My interpersonal relationships began to go wrong when I started to suffer depression a year after Natalie died. My analytical strong trait developed as a way to cope with the feeling of being alone after Natalie broke-up with me and then died. It didn’t take hold until about a year later when my depression faded. I had been working diligently to uncover a solution to my grief and confusion and found that everything could be altered by changing the context. Life was then simple because all I needed to do was understand enough to change the context.
My relationship with Natalie was normal for a first relationship. Fun, passionate and fearless. The first part of it with Leigh was the same, along with spontaneous. But after the depression, I started to analyze things in a way to fix them. It’s a truism that a human being will stop what they are doing spontaneously EACH AND EVERY time something goes wrong. Most of our coping strategies are attempts to fix or avoid the things that we judge to be wrong.
I became and remain effective at identifying the things that aren’t working. This isn’t a problem for the most part, it made me an effective manager and trainer, and now serves me well as a performance coach, but it creates challenges that many people do not face with their relationships given that I’ll usually try to fix as opposed to accept my partners for who and what they are or graciously part ways with them. I work aggressively to correct the things I judge to be wrong; and with an alienating intensity that makes people back away. It will be even worse when someone mentions that they like to be challenged because I’m immediately enrolled in the process of their future optimization.
I LOVE the analysis! Human beings are programmed to find being right to be rewarding – we get jolt of neurotransmitters with every right answer we get or with every pattern we match. It stands to reason why I do this because I’m able to identify things that are wrong and get rewarded. But there is one major flaw in this which makes it unworkable in my interpersonal relationships – there is nothing wrong with the girls I date. All of them are amazing, highly intelligent people and are very highly functioning. Some optimization may be possible, but it isn’t needed. The types of people who are drawn to me tend to be fairly self aware, bright, articulate and passionate. They are looking for spontaneous partnerships and NOT a tune-up.
It’s clear that my strongest trait, the one that developed to keep me alive and reorganize my life after the almost unmanageable trauma of the premature and unexpected death of a loved one, served its purpose well. I’ve used it countless time to manage lesser traumas, a number of tough break-ups, and, ironically, it seems to be the cause of a greater amount of pain in my relationships than it now prevents. It’s a fantastic tool for work, I can uncover the things that aren’t working for my clients quickly and almost effortlessly. Efficient service and exceptional value are two things that clients deserve, but they are things that girl friends tend not to be in the market for.
My future is loaded with possibilities that didn’t exist before and in many ways they exist because of my strongest trait of analysis. My career has started and I’m closer to fulfilling my purpose. The quality of my relationships can improve with the expression of this trait outside of the context of them. For this piece of knowledge, I am grateful!