Or Why Others Won’t Give Me the Whole Loaf
When you only get bread crumbs and what you want is the whole loaf from others it seems to me you have several options in how to respond. You can accept the crumbs and make crumb cake, as my friend Nick says, you can leave the crumbs on the counter and search for a whole new loaf, or you can try to turn Rye into Pumpernickel. In Part 1, or the accepting crumbs/making crumb cake strategy, I discussed the merits of focusing on “your side of the equation” by dropping your expectations of others and allowing them the freedom to give you what they can.
It might prove helpful to point out the various reasons people have for not giving you what you want when you want it in a relationship. I have come up with four basic categories, but there are likely more that I just haven’t personally smacked into!
The first and largest category is capacity. From your interpretation of reality, this person is holding back – – intentionally not giving you as much as you want or not responding in equal proportion to what you have given. Some people simply don’t have the capacity to give at the same emotional level as their partner or friend. This seeming imbalance can lead to all kinds of misinterpretations and resentments. When you are able to see that perhaps your friend, partner or parent doesn’t have the emotional capacity (ability) to meet your needs, you can let go a little. It might help to think of it as a natural talent. You probably don’t blame your friend for not having a fabulous singing voice or your son for not making it into the pro’s. The capacity isn’t there. Simple as that. As a person with intense emotional depth and range and the ability to express it, I have encountered this one quite a bit in my relationships!
The next category is ignorance but not in the derogatory western sense of the word as in “Jane, you ignorant slut”. In this case ignorance is not knowing – – lacking knowledge or information. A synonym might be innocence. The person you are in relationship with might be ignorant of the fact that they aren’t meeting your needs. When you express yourself you might hear in response, “I just didn’t know”, or “I had no idea you felt that way.” Or, perhaps, “I’m not a mind reader!”
The third category I have identified contains various expressions but I place them under the broad heading of fear. There are likely volumes written on the subject of fear in relationships, so I will just mention a few of the ways that fear might express itself. This will sound familiar. Fear of intimacy, using defense strategies, armoring the heart, shutting down, zoning out, disengaging, any type of self-protective mechanisms, running away from the relationship, fear of getting hurt, dumped, exposed, etc. I once envisioned a glass window between me and a close friend. As I moved closer, the automatic window went up! I could only get so close. I felt as if I were always banging on the glass! Hello! This is fear of intimacy and from my view the “window” is the defense.
I have to say the final category accounts for a small percentage of situations, yet we often assume that this is the only possible explanation for getting bread crumbs. Manipulation! We believe we are being intentionally manipulated. Clearly you are only holding back your emotions, physical expressions and sweet nothings just to manipulate me into holding on! Such a cliché – playing hard to get. Yes, it does happen, but run your relationship through the other three before jumping to this one!
I received lots of responses from the first bread crumb blog so in future blogs I will keep the theme going and will address some of the excellent ideas and also questions that friends brought up after reading the Bread Crumbs Part 1. Look for “Turning Over a New Loaf” and “Making Rye into Pumpernickel”, and this will be my personal favorite….”When One Loaf Will Not Satisfy”! Oh my!