So much of the advice you’ll find about relationships concerns being more understanding, more forgiving, more loving, more tolerant. That’s great advice for those who lean towards being too firm and harsh (although sadly, they’ll never ask for advice anyway).
But what about those that lean towards being too fair? The ones that give too much, forgive too much, apologize too much, and tolerate way too much inappropriate behavior? That kind of advice can cripple them and leave them in a toxic relationship for years! It can cause them to feel forced to stick with a harsh, uncaring partner who feeds on every apology served up without reciprocating. If you are too forgiving, you understand what I mean. You’ve probably been told by your “too harsh” partner that “Yes, all the problems in the relationship were your fault, and yes, you need help, and yes, you caused me to get frustrated and be receptive to other relationships, rather than working things out with you.”
And you, being way “too understanding” have probably even apologized for that! Because when you are “too understanding” you are more interested in saving the relationship than saving yourself.
Thank goodness for the wise women (and men) that understand the road of the “too understanding”, the “too forgiving”, the “too tolerating” type of individual, and provide support via articles and blogs. They help us “too understanding” type folks to wise up and take a stand for ourselves or learn to walk away from harsh partners who took complete advantage of a soft heart.
Forgiveness can and should come in time, but if it’s attempted too early, it can be detrimental to one’s health. Because the “too understanding” will often forfeit their own needs for the other party and therefore have to cope with behavior that gets progressively worse with time. That means constant rebounds and incredible damage to the one who tired everything to work things out. They’ll slug it out while their “too harsh” partner slowly erodes their self-esteem, leaving them unable to function normally.
Advice that helps the “too understanding” type is truthful advice, not advice that makes you softer than you already are – for example, instead of over apologizing, it may serve you to know that your partner wasn’t all that interested to begin with – no matter what they tell you, or how many fake tears they cry. They were interested for their sake, not yours. They are masters at finding partners that are “too understanding” to boost their already inflated ego. Your actions or inactions didn’t “hurt” them as much as they try to make you believe either. And when you begin to see the game for what it is and stand up for yourself, your “too harsh” partner won’t try to save the relationship – they’ll move on to find the next “too understanding” type. Why wait for that to happen?
When you find yourself feeling overly guilty for your part, or overly sorry for your partner; when you’re starting to once again excuse their inflexible, inappropriate, selfish behavior; when you’re at the receiving end of all the blame, and when you’re the only one growing, working on yourself and working to fix the relationship, just remember this: The ONLY apology you should be giving is to yourself! Get out as fast as possible, learn to love yourself, and only forgive them after you’re fully over them!
There are many great articles that encourage healthier behavior in relationships. Jane Garapick’s website “Getting to True Love” is full of great articles. As a matter of fact, her post “Are You Too Understanding” is the one that inspired me to write this. (Thanks Jane!)
Bottom line: Protect your boundaries and know when to call it quits.
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