“I’m done acting a certain way when I’m around him. I’m tired of having to pretend I don’t feel manipulated. It’s his terms always, with no consideration of others and that just irks me to no end. I’m done pretending!”
A dear friend recently vented these words to me and they struck hard, reminding me of times when I’ve felt the same way in a relationship where one party’s only interest was ego driven self-serving power and I pretended it didn’t bother me.
So here’s my two cents worth (even though you didn’t ask for it).
First of all, although even healthy relationships do have power exchanges from time to time and balances aren’t always equal, what is true is that both parties need to feel comfortable. When one doesn’t, it’s time for a meeting of minds on a street named Compromise or a parting of ways at the Boulevard of Someone’s Broken Dreams. It’s no easy task, especially when said parties are also family. That F word throws a lasso rope right onto a barrel of guilt, negative ramifications, and collateral damage. But like those difficult parenting times when it almost kills you to say no to that adorable pleading face, cowgirling/cowboying up to compromise is necessary for the continued growth and development of individuals and their healthy relationships.
I reminded my friend they deserve better treatment. None of us should have to put on an act to be fully accepted. Healthy loving relationships don’t work that way. Healthy people don’t “love” that way. Every single one of us comes with an “as is” clause. I’m not calling us damaged or scratched and dented, but we each come with scars, flaws and at least one flight approved carry-on of baggage. We shouldn’t pretend otherwise. But we do.
Personally, I believe there’s a whole lot of pretending going on in our lives. A whole lot of faking it for a myriad of reasons that leave us feeling empty, exhausted and willing to reclusively hibernate, closing ourselves and our hearts off to others. There’s also a tremendous amount of disconnect for a species so keen on staying connected 24/7 via our electronic devices. We often travel through our days so far over the speed limit that our own draft is carrying us effortlessly and blindly, giving new oxymoronic meaning to the phrase “go with the flow”. Many of us have missed our stop and forgotten to get off the train. We’ve paid so little attention and failed to notice the connection seeking eyes of those around us or the searing pain lodged just behind those smiles.
We must wake up to the realization that we’re all connected. We breathe the same air, recycle the same water and are kept alive by the same sun. We’re all miraculously standing at all manner of angles on a massive rotating, revolving sphere in a infinitesimal galaxy we most likely know barely an inkling about. Talk about having things in common and sharing miracles.
So let’s stop. Let’s stop pretending that we’re better than “the others”, who might not look or sound like us. Let’s stop pretending that we know it all. Let’s stop pretending that we’re not inhaling and exhaling the same air. Let’s stop pretending that what happens to “them” has nothing to do with “us”. Let’s stop pretending that we don’t see each other, that we don’t feel a universal connection. Let’s just stop.
My bookie Sugar and I predict the results to be a Powerball of love, the winnings grand enough for all to share.
Peace and Love