Monday, March 21, 2011

My Patterns in Relationships

Do you know your patterns in relationships? We all have them. We have patterns for everything. It is a very basic human trait. In the book, The Slight Edge, Leo Weidner calls these patterns, mental models. He describes them as “the brain’s habit-building process.” Weidner writes, “This amazing built-in process takes everything you experience and stores it, as a part of a specific mental model. Each time you go to do something you have done before, the brain calls up this mental model.”

Take for example a task like driving a car. When you get in a car, your brain immediately searches out it's data banks to find the mental model that can accomplish this task in the most efficient way possible. Same holds true for how we experience other things in life, such as relationships. We do it the way we previously did it; because it is the brain’s way of being efficient.

Even if you change the person you are in relationship with, we often still activate that habit-building process. These habits or patterns are inevitable, unless we bring a conscious awareness to them and take deliberate actions to change them. (Of course, that is if you want to change them.)

My pattern in relationships involves two distinctly different types of men. The first pattern is with the type of man I labeled, Catnip and Kryptonite. The other pattern is with the type I dubbed, Devoted and Detached.

Catnip and Kryptonite Man
He can best be described as woman-magnet. He is attractive, charming and a big talker. In his company, I feel intoxicated, especially when he is lavishing attention on me. A gifted orator, he does not hold back on verbal praise. He also has an amazing intensity to his gaze that can easily weaken me. This man has the ability to have this earth-grounded, female bull (Taurus) floating on ether!

He often has some major money issues; despite the outward appearance, otherwise. Willing to overlook his shortcomings in the financial area, the relationship usually ends because of his infidelity. Inside, I collapse. Outside, I am cool and calculating, as I plot my withdrawal. My exit is usually swift, blinding and hurtful. He never sees the fast, sucker-punch to the jaw coming. By the time he realize it, I am GONE.

Devoted and Detached Man
He possesses a quiet demeanor (especially in unfamiliar environments), average looking, stable, dependable, and financially secure. He usually catches my eye because he is so incredibly decent: a good-guy. Since usually, I am coming out of a relationship with Catnip/Kryptonite, this new kind of man is a breath of fresh air.

He is very predictable to the point of being boring. You can set your watch by him. He does the same thing, the same way and sees no reason to change it. I feel safe with him. What I do not feel is that we “get” each other. He thinks I am too eccentric and I think he is disconnected from his heart.

The relationship with this man usually ends because we feel like strangers to one another, which usually translates for both of us as, “I must not truly love you.” The end is very hospitable: polite even.

My patterns are clear. My mental model in my journey in relationships is much like driving: I have taken the same road time and time again. When there is an accident on that familiar road (Catnip/Kryptonite), I take a quickest detour (Devoted/Detached) that I know.

It is time to take a new road to my destination. So I wonder if there is a THIRD type of man I could attract that would render a more favorable result. Someone who feeds my heart’s need for excitement AND my mind’s need for security. This new man is someone who I can feel loved by and safe with.

Oh, what shall I call him?


Anonymous said...

Call him devoted catnip. Lol! But seriously I think you've been reading my diaries for the last 20 years. All I can say is WOW! When I get hurt by the kryptonite I go into safety mode and protect my heart with someone who is emotionally detached. Ouch! But there is hope. Awareness is the key to balance. Thanks for the gift of awareness :) I'll tell C&K you said hi. LOL. Keep writing

Rachel said...

You may want to call "him by his name. As soon as you catch yourself referring to him by either category, you know the relationship is doomed to end( taking note of the pattern). I have the habit of detaching and trivializing a person by giving "him" a secret Snuffaluffagus,SoftShoe,DamnSexy. These names add to the humor value of the stories I tell my girlfriends, so its impossible for them to respect him either. Invariably when a problems arrives, we dismiss the man( I never knew) with laughter.

TAHIRA Akua TAHIRA said...

@Anonymous: "Devoted Catnip," I like. Thanks!

@Sharon: Detach and trivialize, yeah, that sounds like a defense mechanism. Thanks for the reminder.

saBah said...

I would call that man, 'a god among men'; for he would be selfless and confident in himself. Not threatened because of my strength as a woman. He would celebrate all my successes and urge me to conquer the world, if I felt I wanted to, lol.

You know what, I wonder if he's already born...I guess, that I'm just a little despondent. For sure, I'm going to continue to develop self, and not allow the shadows of others to shake me of the path...the 'journey'

TAHIRA Akua TAHIRA said...

@SaBah: I dig that fact that you are not allowing the shadows of others to shake you off your path. That is very powerful!