Applied Table Theory – Mutual Independence and Your Relationship With Yourself

I rarely get serious about anything, because I’m a joker at heart and this is, for the most part, a comedic advice blog.

However, for everyone who has read my posts and laughed at my dickishness, I ask that you contemplate the following for a moment:

Most of my best advice comes from having been in a dark place for a long time.

A lot of my friends don’t know that about me. They don’t remember the angry me. The unmotivated me. The depressed me. They think somehow I magically got to be the way I am and then, poof, here I am, giving advice.

With that said, you might laugh at a lot of my advice as being obvious and kind of ridiculous, but a lot of this is stuff I’ve given to people before because a) I’d been there, and b) it was the difference between them staying angry at the world (and women in particular), or making something good and worthwhile for themselves.

For a lot of people you might not be aware of, they are coming from a place of hurt and anger, and they think they’re alone and no one can help.

And then I come along and tell them that their shit is weak, and that they’re not unique, and ask them if they need more tampons to soak up their lady vagina tears (that last part wasn’t written to make sense). LOL. Also, the whole LOL thing is sarcastic, because I never use that abbreviation and find it to be patently retarded. YOU can keep using it, though.

Sidetracked. Main point is that, I also remind these desperate boys (these are boy issues – men by definition have gotten over them) that others have been there (like me), and that if you hang on, make positive changes, and expect more of yourself, you can steer your life in a way that you might have thought was flatly impossible at some point.

So there. I said it. Purple-monkey dishwasher.

Now, I bring us to what I consider the most important leg of any table. This advice goes for both men AND women, and if you’re not doing your part, you’re actively ruining someone else’s life.

I can say that after making it my life goal to be the best person I can be, I am measurably happier and more successful in every aspect of my life – and I’m still not even nearly there yet. Also, I’m still REALLY bad at keeping track of paperwork. I totally could use a secretary. Brunette, 5’4″, nice legs, dresses well. Yup. One of those.

Today I want to talk about Mutual Independence.

It’s a pretty misunderstood table leg in Table Theory.

Let’s start with a simple question:

Are you afraid of ending up alone?

Are you? Be honest.

I am. Or, at least, I have an instinctive, irrational, strong tendency against being alone. I mean, I’m an extrovert. I like being around people. This gets especially more pronounced if I’m going through mild depression.

But the problem is that, in relationships, such an attitude can be a HUGE f*cking weak point. This is because if I’m not careful with who I hang around with, having that strong tendency to want to be around people will also cause me to stick around people that I don’t like, or are destructive forces in my life.

To be clear, the blame can’t be all on those people, because at least half the problem was (and possibly still is?) me.

This has happened to countless friends before, and to me personally at least three or four times. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there, and if you say you haven’t, you’re lying. You will be that person who fights me on this, and I will tell you straight up that it will be because I think you’re lying to yourself.

Those countless friends I mentioned? They talk to me about their relationships. They tell me all sorts of things (I should start charging) that bother them about the relationship. I dunno why, maybe I have a big sign above me that says “tell me about all your hang-ups,” because that’s what people talk to me about the most.

Here’s a short list of things guys have told me – not direct quotes, but you get the idea:

  • She doesn’t listen to me. I try to talk to her about things that are important to me, but she doesn’t listen, or care.
  • She is always fighting with her friends, and brings me into the mix to take sides with her against people I don’t even know.
  • I mean, I’m pretty happy with her, I guess, but she does _____ and _____ and _____ that really bothers me. I’m kind of hoping she’ll change.
  • She kinda cheated on me with this guy over break but she was drunk and I forgive her.

Now for the ladies:

  • I feel like I’m his babysitter sometimes, because he never offers to help out with anything.
  • He gets really wasted all the time and I’m tired of taking care of him.
  • He belittles/bosses me around in front of his friends.
  • He keeps telling me that he doesn’t want to be more than just friends but he keeps sleeping with me.

I could come up with a lot more if I really try, but the things is, these statements make me so sad that I try to forget them as soon as I can.

Now, there are some real clunkers up there. But, some of the other things up there might just sound like “small beans” to you. If they do sound like “small beans,” this article was written exactly for people like you.

The list above wasn’t small beans. It’s not a case of “he says to-may-to, and she says to-mah-to.” It’s not two people disagreeing on whether to watch the “Dark Knight,” or “Love, Actually.” Those “little issues” up there are actually a big f*cking deal when someone else has to put up with your bullsh*t.

They’re not the kinds of problems that gets worked out over a conversation, because only responsible, thoughtful adults are capable of calmly discussing a problem and taking proper action, and they don’t force their little hang-ups on others to begin with!

After hearing all these stories, this is what I used to ask:

Why don’t you just break up with him/her?

I don’t ask anymore. Because I’ve been there (at least three or four times), and looking back, it really is because I was literally so averse to being alone, that I’d rather put up with all the crazy drama than leave. I was so stuck and dependent on my relationship, that when someone older and wiser who had been there would present me with the alternative of being alone, I ignored it. I’d say “It’s not an option.”

Isn’t that a sad thing to realize about yourself?

How unhappy do you have to be with your own life to put up with such ridiculous things in dating?

I’ll admit, a big part of what kept me in those situations is what I saw around me. I mean, other people were dealing with the same thing, or worse, right? So that means that whatever I was dealing with was normal, and I should just stick it out.

Fact of the matter is that in these situations, I was unhappy most of the time – maybe not “cry my eyes out and be angry at Jesus” level of unhappiness, but I absolutely was not jumping for joy about anything in my life. Except (occasionally) my relationship.

So what that would say about me, in those situations, is that I started to assume that it was normal and fine to be unhappy at least 40% of the time in my relationships, based on how unhappy everyone else was in their own.

That is a f*cked up line of reasoning right there. But guess what – if you are a male who grew up in the United States, this is the message you were bombarded with from an early age:

  1. Slay dragons for your girl
  2. Defeat the personification of death for your girl
  3. Go to hell and back for your girl
  4. Die for your girl

But then we got older, and we found out that we don’t have to jump in front of bullets, kill imaginary monsters, or cheat the only certainty of life (death) to get a girl. And comparatively, when we realized that all we have to deal with is a partner who is occasionally mean, irresponsible, demanding, or manipulative/abusive, it looked easy. So you put up with it.

And that’s right. I’m blaming you – you bent over and took it because you believed that was the best you could do.

You might say that this opinion, or these observations are unfounded. But, I challenge you to look at how many of your own relationships have had these dependence issues and then worked out in the end.

Even those of you who are currently in kickass, awesome, mutually beneficial and productive relationships will look back at the past and be like “yeah, there were a few I regret.” And by “a few,” you’d probably mean most of them.

Be honest with yourself, because any time you willingly stay in this kind of situation, the problem is not your harpy girlfriend/asshole boyfriend – the problem is you not pushing yourself to do better.

If you were truly independent of the other person in the relationship, your tolerance for antisocial, unacceptable behaviors would go straight to zero.

And thus, the importance of Mutual Independence.

Work on it, people!

One Response to Applied Table Theory – Mutual Independence and Your Relationship With Yourself

  1. Sandy Lu says:

    Thumbs up Vichet. You touched on this, but I want to stress it – it’s hard to change yourself from that insecure little bitch to someone you respect looking in the mirror every day. Really fucking hard. And while this is mainly a personal issue, none of us, myself included, could have done it without help. Could be friends holding you up, could be the girl who was the first to smile back. I know who these people are for me – thanks guys.

    And to those who have been in the tunnel and seen light at the end: cheers. Vichet, here’s to you, and everyone else who knows how dark it can be. And to all those who helped along the way.

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