#BrokenSeries The Breakers (2) – Society and Friends

If you have been following the #BrokenSeries, this is post number 3 in the series.

In the last two post, I highlighted how brokenness can make you feel, how to identify if you are broken but unaware of it, and how the acts of parents and lovers can lead to brokenness. In this post, I want to focus on the second set of breakers – friends and society. It might be immediately glaring that society can break you, but friends? How do they do that?

Image result for feeling broken man
Source: HubPages

 

The truth is many people are yet to fully understand what friendship is; hence even though they are currently being broken by their friends, they fail to recognise it. Instead of them to fight the seed of brokenness being planted, they try to play up to the expectations of friends who will never be satisfied. How do friends break you?

#1 They compare you with themselves or others: Be it in a positive or a negative way, this can have really adverse effects on your psyche. Your friends might continually highlight the fact that you are more talented than they are and that is not the problem. The problem is that you may start to feel guilty for being prettier, more talented, more intelligent… that it causes you to begin to withdraw, and not perform as well as you should for fear of losing your friends. Sometimes the comparisons are downright or subtly negative. For example, a friend might constantly talk about you being overweight, and that will make you feel self-conscious around other people, or your friend subtly points out how dark-skinned you are, and proceeds to admire people who are light skinned, and that suddenly starts to make you feel ugly, or even makes you feel the need to bleach your skin. These are simply examples but I hope you get the gist.

#2 They betray you: Ever told a friend something in confidence and it was the headline for the gossip magazine the next day? Or told a friend something because of the bond you share only for them to turn around and use it against you? That betrayal of your trust can make it difficult to open up to other people.

So enough about friends, what about society?

The new wave in society encourages comparison, and that alone is enough to make you feel like you are doing enough, not winning enough, not succeeding enough, not good enough period. Society looks at you funny when you reach a certain age, and are not married; when you are married and you don’t have children; when you have children but both genders are not represented; when they are both represented but not brought up to act the way society would like. Society looks at you funny when you rock up in a new car that is not in the luxury range; when your girlfriend is not an Instagram badass; when your wife does not have gloriously clear skin or an exotic accent. Society looks at you funny for being yourself, and not adhering to unwritten rules of engagement. Society looks at you funny for being that clumsy girl with a deep throaty laugh that is so not feminine. Society looks at you funny for being that gentleman with a soft voice. Society judges you for not being able to get the girl, or keep a man, for being a single parent, for not getting to the pinnacle of your career fast enough… for basically not complying with society’s impossible standards. And as times goes on, the daggers from society’s eyes start to hit you and you begin to feel less and less. You withdraw and derive no joy from the things that once excited you because you have subconsciously been made to believe that those things, and even you, are not enough.

Image result for feeling broken man
Source: Dr. Gori Gatter

 

And the sad thing about this is that you don’t even feel yourself doing it, until one day, you burst at the seams, crying a river you cannot attribute to anything in particular. But every time before that, when someone had asked you how you were doing, you had beamed at them with the perfect smile and said: “I’m fine”.

Look out for my next post on this #BrokenSeries

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#BrokenSeries2: The Breakers – Parents, and Lovers

If you didn’t read the first post of this series, you can find it here

This is the second post of the #BrokenSeries, and in this post, the focus is on the people and things that tend to break us, even though we are unaware of it at the time it is happening. Parents, past and present lovers, friends and even society have an impact on how we view ourselves especially if we are yet to come to a full understanding of who we are. In this post, I will focus on the first two – parents and lovers.

You might wonder why parents have been listed as breakers. Parents are our first contact with humanity, tasked with our development and nurture. Parents are the mirrors through which we see ourselves, and the windows through which we see the world. How then could they break us? How is it possible?

I guess I don’t have to tell you now that parents, no matter how amazing they are, are not perfect. They themselves are under the influence of upbringing by their own parents, and that may have been far from perfect. Many parents, unknowingly make mistakes that break their children, and these are some of them:

Image result for bad parenting
Source: livestrong.com

 

#1 They make you earn their love: Love is something no one can earn, but some parents make sure that their kids earn their love. They only express their support and love when their kids are winning, and express extreme criticism when their kids are losing. This creates the impression that love is only available when you are doing something the other person admires. The impact of this is that you go into relationships in future, too eager to please, too eager to work for that love. You become an overly malleable doormat because you believe that is the only way to be loved. In the end, it does not work out because love, irrespective of the million sacrifices we make for it, cannot be earned.

