Monday, February 23, 2009

Operation K-Mart and the Theory of Ideological Relativity

So, I have this friend, and he said something funny to me.

Essentially, he was telling me a story whereby his opinion or idea was blown off, and he said it was like Operation K-Mart. I got it right away. He was discounted. Dismissed. Dissed.

(And, probably, a little bit pissed.)

I had to admit, I can relate more than a little bit. I told him that I have my own catch-phrase, too...

"No one ever listens to me..."

That saying of mine is usually under my breath, or said withe feigned exasperation... It's less of a complaint or an accusation, and really, just a comment. The acknowledgement that try as I might, what I say doesn't always make it to the intended. Like my buddy, I am simply saying, Once again, I've been discounted.

I was in sixth grade when I announced (quite proudly, I might add) that I had a job doing cash flow forecasting for my dad's banking buddies, using a Microsoft, pre-Excel "spreadsheet" called VisaCalc, a DOS program on our cool Apple 2Plus.

(Yeah, DOS and Apple. This was way before the Mac. Don't mess with me. I'm old.)

And the response was something like...

"You don't have a JOB. What EVER!"

Well, I did have a job. Doing cash flow forecasting. Hey, I could manage. I was eleven, after all.

And then there was the time that I tried to tell a relative (and I'm not saying who...) that I "finally" published my first book.

(You know, THIS one...!)

And the response was something like...

"Oh, that's nice. Well, So-and-So [someone else related, and I'm not saying who] has written a book, too, you know. I'm helping."

Uh, yeah. But it sure as shit ain't available on Amazon, now is it?

(No one ever listens to me.)

(...Oh, there have been another 6 since then. After all, it's been a whole 3 months since I started publishing books. I've been busy. Give me a break.)

Hey... I guess my little books aren't such big deal after all. I sure know that the one person sure made ME feel like shit about it. Oh well... Family is like that I guess.

No one ever listens to me. Operation K-Mart in action once again.

The things I say are pretty unreasonable, I guess. I mean, the logic is pretty messed up, right? I don't know... You be the judge:

"The kids really want you to be a happier person. Please don't be so angry..."

"I could go into the air-force and learn how to be a rocket scientist on a scholarship..."

"The world would be exponentially better if-"

"I think that you are the most amazing person I've ever met, and I think you are also..."

All discounted. No one ever listens to me. Operation K-Mart.

Now, here is what I really don't get. (Stay with me now...) Why is it that innovation is suppressed. Suppressed. Notice I did not say repressed. It's an intentional thing. (Repressed, in case you didn't know, is not intentional.)

I used to work at the Houston Food Bank, and I told the CEO (who I think is a really amazing leader, by the way...) something like "You know, innovation is what helps an organization progress. Perhaps 'the way it has always been done' is blindly supported by mid-level managers, thus suppressing the attempts at innovation, which, in effect, affects progress of organizations like ours.

He saw my point on that one. I always did like that Brian Greene guy.

(Although he never did consent to my idea, of having our monthly company-wide meetings in the park. Thanks, Bri.)

...But it wasn't Brian Greene who said:

"You know, Lorin, we sure could use your HELP here, passing out name tags. [No matter that no one has arrived, but,] You don't need to be chatting."

Just so happens I was at a fundraiser, waiting for guest to arrive, and talking to Michael Marx of Kroger. We were casually, jointly theorizing on how certain problems might be alleviated.

Nametage? Oh, yeah. You're right. I guess problem-solving with Michael Marx of Kroger is a real waste of time.

No one ever listens to me.

(Although Brian Greene and Michael Marx and, oh yeah... End Hunger's David Davenport, did listen to me... Appreciated my views, in fact.) Others listen, too, if you want the truth. The really do. But the world isn't run by leaders. It's run by the front line. (Nuh-uh!! You did NOT talk to the auditor for the USDA! Nuh-uh!) The front line generally doesn't appreciate what I have to say. (In case you haven't figured.) Not that they dislike it... They just don't GET it. And without a little hard and fast credibility on my side, I'm dead in the water. So I'm discounted.

