By Javinne J. McCoy
Update: Got caught up this week. So this is a Facts of Life Friday, the Saturday Edition. Nonetheless I think it appropriate for some food for thought and a weekend reality checker.
Sidenote: This post is not for the emotionally unavailable person who is not doing enough or barely doing anything at all, to use as a justification as to why they should do even less in their relationships, because they feel “burdened” by giving even a centimeter of effort, mutuality, and reciprocity, consistently in their relationships.
This is however, a shout out to all you folk who find yourself smack in the middle of relationship dynamics where you are doing most or all of the relationship (or friendship) leg work (and yes , this also makes a person emotionally unavailable to, but that is a different post).
Anyway, right into it…….
Are you feeling tired? Are you feeling mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically drained in your relationships?
Are you feeling like you always need to do more, be more, say more, invest more, or empathize for a party of 2 (while not even a Chia Seed size of empathy is bestowed upon you)?
Do you find yourself Doing Too much, Doing The Most, and Doing More of Too Much and The Most, while you get glimpses of lack luster effort from folk (but they seem to show up and dust off their Best China for other friends, family, and significant others)?
If you step back and do a Fearless Relationship-Peer Inventory and examine the company you keep (in this case the company you have to work damn hard to keep), does your stomach get wiggy and flip-n-turn in the nausea of disappointment, because yet again, you’ve been sidelined for a “better” opportunity or “better” people?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you are quite possibly carrying the heavy burden of Peopleweights, and will suffer from a condition called Relationship Burnout. It is a very real thang!
People in your life that do the bare minimum to invest in the growth and progression of the relationship. They create a grave imbalance in the relationship due to lack of consistent effort, accountability, responsibility, availability of their time and personal resources of self (unless they see fit on their terms to avail themselves to you or unless they don’t have better options lined up somewhere else).
A state of burden, heaviness, exhaustion, and depletion, that is experienced in relationships (or friendships) where there are imbalances and halfhearted efforts in, communication, quality time spent, making of plans ahead of time (or at all), and basically anything aimed at genuinely investing one’s resources of self, to keep the relationship breathe flowing equally.
If you feel that things are not mutual in your relationships, hands up and put the people barbells down!
Save the weightlifting for Planet Fitness, New York Sports Club, or Equinox. You don’t have to work so hard in your relationships.
Because, it is a set up for disappointment.
One-way relationships are lopsided and will fail to deliver what you truly deserve.
If you are used to Doing Things for Two in your relationships, you are approaching things from The Unhealthy Love template. You are carrying unnecessary burdens and being over-responsible to your own demise.
Our unhealthy love template (the love myths) does a lot of yick yacking, and provides us with a narrative of lies and fairy tales, about love and relationships.
“I am not good enough if I don’t work hard for things too work for this relationship”
“If I don’t do something they will disappear”
“If I don’t say yes immediately they won’t make the offer again, and I will lose out”
“If they are doing less and I don’t do more, THE MOST, and then some, to fill in the gap, they won’t be around” (but on some level you already acknowledged that they are barely around anyway)
It’s time to reel it in S.T.A.T! This is inner chatter that is exhausting and IT ISN”T GOING TO CUT IT, if we want to reach Destination Healthy.
Now, I am not saying scale on down your efforts, go responsibility campaigning, and manipulate things so they’re only on your terms (save that for the EUP, Narc, or Jerk to do).
What I am saying is that you get to know YOU.
Ask yourself sincerely, “What is my typical relationship dynamic and what am I feeling from this dynamic”?
Think– changing the pattern and growth. This could lead to a decision to let go of certain relationships, Give up The Ghost, release your non-mutual relationships, to make room for healthy mutual available ones.
This could also mean some alone time (when you don’t love you being alone is experienced as pain the equivalent of an untreated root canal.
Looking at the dynamics in your relationships requires a bit of self-reflection and the courage to accept things, the way they are, in reality.
Take REALITY over fantasy-even if reality reveals unpleasant truths.
Don’t become a Chronic Avoider and someone who avoids problems and pretends things aren’t happening in real time.
Take several steps back and deal with why you are carrying People Weights, suffering from Relationship Burnout, and doing all that relationship work. Free ya’ self!
If when you examine the interactions between you and them, you get to carrying on, get miffed, and preparing to march at The Fairness Protest, propping up advocacy signs about the unfairness of it all, you could be feeling taken advantage of.
You could also be feeling it’s unfair because you are being mistreated (and yes, it is unfair).
