All Articles Tagged "dysfunctional relationships"
I remember the first time I ended a toxic relationship. I was completely elated. You couldn’t tell me nothing. After spending a little more than a year with this horrible guy, I felt like I was in a situation where I could finally heal, and like Nene, I was about to get my “happy back.” That was, until (when I was still a participant of Facebook) I signed into my account and saw that the ex that I thought I had blocked was in my suggested friends–him a picture of his new fiancee.
I was not only taken aback by the fact that he had a new girl, but why did I even care? This guy who was horrible to me, used me, lied to me, why did I care that he was with someone else? I knew I didn’t want him back. I was so sure of that, but why did I feel a certain way about it? So, I did what any confused person would do, I snooped. Saw the name of his financee and tried to see what her Facebook page said. I felt like Spongebob, ready to soak up as much information as I could and I probably looked extra goofy doing it. But, I was hit with a wall; her page could only be seen by confirmed friends. When I began to seriously consider sending her a friend request, I decided to have an intervention.
Meeting up with my friends in the lunch room I had to ask them, “What is wrong with me?”
Seeing an ex move on before you can be a very jarring experience. Those feelings that you had can come up like a shaken up soda can and then just mess up your current life. But that feeling is impacted the moment you think this toxic ex seems to be treating his new boo better than he did you.
That’s what I was dealing with. This was the same guy, who if people saw us together would say: ”Nah, that’s just my friend” has this girl in his profile pic, proclaiming her. What did I do that was wrong? Why did I get the short end of the stick? What did she do better than I did? What does she have that I don’t? The feelings of inadequacy were so strong. I already went through the harsh moments of beating myself up for staying with this guy for so long who did me so dirty; but then to feel like I was the starter relationship? The try out for how to be in a real relationship, and how far you can get with treating a girl badly?
Then it was that feeling of being duped and jealousy mixed together. No, I didn’t want him, but at the same time I felt like I held so tightly to the part of the gentleman that he was that first attracted me to him, that ended out to be just an act. Then to find out that his new girl was getting that same “gentleman,” but in a larger dose, killed me. I didn’t feel like I had ownership to him, but I mentally wanted to hold on to that, to remind myself that I might have been dumb for staying with him, but I wasn’t dumb for falling for him.
Once I began to question if I was worthy of real love that’s when I had to shut myself down. At the end, I know that even if he is with someone else, it’s better that we’re not together, and even if I had to physically write down the reasons why we shouldn’t have been together and put them on my mirror, that’s what I had to do. But I had to learn that I’m better than accepting what I was getting. Even if he’s with someone else, being by myself will always be better than romanticizing a dysfunctional relationship.
Kendra Koger is capable of loving her twitter account; and you should too, @kkoger.
One of the greatest things about being in a relationship is the ability to get lost in something larger than yourself — to submerge your former identity beneath this new persona as part of a couple. But for me, this is also one of the pitfalls. I tend to lose myself in relationships so completely that my life starts to revolve around my significant other while my personal and professional growth grinds to a halt. Then inevitably the relationship ends, and I find myself returning to a life that no longer exists.
The most extreme example of this occurred more than a decade ago. Generally lost and unhappy, I moved to the outskirts of Massachusetts to live with my then-boyfriend in his hometown. It was a place I’d never heard of until my late teens, when I’d driven past it on my way to college at Brown University and thought, ‘People actually live out here?’ Then I dropped out of Brown, met my boyfriend, and became one of those people living out there.
I was cut off from family and friends in my new world, but that was okay, because by that point I didn’t have many friends left. I was estranged from most of my extended family and the talking that did happen with my immediate family usually wasn’t pleasant. This new place was totally unfamiliar, but that was fine too, because everything that was familiar reminded me of failure and broken things that needed to be fixed. It was easier to flee than fix those things. And so I did.
