How to pull the Proverbial Trigger on Dead-end Relationships
By Dr. Chanel Young-Pope,
Hello there, come here please. Yes, YOU…yeeeees, I’m talking to you!!! Yes youuuuu, the one viewing the ‘Birth Your Brilliance’ blog posts. Can you please do me a favor? Can you do a brief exercise with me? Okay, great! Really quickly, close your eyes and think about this very important question. How many people do you personally know; both male and female that absolutely refuse to pull the trigger on their DEAD relationship? As you ponder the question, just allow each person’s face to run through your mind for approximately 60 seconds. Okay, are you ready? Now, GO! 60, 59, 58, 57, 56….. (continues counting until zero) andddddd STOP!!! So, how many people did you actually come up with? EXAAAAACTLY!!! I’m sure that in a matter of 60 seconds you vividly identified a minimum of three people and that was without intense thought!
The truth of the matter is, on average, 3 out of 5 individuals in committed relationships are just not emotionally stimulated or fulfilled. In most cases, partners complain of emotional distancing and alienation, physical or psychological abuse, a lack of sexual gratification, and repeated accounts of infidelity for many many years. Yet, they remain and endure the harsh psychological impact. With that being said, here are the five primary factors that negatively influence those attempting to terminate unfulfilling or unhealthy relationships:
- Ignoring One’s Internal PA System (the intuitive voice). The PA system or Public Address was historically needed for an orator to be loud enough to address the public. In this case, our emotional PA system is needed to intuitively lead us towards truth and authenticity. Unfortunately, in unfulfilling or maladaptive relationships our PA system is muted significantly or it has totally malfunctioned.
- Failure to Honor One’s Intuitive Voice: It is one’s incessant need to delay critical relationship decisions or termination of the partnership, until they find tangible proof to confirm or validate “a hunch” (i.e. proof of an indiscretion, proof of deception, proof of a character flaw, or proof of one’s loyalty or commitment); despite having intuitively sensed the indiscretion prior to actually finding validation. It is a blatant refusal to trust our gut instinct. This process usually results in “knee-jerk” reactions of self-blame and guilt; typically followed by outbursts like, “I freaking knew it the whole time…why am I so STUPID”!!!
- Maladaptive Relational Patterns: It is one’s subconscious propensity to repeat the same relational patterns year after year, due to a lack of psychological insight, self-criticism regarding past and present relationship failures, or the fear of perceived social judgement from others. “It’s the same ‘ol…same ‘ol”… but with different people.
- Utilizing the Negative Aspects of Convenience and Complacency: It is one’s refusal to release or terminate an unproductive relationship; due to an unrealistic perception of commitment based on longevity or an unconscious fear of abandonment. This factor can also include one’s fear of the unknown (afraid that new relationships will not blossom or last); plainly said…ultimately there is a fear of being alone. Sounds like this, “but I’ve invested so much time in this relationship”.
- Avoiding the Termination Process: It is one’s use of avoidance as a coping strategy to deflect or deter emotional pain. It can also include one’s deeply rooted inability to access the internal fortitude necessary to forge ahead and complete the termination process (i.e. to pull the proverbial relationship trigger).
Despite these cumbersome and crucial factors, once again I ask, so why do we (both men and woman) have soooo much difficulty pulling the relationship trigger? To this rhetorical question, I say, we must first find the internal courage to pull the trigger of the emotional 9-millimeter and release the dead weight of unfulfillment. Secondly, we must then follow the emotional stench and identify the pattern or root causes that have resulted in psychological rigormortis. Thirdly, we must transport this emotional corpse to the morgue of relationships past and be willing to allow the process of relationship grief and loss to heal us from the inside out. Lastly, we MUST bury and extinguish this life-sucking emotional parasite of unfulfillment once and for all!!! Just know, the claim we file with our emotional insurance policies will yield both physical, psychological, and spiritual dividends that will annutize our relational lives for years to come!!!
Dr. Chanel Young-Pope, Psy.D., LCDC, CSAC, is the author of The Restoration Project: 21-Days to a New You coming soon on Amazon.com and a bookstore near you. View bio.