Love Letters to Humans (no. 73) — on Relational Fuckery

Relational fuckery: The predictable strategies we choose when we want to win our relationships rather than cultivate them.

We come by it honestly. We learn what we live. The status quo is predictable AF, and the comfort of predictability is… comfortable. I don’t judge us for desiring comfort—and I question whether prioritizing it over loving ourselves and each other is sustainable.

In punitive cultures and hierarchies of worthiness and contempt, we learn to relate to change and difference in ways that give us an illusion of safety and goodness, but rarely bring us closer to the authenticity, integrity, relational joy, intimacy, and belonging we really want in our most important relationships.

We grasp at familiar habits. We disregard, dismiss, punish, or try to fix other people (or ourselves). We act tougher or more helpless than we are. We expect our partners to “just know” what hurts or pleases us, and feel frustrated and justified in our belief that we shouldn’t have to ask for what we want and need. We hold our tongues and seethe silently at serial boundary-steppers so others won’t see us as angry or unkind. We beg for or demand attention and validation where there is none to be had.

We pretend we’re not hurting. We pretend we’re not scared. We pretend we’re not disappointed. We pretend we’re not powerful, amazing, talented, brilliant. We pretend and pretend until we can’t pretend anymore, then we lash out and say the things we really mean… but maybe didn’t mean to say quite like that.

We shun, we rage, we withdraw, we chase. We attack, we defend, we avoid, we control. It’s relatively safe. We know the outcomes already. We’ve been doing the same things forever.

We make unconscious, automatic choices because once upon a time those choices brilliantly protected us from punishment and got our basic needs met. Maybe they still do. -AND- if the automatic ways we show up no longer serve us or our most important relationships, we can start to make different choices that take care of who we are right now.

Are you willing to give up relational fuckery, try something different, and not know what happens next?