Stage 2 of Relationships – Power Plays
A young woman rushed in excitedly to tell her Mom, “I have found a man just like Dad!” Her Mom replied, “What do you want from me, sympathy?”
Dude, you told me one of the selection criteria was about my parents having an influence on the person I choose for relationship. What’s up with that?
OK, listen up. Remember that I told you that you got original operating software installed in you at birth that was constantly revised through the upgrades based the way your parents raised you. Invariably, there are glitches that continue to need patches to repair. These glitches continue into adulthood and after awhile, you discover that you have to fix them yourself with a little help from your mate.
It works like this. Virtually all little children are told, sometimes in subtle and all too frequently in overt ways, that it isn’t OK to be a little child. The original operating system software develops a glitch.
There are already some skeptics out there to that concept, but consider this, and watch the next set of parents with young children and see if I’m not telling you the Gospel truth.
Little children are brand new to the world and there are lots of things they don’t know and need to discover. Things like: how does my voice sound, how loud will it go, what does it feel like to put beans in my ears or up my nose, how fast can I run, can I climb that trellis, why can’t I bite my sister when she takes my stuff, why can’t I cry when I am hurt or mad, or run out into the street any time I want to, or run naked through the house or touch a hot stove…and on it goes.
Listen to parents who tell these same children to stop doing what comes naturally to children. Have you ever heard, “Stop running in here?” “Don’t yell.” “If you bite, I’ll spank you.” “I’m going to give you something to cry about.” “Act grown up.” Some of those things are protective for children and some are for the convenience of the parents.
You get the picture and some of that zeroed in on how you were raised.
The message we give little children is that it isn’t OK to be a little child.
If you doubt this at all, ask little children under the age of 8-10 if they can dance, sing, draw, etc. and most of them will jump at the chance to show you they can.
Then find a teenager and ask them the same question. You’ll likely get one-word or cryptic answers, most of which begin and or end with NO!
Why do you suppose that is? What changed? Could it be that children finally get the message that it isn’t OK to be a little child? For the first ten years of their lives we tell them to Sit Down and Shut Up…and the next ten we spend telling them to Stand Up and Speak Up. No wonder we wind up with software glitches and unfinished business when we become adults.
Why is this important to relationship building? This is just theory, but one I think is borne out in repetitive observations. Children learn to be ADAPTIVE. Not something they want to do as a child, but they adapt and create work-arounds to what the big people in their world require them to do.
I think that when we get adult powers of influence over our own lives, we look at the world with the second set of eyes I mentioned in a previous NUGGET.
This set of eyes has behind them a lingering motivation to Get it right… this time.
So, when I look at The Gorgeous Redhead in my life, I see in her some of the worst characteristics of my own parents. The unspoken desire of my heart is to drag her into my life so that maybe I can get it right this time.
That part is probably OK, but nobody bothered to tell me that because she represents some of those software glitches and unfinished business from my childhood…when I didn’t get it right the first time…we might have some frustrations as our relationship unfolds. (Big UNDERSTATEMENT)
This stage of relationships begins to present in power plays. I expect my bride to read my mind and guess what I want. I hold her accountable when she does not read my mind and do what I want. I begin to see little things I overlooked in the Romance stage of our relationship and they began to bug me.
When she did not do what I wanted without me having to ask, I punished her in some way. That’s when I took her to see Dr. Ken Pepper, my psychologist friend to ‘get her fixed.’
At its worst, I concluded that I must have made a bad choice and this is not Ms. Right…just Ms. Right Now. I got a strong urge to quit and start over. I’m sure I can make a better choice next time.
That reality is the bad news. The good news is that once I understood my bride holds the keys to my getting it right this time and forever, I began to heal all the unfinished business from my childhood. It’s not bounded by the fable of “once upon a time and “they lived happily ever after.” It’s about some serious four-letter words like work, hard work, much hard work and very much hard work!
Please don’t give up when you find yourself in the Power Play Stage of Relationship. Stay with me. There is good news ahead.