It’s TGIF again and the second edition of Av’t Corner is upon us! Get ready to be inspired.
I bring you the #BreakUp Series.
I hope something new and useful drops on our lap as you read…
I have been in a number of friendships and relationships that have come to an end. While some of them, in all fairness, have been a direct fault of mine, some others had been, from the get go, doomed to crumble. And I let them go without thinking twice. Letting go of people who need to go has never really been an issue for me.
But let us ask some questions.
What makes a couple that were once head over heels in love now barely able to put up with the sight of each other? What sours a lovey-dovey relationship so much so that both partners have come to have only one similarity- the wish to get out?
What makes wonderful friends turn to murderous enemies? What causes a group of people who go into business with great hopes, expectations and mutual trust turn to begin flying at each other’s necks, looking for ways to dupe and bring down each other?
What makes an employer and employee who had a wonderful, cosy working relationship want to get out as fast as they can and terminate the appointment? What changes "LOVE you darling" to "HATE you bastard"?
What makes political alliances crumble and politicians cross-carpet like they are changing underwear? What makes countries sever diplomatic ties and go to war?
These are some of the questions that have always intrigued me. I am very interested in relationships. Much more than that, though, I am very interested in the dynamics of relationships. What makes relationships start. What makes them tick. What makes turn sour.
I am interested in how I may begin to trace the very and often overlooked beginnings of sad endings. I am interested in these because they are keys to formulating workable strategies for Social and Familial Effectiveness.
This series is about relationships- of all kinds. But it is a little different. It is concerned about the END of relationships.
This week, let us talk about #BreakUp
I MET A LADY
Roughly a year ago, while scrolling through my BBM feeds, I saw a DP. I became mildly interested.
Through DPs, I have come to realise, an astute person is able to tell a lot about an individual. I have a mild fascination with DPs, PMs and Status Updates- the frequency with which they are changed, the consistency of their message over a period of time.
When I saw that DP, I scrolled down to check any corresponding Status or PM updates. As I suspected, there were quite a lot. And though they were veiled, I supposed certain things. So I initiated a chat with the contact.
True to what I deduced, she had just broken up.
Like a dam just waiting to explode, when I pushed a little, she poured out her frustrations, a long sad and woeful history of all her sacrifices and her eventual, unwavering belief in the fact that all men are wicked.
Asides from the fact that I thoroughly disliked the idea of her thinking of herself as a property and in the subjective sense as a victim and one to whom bad things always happened to, I also really wasn't interested in her opinion that all men were wicked.
Firstly, she didn't date all men. Secondly, as I said last week, OPINIONS are not always a reflection of TRUTH.
If I was going to help her, she would have to move beyond her defeatist, no-value thinking centred around unhelpful emotions and instead become focused on the right things. So I asked her three simple questions- questions I always ask people after broken relationships of any sort.
1. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS HAPPENED?
2. IF I WERE TO ASK THE OTHER PARTY, WOULD HE SAY THE SAME THING YOU JUST SAID?
3. WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED?*
I was, in the long run, able to help her and we have remained long-distance friends.
May I tell you a story about a fox?
LEARN YOUR LESSONS
Once, a fox, walking along a dusty road on a sunny day, happened upon a cluster of grapes. Seeing as it was hungry and quite thirsty, it decided to pluck the fruits and eat. They looked very tasty.
As it drew near, the fox noticed a slight challenge. The grapes were well beyond its reach. But the fox wasn't deterred. It would stretch to get it. So the fox began to stretch. It twisted and turned, and staggered and swayed. It jumped and tried to catch and, when it failed, it lay on the ground miserably, howling at the cluster of grapes.
Finally, frustrated, it got up and proceeded to walk away. With a last despicable look at the cluster of fruits beyond its reach, the fox said, "They aren't sweet after all. They look sour."
She was too short after all… The company was useless after all… He was not even handsome, when you come to think of it… It is a useless political party… I am happy I was deported, the country is foolish after all… I am better off without them, after all I am now totally free and can sleep well without worrying… Thank god I had sex with him only four times, not five times, he was terrible in bed after all… Good riddance to bad rubbish, I was just managing the job after all…
If you ONLY say these kinds of things AFTER broken relationships, do you want to know the truth?
You are deceiving yourself.
Asides from the fact that there is an obvious cognitive dissonance between true beliefs, professed beliefs and apparent actions of people who say these things; the problem with statements like this is that they are proof that those who say them, more often than not, have NOT LEARNED ANY LESSONS from their experience.
Worse still, and because of this, they are bound to repeat their mistakes again.
The fox connected "tall height" to "sour grapes".