Operation K-Mart.

The list could go on... Things like "I want to study art in college" and "People are mistaken about what their kids really need" and "I am not too dumb to homeschool a child." are completely ignored.

Discounted again.

You know, I am nothin like Einstein. Nowhere as smart, not nearly as male, not close in age, and nowhere as cute. But I do want to use him in this theoretical...

Einstein was a person who "thought differently". He had different perspectives, different views, and approached problems from a different vantage point.

He was brilliant, of course.

So why is it that Einstein's views were accepted, and others'... Aren't?

Well, to be honest, BRAINS might have just a tad to do with it, but if you think about it, is that what really matters?

(I mean... really??)

No, I don't think so. (Disagree if you want; No one listens to me anyway, so I don't care if you don't either, if you want the truth.)

Einstein's intellect gave him credibility. But really, it was the fact that he viewed things from a different vantage point that led to all the amazing accomplishments that he had.

Perhaps his Theory of Relativity did not originate as a scientific theory, but rather one of interpersonal intellectualism.

Yeah, that's the ticket. (You listening now?)

I will bet you a Starbucks Latte that Einstein knew, before the whole E=mc2 business, that he thought just a little differently than the rest of the cats in his dorm.

"I think that special education shouldn't exist. Kids with special needs should just learn to work harder. That's the way the world is. That's the way life will be."

(That comment just about made me fall out of my seat. And I wasn't even sitting at the time. I didn't try for too long to explain the faulty reasoning in that perspective. Why reason with someone who is choosing to be unreasonable, after all...?)

Am I bitching too much? I think someone might have to take a compliment back if I keep on, if I haven't earned an "outta here" already...

The point I'm making is that Einstein (yeah, I was talking about Einstein a while back) thought about things differently. Relatively speaking, his perspectives were different from those who came before him. He had theories which he asserted, and were accepted.

Thankfully, due to his credibility. (LOVE that.)

So, if a guy like Einstein can be considered, with regard to his perspectives which were not of the norm, then what about the rest of us?

Granted, not everyone thinks out of the box. As you know, I have Aspergers, and, although I can't take the "credit" for that, the very things which can create challenges, also enable me to think a little differently. (Ok, a lot differently.)

As I said, I'm not as smart as Einstein. (Hey. It's EINSTEIN. I'm allowed to be slightly below The Einstein Standard, right?) But I do think differently too. So do my sons, my buddy, and others I love. We are all... Different.

But why stop there? Why stop with me, my kids, Einstein and my 29 year old hottie BF? (Was that believable? No? Not even a little?)

Anyone who thinks outside the box, at any point in time, and about anything at all, really, should be considered. Ideas. Ideas are good.

No, really. Even if the CEO didn't think of it.

You see, it doesn't take a genius to solve problems. It just take s a new view. And because someone has a different view, it doesn't mean they should be subject to Operation K-Mart. Solving the big problems takes a fresh perspective, clearly best if not immediately discounted... It takes a new theory on the view of the situation, based on a unique perspective. A new opinion, based on the relative juxtaposition of that person, and the problem at hand. There just might be a connection.


I'll translate... Progress=Acceptance+(an)Idea, even by squares.
...And you can call that my Theory of Ideological Relativity.

(Yeah, I like my latte flavored with French Vanilla.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is Good Enough for Me.

I just realized something.

Something important enough that I could not blog about it right away.

Well, I could have, but then someone I know would have to take back a compliment, because I was pretty mad about this a little earlier.

Someone once said, "Lorin, I have read so much of your stuff... I spent hours reading what you have written online. And you know something? There's nothing bad!"

He meant that out of all I had written, he had never read anything mean-spirited. That is the compliment he would have to take back. (If not already!)

You see, I just realized that I let some people, who love me, get to me.

I let some people who meant well, and wanted good things for me, have a huge, and negative impact in an important area of my life.

Sure there is the "typical stuff"... I am a child of a mother and a father, so there is the normal stuff that parents say to their kids out of love. Things like...

"Well, art is not a practical major. You'd best come up with something different, or you will starve."