Eventually, that form of escape became a trap, as forms of escape often do. I had successfully left my old life behind, and now I had no life of my own. My boyfriend and I lived and worked together. My friends were his friends. My personal goals and dreams got placed on the back burner as we reveled in our shared experiences, which eventually turned to shared agony. Three years deep into what had increasingly become a co-dependent mess, the relationship came to its inevitable, ugly end. And I went to work rebuilding the life I’d discarded three years prior.
In a more recent relationship, my loss of self was less visible, but perhaps even more damaging. On the surface, my individual identity was still intact. I had friends and plenty of personal interests, and I stayed busy working as a freelance writer and music journalist.
But beneath appearances, my sense of self depended entirely too much on how this man saw me. I allowed his opinion of me to shape my own thoughts and perceptions, because I liked viewing myself through his eyes – glossed over, blind spots neatly placed over my imperfections and insecurities. When the relationship dissolved and I realized his appreciation for me was little more than a façade that hid a deep dislike for who I was, my sense of self disintegrated. It took months of support from family and friends and many sleepless nights spent staring at ceiling fans to rebuild a self-image that was not influenced by his judgment.
And there are other examples, most less extreme, all with the common thread of using love to compensate for or camouflage some deficiency in my identity or avoid a problem in my life. No doubt, love can create a very alluring comfort zone. But comfort zones are not the places where growth occurs, and using relationships as forms of escape or refuge never works. Eventually we’re left to face the very things we ran from. And we bear the emotional fallout of a failed relationship as an added burden.
I can’t say I’ve figured it all out. I’m still trying to draw the line between sharing with another person and neglecting and avoiding myself. I’m trying to find a balance between fostering intimacy and maintaining a personal identity independent of the relationship. I’m trying to build with a partner who will supply some motivation and encouragement to help me live my proverbial best life rather than serving as my crutch or avoidance system when I feel I can’t. I’m trying to resist the temptation to fall into another’s arms simply so I don’t have to look in the mirror.
Have you ever lost yourself in a relationship? Have you used love to avoid or camouflage some problem in your life? Sound off in the comments.
About 10 years ago, I dated an Asian man. This in and of itself was not particularly unique. By that point I’d dated white men, black men and Hispanic men and briefly had an Asian pseudo-boyfriend in high school. As a biracial woman who grew up in a family where get-togethers looked like diversity workshops, I viewed interracial dating as ordinary. I was interested in getting to know an individual, not some member of a particular racial group. Apparently my then-boyfriend didn’t feel the same way.
He told me at some early stage of our relationship—I don’t remember if we were still friends or had become romantically involved—that his ideal woman was half-white and half-Asian, supposedly because he thought that mix produced the best-looking females. I suspect there was more to it than just appearance. In a society where “white is right,” he probably felt that a half-white, half-Asian significant other would allow him to remain loyal to his family’s cultural traditions while he racially “upgraded” in his own mind.
And I guess it was his right to have his own “ideal woman.” We all have qualities that we seek in a potential partner, whether they’re mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial or racial. I’m just not sure he needed to make it so clear that my half-Italian, half-black background didn’t conform to his version of perfect.
There were other warning signs I should have heeded. We worked for the same company and he insisted on hiding our relationship from co-workers. When he called me at work he would give a fake name and scold me if I accidentally slipped and called him by his real one. When I called him at work he’d tell his co-workers it was “the Lauren from the food court,” though I’ve never had a food court affiliation.
His so-called reasoning was that he was slightly higher on the professional food chain than I was, and he didn’t want to jeopardize his position by dating a subordinate—even though we worked at different stores and he was not my boss. The real reason, I know now, was that he was ashamed of me. And if I’d had enough courage to open my eyes and confront that fact, I would have had no option but to leave.
Instead I hung around until he got tired of me. I almost wasn’t surprised when he broke up with me a few months later and told me that despite his previous declarations of love, which had come complete with a bouquet of handmade, tissue-paper roses on Valentine’s Day, he never actually loved me.
Immature as his actions seem to me now, he was not really the problem. The issue was not that he painted a picture of an ideal woman who was not me, or that he hid our relationship from co-workers, or that he took back the love he’d professed. The real issue was that I chose to be with someone who did all of these things.
