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Honesty vs. Games (long and rambling)

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Amazonia posted 9/14/2013 11:50 AM

I've been dating someone recently, and although things are ending between us as I prepare to move to the other side of the world, I've been reflecting on what made things with this man so different from previous relationships I have had.

For the first time, ever that I can remember in my life, I was completely honest with someone.

Every friendship, every romantic encounter, even every family interaction, has had an element of manipulation and control in it. I don't mean the kind of manipulation that an NPD might execute, but the kind of every day influence we all try to exert over others - phrasing things to show yourself in a better light, minimizing what others might not like or understand, compartmentalizing what you share with whom, acting with an idea of how the other person could react instead of just being authentic.

When we started dating, we both knew that I was moving, and somehow that gave me a freedom to let go of the attempts to be something or someone who I'm not, and let me simply be myself, no games. I've never been so straight forward or honest with someone, anyone. It's funny how uncomplicated things can be when everything is just out in the open, and how much easier it is to trust when you know that there are no games being played.

I may be losing this relationship, but I want to move forward into this next phase of my life with more authenticity, fewer games and fewer unrealistic (and often unexpressed) expectations. It's frightening, because it means letting go of at least a perception of control over things, but doesn't life always seem to have a way of working out?

Looking back on previous relationships, I think that there were times when I knowingly or even intentionally made things harder than they needed to be. I wouldn't tell a partner what was wrong, or why I was upset (or even that I was upset). I played games that I think are common in relationships, but not healthy. At times, I used guilt to get what I wanted. I think on an emotional level, I wanted someone to fight past it all, to prove that I was worth fighting for. I realized with this relationship that it's not about someone fighting for me, it's about both of us fighting for the relationship.

The more secure I am becoming in myself, the less I feel the need for someone else to validate me. Maybe that's common sense, but I'm seeing more and more places in my life where I was acting for all the wrong reasons, things I never even realized I was doing, or that I never recognized as being the result of my chronic low self esteem.

Growth is good, even when it's not easy.

wildbananas posted 9/14/2013 12:26 PM

Your post really spoke to me, Ama, and I know exactly what you mean.

I hate game playing, always have. But as I too have gotten healthier and more secure, I can see how I did my fair share of it in the past. Not in an NPD way but more as a reaction to NDP ex-asshat and XSO, like I was trying to protect myself by controlling every single possible outcome by acting a certain way. It definitely made me victimish and yes, in turn, game-playingish. It's a super exhausting way to live and not authentic at all. And I own my shit - I know if I'd been any sort of emotionally healthy going in, I wouldn't have put up with any of it, let alone participated in it. I made my choices and boy, were they bad ones.

I'm the beginning stage of something with someone now (the roses guy) and there is zero pretense on either side. We've both put everything on the table and have the attitude that if one isn't okay with something and calls it, no harm, no foul... it's just not meant to be. I don't feel like I have to hide myself at all, I don't feel like I have to filter or compartmentalize (outside of keeping my romantic life separate from the bunch, which is a good separation for us all right now). And I know I'm now strong enough to say "Okay, this isn't for me/us" and walk if that's the right thing to do.

I have to say, it's pretty awesome to be in a place where everything isn't questioned or scrutinized or like a game of chess... it just IS.

The more secure I am becoming in myself, the less I feel the need for someone else to validate me. Maybe that's common sense, but I'm seeing more and more places in my life where I was acting for all the wrong reasons, things I never even realized I was doing, or that I never recognized as being the result of my chronic low self esteem.

^^^ In summary... this.

Love reading your thoughts, as always.

[This message edited by wildbananas at 12:28 PM, September 14th (Saturday)]

cmego posted 9/14/2013 19:12 PM

I've been thinking about this post too. Very well written.

I remember when I first really noticed a problem in my marriage, I asked for ex and I to attend marriage counseling. I really clicked with that therapist, and I believe she saw that I was being manipulated. She told me in relationship communication, you should always start with:

"I need...."
"I think....."
"I feel....."

Not focusing on how the other person makes you feel, but how YOU feel, and being honest with that feeling/need/thought. Even if it is a difficult one.

I don't believe it worked in my marriage because I was with someone who was not interested in communicating back effectively. Or communication at all for that matter. He had no interest in giving me what I needed. So, without a partner that reciprocates that communication style of honesty, it falls flat.

I am guilty of still pulling "a girl move" (as I call it) every now and then. Where, instead of saying exactly how I feel and what I need, I acquiesce. "Do what you want to do." instead of "This is what I need from you." The difference now is I recognize when I do it and quickly correct the communication. And now I am willing to stand up for the consequences. In my marriage, I was not.

The other side of this is choosing better partners/ friends that also reflect back the honest communication. So, the theory about broken attracts broken flips and shows that strong attracts strong.

I think on an emotional level, I wanted someone to fight past it all, to prove that I was worth fighting for. I realized with this relationship that it's not about someone fighting for me, it's about both of us fighting for the relationship.

I know this is what I struggle with the most post d-day. The feeling of not being worth it to someone. The kids and I were not worth it enough for ex to fight and stay in. He bailed on all of us. But, now I understand that is his issue, not mine. I will always fight for a relationship I believe in, now I need to find a person who has the same fight. I agree, it takes two to have a successful and honest relationship.

Jrazz posted 9/14/2013 19:25 PM

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traildad posted 9/14/2013 21:25 PM

The more secure I am becoming in myself, the less I feel the need for someone else to validate me. Maybe that's common sense, but I'm seeing more and more places in my life where I was acting for all the wrong reasons, things I never even realized I was doing, or that I never recognized as being the result of my chronic low self esteem.

Very powerful paragraph here. Self aware and true sign of growth. I, too, have found straight honesty to be so refreshing, and freeing. Especially not being afraid to say "I don't know" to a partner when they ask you a question about life/feelings, etc.

Williesmom posted 9/15/2013 17:58 PM

Awesome realization. I too am striving to live a life that is true to myself.

Crescita posted 9/16/2013 10:22 AM

Great post and (((Ama)))

fraeuken posted 9/16/2013 10:34 AM

Great post, Ama. Speaks volumes to me.

Good luck with your move.

NaiveAgain posted 9/16/2013 21:51 PM

that gave me a freedom to let go of the attempts to be something or someone who I'm not, and let me simply be myself, no games.
I've contributed my fair share of unhealthy behavior in the past also (expecting him to read my mind, getting mad or hurt because he didn't do something I felt he should have even though I never asked him to...you know, he should just KNOW!)

There is a certain power and strength in being able to ask, clearly and plainly, for what you want in a relationship. And then let it go...if he can give it, great, if he can't, it isn't because I am not worthy, it is just because he can't.

Growth is good, even when it's not easy
Any true growth that I have had in my life has been painful/difficult. I am at the point where if I am experiencing great pain or hurt, I start looking for the lesson in it....

InnerLight posted 9/17/2013 17:38 PM

That's great that you've had that experience. It sounds liberating.

I've always felt like I was as honest as I could be but then I was also unconscious about some of my unacknowledged desires/needs. Chances are likely I'm still unconscious in some areas. I can't know what I don't know. Still, I try to be self-aware and to communicate with kindness even while being straightforward. When I was younger I would skip the kindness part and I was more harsh and hard edged.

I don't relate to playing games as that to me implies being conscious and manipulative and that has never been my thing. Saggitarius and all. Honest to a fault!

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