He had a point, although looking back, I think a degree (even in art) would be of benefit right about now. The two semesters of psychology from TCU under my belt didn't really materialize into anything that helped me in the long run, other than I can identify my friends' (and their romantic interests') personality disorders with a fair amount of speed and accuracy.

Then there was the other stuff, like "Oh, the boys DO like you! That's why they insult you incessantly!"

She meant well. Unfortunately, she was a little off base. They didn't like me much back then. I was a nerd when nerds were NOT cool. You can ask them. The guys I knew then will tell you now that I am on target here...

No, I am not talking about the typical BS that we are fed by well-meaning friends and relatives as we grow up, the stuff that everyone hears and eventually learns the truth about. (If they are lucky.)

Santa. The tooth fairy. The stork...

No, I was in a situation where I was unclear. There was in a time in my life about a year ago, when I had some doubts about someone I cared about. It was one of those "are things what they really look like?" kind of things.

He told me one thing. Everyone else told me something else. What he said made me feel better. What everyone else said made sense.

Turns out I believed what seemed logical. Unfortunately, it wasn't the truth.

People I love, and who care very, very much for me, were trying to watch out for me. And in their misguided attempts to help me, they pointed me in the direction of a wall to drive in to. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

Anyone who knows me (or reads my blog) knows how I feel about things like... trust. Honesty. Faith. (And not just in the religious sense of the word.) Goodness. Truth. Integrity. Trust. (Did I already mention trust?)

I need to be able to trust those in my life. Actually, it's probably why I'm painfully selective about who I let into my life on more than a very superficial level. I don't always know who I can trust. And I'm not just talking strangers here...

Family. Friends. Dear friends. Relatives. Not trusting someone is not about the other person giving false information intentionally. It's asking myself, "can I go with what they are saying and know that it is the right thing for me? Do they have my best interests at heart?"

Here's the funny thing about that... In order to have my best interests at heart, they have to know what is in my best interest. In order to know what is in my best interest, they have to know my interests in the first place. What I have invested, and what I need to get back.

When we look at it that way, how many people can really have our best interests at heart? I mean... Really??

I can dissect this out to explain, if it's a little confusing thus far. (I know I tend to complicate things. I'm working on improving that, by the way!)

How many people know every detail of my life? How many people know my innermost wants, dreams, desires, hopes, wishes? How many people have not just an understanding, but a clear, in-depth and comprehensive understanding of my views and perspectives? Because all of those things play a part in what is best for me.

Of course, when we make decisions, we are over-doing it if we analyze it to that extent to make all of our decisions... That's why we rely on our "gut feel" so often. What "feels right"? All of the small parts which comprise who we are as individuals manifest in how we feel about a situation. NOW, I ask you...

How is it possible for another person to know, with that kind of detail, what is right for me? (Or you?!) The answer is... Pretty damned difficult.

Of course, kids are not capable of making certain decisions, although as they grow, we, as responsible parents enable them to be more of individuals and make their own decisions when there is not a lot at stake. (And, consequently, their own consequences.)

But, as adults, why do we rely so much on what other people think is the best direction for us?

I need to trust. It's important to me, and I need that in my relationships. All of them. It's not about whether or not people are being honest. I think most people are generally honest. It's about whether or not they know my best interests well enough to tell me things that are good for me. Healthy. Productive.

For instance, a person who is important to me appeared to be involved in a situation that was... Sticky. Not illegal or immoral, and I wouldn't say it was something that wronged me. He was just doing something that I didn't like. I wasn't sure of the details, so I was not sure of how to react to it. I didn't know what it all "meant".

Because he is important to me, and a part of my life, other people in my life decided to "help" me. They love both of us, but thought they knew the details without knowing the whole story.

I was told what I believed to be the details, both he and I passed those details on, and what I got from friends and family was...

"Yeah, right."

For some reason they thought there was more to the story, so they decided to let me know the details they (thought they) knew. You know, to "reassure me" lovingly.

The "loving reassurance" I got was completely off base. But, looking back, I can see that they did not only misunderstand the situation.

