Unsplash ? Dan Meyers
You are so well-intended when you say this. Your heart is unequivocally in the right place. Your love is likely felt. And everyone on the planet deserves to feel happy, loved, valued, safe, and free from harm and abuse.
Let me say up-front that if you (or someone you know) is in a situation where your emotional and physical safety is at risk ? you cannot convince anyone to not be an abuser. They need psychotherapy. Not a licensed counselor. Not a therapist. Not a psychologist. They need a well-trained psychotherapist who specializes in abuse and dissecting one?s childhood attachment style (Jeb Kinnison https://jebkinnison.com/ is an excellent resource for this) and guiding them through their own healing process.
Back to the story!
But you?re missing the point because you?re not considering your audience.
The person who is going through something terrible ? rather ? not ideal, knows in his own heart he deserves better. That?s precisely why he?s complaining about his situation!! Or she.
I was heading out for a smoke break and the lovely security guard was on the phone talking to a friend of hers and I hear, ?You deserve better!? I turned to her and said, ?DAMN RIGHT!? It doesn?t even matter what the topic was, though it?s clear in most situations that someone isn?t being treated spectacularly by the one she loves.
And it?s a great sentiment. Here?s why it?s way off:
The person wants better from the person treating her wrong (or him!) That?s what we?re all trying to get to the bottom of, isn?t it? How do I get the message across to the person I love that I want her (or him) to treat me better? Further, how do I (finally) get him to actually do it???
It goes something like this:
?He just isn?t there for me anymore like he used to be. He used to be so attentive, and lately I feel like I?m only getting half of his time; he?s not really listening and I just don?t feel loved. No matter how much I try to reach him, I feel like he?s pulling himself further away. He takes longer and longer to respond; I really want to reconnect, and every effort gets ignored! I?ve worked this thing from every angle I can think of and nothing is working.?
?Awe, honey, I?m so sorry. You deserve better.?
Insert silent screaming: I KNOW THAT! No s***, Sherlock!
Do you honestly believe the response would be, ?Really? You think so?? Good God, of course not. We know we deserve better ? the point is we want everything we deserve from the person who isn?t giving it to us! We are hurting because the one we love isn?t delivering; and we want the one who is hurting us to stop hurting us by giving us what we want. In other words? ?Yes, I know I deserve better. I want better from HIM, not just anyone.?
?You deserve better? is the alternate way of saying, ?You deserve everything you want that you?re not getting.? Which is 100% fact. I suppose you can also throw in he doesn?t deserve you, too.
And this is how it should go (my opinion):
?Love, it?s so hard to watch you struggle with this. If he?s not going to be your number one fan, you have to have your own back and be your own best friend. If you?ve tried everything you can with no positive result, then clearly you are not the one with the problem. His heart isn?t in it anymore; if it were, you wouldn?t be questioning anything. It?s unfortunate and it?s horrible and I know how helpless you feel and how much you want this to turn out your way. I?ve been in this situation, as many others have, and it is rare ? if not impossible ? to change someone?s mind and convince him otherwise?much like I can?t convince you that he won?t come around. I don?t want to encourage you to hang in there and wait, pray, and hope for you to get the response you so desperately want from him; you?ve admitted yourself that you?ve done everything you can and nothing works. So, how much longer do you expect to keep allowing yourself to get hurt??
To the ones saying, ?You deserve better??thank you for your undying support.
To the ones hearing it?stay strong and move along?
Speaking of Jeb Kinnison, I?m swimming around on his website right now and found this excerpt:
?And aside from attachment types that are wrong for you, there are the truly hazardous ? people with abnormal psychologies who are not crazy enough to be in jail or an institution, but who can be charming and lead apparently successful lives while still being dangerous to your mental health and wellbeing should you be so unlucky as to find yourself in a relationship with one. Remember that in normal life, we use politeness and social manners to avoid knowing too much about the hundreds of people we have to deal with; those with psychopathologies can pass for normal for long periods of time in common everyday interactions, and if careful can avoid detection by most people. So your psychopathic neighbor gets along reasonably well at school or church or business, while quietly hurting small animals, and no one?s the wiser ? until you date him or her. Under this category of Really Bad Potential Partners we have psychopaths, sadists, those with histrionic personality disorder, and the extremely common abusive narcissist. Each of these gets their own chapter.
And if it turns out YOU are the problem ? you recognize yourself in one of the case studies, you show the signs and mental habits of being a bad partner and you?ve failed in multiple relationships because something always seems to go wrong ? there?s hope for you. Your task is to overcome these bad mental habits and make yourself into the kind of person whose feelings and loyalties can be relied on, who can be a good partner to someone else. And then you will find someone who deserves you.?
No need to reinvent the wheel here ? buying his book may be a good idea!
People are who they are ? they don?t ?change? or wake up one morning during a fairly new relationship and say, ?Gee, I think I?ve been pleasant and loving and attentive long enough; I think I?ll start behaving like a complete jerk for no reason at all.? No, it?s a gradual process of unmasking who they truly have been all along ? and who they will continue to be in the future ? with or without you.
I guess the point to my rambling is this:
?You deserve better? is a statement with an excellent intent of support which ultimately and unfortunately may fall on deaf ears. It?s broad, all-encompassing, and 100% true.
The recipient, however, still wants you to find a way to convince the one she (or he) is with to be the one who gives her (or him) everything deserved. Just as it was in the beginning. Just as it used to be.
Bless your heart if you can do that. And if you can, please do tell me because I?d love to know your trick!!
Thanks for reading! And remember ? Smart people read. Smarter people write!
Laugh about common shopping behaviors and what your service person secretly thinks about you! Which shopping personality are you? Includes tips to become a customer to love! Find my short book on Amazon!