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Friday, January 29, 2016

Sabotage: When negative certainty feels better than uncertainty...






Ever have a physical ailment whose symptoms caused a good deal of discomfort, but you could not get to the bottom of what was wrong?  Whether or not you eventually got to the bottom of the problem, the uncertainty associated with it--of the prognosis,'cure' or course of treatment---caused a great deal of angst.    Alternatively, if we have a physical ailment which is obvious, we can immediately go into adjust, plan and fix-it mode.  That is to say we know what we are working and can focus on getting better or dealing with it effectively rather than stressing about what to do. The lesson we learn from that is  that sometimes a certainty--even if it is not a good one--is better than a unnerving uncertainty.  At least with a certainty, you could proceed to face up to the problem and determine a course of action: work to ameliorate the issue or symptoms or where that's not possible accept the outcome.

I started this particular entry a couple of weeks ago  (now 1/29/16), but got sidetracked.  I don't necessarily feel this way currently in my life, but I know I have felt this before.  Anyway, some of what I blog is personal experience, some of what I blog is insight from the experiences of others and some of what I blog is what occurs to me.  I don't claim everything I write is the absolute way it is.  Neither do I claim what I write works for everyone. But, I digress.  Some of this one is personal experience and some of it is what I've seen in others

I believe that relationships can roll this way also. While I am going to focus on romantic relationships, much of what I am talking about can apply to other relationships as well.   Anyway, when a relationship has a certain known quantity to it, a certain sense of peace and tranquility, a certain balance or sense of itself, even if it isn't perfect, it will have a good comfort level.  I believe that in some ways, people are creatures of comfort or familiar.  It is easier to deal with people when we have a fix on them and/or how they relate to us.  See 2D vs. 3D relationships for questions on how we understand (or don't) others.  In a sense, when there is contentment in this part of our lives, it is easier to want to keep things peaceful, not to make waves and just enjoy our "time out on the water".   We are more likely to feel this way in what I call a 3D relationship.

HOWEVER, I believe when we don't have a good fix on a relationship, such as with what I call a 2D relationship, we tend to feel like a boat this not moored or anchored.  That is we tend to be at the mercy of the elements.  Unease can take the following forms:
  • Uncertainty with what our significant other is really feeling about things including us.
  • Uncertainty with how to talk to or relate to our SO (significant other), sometimes to the point of walking on eggshells.
  • Uncertainty of how we actually fit into the relationship and/or if the relationship has a future.

So, what is the natural responses to uncertainty in relationships?
  • Working with the other to figure out the relationship.
    • Counseling
    • Working on communication aka 'talking it through'
  • Letting the uncertainty build up and take deep roots.
    • Resentment develops.
    • The sense of connection starts to die off.
  • Consciously or subconsciously behaving in such a way to end the uncomfortable (and sometimes brutal) uncertainty.
    • Could be pressing our SO until we get some sort of answer, good or bad.
    • Could be engaging in destructive behavior and caring less and less about the consequences.  
      • In a way, it is effectively like having a death wish for a relationship.
      • We want peace, but we can't have peace, yet we don't know how to get peace, yet we need it, yet we don't want to deal with consequences of what we might have to go through to get peace.  In a way, it is easier just throwing a stick of dynamite at the relationship and run like hell, hoping not don't have to face the fallout from the explosion.

I guess the takeaway from this particular blog is the following:
  • Focus on getting to know your partner, not knowing about him or her, but actually 'getting him or her'.  This will leave less room for damaging uncertainty.
  • Understand that some degree of uncertainty in life is unavoidable.  While it is not desirable, up to a certain point, it can/should be tolerable.   After all, our partner is another person with their own separate feelings and concerns.  We can't be perfect in understanding each other.
  • It is best to put things out there sooner rather than later.  While there is a risk of upsetting the apple cart, isn't it best to find that out whether the apple cart was even stable sooner rather than later? 
    • Denying or not facing problems doesn't make them go away.
    • Potentially, you've wasted time and effort on something that really wasn't stable, when you could have discovered it sooner.
    • Potentially, you've delayed the healing process.
The world is fully of uncertainty, yet life goes on.  Similarly, relationships can be full of uncertainty.  Isn't it better just to work on it and find out if the uncertainty can be removed or lessened rather than letting life go by wondering when the bottom could fall out?

Thanks for your read.
Rich