“I’m not bitter, I’m just mad as hell”! A line taken from Tyler Perry’s, Diary of a Mad Black Woman; is one that I can relate to. We have all been here, but we do not have to stay. The Urban Dictionary defines this term, bitter, on many levels. The first is the one I like the most: To be perpetually pissed off. Since no one wants to accept the blame, I will examine and critique myself, baring the cross that yes, I have been bitter, mad as hell.
What is it that I am mad as hell about? It is important to determine and fully understand exactly what it is that is pissing me off. Pinpointing the issue is vital in order to address it. I did some hard-core, self-reflecting over the last few days. I used the time to do a self-analysis to completely answer the questions I have been asking myself. I started with the last scenario first. What is it about relationships that I can’t get passed the first 3-6 months? I only decided to do this, because I found myself laughing at the outcome of a recent relationship. (Bitter-sweet) I was face to face with someone I actually did care about and was beginning to make concessions in my life to allow this person to “fit in”. However, what surfaced within me caused it to come to a screeching halt?
While I have never been bitter toward anyone else’s happiness and I’m always eager to help them find fulfillment—I have been bitter toward my inability to get past the first 3 months of a relationship. It’s always my decision to walk away, and it’s always due to discovering what I believe to be striking differences that I cannot live with.
Differences can come to me in the form of the individual not being well-rounded or cultured enough. That individual’s upbringing may have crippled them from being exposed to things outside of the basic necessities of life. It can be their style of dress and lingo that I feel is not compatible to my own. It can be my opinion about their maturity level not coinciding with their age; the way in which they handle or address situations that I feel are important or relationship altering. Side Bar: I just coined the term, Relationship altering: refers to the dynamic of the relationship changing (for better or worse) due to the way one party handled a particular situation which in turn caused the other party to conclude, this will or will not work out. Example: Man allows his woman to be disrespected by his male friend and does not defend her honor. She feels it’s his position, as her man, to address that situation. This is relationship altering for the worse. Guys, I am working on an example for you. (What do you think are some relationship altering scenarios?)
In Tamia song, “Tell Me Who”; she said, “Silence right now could jeopardize you and I…” So for some, the inability or unwillingness to communicate could definitely present relationship altering circumstances. Not being on one accord with career goals, not focused or driven, no ambition or drive – may be another example. And to think, I said Chili was impossible. (What Chili Wants)
This is when it really became a reality to me: In my self-analysis, I searched for the common denominator. I asked, “What is one of the things that I am doing that is consistent?” For one, I have been dating my past. Why in the hell am I dating my past? The saying goes, “There’s a reason your past did not make it to your future.” There are probably several reasons why you walked out of your ex’s life. Could be several reasons why you let them walk out of yours. Many more reasons why you should have never gone back. However, you go back because it’s a place of comfort. Maybe? Not realizing that it is also a stagnant place. A place that you already discovered once was not for you. I have taken second chances to a whole new level. I have not progressed. I think the biggest reason I can attribute to the fact that I have not conquered more than a 6 month relationship in the last few years is because I have been dating my exes. I had a revelation that I may be arriving at this point of frustration, because I continue to repeat a cycle. As clear as that should have been, it truly came to me like an epiphany. The past: It’s like changing your phone number for the purpose of leaving behind— but then importing all the contacts from the old cell phone and maintaining contact.
Do I know what I want? I’m pretty sure about what I want in a relationship. I know what my strengths are, and I am learning what my weaknesses are. For the most part, I have known from the beginning of any relationship if there were things that I would be able to deal with long term and ultimately for life. Sometimes, I ignore flaws, faults and inconsistencies with their capacity to mesh with my standard– hoping that I will change, get accustomed to or hoping that I can deal with it by telling myself my standards are too high. I don’t think I am the only one who has done this, but since I am talking about me right now—let’s focus. Sometimes I even convince myself that (he) will change, or I’m hopeful that he will. On occasion, I have expressed what the difference is, and (he) makes a conscious effort to change. I called those compromises, more than just a person not being who they really are. However, those compromises and promises to change sometimes cause a person to mask portions of who they are, because those portions are extensions of the change. Therefore, you really do get a person who’s not being themselves around you. Well, this can only go on for so long. Soon they will become tired of the act and the newness of the relationship wears off…now you are stuck with who they really are, which is who they were when you met or reunited. Thus, causing you to be bitter, I mean Mad. (perpetually)
Can I be upset that someone cannot change who they are in order to “fit into” my life? No. Truth is, He may be perfect for another imperfect person.
Am I wrong for having and maintaining my standards? No. “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything”, Malcolm X said. Can I stand a makeover? Absolutely. There are some things that I stand strong on. There are changes I will not make, because it may compromise my happiness in its entirety. Those things are always expressed to anyone I began to be involved with. I need to stand on those pertinent things.
Change: I realized that my standards usually start high in the relationship. Somewhere around the middle of the relationship, I start relaxing them. I start “letting things slide”, “processing and concluding I should leave-but I still stay”, “determining that I really can’t deal with this person, yet I do and become irritated”. That’s when what we call “little ish” starts to become noticeable. The thing is those little things are only noticeable, because the bigger issues are not on the table, however, they are in plain sight. It’s not the little ish that caused the relationship to crumble -it’s the fact that the big ish was ignored, putting the spotlight on things that are petty.
Example: Everyone has pet peeves, but you are willing to overcome or disregard when someone is able to give you balance in the relationship somewhere else. It’s when they are not balancing anywhere else when things like, “You sleep too much, you don’t cook, you don’t take out trash, you don’t know how to dress, you chew with your mouth open, you don’t know how to enunciate”, start to get on your nerve. The relationship takes a devastating turn for the worst and what used to be, “I care about you”, turns into “I could care less about you”.
I take partial blame for embarking on relationships and accepting things about a person’s lifestyle, which I know from the beginning I would not be ok with. I say partial, because I accepted those things thinking that I was being unrealistic in what I wanted. I feel like I should get credit for making a conscious effort to be flexible. Yet, I explained to one person, who am I to afflict you with the weight of knowing that you are the person I lowered my standards for, not once but twice. Lol c’mon, you would really call me crazy. And then hold you accountable for not meeting those standards. Just because it’s simple to me, does not mean it’s simple for you. I may be too complex for you. Or perhaps you are too simple for me? Bottom line, I can’t be mad.
In making myself over, first I think it is imperative that I leave the past where it is. There is no room in my future for the mistakes of the past. The unwillingness or desire for someone to grow with me is not my burden to carry. Now that I have pinpointed that, it is the failed relationships that make me mad. I know that those failures are from dating my past over and over; and expecting something different. Now I can focus on real changes that actually need to be made. In other words, now that I have stepped out of the hamster wheel, of going nowhere fast, I can focus on what is it that will make me happy. I am changing the things that I am not happy with, about myself.
Change: I think I could stand a course in understanding. I tend to only see my point of view. Side bar: This is because no one can articulate to me what their point of view is. Their rebuttal is always that I am the great debater and they don’t know how to get their point across. (sad). Change: I could be more open to someone else logic, or have an open mind about how they may have arrived at what I tend to call stupid. Although most of the time it seems impossible. I think of logic as logic and don’t really see how it can be different. Change: I could be more flexible and open to the choice of entertainment such as; the horrible movie that I think only (he) wants to see. Or going to a friend’s house to do absolutely nothing that stimulates intellect. (I’m being funny) Change: I am a stickler on time-This would be a major change if I decide to make it. I believe that a person’s time is valuable—I’ve been told that time is money. If you want the job, be on time. However, I have never met anyone who looks at time the way I do. I could exercise patience where needed, this is where most arguments take place. Change: Stop getting mad at a person for not being who you expected them to be. Decipher what you have said to yourself about what you will accept from what you have actually verbalized with that person about what’s acceptable. Sometimes I find myself in a place where I realize I had expectations of a person that they knew nothing about. Change: I will stop settling with less, and then expecting something greater.
With these changes, I still don’t need another project in my life. If he is not seasoned to a certain degree, I cannot entertain him. Exploring differences are good but not to the point that all you are doing is teaching someone and having to explain the smallest of things on a regular. The majority of the time you spend is waiting on someone to grasp the concept of effective communication. I cannot take on another relationship where my partner’s crippling past affects the future of our relationship. I’m tired of hearing “That was not expected of me in my last relationship, so bare with me”. I will stop beating myself up for raising the bar from where some women put it when they did not expect the leaders of the household to do things like pull out chairs and open doors. Allowing someone time to change or adapt into even the person they want to be, can be a challenge. I have come to grips with this. There is no need to commence with another engagement where these standards are not met. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want lifetime companionship. However, I want it with someone who can “fit in” with me. Hello, my name is Niedria, and I have admitted to my fault.
This is an interactive article…I am open to suggestions, constructive criticism, examples, etc. Critique –However, bashing is not accepted. I have taken center stage and put the spotlight on myself. I have acknowledged that I am part of the problem so if you are not part of the solution keep your comments to a minimal 🙂
Please leave your comments below!
Niedria “Freely Speaking” Kenny