“Everything happens for a reason.”
It’s a common expression. The ability to explain life, especially bad stuff, gives us comfort and makes us feel safer.
Beyond that purpose, it’s crap.
Our minds keep searching for “the reason”. This often leads us to conclude, “It happened because: I deserved it. I’m not good enough. I don’t matter.”
Because the expression often includes “God will use it for good,” this leads to the next conclusion: “God doesn’t want me to be happy. God is punishing me. God is disappointed in me.”
Besides feeling like crap about what happened, we now feel like crap about ourselves or about God if we twist it up spiritually!
Wait — there’s more. The old wound often resurfaces in the future with this additional conclusion: “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I move past this? Why can’t I get over this?”
There is nothing wrong with you. The solution you’ve applied to your pain is bringing you more pain.
Things happen that just suck. Whether it was a crazy accident, the result of one bad decision after another, or abusive behavior: it sucked.
Bad things happen. Good things happen. Creating a direct relationship between them is not helpful.
Confidence and security are independent. Confident people are often viewed as being secure. However, deep insecurity often hides behind their mask of confidence.
Some wear the mask to the public, but they know it’s a mask and fear being revealed. There is generally deep shame; the fear of what would be revealed is irrational, but they feel the fear deeply. Their self-image is distorted; they believe they are not good enough.
If you reveal seeing the worst things about them and love them anyway, they will push you away initially, “You are wrong about me. I am not good.” When they surrender to being loved, accept themselves as human, they are free to live without the duplicity of the mask.
Some wear the mask to the public AND to themselves, but they believe the mask is who they are. They don’t know who they are without it. Their self-image is distorted; they believe they are somehow special.
If you reveal that you see behind their mask, they will push you away indefinitely, “You are wrong about me. I don’t think I’m better (or insecure). They don’t easily surrender to being loved; they hang out with people who either don’t see the mask or pretend not to see it but judge them for it.
For either category, the spouse has the highest probability of offering the mixture of truth and acceptance they need. Since they often marry one another, one of them has to find the security to take off their mask.
Being independent doesn’t = strength. When we don’t believe we can lean on others, we take care of things alone. We ignore our relational needs and come across as unloving.
Being dependent doesn’t = weak. When we don’t believe we can survive without others, we don’t take care of what we can. We obsess on our relational needs and come across as needy.
Whether relationships have one of each or two of a kind, relationships get messed up.
The independent one becomes more distant as the other person seems too needy, and the dependent one becomes needier as the other person seems more unloving. If both are independent, they quit. If both are dependent, they enmesh. We’re all a little bit of both.
Although it’s a perfect storm for problems, rebuilding is possible.
Interdependence is the goal. We can each survive on our own, and we can each lean on the other. Some days we’ll be available for the other, and some days we won’t have it to give. No scorecard — we’re on the same team.
Great relationships grow in atmospheres of give and take.