Guide Something Like You

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These are relationships built on conditions. Conditional relationships are inherently selfish. We attach ourselves to superficial objects and ideas and then try to live them vicariously through the people we become close to. These conditional relationships then make us even more lonely because no real connection is ever being made. Conditional relationships also cause us to tolerate being treated poorly. This transitory nature of conditional relationships is usually something people can only see with the passage of a sufficient amount of time. Teenagers are young and just discovering their identities , so it makes sense that they are constantly obsessed with how they measure up to others.

But as years go on, most people realize that few people stick around in their lives. As most people age, most of them come to prioritize unconditional relationships — relationships where each person is accepted unconditionally for whoever he or she is, without additional expectations. Unconditional relationships are relationships where both people respect and support each other without any expectation of something in return. To put it another way, each person in the relationship is primarily valued for the relationship itself — the mutual empathy and support — not for their job, status, appearance, success, or anything else.

Unconditional relationships are the only real relationships. They cannot be shaken by the ups and downs of life. They are not altered by superficial benefits and failures. The relationship is not subjected to the coolness economy where I drop you the second you start hurting my chances to impress others. People with conditional relationships never learned to see the people around them in terms of anything other than the benefits they provide. Parents, as usual, are often the culprits here. But as with all relationship skills, it starts in the family.

Not your own. You will also build your relationships by manipulating others to fit your needs rather than take care of them yourself. This is the basis for a toxic relationship. Conditions cut both ways. Most conditional relationships are entered into unconsciously — that is, they are entered into without conscious thought about who this person is or why they like you or what their behavior towards you indicates.

You just see their sweet tattoos and envy their rad bike and want to be close to them. People who enter into conditional relationships enter into them for the simple reason that these relationships feel really good , yet they never stop to question why it feels so good. There are a million hypothetical questions and you should be asking yourself every single one of them.

All the time. If you want to remove or repair the conditional relationships in your life and have strong unconditional relationships, you are going to have to piss some people off. And you have to let go of your own. It will cause drama. A shit-storm of drama in many cases. After all, what you are doing is you are taking somebody who has been using parts of you to make themselves feel better and denying their ability to do so. Their reaction will be angry and they will blame you. They will say a lot of mean things about you. This sort of reaction is just further proof of the conditions on the relationship.

A conditional love will fight back.


But this drama is necessary. Because one of two things will emerge from it.

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Either the person will be unable to let go of their conditions and they will therefore remove themselves from your life which, ultimately, is a good thing in most cases. Or, the person will be forced to appreciate you unconditionally, to love you in spite of the inconveniences you may pose to themselves or their self-esteem.

This is really fucking hard, of course. But relationships are difficult by nature because people are difficult by nature.

Before Your Visit

If life was just all fun and fellatio, then nothing good would ever get done. And they knew mine. Oh, does he brag about you.

Before Your Visit

Shows us pictures of all you kids. He bought me every tacky souvenir I wanted, taught me how to use his CB radio and he never had one drink. It was a good week. People can surprise you. When I was 16, my stepfather took a rotary dial telephone in his right hand, held my mother down with his left hand and bashed her repeatedly over the head.

The blood spurted out of her like water from a drinking fountain — straight up, then cascading down all over the floor. I held a knife to the back of his neck. He stopped hitting her. The police came.

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He was taken to jail. My mother left in an ambulance. When she returned home she had a shaved head with stitches crisscrossing like railroad tracks.

My mother told me he was sorry and he promised he would never do it again. I told her I was leaving. What we allow will continue. What continues will escalate. He told me I could take whatever I could fit into one suitcase. Everything else, he reasoned, was his. He had paid for it.

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  • I skateboarded to my job working nights at Burger King to pay the rent. For the first time in my life, I did not live in my own house. I slept through the night. She was my best friend. She was a round, cozy Latina, happy as a Buddha. I loved her. She came to my track meets. So did other members of my family, concerned about me. They smiled.

    The same smile of kindness on their faces that I saw on the locksmith in New Orleans. What does that mean, I asked? Of course Arleen belongs here. She literally goes to the same school that I do. Why is she different?