Adding new (and inaccurate) elements to the story (based on assumptions and over generalizations) would have been enough. (Which made it more dramatic, of course. Did I ever mention I have a dramatic family?) They did not have a clear understanding of what my personal goals are, generally and specifically, nor did they have comprehension of my views or perspectives. They didn't have an understanding of his either, or any of the other people who might have been involved.

In short, no one knew nothin.

(And yet, they all knew what I should do.)

The result was that how I wanted to feel about the situation was not how I ended up feeling about it. I was upset, confused, angry, and had lots of questions and doubt. As for trust? Well, let's just say that the whole situation took care of any that might have been left. In its place stood something less... trusting.

It has been almost exactly a year that all of this began. And yesterday I finally had the closure I needed. Now, that is not to say that I didn't resolve things. In fact, I decided to disregard what my friends and family had said, and I decided to feel the way I wanted to about it all. It didn't mean I had any concrete information. Just that I had decided to let go of anything that was getting in the way of having a healthy relationship with him. As I mentioned, he is an important part of my life, and a person that I will never not have in my life, so having a healthy relationship is more important to me than knowing all the details that I didn't really know.

Those who were trying to help me meant well. They love me, and they also love the other person involved. They really did want the best for everyone, and thought they were doing the right thing by "warning" me.

A similar situation happened to another person in my life, about me. He was warned that I was going to take a certain course of action. He, too, was "warned". I really don't know if he ever realized the negative impact in his own life, of those who genuinely cared for both of us but thought they knew something that they didn't know. But I can tell you that their "love" created strife in my life (as well as his), to an extreme that I didn't know (at that time) was possible. He had ideas in his mind of what he was told I was "going to do", based on his limited understanding of my situation, and their even more limited understanding. I thought I was clear, and I think I was. But when well-meaning friends and family give their input, it causes problems.

There was one man, and one woman, who were particularly "caring" to this person. Gave loving advice on what they just "knew" would happen. You know, because they lumped me in with every horror story they had read on the internet. (Not to mention urban legends that circulated around their offices. Because neither had first hand experience of this type of situation.) I'll add that both of these people are either now, or were then, very religious and very active in their congregations. (The point being, they weren't bad people.) But the "love" they tried to bestow upon this previous man, ended up ruining lives.

Ruining lives.

One time I saw the man, and he could barely look me in the face. I still am not sure of whether the reason was his own feelings of guilt for destroying me, or shame because he got the idea that maybe he was wrong. Maybe he just didn't like looking at the image of a woman who had lost probably 30 pounds, not realizing that he was largely responsible for my stress-induced frailty.

The woman approached me quite differently. Although she stayed true to her pattern. Bitterness came my way for a long time, and I just did the duck and dodge. When she had a new person to "warn" him about, she didn't need to be bitter to me anymore.

I probably don't need to mention that although they both feel like all that they said and did in the situation is now water under the bridge, I am reminded every day of the ramifications of their "love". I don't say anything though. I let them think that time has healed my wounds. And, in truth, time has healed many of them. Hopefully the person they were "loving" in warning about me, never felt the negative impact. It's bad enough that I did. Although, I do suspect that he asks himself, from time to time, who he should have trusted those years ago. Them, or himself. He knew me, until they convinced him that he didn't know me at all. Had he trusted himself, things would be different today.

And, had I trusted myself approximately a year ago, when I was sure that I should trust how I felt, and what I thought, I could have saved myself some heartache. Not to mention, I wouldn't have been such a pain in the ass to a person that means a lot to me. (Then again, I think he's a little used to it by now!)

I can say that I am glad I didn't follow their "guidance" for long, and soon took it upon myself to follow what I thought and felt. Sometimes it's not popular to go against the grain. Especially when "everyone" is telling us that we are nuts to think or feel a certain way. But, in reality, whose business is my life, if it's not my own?

I don't think I will be upset at my loved ones for long. As I mentioned more than a few times, they really just want what THEY think is best for me. It's not their fault that they really do believe that they have my best interests at heart. After all, who are we if we do not show concern for those we love? Especially when we believe they are in a serious situation or making a drastic mistake? We would be remiss if we did not say anything. Although, at what point do we draw the line? Who is responsible for what?