This is a great reason you should scale back on your efforts unless it’s consistently mutual, or you see overtime if it has the potential to be consistently mutual.
Side Note: That’s if you decide it’s even worth the investment of your goodies- some folk simply aren’t worth it because they have shoddy characters by default, and create situations that are deal breakers, and will get you caught out there in some pretty unhelathy relationship experiences, if you engage with them.
You are experiencing Relationship Burnout. Stop stuffing your feelings and thinking you are expecting too much! That’s being emotionally unavailable to you.
In fact, the very people who are willing to do the bare minimum or do nada, are the very folk who will accuse you of having Higher Than The Heavens Expectations so that they:
a) Get a lot and then some, for very little (translation: selfish entitlement and opportunity knocking at your door, and then forcing the door open, knocking down your boundaries)
b) Never have to address their poorly developed or non-existent relationship and people skills (they don’t want to do the personal growth, change thing)
Notice how these folks will never accuse the people they have chosen to make a priority of having all these High and Mighty Expectations. However they sure will get to spewing protests about your unreasonable “demands” and “expectations”.
They don’t accuse their girlfriend or boyfriend of having High Expectations when they want to see them 24/7 and Siamese twin them. Why not? Why is that?
They don’t accuse their family of Having High Expectations when they are running them around town to the ground. Why not? Isn’t that curious?
They don’t accuse anybody of having high expectations if they deem that person important to them. SIMPLE. That’s the piping hot Real T (Truth).
You don’t need to internalize the reality of the unfair dynamic to make you feel worse, but you need to recognize the imbalance in the dynamic. It creates Relationship Burnout for the party that’s on borrowed time-YOU.
Sidenote: The origins of this kind of relationship dynamic most likely have taken root from growing up around people that chose not to accept responsibility for their actions, but made sure to blame or project their inadequacies and inability to step up to the plate, to be available to your needs, on you.
So what did you do?
For survival, you took on the burden of over-responsibility because others wouldn’t.
However, you are not a toddler anymore; we are grown adults and deserve relationships, with two grown adults present, sharing the responsibility.
It’s time to unplug that crossed wire and shutdown Planet Peopleweight Fitness gym before you suffer burnout.
This dynamic, will leave you feeling exhausted, emotionally spent, used, slighted, unimportant , and possibly add to any wobbly self-esteem you already have.
You need balance and mutuality in order for things to be fair and feel equal in your friendships/relationships-a few of the many components of healthy relationships. You deserve it!
If they are breaking their back, flitting around favors, and availing time to everyone but you, it’s time to do less for them.
Put the Peopleweights down!
You don’t need to carry the burden of over-responsibility.
Once upon a recent time, I recall one Narc EUP (an EUP on the Narcissist Spectrum) would often say to me in ” You are doing the work for the both of us. You are doing The MOST.” A light bulb went off and I scaled back.
Guess what happened? The relationship disappeared because he liked to keep the unhealthy dynamic going, him doing less while I filled in the gap and did more. He did not want a mutual relationship. I did, so I gave him the boot, and scooted him right out my life.
Reel it in. Shave down your efforts. Fall back. Make other plans. It might feel selfish but DO YOU. See if the relationship you put so much stock in will stack up to the reality of WHO THEY ARE.
What happens when you are not holding onto their coattails, sitting by the phone, tapping your fingers on your coffee table, hoping and praying to be chosen and considered?
Do they disappear?
Do they pull back?
Do they do even less, then the less, they were doing?
Does the relationship die of attrition because you are no longer making most of the effort?
When you take on the bulk of efforts while others coast by and drop you a line when they feel it’s convenient, the consistent message that is conveyed is that you are just not that important TO THEM.
You can survive that truth.
However, don’t ever assist people in minimizing your expectations and give them excuses, to give you less than they would others. They are offering subpar relationship experiences where they get to reap all of your glory, steal your shine, and block it with SPF45 Non-reciprocal Non-mutual.
Here is a suggestion- shed the burden and prevent relationship burnout.
Slam the Peopleweights down!
50lb Peopleweight of Emotional Unavailability- Drop!
100lb People Weight of Non-mutual-Drop!
150lb Peopleweight of chasing down approval-Drop!
Now, take a deep breath. You should feel lighter.
Thoughts? Comments? Stories? Do you have a topic or a question on emotionally unavailable relationships that you would like addressed on the L.A. Blog? Please feel free to or comment directly on a post that has inspired and empowered you or email: firstname.lastname@example.org