Category Archives: Unhealthy Relationships

America’s View on African-American Relationships

We’re upset at the fact that mainstream networks view us as negative vs. positive when it comes to portraying  African-American relationships on television; and are afraid to feature an African-American male or female on ABC’s The Bachelor, and even more upset that their views on African-American relationships are almost non-existent or incapable of true love.  Although America has personally witnessed successful African-American couples for themselves, the cable networks paint a different picture; but what’s even more disturbing is the fact that we play these degrading roles that depict African-Americans in dysfunctional relationships, being angry, cheaters, money-chasers, ballers, rowdy, blinged out, attention seeking characters.  Until we stop being the #1 viewers and participants of these shows, the airwaves will continue being inundated with these type of shows.  We have allowed these shows to become the blueprint for our relationship behavioral actions.  There are some who can separate the two, but some can’t and don’t care to.  We can’t be upset for others labeling us, when we insist on living up to stereotypes.

We use the excuse that drama sells, but we also watched The Cosby Show, and they weren’t cursing one another out, or pulling out hair and glamorizing unethical behavior.  Is it more so that we just enjoy animalistic behavior, because that’s all we think we are?  There are shows out there that actually prove our capability of civil behavior in relationships, like Reed between the Lines, but you never see this trending on the Social Networks, because there’s not enough ignorance… Here’s a show that carries so many positive tones; how to deal with conflict resolution without anger, blended families, a couple that actually loves one another, and doesn’t have to be at each other’s throat all the time; but for some reason just like the rest of America, we join in on the myth that this isn’t the norm for us.  In reality, we do have more and more blended families, and need to learn how to live in them, if not in perfect harmony, at least with humility.

I saw disagreements among my parents growing up, but I also saw the love as well.  It’s up to us, which we decide to act upon.  We can’t keep hiding behind the excuse that this is the way we show our love.  Why accept defeat?  We’ve taken it so far as to think that we have to be okay with the negative connotations attached to our culture.  What happened to releasing the shackles and breaking the generational curses?

People can only do to you, what you allow!  NO, none of us are perfect, but we can’t continue to blame others for things that we accept!

-Terry D.

Ping Pong Love Jones – Part 1

You go back, back & forth & forth with the Ping Pong Love Jones!  Why do we insist on going back for more?  We know the relationship is over, and it meant us no good, but we get that 4a.m. phone call at that vulnerable moment, and bam, before you know it, you are sleeping with the enemy again.  We know our mama told us there ain’t nothing open after midnight but legs and 7-eleven.  At first we reason with ourselves and justify every reason why we picked up that phone, but in the end, we may not want to admit it to others, but none of them really made any sense.  It doesn’t take us long to realize why they’re our ex in the first place, but can’t’ seem to resist the temptation of that “one last” good-bye.  That last good-bye turns into a series of many lasts.  We actually begin convincing ourselves that maybe it wasn’t so bad in the first place, but knowing all along nothing could be further from the truth.  In all actuality, we’re just postponing the inevitable and digging a deeper hole.  It all seems harmless, because he certainly has to love me if he wants me back, but we quickly realize the phone calls only seem to come in the middle of the night and there are no real dates involved this time around; only booty calls and the calls to set up the next booty call. 

While we know we have no business being back in this toxic relationship, our hearts and minds just can’t seem to align.  Hoping and Praying  that it will be better this time around, but it’s not.  Before long, we are crying ourselves to sleep, questioning our worth, wondering if we will ever find someone else or even if we deserve it.  So, before we decide this time that it is really over, we want to talk to them, just to make sure we aren’t making a mistake and then the dreaded conversation takes a turn that we may have expected, but certainly didn’t want to hear.  “I thought we were just having a little fun.”  We begin judging ourselves harshly because, how can I allow this to happen yet again?        

After we hang up the phone and cry, think about all the what if’s, and wish the worst possible things on earth would happen to this person, we fall asleep and wake up wishing it was all a dream and try to put the pieces of our hearts back together.

-Terry D.

How do you Define Romance?

Why do we say we want respect and romance, romance definition and immediately become offended when he isn’t trying to sleep with you right away?  Have we lost the ability to sense a good man or are we confused about what we really want?  Are we sending the wrong message, by making sexual advances, because he doesn’t?  Have we been hanging with the Mr. Wrong’s so long, that we no longer recognize Mr. Right?  We become cynical in our depiction of men, due to bad relationship experiences, and almost lose our capacity to identify love.  I don’t believe it’s so much as we don’t know what we want, but instead after relationship failures, we question our value, lack love for ourselves and begin thinking we are only defined by our sexual worth.   If he gives into your advances because of the pressure to prove his manhood, will he still respect you?  Does it make you feel undesirable when he doesn’t try to sleep with you, or is that all you feel you have to offer?  You’re so much more than a sexual being, and until you recognize that, you will continue to accept less than you deserve or desire.  If you truly are aware of what you want vs. what you don’t want, take inventory and take no prisoners.  You don’t have to be a hard ass, but you do have to be adamant about your deal breakers, but more importantly, stop wasting your time; because if you’re not ready to do that, you are a walking target for a series of romance-less relationships.

If romance and respect is what you want, then say that and keep your panties on.  When you project physically what you emotionally and mentally want, guess what – you will get it!  You have to own the confidence and not compromise your values.  If he doesn’t want to romance you, without the sex, you need to keep it moving, because that sounds a lot like a trade-off; and we both know what sex for pay is considered.  One key factor is, giving in and compromising what you believe in, will not get you any closer to your goal of attaining true love.  If we didn’t think so little of ourselves and not use sex as a bargaining chip, we would be surprised at the real bond that romance and sexless intimacy can bring.  You can’t hold him accountable without holding yourself accountable.  Sometimes it takes you taking a step back from relationships, and learning more about yourself and all that you have to offer in order to become comfortable  and not selling yourself cheap. 