Some people have learned to connect wrong things and, therefore, learn wrong lessons from their break-ups.
People who don't learn proper lessons from prior breakups are bound to repeat their mistakes. So they move on from one bad situation to another bad situation.
Breaking up > Making up > Breaking up > Moving on > Getting worse > Breaking up > Moving on > Getting even worse > Breaking up > Breaking up > Breaking up > [and when they are tired of breaking up, eventually] > Breaking down.
He was RICH. He BEAT me. All RICH men BEAT women. I will never date another rich man.
The company was BIG. They treated their staff BADLY. All BIG companies treat their staff BADLY. I will never work in a big company again.
She EARNS HIGHER than I do. She NEVER RESPECTED me. Ladies who EARN HIGHER than men DISRESPECT their partners. I will never marry a woman who earns higher than I do.
Now, after connecting two totally unrelated things and learning wrong lessons, these people go about life wrongly.
The lady decides to go for "not rich" men. She gets into a relationship and, to her shock, this "not rich" man beats her more soundly than her ex. To borrow the words of my friend, Rita, he slaps the demons out of her that weren't there, he beats the hell out of her heaven.
The other person decides to go to work for a not-big company. He ends up with 6 months arrears in owed salary and a sack letter.
The last person goes to date a lady who earns less than he does- poor in account and poor in character- and then he earns the disrespect that he would never have imagined in his worst nightmares.
When you have a conflict, a relationship is ended, and go your separate ways, do you learn your lessons? The RIGHT lessons? Or are you busy connecting two completely unrelated events and yet coming out worse?
UNDERSTANDING REAL REASONS
On Sunday, I asked a series of questions. At the core was a simple question. Why do people break-up in relationships in general?
Now, I want you to pay close attention.
I answered the question yesterday in a way. Today, let me be a little clearer.
I once heard a relationship “expert” say that a couple broke up because of toothpaste. The wife used too much toothpaste. I was astounded. That there, in my opinion, is the real problem. That relationship "expert" had the same problem the couple had- and he was gallivanting around with a 'solution' he thought he had, when he didn't even know the problem.
I asked three very important questions on Monday. I think we should check them again. They hold clues.
When you ask one party why the relationship broke up, they may say one thing. When you ask the other party, they say a totally different thing. Do you see the reason now?
OFTEN TIMES, THE REASON PEOPLE BREAK UP IS BECAUSE THEY DO NOT EVEN KNOW THE REASON WHY THEY BROKE UP IN THE FIRST PLACE.
They do not know the reasons. They do not know at what point things started unravelling and they started drifting apart. At what point they stopped choosing to try to make it work.
Rarely does it happen that relationships break because of ONE thing. Oftentimes, it is a combination of SEVERAL OVERLOOKED things- and then ONE OBVIOUS reason.
Think carefully on this. Very carefully.
Many people look at "the last straw that broke the camel's back" as the reason relationships break. But I have come to realise that THE LAST STRAW that broke the camel's back was not THE ONLY STRAW on the camel's back.
Have you found the other straws? Do you know the very first straw?
GOD PUNISH YOU!
I have seen bitter people who, after a break up where they have learned little or nothing, go around wishing their former partners, former companies, former political parties, former friends… every imaginable terrible thing in the world.
"It will never be better for you! God will punish your soul! Purple thunder will fire your destiny! I will rise and you will come back and beg me and I will show you who's the boss!"
Hold on, please.
Backtrack a little.
What makes you think that God is in the business of punishing ex's anyways?
Public Service Announcement: God does not punish anybody.
You might not really want to hear this, but I'll say it anyways. It might turn out better for them after you left. It might turn out better for them because you left. It might even turn out better for them than it turns out for you.
You will rise [and that is completely dependent on your obedience to principles]. So yes, you will rise and become an international phenomenon. Good for you. Yet, there is the possibility that your ex [whether ex-boyfriend, or ex-wife, or ex-business partner, or ex-company, or ex-father, or ex-whatever] will never come to beg you or even know that you exist anymore.
Move on with your life. BECOME BETTER BECAUSE YOU CAN. Not as a way of payback. Yes, the feeling is great, I know. But then, if after all your struggles, the person you are trying to impress doesn't even acknowledge you, or turns out far better than you prayed, what happens?
Yes, maybe they treated you terribly. But then, it really serves no eternal purpose to call down Amadioha's thunder mixed with Sango's lightening upon their heads and the heads of their unborn generation.
Personal Effectiveness is a PERSONAL thing. Don't make someone else- especially an ex, the centre of your universe.
Move on because you can.
Move on because YOU deserve it.
I VALue You…
AKPOVETA, Valentine 't
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