Road of Commitment

The need for “Connection” is one of the signs that draw us into any relationship, whether intimate, work related, friendship, or professional. We become committed and want them to continue if we value them. Trust is a necessary element in order to invest in people. As social beings, we benefit from the complex inter-relationships that most of us have. Having a network of acquaintances, friends, and professionals we can depend on makes us stronger. Part of this reliance involves believing in them and trusting what they say.

As with many healthy values, commitment and trust can be twisted into vulnerabilities when the sign that says “One Way Street” is missed. Controllers typically are self-centered and lack empathy. This inhibits their ability to make a healthy commitment to the well-being of anyone else. The red warning sign should go up for us when dedication is expected but none returned. Often we are confused because we assume there are mutual loyalties and values. We are conned into believing in the illusion of mutuality, at least initially.

However, controllers’ perceptions are slanted toward whatever is self-serving for them. Over time, it becomes more and more evident that their views are very different from most everyone else. When their control efforts don’t work, rather than change they may simply let go of individuals so that they aren’t confronted with this or held accountable. This may happen actively by ending relationships or it may be the consequence of others being fed up by their behavior.

Before the picture is clear, we can be tricked into colluding with the externalizing and blaming of others. We trust before  seeing how facts are manipulated. Sometimes we ignore red flags we see because we want to believe in the relationship. Beware of those who demand that you ignore your perceptions in favor of “blind faith” in them. Jill is a good example:

  • Jill initially had trouble believing Jim’s reports of his ex-partner Faye not allowing visitation with their children and saying mean things about him, but he seemed so hurt by this that she decided he was sincere. Jim was adamant about how evil Faye was. Jill even got into a fight with her because she spoke up for him having more time with his children. After three years of gradually increasing coercive control directed at Jill, she started to doubt that Faye was such a “bitch” after all, especially when she started hearing the same labels when she stood up for herself.

We may find ourselves making excuses and finding other reasons for the painful reality we face until we can no longer ignore it. It is hard to conclude that people you love twist and control situations for their benefit, especially when they are so convincing. Beware of trusting someone just because they seem so sincere. Con artists of all types have made appearing sincere an art. After all, why would people purposefully advertise that they can’t be trusted? We have to be connected to and trust our instincts in order to know truly whether to trust. When you believe in yourself, time always tells you what is real.

Believing the evidence you see as opposed to the story your boss or friend puts together is also painful, as this example illustrates:

  • Tim believed his boss when he was told that working hard would eventually get him a partnership in the company. Tim worked hard for several years, even working long hours that cut into his family time. After years of his boss’ failure to follow through with promised pay raises and promotions, Tim became embittered and angry. He began to understand that the stories his boss told of employees who were unreliable were actually people who quit when they got tired of his unrealistic expectations.

The internalized predator here is that part of you that is committed without regard to how it affects you. When you give up what is important to you in order to avoid the pain of losing cherished ideas of a life together, job advancement, or any other rewards, then your dedication has become misguided.

When someone’s perception becomes your reality, the cost is losing touch with yourself, with all the pain and suffering that results.

 This highway parallels with the next one we’ll talk about, Romantic Love.

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