I guess at some point, you have to put things behind you.
If you follow boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather, you know he he served two months in jail for assaulting his ex-girlfriend and childrens’ mother, Josie Harris, in 2010 (he plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence). Josie said Floyd hit her a few times and threatened to kill her all while their kids were present.
Somehow, TMZ spoke to Josie earlier this week and she has decided to let bygones be bygones. She told them:
S**t happens. I’m not mad at him at all … I love Floyd to death. Floyd loves his kids and is a great father. He would never do anything like that again … I’m sorry the situation happened … now we will just progress and start over and move forward together.”
Now before we go reading her for this profession of forgiveness, we have to keep in mind that they have three children together and it is important that parents try to be as cordial as possible so they’re able to effectively raise their children. In that respect, I get it; you have to work to get to a good place so that your children won’t suffer. I know they haven’t been on the best terms in recent months so it couldn’t have been easy for her to say and believe her own statement.
That said, I’m not sure how she got to the “s**t happens” part or how she figures he’ll never do anything like that again. Abuse doesn’t “just happen” and the first time it happens does not tend to be the last. Of course, they aren’t together anymore so it just may not happen to her but she should probably be careful when saying he would NEVER do something like that again. I’m sure she didn’t expect him to hit her when he did either. I can’t understand why she’s sorry it happened; has he said he’s sorry for this too?
The profession of love and just the entire statement seems…weird. If you read too deep into it – and who doesn’t – it almost sounds like she was paid to say that or will be paid for speaking so highly of him. Whatever it is, I’m sure their children are just glad they’re getting along.
What do you think? Can you just “get back to love” after an assault at the hands of your significant other happens?
Lately I’ve been bothered by the plethora of dysfunctional relationships being paraded about like they’re normal.
I was thinking about this last night when I turned to the Love and Hip Hop Atlanta reunion show. Between the Fredericks of Hollywood teddy that Erica was wearing as a dress and then her cussing out the other girl (Shay?) over this clown with tattoos on his face, I didn’t last five minutes before changing the channel. I was certain the show would end in a fight, but apparently it ended with a marriage proposal. Are you kidding me?
I am in awe that this foolishness is not only on television, but it’s popular too. I like a drama-filled TV series as much as the next girl, but my problem with LHHA is that it’s supposed to be reality. This type of drama is supposed to be their real life.
And for some unfortunate people, that is reality. I know that there are women who waste large chunks of their lives on men who subject them to the entire book of sexually transmitted diseases by creeping with random women all over town. Some of these couples even bring children into that dysfunction. I realize that it happens every day.
I also realize that images are important and putting this trash on television is making it seem as though these types of “relationships” are common. In fact, I would argue that these types of portrayals attempt to desensitize the viewers and make them believe that these types of relationships are normal. It’s that normalization of dysfunction that is problematic and something that I cannot tolerate.
Of course Mona Scott-Young isn’t inventing anything new under the sun. Dysfunction is a staple when it comes to romance in televisions and movies. Most of our favorite fictional couples’ relationships are defined by conflict. Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big are only one example of a relationship that would never survive without a script to sustain it. After watching a few reruns, I was shocked that the Everybody Loves Raymond season finale wasn’t held in divorce court. The other day I watched Love and Basketball and couldn’t even be happy that Monica and Quincy were together in the end because of so much mess that went on throughout. Not to mention that “Tamar & Vince” promo. Either they were faking that drama or this season will end with divorce papers.
Of course there are those who would say that, without the drama, television shows would be boring. I will give them that, but this LHHA drama is excessive. Who gets engaged after all of that? These two haven’t had a functional relationship for a day, yet he saw fit to pull out a ring and ask her to marry a N***a. If I was in that audience, I would have been booing and throwing tomatoes.
All of their drama was probably all part of gaining viewers for the show, but when that drama leaps off the screen and into the lives of people we know, it needs to be recognized as problematic and uncommon. It’s not recognized that way though. For some odd reason, a couple getting along without copious amounts of fights, breakups and makeups every day is seen as an anomaly and only to be expected for the first few dates.