If we should show our love for our loved ones, by expressing concern in what appears to be a critical situation, is doing that a bad thing? I have gone on and on here about two tragedies in which well-meaning loved ones "cared" so much that they caused (in some cases) irreparable harm. (And, without question, unnecessary emotional turmoil.) So, what do we do?

Who is responsible for what?

If we should show love for others by expressing concern, and yes, we should, then we should also be cognizant of the limit. We should, and can, be aware of the fact that the people helping us do NOT know the whole story. And although every single person might have the same perspective, the reality is that no one knows what is best for YOU, except YOU.

What else does that mean? Because we can turn that around and see the resulting impact on another level... (Stay with me here...!)

If we can keep in mind that we are the only ones who really know what is best for ourselves, and keep others' comments/warnings/suggestions/advice in perspective... Then we can also deduce that when we are loving another person, we do not know, with absolute certainly, what is in their best interest. We do not know the full situation. And even when we think that we do, we really, really don't.

So each of us are responsible for loving others. And we are also responsible for drawing that line between having a belief that we know what is best in the situation, and thinking that we really do know. When we "love" another person by warning them of a fate worse than death, we are responsible for keeping a healthy perspective on things. Something like, "I really don't know the whole situation. I can say it seems like , but I really don't know. You are the only one who can decide what is best for you." But on the flip side, we are also responsible for drawing the line with loved ones. Loved ones, especially when they are being "loving" don't always understand when we say "I appreciate your concern, but you really don't know the situation, so I am going to disregard your warning." The reason is that if they think we are in a bad situation in the first place, we are more likely (in their eyes) to make bad judgment calls.

(More on that another time!)

I guess the bottom line here is that I finally realized that so much heartache that I have felt in my own life has been the result of others' tendencies to preach to me. Other, well meaning loved ones, who see a situation and decide to be the one to blow the whistle.

But who am I really mad at?

By now, you probably know... it's me.

I'm mad at me for enabling others to decide the course of my life.

I'm mad at me for permitting others to have a powerful influence over my emotions.

I'm mad at me for not drawing a line when others were so willing to cross it.

I'm mad at me for not being strong enough to realize that I am perfectly capable of determining what makes me happy, and where I want my life to go.

I am mad at me for...

Well, I'm just mad at me.

Good enough? I think so.

And if I think it's good enough, then it is.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Relationships: Re-Breaking Bones and Saving Lives

Once again with the relationship talks.

(And once again, I love this stuff!)

I actually had a conversation earlier today, in which someone asked why I probe into some relationship areas for which I already know the answer. I had told my girlfriend that I had a conversation with a woman I have known for years, who consistently tells me how she wants to do good things for people and how she says that I am important to her. So I asked for an "easy" favor. VERY easy. One of those favors that would be almost no work, and, if she did it, would reap a huge reward for both of us. It's something she is good at, and enjoys, and something I am not. The conversation went a little like this:

"Lorin, why did you even ask her? You knew the answer was going to be no. You set yourself up for disappointment every time you ask for the smallest thing, that anyone else in your relationship would give, and you know she won't and yet you still torture yourself by having that expectation."

I thought about that for a moment.

"No, I knew she would say no. I think asking her was my way of convincing myself that her consistent rejection does not mean there is anything wrong with me. This was one of those situations where any other person would have gladly said yes, let alone someone I am close to. I already knew she would say know... Perhaps I asked so I could demonstrate to myself that yes, she will always say no. That is what I can expect, and it doesn't have a damned thing to do with me. I am not 'bad', so she rejects me. She rejects me, regardless of how I am, good or bad. She is not capable of helping anyone, her self included."

I am still learning about relationships, you see.

Something else I realized today is that women, when they break up with a man, can generally come up with a decent way to do it. They can anticipate his reaction and break up in a way that would be "easiest" on him. But turn the tables for just a moment. If I was in in a relationship that was about to end, could I do the same for myself? Could I say, "Gee... The nicest way for a guy to break the news to me? Sure! I know how!"

