I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

126. Interpersonal Courage and Interpersonal Cowardice 1

Interpersonal Courage and Interpersonal Cowardice

I never wanted a hero or daredevil, who risks his life and health in dangerous activities.  He would only make me worry.   Therefore I consider a man, who avoids real risks, as wise and reasonable and not as coward.   He is no more a coward than I am myself when being cautious.

But there is one kind of courage, that is of paramount importance for me in my future partner:   Interpersonal courage.   I have no tolerance for interpersonal cowardice, because it is a method of avoiding pain by making another suffer instead.   In the relationship with an interpersonal coward, I would be the one, who suffers.
This concerns two aspects:   Weaknesses and Mistakes/Transgressions.  

In real life, especially at work, it is sometimes necessary to hide weaknesses and to correct mistakes secretly to avoid bad consequences.   A mature man knows, that the same interpersonal courage, that is required between trusting partners, can be very foolish with strangers.   But in a committed relationship, this is detrimental cowardice and not acceptable.

Aspect 1.  Weaknesses

In this context I use the word weakness for anything, that somebody has been born with or he has acquired later, and what he wants to hide.   It is about invisible weaknesses.   A physical ailment is not a weakness, but being a hypochondriac is.   Being bald is not a weakness, being ashamed of it is.     
It can be something, that he considers himself as a weakness, no matter if this is only his personal opinion, or if others think the same.    Or it can be something, that he believes that others consider as a weakness, even when he himself does not agree. 

As a few examples, people have emotions like fear, anxiety, phobia, paranoia, shame, helplessness and embarrassment, they are allergic to some situation and overreact sometimes and they prefer to keep this as private matter.

It is wise to avoid being vulnerable with the wrong people.   But it is also wise to be aware of the own weaknesses, so one can work on overcoming and conquering them instead of being determined by them.   That includes accepting support from trustworthy people.  

Partners bonded as a committed, trusting couple support each other, cooperate to cope and grow together.   This of course is based upon a solid basis of appreciation, respect and validation of each other, that cannot be damaged by the knowledge of real or subjectively ascribed weaknesses.  

The interpersonal courage between two committed partners requires, that they both are absolutely sincere and honest with each other, with no restrictions, censoring or withholding of any information, not only about facts, but also about themselves, their feelings, perceptions and experiences, no matter how difficult or painful it is to admit something.    But when there is a bond of trust, it should not be painful.  

When one or both hide their weaknesses, something is very wrong with the relationship.   It is like with trust.   Trust requires trustworthiness as the complement.    Interpersonal courage about weaknesses requires as the complement, that an admitted weakness is never used to justify depreciation and devaluation or in any other way to the disadvantage of the other.   

When a man hides his weaknesses from a partner, there are two varieties of the dynamics.   Both are based on the faulty concept, that a relationship is and should be a hierarchy.    He often is not even aware of this fatal error in his judgement.  
= He considers himself as superior and he wants to feel superior.   In this situation, he hides his own weaknesses, and the woman's onesided interpersonal courage is detrimental.    Admitting a weakness does not gain her the benefit of receiving support, but it leads to more depreciation and being treated as even more inferior.  
= He attempts and believes to be an equal.  He is worried, that by admitting his weaknesses, he risks to appear to or to be considered inferior by his partner.   He may think, that hiding weaknesses is a part of his role as a man.
In both varieties, his hiding of his weaknesses has behavioral consequences, that have a detrimental impact upon the partner and the relationship.  

A man in an intrinsically committed relationship shares every decision with his partner, whenever this decision has any impact upon her and the relationship.   That implies sharing all relevant information, not only external facts, but also needs and feelings, before they agree on a decision based on the joint information.   That decision is rationally convincing to both.   They both know, that shared decisions are better for them than any solitary decisions could ever be.  

But when some task or problem requires a decision, and the men hides his feelings and needs, then he impedes a shared decision.   He cannot convince his partner of his reasons for what he wants to decide without revealing all his reasons.    When they therefore do not agree or when he already knows, that he cannot convince her, then he even keeps her ignorant of whatever goes on in his mind.   Instead he forces his solitary decision upon her.   

Whatever leads to it, when a woman is taken by surprise by a man's solitary decision, this has very bad consequences on the relationship:

1.   A decision, that is not the result of a rational procedure to solve a problem, but is distorted under the pressure of strong emotions is often very bad, inappropriate and detrimental even to his own most selfish interests.    Sometimes he may successfully fight against his weakness for a while, but when he finally yields to it, the sudden act of weird behavior does more damage than what he wanted to avoid.
Thus, he does damage to himself by depriving himself of her support, her information, her cooperation.

2.   By forcing a solitary decision upon her, he sometimes upsets common plans or interferes with her life in a way, that triggers a reaction from her.   When she is suddenly the target of behavior, that is incomprehensible for her, then she cannot react any better than what her limited knowledge of the situation permits.  
In ignorance of what problem his is coping with and what he is hiding from her, her reactions can unintentionally make things worse for both.   Her own confusion and irritation can set off sequences of dynamics destroying or damaging the relationship.   

3.  When he forces his solitary decision upon her, his behavior comes for her out of the blue, it is incomprehensible and even stunning.   After a few repetitions, he becomes a walking time bomb for her.    She learns, that at any moment, he might again do some hurtful things to her, and she is not able to understand, why.
This has severe consequences:
She is helpless, because it is not in her power to protect herself against anything, that is done to her out of the blue.   No matter, how wise, mature and intelligent she may be, she is not allowed to use her skills to improve anything, not for both, not for him, not for herself.   She is the target without an influence.
Even if he explains his motives and reason afterwards, being unprepared for his actions takes away from her the reliability and predictability of a relationship being a safe haven.   By doing, what he feels compelled by his own emotions, without consulting her, without giving her a chance to participate in a solution not damaging to her, he destroys her trust.  She cannot relax, but is on her guard, even scared, because instead of a safe haven, for her the relationship is a source of stress, strain and depletion of energy.  

4.  When a man hides the true reasons for his decisions, when his actions appear too often incomprehensible, irrational, stupid, absurd, preposterous, this can have a much more drastic effect upon the woman's evaluation of a man than a weakness, that is a minor issue in need of her support.   He wants to hide something of little importance to her to preserve her appreciation, but the very actions to hide it are very drastic, sometimes unforgivable and do cause the woman to loose the respect for him.    He achieves a hundredfold of what he wanted to avoid.  
Not being able anymore to take a man for serious, drives an egalitarian woman as much away as does being treated as inferior.   But when she is treated as inferior by the same man, who causes her to loose respect for him by his own behavior, this is the certain end of the relationship.  

To sum it up:  Once I have fully accepted a man as suitable (more in entry 83 and 102), then a few weaknesses cannot destroy my appreciation.    But the interpersonal cowardice of making me suffer by any attempt to hide those weaknesses will be a dealbreaker.    Interpersonal courage has to grow along with trust as a part of emotional and intellectual intimacy, before the bond is sealed by physical intimacy.