Mr. Brightside 10 - Being the "Exception" + Emotional Capacity
You think that it’s not a love worth having if you haven’t got someone to make you the exception to their rule of behaviour.
This ‘exception’ thing is a recurrent theme throughout all relationships with Mr. Unavailables.
We want to be the exception because it will prove that we're special.The reason we try to do this is because we had emotionally immature/emotionally unavailable parents who made us work hard for their attention.
The problem is that most of the time, these people (our parents, our partners) don't have the capacity to give us what we're looking for. We think that they're withholding something from us, when it's not actually something that they're capable of giving; it is not within their emotional capacity.
They had childhoods that stunted their emotional growth, and they didn't become emotionally mature. The only way they can change (or that any emotionally immature person can change) is through the work of reflection. And that's their job, not ours.
By the way, I know it seems romantic and all, but don't count on the idea of being a man's "exception."
Your approach to finding the right man should be optimistic, but also very pragmatic. The fastest way to end up as a man's pastime instead of his girlfriend is to base all of your dating decisions on the hope of being a man's "exception."
Don't fall into the trap of working your tail off to convince an unresponsive, half-interested man that you're his exception.
- Bruce Bryans: He's Not That Interested
If you're practicing observing your parent or other loved ones and find yourself getting emotional, your distress is a sign that your healing fantasy has been activated. You've fallen back into believing that you can't be okay if they don't validate you.
If you start slipping into your fantasy that you may be able to get the other person to change, you'll feel weak, vulnerable, apprehensive, and needy.
This extremely unpleasant feeling of weakness is a signal that you need to shift out of responding emotionally and move back into observing mode.
If someone loves me they’ll change.You feel that you can latch on to anyone, even Mr. Unavailable, and prove your worthiness.
When you start thinking about what a man is not giving you, ask if he is even capable of providing it.
Many men discovered as children that when they didn’t suppress perceived weaknesses such as expressing emotion, displaying vulnerability and sensitivity, and communicating their feelings, it was often penalized.
If he’s out of touch with himself and his emotions, how can you expect him to know how he feels, and even more importantly, communicate it?
It's not that he's sitting on a wealth of information about how he feels – it's not there and even if it was, he wouldn’t know how to access it.
My father, and Mr. Brightside, had childhoods that stunted their emotional growth, which never allowed them to develop their emotional capacities.
Overworking in Adult Relationships
Many internalizing children optimistically believe that when they grow up, they'll be able to singlehandedly love another person into a good relationship. Reflecting on her failing marriage, one woman put it this way: "I thought I could be enough for both of us."
You probably think you’ve been working hard at your relationship and that it’s a measure of your commitment that you’ve persisted with your Mr Unavailable…
Emotionally immature parents don't know how to validate their child's feelings and instincts. Without this validation, children learn to give in to what others seem sure about. As adults, they may deny their instincts to the point where they acquiesce to relationships they don't really want.
They may then believe it's up to them to make the relationship work. They may rationalize why they have to try so hard in the relationship, as though it were normal to struggle daily to get along with your mate.
While effort is needed to maintain communication and connection in a relationship, it shouldn't feel like constant, unrewarding work. The truth is, if both partners fit each other, understand each other's feelings, and are positive and supportive, relationships are primarily pleasurable, not arduous.
Good relationships do take some effort and forbearance. But it shouldn't take work just to be noticed. Making an emotional connection ought to be the easy part.
Mr Unavailable blindly assumes that he acts as he does because he’s never met the ‘right’ woman. His ego forgets to remind himself that in his unavailable state, he’s not the right man – for anyone… He’s failed to recognize that his resistance in relationships isn’t caused by the women he’s involved with, but by himself.
He's putting it on you and he's coming up with a reason that's kind of ridiculous because he's suggesting that he could have behaved in a different way in a different circumstance. That it's not because he can't meet the basic requirements for being in a relationship, it's because he's "not falling in love."
It's as if he's saying to you "if you had met my standards for falling in love, suddenly all of those things that were lacking would have gone away" as if he himself wasn't a factor in all of it.
That's a cop out, but it's an easy way for him to explain it to himself because it kinda puts the blame on you; he used that as an excuse not to face his own inadequacies which are pretty significant. You're probably as close as he's come to looking in the mirror and facing those inadequacies.
And now he's gotten to a point where you asking for normal things is just too much so it's easier for him to walk away."
The Lure of Old Patterns...All humans share the primitive instinct that familiarity means safety. Therefore, if you grew up with emotionally immature parents, you may feel subconsciously drawn to the familiarity of egocentric and exploitative people... the people we find most charismatic are subconsciously triggering us to fall back into old, negative family patterns...this kind of instant chemistry can be a danger sign, indicating that self-defeating roles from childhood are being reactivated beneath the surface.
If you don’t get wise about unavailable relationships, you will spend your life around men that send a message to you that you’re not ‘good enough.’
This isn’t because you’re not good enough but because you’re trying to make an unavailable relationship into a committed relationship, which is like trying to make a pig’s ear into a silk purse...
It’s not your job to make him a better man or even an available man - it’s his.
We may find distant or avoidant partners alluring because their avoidance is a challenge for our ego …
We might find it more exciting to be caught up in a push-pull dynamic with someone than to say yes to love that is readily available and healthy for us.
The excitement comes from eroticizing rejection - it feeds that part of us that still feels like have something to prove.
Prove we’re lovable or worthy. That we are so special that we can change someone’s mind or behaviour.
But that excitement you feel is also draining your energy and soul-sucking on so many levels.
When we abandon ourselves for someone who’s undeserving of our energy, our inner-child is is usually hurting deeply and feeling afraid to be alone.
It's ok to walk away when your heart isn’t being cherished, honoured or supported.
We're all going to have days where we show up as the worst version of ourselves. But at the end of the day, we all deserve to be with someone who we know is in our corner. Someone who loves us on the hard days and treats the relationship as sacred.
Any time we waste chasing someone to give us love, there’s an unmet internal need for love and nurturance toward our inner-child.
You don’t need someone else to reflect back your wounds without being willing to heal with you. You don’t need someone to trigger all of your insecurities by treating you like an after-thought or avoiding intimacy.
It might feel unnatural to let go of this type of connection because you’re breaking a very old pattern … you might even find it “boring” to move towards love that doesn’t trigger you.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t make you “crazy,” it means you really want to heal. And to heal, you have to practice letting healthy love in.
Healing occurs as you sever your addictions to shadow relationships and move toward people who hold you in your highest light.
Healing comes from doing self-acceptance work and making the relationship with YOU and your inner-child the number one relationship in your life.
And healing occurs from understanding yourself...
My relationship with Mr. Brightside was a replica of the relationship dynamic I had with my parents: work very hard for intermittent rewards.
That trained me to always try hard in relationships. And that's why I'm always emotionally exhausted - completely spent - when relationships are over. Because I've truly been working so very hard just to get a few crumbs.
I just can't do it anymore. I literally can't.
I've gone back to online dating recently and have noticed that when I sense that emotional unavailability from the man I'm communicating with - one that means I'm going to have to work my ass off to get just a little bit of attention or kindness - I already feel a bone-deep weariness - just from the e-mail exchanges. I feel pre-exhausted, if there's such a thing.