What do you do when things get tense? Some people make a joke to change the game. Other people check out, and refuse to participate in the conversation. You can become a big problem in the midst of what is going on, or you might just start spreading gossip and lies. Maybe you’re M.O. is crying, because it changes the game, and it gives you the attention you need right then. Besides that, who is going to attack a person crying? That just shows them to be heartless. If they say anything to you, you can get them back immediately by proving that they really don’t have a heart. Or maybe you’re deal is that you get them before they get you. Make sure you are the first one to address the issue, and make sure that they know the problem lies within them. If you focus on them, you won’t have to deal with you. Or you may just pretend nothing is going on, and you play the nice guy.
Which of these fits on you like a glove when it comes to your relationships?
I know which ones belong to me. I’ve become very aware of what I do, and even why I do what I do. Not to say that I see everything about myself, I need your help to do that because you may just see in me what I can’t see in myself.
I believe this to be true: You get a payoff every time you do one of these things.
It may be a short term payoff, but you get something out of it. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t do it.
If you choose to not participate in a hard conversation, at least the you don’t have to deal with the stress in the moment. Same thing if you play the nice guy. You can get out of that conversation as quickly as possible. But that rarely gives benefit to what is going on in that person’s heart in that moment. Choosing to not participate, or slide into the place of the nice guy actually enables another person’s behavior to remain the same or even go further than where it is. It doesn’t add value to that person for you to check out on them because it is difficult for you. Do something different. Of course it will be hard.
If you choose to change the game by making jokes, or slipping into the familiarity of tears, then maybe it’s time to do something different. Not just for them, but for you. Because you deserve more than to ignore that there might be something inside of you that needs work. There might be something inside of you that needs to be challenged. How can you ever get there though if you check out on the conversation, and put a joking or tearful spin on it. Instead of reacting in the moment to how something is said to you, listen to what they say and try to find the value in it. This is particularly important if you strike out at someone every time you are backed down into a corner. How can you have real friendships if you strike out just when someone starts to share their heart with you. You may not like what they share, but since when did their perspective about you have to shape your identity. It will be hard to do something different, but isn’t it worth it? Isn’t it worth it to plow the ground by doing the hard work of cultivating a relationship because it counts to you.
And what does it cost you when you check out on it anyway? How lonely do you feel after you “stand up for yourself” which is sometimes code for “not listening but attacking others”? How lonely does that make you when you realize you don’t have people who you can really listen to objectively, because you are subjected to what others say about you? Sure, I know you may feel vindicated right after you stand up for yourself, but eventually, under all that, how lonely is that? How do you feel when you check out on the people that are important to you.
Or when you become a problem for them. When you try to get them before they get you. Because you don’t want to deal with what’s inside. What’s under all of that pride? Is there something that drives your behavior, and do you know what it is? I would suggest that there is. But you have your own answers, and you have to find them for yourself. Which sometimes involves asking another person for some feedback. To do that though, you have to lower defenses and trust someone. And how hard is it to trust someone when it feels like you can’t trust anyone?
So you cry really easily. Do something different. You always make jokes when things get serious. Do something different. You get others so they won’t get you. Do something different. You spread gossip and lies. Stop doing that. Do something different. You choose to not participate, or play the nice guy. Do something different.
See what happens when you do something different.