend or loved one, only to find yourself caving and giving in to whatever the demand, behavior or request is you are complaining about (caregiver), then griped (abuser) about the outcome and your sacrifice either to the person you caved in to or to someone else about the person you gave in to?

“That’s just human nature.” you say. True, but it is also one of the most ultimately destructive dynamics to human relationships there is. It is the push-me-pull-you of a no win situation in which neither party is satisfied however the dynamic keeps interaction going in such a way that it simulates intimacy by creating engagement without ever honestly taking ownership or straight forwardly asking for what one needs. In the long run, both parties will typically become worn out and disengage rather than go through profitless engagements or believe they are engaging and engage for engagements sake, repeating the cycle, whether or not it’s productive, for the sake of the habit which simulates intimacy at the price of never really getting close.

Our ultimate goal as evolved people is to be able to be clear with ourselves and our most important relationships as to our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in a genuine way as we progress through and process life events. This requires us to know ourselves and be willing to take ownership of all the pieces of who we are (weaknesses and strengths) and risk letting others know us as well. Sounds simple but for many of us it is a huge undertaking. Often we have not had the equipping or role models to live in such a congruent and clear manner and knowledge never has created change without some type of implementation.

So how do we become evolved to the point of genuine and honest behavior? Some will attempt to find reality in the most false God there is and turn to substances and alcohol in an attempt to “be who I am”. Others will create relationships that allow them to feel what they have always felt in the same way they have always felt it, thereby creating a “comfortable agony” in which the risk of change is not attempted at the price of upsetting the equilibrium of the known. What is clear is that the manifestation of a genuine and honest life is one we all know immediately when we encounter it. Our human interactions get bogged down in agenda, mistrust, and fear. To become genuine and honest takes practice and persistence. One must be willing to risk being real in relationship to another and that can be tough if you are not even sure what “real” is.

If you have not had relationships in which your feel genuineness has been possible in your family of origin (the family in which you grew up) it may be an uphill climb to create it for yourself as an adult but there is hope. If the dynamics written here strike home with you, call a licensed professional to learn how to break the circular pattern that keeps you in a cycle of ineffective, non-productive relationship.

Posted by: J. Suskey M. Ed. S.Ed. LMHC

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