#2 They inundate you with expectations: This is downright burdensome. Of course, every parent has expectations where their children are concerned. No one expects parents to have children and not hope for their success, or steer them in the direction of worthy achievements. However, when the expectations exceed your capacity, you find yourself overwhelmed and might start to express signs of brokenness such as ‘crying and not knowing why, seeking validation from everywhere because your small efforts aren’t good enough for mom and dad, or even drifting through life because you realize no matter how hard you try, you can’t live up to these expectations.

#3 They compare you: There is nothing worse than being compared with other children and being forced to measure up to their talents and achievements. Unfortunately, many parents do this, placing unrealistic expectations on their children and making them feel less than good enough by comparing them.

Image result for parents ignoring child

#4 They don’t pay any attention to you: Are you that smart strong kid who is independent? Chances are your parents would leave you to do what you please because they believe you will always make the right decisions. While independence is not a bad thing, it leads many parents to think you don’t need affection. In the end, you grow up scared that someone will love you and you won’t know how to handle it so you tend to avoid intimate relationships and emotional co-dependence

 And while you are out there in the world, keeping it all together, even though you know you are full of cracks, you get into relationships and they add to your brokenness. I often tell people that getting into a relationship with anyone is a risk. Firstly, people tend to put their best foot forward when they want and draw back when they have you. Secondly, there is a chance that if you have been broken by your parents unknowingly, you will get into the wrong types of relationships in your eagerness to be validated. You’ll find yourself in relationships with people who take advantage of your eagerness and break you even further by subjecting you to verbal, psychological and emotional abuse. Of course, the seeds of abuse are easy to plant in your mind because your parents’ failures have already plowed the soil in readiness.

And while you are out there in the world, keeping it all together, even though you know you are full of cracks, you get into relationships and they add to your brokenness. I often tell people that getting into a relationship with anyone is a risk. Firstly, people tend to put their best foot forward when they want and draw back when they have you. Secondly, there is a chance that if you have been broken by your parents unknowingly, you will get into the wrong types of relationships in your eagerness to be validated. You’ll find yourself in relationships with people who take advantage of your eagerness and break you even further by subjecting you to verbal, psychological and emotional abuse. Of course, the seeds of abuse are easy to plant in your mind because your parents’ failures have already plowed the soil in readiness.

How do lovers break you?

#1 They compare you to their past lovers: Nothing is worse than being compared to someone your present lover dated in the past. And because your parents have raised you to earn their love, the comparisons push you to work harder to earn the love of your lover, resulting in your burdening yourself, and eventually breaking down when that lover leaves because you just couldn’t measure up.

Image result for bad lover
lifescript.com

 

#2 They point out your flaws most of the time: Do you know that when you hear something regularly enough, you start to believe it whether it is negative or positive? Well, this is how some lovers break you. They point out the many things you are good at, the beauty points you have not scored, the income you have not earned, the failures you have shared with them, and so many other negative traits you’d rather not be reminded of. Constantly listening to these negative statements about yourself eventually break your spirit, and you start to wonder if you are even good enough to be in a relationship or even be loved. And the moment you start wondering, you find yourself walking around with drooped shoulders.

#3 They cheat on you: These days, I find that cheating has been normalized because many people have become desensitized to how damaging an effect it can have on their psyche. Such people think they are strong because they can look past the cheating and keep the relationship moving like nothing happened, but the truth is they aren’t. They have gotten to the stage of brokenness where it is OK to accept less than they deserve. They even encourage others to believe the mantra that says cheating is normal, expect nothing and you will not be disappointed. While I believe that expectation is the mother of disappointment, I also believe that relationships should not be void of expectations. You should expect your partner to treat you right, make you feel secure in their affection for you, and do their best to keep your relationship alive. Accepting infidelity as a normality is a sign that you do not place value on yourself, hence it is OK to be treated as second best. Cheating is such a damaging activity that makes you question your worth, compare yourself and break yourself even more. In the end, you come out of it terribly scathed and badly broken.

Which of these do you relate to? What would you like to add? You can send me an anonymous message using the contact me tab on the home page. Look out for #BrokenSeries3 next week where I address the second set of breakers – friends, and society. XOXO