Close your legs, open your mind and let the romance begin!

-Terry D.

STOP Living the LIE…

STOP living the lie… 

There are countless women in unsatisfying, unhealthy and deadend relationships, but are afraid to own up to it.  When you begin to shine a light on relationship woes, people begin to shy away from  the subject for fear of being exposed.  I completely understand, because I was once one of those women. Here’s a brief insight of what my unhealthy relationship looked like:

On the surface, my relationship appeared ideal, and although some of my friends knew of my sleepless nights and tear-stained pillow, I did a pretty good job at concealing the truth.  No matter how much I lived through this lie, the proof was in the pudding.  Although I was in a relationship, I felt like I was single.  In my heart I knew I didn’t belong with him, but somehow justified it on every turn.  I allowed what others thought of me to dictate my status.  All the examples I saw of healthy relationships had no resemblance to my own, but I kept up the appearance in order to avoid the questions, judgement and stigmas that came along with being single.  Every time we fought (not physically) or argued, I played out in my head how I would end it for good this time, but always found a reason to stay a little longer, just chipping away at my spirit.  I’m sure there are other ladies who live this same lackluster life.  Just know that you don’t have to, because at the end of the day, you are in control of  your heart.  Most of the times, others will tell you to stay because of their own fear, inability or lack of strength to leave.  Sometimes it’s just because we don’t always know how to leave!  I once had a really close friend of mine to tell me that when I was ready I would leave, because she had been through the same thing.  Well, she was right.  When I was ready, I left and never looked back.  The truth is, the emotional and mental abuse was a nightmare.  I can’t compare it to physical abuse, because I’ve never experienced that, but I felt like I was being hit daily, because it took  years to heal.

The compelling similarities that stick out like a sore thumb in your failed relationship, will definitely hit home.  Truth be told, if you’ve been in a relationship, good or bad, we all have a story to tell.  I’ve learned that my honesty about my experiences have intrigued others to want to know more, and look to me as their confidant and for advice. As I continue to use my life experiences and journeys to be a tool to help others, I discover new things about myself along the way as well.  If you don’t use your test as testimonies, you’re blocking someone else’s blessing of being released.   

The thing about our relationship behaviors is, we tend to think if we have repeated relationship failures that we are just dysfunctional beings, who have bad karma, or just will never get it right.    Nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s painful to think that our parents, siblings or some other relative could be the root cause to our behaviors and decision-making.  The truth of the matter is, it’s actually the reason we act the way we do, but it doesn’t have to be the reason we remain this way.  Other times, we just make bad decisions.   Sometimes, just simply identifying the initiating factor can be an eye opener.  Let me offer you a few tools that were instrumental in my road to healing:

  • Don’t be afraid to admit that you’ve failed at a relationship
  • Admit your part you played in the relationship failing
  • Stop beating up on yourself and claiming doom on future relationships
  • Get the naysayers out of your head (they will make you believe you’re not worthy of love & get on a self-pity wagon with you)
  • Make sure you have a support base (family, friends)
  • Surround yourself with people who love you and will tell you what you need to hear, and not what you want to hear
  • Talk to somebody(professional or otherwise)
  • Listen and apply the advice that is offered to you
  • Forgive him (easier said than done, but this is key to your freedom)
  • Begin spending time around others with healthy relationships and ask questions on how they sustain the happiness
  • Do YOU for a while ALONE

-Terry D.

Pick your Battles

Why do we insist on creating unnecessary strife, both consciously and subconsciously?  We need to pick our battles, because every situation does not warrant an argument or screaming match.  Most of our aggressive behavior toward resolution comes from how we saw others in our families or those closest to us resolve disputes.  We have to choose which path we will take in order to maintain the peace, as well as our sanity.  They say, “That sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  I completely disagree, because words can cut like a two edge sword.   Sometimes it’s like an out-of-body experience that takes over and we begin shooting below the belt, and these are things that we can’t take back no matter how hard we try. 

After we retire to our separate corners and think about all that has transpired, we replay each horrific word that was exchanged and a sense of regret comes over us, wishing we could have a do over.  The sad part about it is, each time we go through this, we know what the end result will be, but can’t seem to control our erratic emotions. 

More than not, the arguments stem from something that has nothing to do with him/her, but as simple as having a bad day at work, or someone else has made you upset for the day, but we bring all this excess baggage home with us.  If these are things that you have identified as triggers, you can make the decision to take some quiet time to yourself until you have calmed down.  This way, you can discuss what made you upset, and your mate can offer solace and not feel like they’re being attacked.  He/She is not the enemy! 

The simple things we argue about:

  • The infamous toilet seat
  • Dinner choices
  • Temperature of  the house
  • What to watch on television

The first thing you must do is sit down and calmly discuss the reasons for the disputes and find a better way to discuss them without flaring tempers.  As mature adults, you have to make the decision of what’s more important, you winning or your relationship.  The core reason why the argument continues is because we want to have the last word.  If you feel you are not able to resolve your disputes without it escalating, it’s time to get some professional help and get to the root of the real problem.  You will find that the disputes usually stem from something deeper than what’s on the surface.

Pick your battles and learn to walk away.  It’s perfectly okay to apologize, even if you feel you were right!  Compromise and humility goes a long way!

-Terry D.