Maladaptive Thinking


This past Sunday I was given the opportunity to be in attendance for the Kevin Hart “What Now?” tour as it came through Augusta.  While others are a little indifferent, I consider Kevin Hart to be a funny comic.  More importantly, I like the way that he paints the picture for his audience and delivers the joke.  As he has gotten older, Kevin’s performances have more of that Bernie Mac storytelling vibe as he uses his family in most of his jokes.  So as I took in the show, I noticed several changes that were made.  As Kevin went from story to story, the scenes behind him changed.  As I walked to my car and talked with some of the people in attendance after the show, many felt the scene changes were unnecessary.  The opening backdrop of the city was plenty for me.  I’ve never noticed a set change so much and actually took away from the narrative in some parts of the show.  Now I know he wanted to be different and create a better viewing experience for everyone in attendance, but sometimes staying with the thing that you got you there is better.  Same goes for relationships. . . . . .

Same goes for relationships?  Yes.  We seek to change things when normal seems to be working just fine and it doesn’t merit a change.  Now I know what you are saying and I hear you.  Yes, we all evolve.  Yes, change is inevitable.  Right now, I’m talking about changes that don’t have to occur.  For example, why did Pepsi ever have to come out with a Crystal Pepsi? Why did Hardee’s come out with the Fried Bologna and Velveeta Biscuit? (Bologna . . . . really?) I hate to say this but I actually know people that have walked away from relationships because everything was going fine.  There was no cheating.  No physical or verbal abuse. No theft of joint funds. No criminal activity. No nothing.  Excuses like “he leaves the seat up too damn much so I’m leaving” and “she went natural and I can’t pull on her hair anymore during sex” are reasons given to leave.  This is what I refer to as an unnecessary change.


As I drove back from the show, I thought about the unnecessary changes that I have made as it pertains to relationships.  And the obvious change that comes to mind is leaving someone who is doing everything they can to make you happy and you search for reasons to leave them.  Why is that?  Many clinicians in my field call this maladaptive thinking.  Some of us are negative about every damn thing! It doesn’t matter how much the other does, we will invent criticism due to our own warped views on reality.  The negative becomes the template for some us in which we will never be satisfied.  Never. And yes, I’ve been (past tense y’all) guilty. . . . so very guilty, of that very thought process.  As a matter of fact, I’ve dated several women who were good to me and I searched, no, made up reasons to leave them.  Whether I gave that “it’s not you, it’s me” or “I feel God is leading us in different directions” excuse, it’s still the same.  So what tends to happen is that we become insatiable and sooner or later, we will find a reason to leave the person we are with. Ouch. . . .

Maladaptive thinkers profess with their mouths that they want a relationship in which the other person works, doesn’t lie, or cheat.  So what happens when they get that?  They tend to label the girl or the guy as a “fuddy duddy” and want out.  Unnecessary change.  For me, the daily standard became monotonous and I composed mitigating circumstances to become single again.  Traits that were once so sexy and cute were now annoying and mundane.  I would normally exchange a woman who was faithful and encouraging for a woman who was a harlot and emotionally destructive.  And then when I got hurt at the end, I would blame the female instead of accepting fault.
In this season of my life, I’ve been blessed to have friends that have been married/living together for fifteen years or more.  I listen to both parties discuss their daily routine.  Although it is the same most days out of the week,  they are content.  They all have gone through some rather turbulent weather but they have weathered the storms.  I’ve seen several of these couples go through financial hardships, adultery, and drug abuse and they have made it through to the sunshine.  In times when the outsiders told them there should be a change, they didn’t change their spouse.  Instead, they changed their attitude and their effort toward their relationships.  They were not afraid of success in their relationships.  And today, neither am I.

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