Black and White
I have taken a fairly lengthy vacation and am glad to say that I am finally back. I want to publish this post in a more off-the-cuff fashion than is normal for me. There is a principle in Psychology where the less one knows about a subject, the seemingly more simple it seems. The more one knows about the subject, the more complex it seems. Why is this so? Well, when we learn, we learn more than just information but we also learn additional aspects to the topic. Thus, as our knowledge base expands, so does the universe with which it is contained. Some call this the curse of knowledge.
So, my dilemma is that I feel like sometimes I know too much. As a relationship coach, it can impose challenges on my personal life to have answers that others would prefer I don’t have. It is not my place in a relationship to be a coach. It is akin to having to switch roles from master to student when I step out of my office and shut the door. If there is a problem in my relationship, then it is possible that I have to seek expert help, not because I don’t have the answers, but because of the role dilemma.
I type this article to highlight not the need to be right but the need to see eye to eye with one’s partner. If we aren’t careful, we can focus too much on trying to objectify right and wrong, firmly basing our emotions off of the result. Whereas, a relationship is better explained in Economic terms of subjective value. What this means is that each person places a different monetary value on goods and services. There is no inherent value, only one that is dictated by the collective votes of millions of people spending their money. People in relationships operate in a similar fashion. One can, sometimes, only understand and compromise with conflicting viewpoints that seem to be diametrically opposed.
For some things, change will be needed to avert a dissolution or break-up. For others, coping and accepting is most likely in order. But to avoid those options, the only thing one can do is succeed at mate selection. Which reminds me of a time when a client asked me to write a book on how to see bad mates before it is too late. It usually goes something like he or she was great while we were dating, but then turned into a monster. It seems crazy to most, but Psychology has come a long way in explaining why people get into unworkable relationships. And The Fire of Knowledge is considered by some to be a textbook on how to interact with the most difficult people on the planet. But I didn’t write my first book to get someone stuck in an awful relationship; I did so to give their choleric partner the best chance possible to change and if not then it gives the damaged partner all of the evidence and confidence needed to end it.
Some relationships are guaranteed to only give the damaged partner evidence that it is unworkable. Other relationships will restore your faith in humanity due to their ability to turn things around. While I wish there was a uniform body of advice, there can be no such thing due to the subjective nature of relationships. The more manipulative and spiteful a person is, the more unworkable the relationship will be with someone trying to use expert advice. The more mean someone is, the more unworkable the relationship will be with someone that does not get so easily hurt.
When properly applied, good advice is supposed to work well. Start from a place of understanding and empathy. Use good advice and give it some time to work. Gather evidence. And then make decisions that make sense logically and emotionally.