Uh... Nope.

I couldn't think of how! Well, I do think I came up with something, but the interesting thing is that although I, as a woman, am an emotional being, and I could anticipate the best way to break up with a man, I could not anticipate the best way for a man to break up with me.

(The way I got to thinking about this isn't as important as what happened after that, in my opinion, so I am saving you some reading time...! Let's just say that the course was not exactly linear, but it had to do with an internet article. Now you are up to speed!)

I decided to take a very formal poll to get to the bottom of this conundrum.

(In other words, I called a girlfriend.)

"So, how would you want to hear the news?"

"Well, Lorin, I would want him to decide."

"That's a cop out! Work with me here... Say you are in a relationship, and you could choose the way he would end it."

"I wouldn't. But I'll tell you something else..."

She went on to tell me about a realization she had recently. She was in a relationship that ended, and for years she thought she knew what went wrong. Essentially, that it was his fault.

She hasn't really changed her mind on that, but how she got there was a little different today.

"I think that when that happened, I snapped. I realized that he could not make me happy. I wanted to move somewhere that he didn't want to go, and he refused. It was important to me, so important that I did not think I could be content if we didn't move there. The last time I remember being really happy with him, was when at first, he said, 'if that's what you want we'll do it. That's what will make you happy, and I want to make you happy.' But after that he changed his mind. I knew at that point that he could not make me happy."

We went on to discuss how this incident impacted other areas of her relationship. Essentially, even if he had finally done it, she would think he was pressured into it. Then what? What else would happen? What would be the next thing that would come along, that would be important to her, that he would dismiss? It was not as important that they did not move to the location she wanted to move to. It was that he was not capable of doing things that brought her joy.

I probably don't need to mention here that the relationship has long since ended...

Fortunately, I saw a tie-in. I was determined to get to the bottom of my puzzle.

"So, the time came when you were not happy. You knew that you could not be happy. And you eventually left. BUT... What if he realized that before you left him? What if he said to himself, 'I can not give her what she needs to be happy' and as a result, he was not happy either, so he decided to end the relationship. Then what?"

"It still would have hurt."

"Because your life with him was familiar. A habit."

"Yeah, a habit."

Eventually she gave up the goods.

"If he knew I was not happy, I would want to know that he saw that, and that he would want me to be happy. If he knew I could not be happy with him, I would want him to tell me that, and let me find someone who could. It would still hurt, but I would respect that, and know that he was doing it because he wanted me to be happy. Yeah, that's the way I'd want it to happen."

I was in a relationship similar to the one she had... Someone who did not have an element about him that I needed to be happy. It took a long time for me to get there, but when I looked at him and saw him acting the way I felt...? That's when I knew that we were beyond hope. I had told him what I needed from him, but he also told me that I was asking for something that he didn't have in him to give.

Interestingly, after our relationship ended, he decided that learning that specific relationship skill was worth the effort. But he never would have taken that step if we had stayed together, so it's a catch-22. (And a perfect example of how people grow from suffering.)

But long before he learned what he did not previously know, we were over. I knew he could not give me what I needed to be happy. Me not being happy made him not happy. I could tell that we were both unhappy, although out of the two of us, I was the only one who noticed it.

He couldn't understand, at first, why I said that I knew he was not happy. "YES I AM!! I AM HAPPY!" It was a funny moment, in an ironic kind of way, if you want the truth. I don't think I ever told him that... Maybe I never will.

He had confused happiness with comfort. In the time we spent together, he knew what to expect, and was comfortable with that. The reason that he thought he was happy was the same reason that my friend said she would still be hurt, if her ex had broken up with her, before she had broken up with him. It was a change.

A couple of years ago I went through some tough times. A friend of mine, someone I have known for 20 or 25 years, yet recently reconnected with, had words of wisdom.

"It's a chemical thing. Ending something is hard. But we learn to adjust."

