Hello beautiful people. My name is Athol, talking about marriage, relationships and getting what you want from them.
Yesterday I did a story time about red flags I noticed in a dating relationship of mine. This episode is going to be a little more onto the theory behind it, why they’re so important, why you must pay attention to them, and what you do if you’ve missed them and you’re already deep in a marriage to someone.
This is a super important concept because I keep coming across people who are in marriages that have lasted 10, 20, 30 years, where they keep facing this same endless barrage of problems and Mean Cards. It’s like they’re caught up in this endless Groundhog Day of the same problem recurring and recurring. Often this is because they’ve married into a situation where they’ve inherited preexisting problems before the relationship.
They were shown a giant red flag moment or two and they missed them, and now they are married to this person. Often those red flag moments, they can look back and they just say, “I knew when X happened I was in for a world of trouble. I noticed it and I ignored it.” It’s an issue where say their partner was physically violent, or had an enormous meltdown, or got horribly drunk and started blurting out some god awful statements that are just designed to wound them.
Whatever it was, it was the kind of thing where if you told another person this is what happened, the other person would always be horrified and tell you to get out of the relationship. If you tell someone else and they go, “Oh my god what happened? Why are you married? Why did you advance it?” That’s what I mean by a real big red flag.
There’s a very famous line by Maya Angelou, which is “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
So you’ve been in a relationship with someone and you have been perceiving them as being this good person, this nice person to be in a relationship. Then suddenly it’s like the veil is lifted and they’re showing just how bad, bad can get. The trouble is, when you stay in that relationship you validate that bad behavior. You tolerate it and then you reward them and promote them by getting married to them. If you have a bad boyfriend or a bad girlfriend and you see they are bad, and they know that you’ve seen the bad, and then you marry them, well they’ve been rewarded for being bad. They now have permission for being bad.
They have permission for playing the big old Mean Card any time they want to because when they did it in the past, you gave them a reward. You encouraged them. You taught them that this was okay.
Why You Ignored the Red Flag
There’s always something about your situation at the time when you saw this red flag and you ignored it and you advanced the relationship. There’s always something about you then, that was weak to them in some way. So it’s not just that they are this horrible mean person. There was something about you that attracted you to them in the first place. Then when they were horribly mean there was something about you that decided that this was acceptable behavior and you promoted them and rewarded them by advancing the relationship further. When I say acceptable, I don’t mean that you were happy with it or you liked it or you weren’t horrified, but you accepted it. You accepted their bad behavior, so their bad behavior became acceptable.
Of course once you’re married, you kind of get locked in a bit. It’s harder for you to extract yourself. You have jobs, careers, houses, kids and then you can easily get mired in a relationship that it’s harder and harder to extract yourself from. Once you are stuck, or at least made it a lot harder for you to get out, then they have greater leeway to play a whole bunch of Mean Cards on you.
So that thing that was wrong about you at the time, is usually some sort of childhood trauma or weakness, whatever, and you’re frightened of something. You’re frightened of being lonely. You’re scared of not being loved. You’re worried about being homeless. You’re worried about being childless. Or you’re just so used to being hurt by those that have said they love you that you’ve started to equate being hurt with being loved, so when you’re in a relationship with someone that hurts you and plays a big old Mean Card, that feels like love. It feels normal. It’s acceptable and you tolerate it so you agree to advance the relationship.
Obviously 20/20 wisdom, perfect hindsight, you could go back in time and change that decision, see the big red flag, not marry them, not advance yourself down that route. That’s obviously a great plan then, and certainly if you are watching these videos and you’re generally younger and you’re seeing your potential spouse just have this horrible red flag moment, then yeah, don’t marry them. Don’t advance the relationship. You don’t want to have to try and dig your way out of this at some point. It’s really good advice. There is always someone better out there for you. There is always the ability to work on yourself so you can then attract that person.
What to do 20 Years Later
But if you’re already in that situation, you’re 20 years in going oh my god, when I was 25 I should have never married this person and now I’m 45. What do I do? The first thing you need to do is you can really start working on yourself to try and address the issues that got you into this relationship in the first place. So if there are things about you that you haven’t learned, you haven’t been introspective, you haven’t thought about self-help or self-growth or therapy or counseling or whatever it is to work on your own inner demons that locked you into this situation, now is the time. There is no better time than now.
It’s good for two reasons, one being unless you have that internal strength, unless you have that sense of self-worth, you are never really going to be able to hold frame with your spouse who has their own set of inner demons and is dysfunctional. You’re never going to have the strength to truly stand up to them to really have a chance at leveraging your relationship to the point where they start seeking out help.
Secondly, if you’re still weak, you’re never going to be able to drive the relationship to some sort of ultimatum, because the same factors that locked you into the marriage in the first place still exist, so when push comes to shove and you try and draw some line in the sand, you will probably fold again.
So you always have to start working on yourself, do the self-growth thing, work on yourself, build your attractiveness. Build your confidence. That really is the only hope at you being able to change your relationship to hopefully gain your partner’s attention, hopefully be able to set a way forward, a momentum forward to both of you becoming healthier.
Even if your partner doesn’t decide to do that when you’ve done your best effort, usually the only way out of the relationship to some sort of better, happier, healthier life is to be strong, determined and self-caring. Where you actually have the strength of will to be able to do that. Otherwise you’ll tend to be drawn back into your partner’s orbit and every time you make a bid to leave and fold and go back, they feel more rewarded, more entitled, more confident, more secure in the ability that they can treat you badly and it is acceptable.
So sort of bleak stuff, but the truth is there is always enough time to work towards being a better person, a healthier person, getting yourself to a better place, a healthier life and a life where you feel truly validated and loved and accepted and wanted. I’m just not saying it’s an easy road. It may be an incredibly hard road but it’s still achievable. It’s still something you can do. You can still regain your personal power and get yourself to a better place.
So that’s the video for the day. If you like the video, please do the whole like, share, comment and most importantly subscribe thing, and I will talk to you tomorrow.