Think about the terminology we use to describe different couples:
When a couple is happy together, we call that the “honeymoon phase”: A timespan during which problems known to exist are either not manifest or are ignored, much like the newlywed period during which spouses are most cordial and passionate with each other. In contrast, when a couple is constantly bickering, we say they fight like an old married couple; therefore implying that all of the fighting is not destructive to their relationship and is just part of their lasting union.
I’m not even sure where these definitions came from, but the “despise that I adore you, hate how much I love you” relationship model is accepted as normal. It’s not normal. If you’re fighting, cussing and slamming doors everyday, that’s not love, that’s dysfunction and a clear sign of incompatibility. Sexual chemistry is great, but if a couple hates each other outside of the bedroom it’s time to go their separate ways.
The reason we don’t say that though is because many of us have never experienced nor observed a peaceful, loving, romantic relationship in real life or on TV. You don’t have to be the Huxtables to get along. Plenty of women are out here having serious, lasting relationships with men they can trust. They’re marrying men who don’t headbutt them or have other women on the side.
It ticks me off to listen to people who have no common sense in matters of their heart excuse their ignorance with the fallacy that their experience is common and all women are dealing with the same thing.
This is how we get the stereotypes that all men cheat, all men watch Adult Videos, all men go to strip clubs, all women don’t want to have sex, the first year of marriage is the hardest, etc. When I hear it, I want to say: “Nope that’s not everybody, that’s just you.”
While it’s important not to sell each other pockets full of sunshine because sunshine doesn’t pay the bills, it’s also important not to wave off inexcusable situations with the thought that everyone is dealing with the same thing. The other day, Mimi posted a video hollering about all women have been cheated on. First of all, that’s not true and even if it were that doesn’t justify the deplorable things she has put up with from Stevie J. Just because there are women who have been cheated on doesn’t mean women should accept or tolerate that. Just because there are men who won’t discipline themselves to be faithful and committed in a relationship doesn’t make it okay. These people trying to normalize their dysfunction need to have as many seats as possible preferably in the nearest therapist’s office.
I really hope that our expectations for our romantic relationships aren’t guided by what I witnessed on LHHA last night. Healthy relationships don’t just exist in 80’s sitcoms or when someone in the relationship is wearing a mask. Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. We’re all born on this Earth and should expect positive dating relationships. If a couple cannot peacefully coexist then that’s a clear indication that the relationship needs to be ended. If respect, trust, honesty, loyalty, fidelity, kindness, and consideration have already made their exit then it’s a fair assumption that love is not in the room either.
And despite trying to convince us otherwise with “love” in the title, Stevie J, Lil Scrappy and their sex triangles are not true representations of relationships in this country. That life is not normal, it’s sad.
What do you think? Do you think that dysfunctional relationships are too often seen as normal and functional relationships are seen as uncommon?
More on Madame Noire!
- Single Black Male: The 5 Steps to Approaching A Woman
- Where Are They Now? 11 Singers and Rappers Who Didn’t Blow Up Like We Thought They Would…
- Signs He Will NEVER Be Into You
- OO-OOP! Did You Know These Celeb Women Are Deltas?
- You Don’t Have To Be Wonder Woman: The Importance of Vulnerability In Relationships
- Bison Brothers: 10 Notable Men Who Attended Howard University
- Love On Your Terms: Are Your Expectations Too High?
It’s been about two years since I’ve last seen my mother.
We were born twenty years and eight days apart. When people see the side by side comparisons of us, they say we look like sisters. My grandmother says I am a carbon copy of her, down to the mannerisms and inflection in our voices. Often times she calls me by my mother’s name in confusion. With all this commonality, I still don’t know who she is.
I can’t pinpoint it down to an exact moment when our relationship became strained because the reality is that it had always been. I won’t get into detail because this is not the forum to air all messiness but I will say that our home was not a happy one. We dealt with lots of dysfunction, secrets and anger. This environment fostered our inability to communicate and relate to each other. We always did the obligatory things together like graduations and birthdays and Christmas. But it was always something missing between us -warmth, connection, hugs, kisses and I love yous – that didn’t exist. Instead we fought more than anything else.