When two people end a relationship, the length of time it takes to "recover" is based on the nature of the relationship, the stage of the relationship, the current state of the relationship, and other variables. Is it a friendship? A casual dating situation? A marriage? An internet fling? Not to mention that how fast each person recovers has a lot to do with their own perspectives. I know one woman who got separated, immediately started looking for another husband to fill her needs. I know another woman who has been divorced for years, because her kids are resistant to a new relationship. Another woman stays in a dead-end relationship because she doesn't want to have to find and train a new boyfriend. And many, many wives stay in miserable marriages, because they are afraid that the cons of doing things on their own outweighs the pros of a loveless marriage.

I will tell you a secret. This is for the women only, so it's a good thing a lot of men don't read my blog. If you are male and you are reading, you can close the window now.


Ok girls... This is a funny, strange thing that I don't know that I've ever publicly said. I was married, and I decided to go against the grain and end my marriage. Looking back, it seemed logical, and I don't know that I would do it differently, given the opportunity, but after I did it, I realized how uncommon it was. AND... How common my position (before I ended my marriage) really was.

Consider some of the things that were said to me... Note that many of these things were said by perfect strangers that I ran across in my day-to-day living. Others were by a friend-of-a-friend kind of thing. (In other words, if it sounds familiar, it's a coincidence! :)

"You are my hero! You actually left?? Girl power!!"

"Hey, when I decide to finally leave my husband, can I maybe room with you?"

"Why did you leave? It doesn't make any sense. We are all miserable."

"My money is my money. And his money is my money. If I have to stay with him, and I have put up with my fair share of crap, I will take what I want and he will get what I give him."

"I admire you. That's a really brave thing you did."

"Man, what I would GIVE to be free! I would give anything to just have... Even just a break. For just a little while. A break from being married. I hate him."

"I told him years ago that I was leaving him, and he cried like a baby. I lost all respect for him, but I stayed. Now I know that he'll do whatever I say. I do what I want, and he's not going anywhere."

"You think YOU aren't happy?? Let me tell you about MY husband! He's a f*****g a*****e! Well, just last night, he..."

"Girl, if you can't be happy, let him give you jewelery. I'm not happy, so I take what I can get since he can't make me happy."

"Well, technically it's not an AFFAIR, but letting this guy tell me how amazing I am gives me what I need emotionally. You could say that it makes my marriage bearable. If it weren't for him, I would probably leave my husband."

Does any of this sound familiar? I hope not, really! If you are in this kind of marriage, I am very sad for you! The one thing that it did make me realize that as unhappy as I was, there are marriages out there that are worse than mine, and yet are "whole".

But are they, really?

Ok, ok... I digressed more than just a little. Back on track and I'll try to wrap it up.

I know that, despite the fact that I was the one who ended a relationship or two, it was hard on me. I knew that it was "for the best" and even so, I hurt. I mentioned earlier that people "recover" differently, based on a number of variables. But one thing is the same.

The end of anything is cutting it off, and it cuts.

But, as I mentioned to my friend about the other, completely different relationship, re-evaluating my help-worthiness is like breaking re-breaking a bone.

I learned, long ago, that things "were" a certain way. The problems was, they weren't really. It's like a bone was broken, and it didn't heal properly. Over the years, the broken "bone" caused problems through other relationships I've had... So going back, and demonstrating to myself that the rejection I felt was not me, but her, was like re-breaking the bone. It hurts, like the rejection she told me to protect myself from, but in the long run, I am better healed.

When we end relationships, it's like a cut. But cuts can be good, or they can be bad. I watched my grandfather behead a chicken once and I was mortified, because he didn't quite get it with one shot. It took a couple of times and I have a feeling that was worse for the chicken! When our bodies have cancer, sometimes we must remove a part so the rest can be saved. Relationships are not like cancer, but sometimes the pain we feel from the numbness is almost as bad... If we have a part that is sick, and we leave the part on our body, the whole body dies. Operate on just a part, and, depending on how sick the part is, you might not get it all. If we are our body, and our relationship is affecting a part of us, clean cut ensures that the bad parts are gone. Yes, a part is missing, and that is worth grieving, but what have you gained?

Your life.

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