Week 6: ARP (5th Red Flag – Anti-Social)

If your (wo)man does attend an event with family and friends, he makes sure you pay by acting like a grumpy mute the whole time.

He won’t talk. Or smile. Or engage in any conversations. (This goes for female Asshats too, but I use the male pronoun to keep things simple.)

Your friends and family make valiant efforts to draw him out, but he only does the bare minimum to not seem like a complete jerk.

Because my emotionally abusive relationship with Mr. Cruelly Handsome trudged on for five years I did manage to harangue and coerce him into attending various functions from time to time, and often I ended up wishing he wasn’t there.

Sometimes he’d surprise me and actually speak to my friends and family like an engaged man who really cared about me, filling me with hope that we’d finally crossed a hurdle.

Then, the very next time, he might withdraw completely. (See Red Flag #2 about Inconsistency!)

One date, in particular, was an absolute nightmare. We’d been invited to dinner with a couple I was friends with and Mr. C literally didn’t speak once the entire restaurant dinner.

Not. Once.

Imagine sitting in a restaurant booth with four people and one of them literally stares at the football game on the TV over the bar and doesn’t speak to the other three people for over an hour.

It was like being sucked into a black hole. And it was incredibly embarrassing.

I recall breaking up with Mr. C after that. One week later he appeared at my work bearing flowers, balloons and a heartbroken countenance.

Due to some of my character traits (which I’ll detail in subsequent weeks) I was susceptible to relapse and it wasn’t long before I was back on the rollercoaster once more.

I want you to pull out a pen and your Asshat Recovery Program Notebook for my …

CALL TO ACTION: 

List A: Write a list of all the ways your Asshat has embarrassed you in front of friends and family. 

This is just for your own personal use. You are not supposed to lash your Asshat with all of his failings. It’s not about him.

It’s about you.

It’s to help you gauge the level of your self-esteem and the intensity of your addiction. We have to become aware of who we are and how deep our denial is before we can move forward.

Next:

List B: Write an entire page conjuring up the way you wish a partner would behave in social situations with your family and friends.

Be very detailed. Visualize the way that would look and feel.

Here’s what I wrote:

My man would be eager to meet my friends and family because they are important to me. He’d be warm and friendly, asking questions and engaging my loved ones in conversation. He’d want to make a good impression because he loves me.

I’d feel at ease knowing I could trust my man to handle himself beautifully without my badgering, assistance or intervention.

After the date my friends and family would call to tell me how much they really liked my man and how happy they were for me to find such a gem.

List B is even more important than List A, because until we can visualize the way we want to be treated it’s easy for us to accept poor treatment and even to think that kind of behavior is normal and acceptable.

It isn’t.

Your List B does actually exist. I know because after years of mopey men I married a man who fulfilled all of my wishes on List B.

There’s a great deal of power in visualization. You gotta see it to welcome it into your life. xo S 

If you want to begin at the beginning of the online Asshat Recovery Program CLICK HERE.

And don’t forget to sign up for Shannon’s bi-weekly Relationship Newsletter HERE

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