We had tried to work on our relationship several times. I remember after college my mother welcomed me back home, fresh face and renewed with a whole new outlook on life. She was no longer the angry person I remember her being as a child. She pulled me close to her and hugged me. Then she told me how proud she was of me. She wanted to talk about school and my plans now that I graduated. But I was angry and harboring lots of resentment towards her, so I just shut down. I know she could sense it; I could see it on her face. I wanted her to acknowledge the obvious tension between us but instead she shut down too. And that’s how we were for several years after that -short conversations and even short tempers. Later she would move out of state. I guess we were both hoping that the distance would heal but it seemed that our communication just got worse. Mainly because I had questions and she was still not ready to answer.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother dearly. And I am pretty sure that she loves me too. At the same time, we just can’t get along. I wish I could get over it and just let it go. To forgive and forget. However some stuff can’t just be pushed under the rug and shrugged away. I don’t think we’ll ever be okay until we sit down and have an honest and truthful dialogue with each other. But that can only happen if we are both willing to do so.
That’s why I have sympathy for Tracy Morgan. As many of you may already know, Morgan’s name is being dragged through the mud once again, not because of some drama on-stage but because of family drama off-screen. According to published reports, Morgan’s mother is facing foreclosure and his family has decided to take their business to the media. They claim that Morgan, who is worth around $8 million, is unwilling to cough up the $25,000 that would pay off the rears that she owes the bank. Not much more is known about the situation other than that Morgan and his mother have been estranged for years, which is said to be documented in the book I Am the New Black. And according to another family member, “Her health is failing. She has diabetes, and her legs are giving out on her. This would be a drop in the bucket for Tracy. She has a son that can do, and she’s done everything that she possibly could for her family.”
Don’t let this title deceive you. I don’t mean the type of relationship that’s harmful to your physical being. I’m talking about the type of relationship that damages your psychological, emotional and even spiritual self. A minister at my church spoke about this topic last weekend, referencing the story of Sampson and Delilah. For those of you who are unfamiliar or are a little rusty, here’s the very short version. God had given Sampson super human strength which was contained in his hair. But Sampson had a weakness for women. One of the women he was messing with took money to find out the source of strength and eventually cut off his hair rendering him as weak as any other man.
For a majority of the sermon I sat there thinking that I would never find myself in such a predicament. I’ve never had a problem recognizing red flags and cutting people off with a quickness. But the more I thought about, I realize even healthy, supportive relationships have the potential to become dangerous if we aren’t careful. Here are some signs that your relationship is sliding down a slippery slope.
Let me preface this by saying, I get it. You go through the dizzying grind of club nights and lounges, blind dates and online profiles, the guy who your mama’s church friend’s co-worker thinks will be perfect for you–when you finally get a man who’s worth something, you hold onto him with crazy glue-like grip. However, the problem is that sometimes, these guys aren’t worth it. And before you tell me that I’m wrong, make sure the words out of your mouth won’t be one of the following…
Most people, men and women, do want love- and that’s a great goal to have. But are you in a relationship where you continually find yourself going the distance because you think you’re in “love.” Have you ever done unhealthy things or made unhealthy sacrifices for someone you thought you loved? Sometimes we women will stretch ourselves to the limit- all in the name of “love.” And it can to turn out to be quite unhealthy and unhappy for us because sometimes what we think is love really isn’t. And sometimes the one we love doesn’t truly deserve the love we have to give.
Remember this: There is always an emotional and even physical cost to being in love. But there are also wonderful benefits if you’ve found real love. Real love is something that involves work and sacrifice, but it also something that enriches and elevates you to an even better place. It isn’t something where you have to do unhealthy and compromising things to obtain or maintain it.
So before you make any decision for love, think about the cost and benefit. Why? Because your love is too precious to give to just anyone. Here are 5 unhealthy things women often do for love: