"How Not to Comply and Lose Yourself in the Intimate Relationship"
Book Excerpts, Previews and Behind the Scenes
What inspired me to write this book?
There was a moment in the midst of couple's therapy in which I realized for the first time in my life, at the age of nearly 40, that I understood the difference between complying and compromise. I got it like an “aha” moment. So many realizations came tumbling forward like dominoes from this simple awareness that became crystal clear for the first time. Why so many relationships exist unfulfilled, why so many kids rebel against parents and struggle to find their unique identity, and why I've always witnessed so many divorces, clarity all came pouring forward. All of these realizations revolved around this central hub of understanding on complying and losing yourself (along with the direct experience of the unfathomable pain it caused in me to do so). When you experience someone forcing you to their will, demanding that you comply too their whims, you get a taste of the pure disgust that can puke up in your trachea. It is something you can't understand fully until it happens to you, but when it does you suddenly understand why there are so many photos of free-spirited people photo'd giving the bird to the camera! Absolutely unwilling to settle into traditional union or marriage with historically accepted expectations of forced roles in relationship, preferring much rather to live a life of solitude than knuckle under such subjection, many people avoid life-partnerships rather than comply.
That day in therapy, I felt for the first time, the unnamable nagging feeling inside of me go away -- the nagging feeling that I had to be careful not to feel trapped in a relationship, like all those other hen-pecked people I've seen in partnerships that eventually result in divorce (all just a matter of time). I wanted to achieve something I rarely saw reflected, only in a handful of partnerships have I witnessed it. I could name the couple's on one hand. An equal partnership with shared respect and reverence for each other's uniqueness without any attempts to stifle, censor, or change one seems few and far between.
This unnamable nagging feeling was like a phantom beneath my conscious mind. I didn't have the language to understand the feeling and I didn't know what was causing it. I had no awareness of how to avoid becoming one of “those” relationships; or become another divorce statistic. As I felt the light of awareness dawn into my conscious understanding that day, and the clarity on how to avoid complying, and how to reach true compromise, I knew in that moment I could for the first time in my life make a true life commitment without that nagging feeling holding me back. The missing puzzle piece snapped into place. I had the confidence for the first time that I had the skill set, the knowledge, and the understanding behind it that had always eluded me in my 20's and 30's. This sense of confidence and clarity is so deeply fulfilling. In the past it was an awful feeling left in the dark. The fact is you don't know what you don't know. It's hard to even ask the right questions to learn what you don't know, because you don't know what to ask. It's a conundrum, isn't it?!
I remember thinking, if I'm nearly 40, college educated, a successful business owner, and semi-worldly person with spiritual wisdom beyond my years and I'm just now learning the difference between comply and compromise, there has to be others who need to know this also. I'm gonna write a book! It needs to be written, so I'll do it. I've learned so many nuggets of relationship tools in couple's therapy such as active listening, reaching true compromise, recognizing a deal breaker, and they need to be out there for other couples to glean support from, so I'm gonna write it!