Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Ramani Durvasula

Should I Stay or Should I Go? by Ramani Durvasula

Author:Ramani Durvasula [Durvasula, Ramani]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Published: 2015-10-05T16:00:00+00:00

The Narrative

People love telling stories. It is what we do, and it may be the most ancient of human pursuits. We tell them, we watch them, and we read them. In some ways, we need them.

Narratives become dangerous when they start running our lives or act as a barrier to seeing a truth. Every day, dozens of times per day, we write narratives about our lives. These narratives become the way we organize our worlds and are also the things we tell ourselves to get through our days. In that way, narratives can sometimes be a tool for coping and a way to extract meaning from challenging situations. Take a moment and reflect on the narratives you have written in your life—about your childhood, your career, your relationships, and yourself.

The challenge of narrative is that it can sometimes distract us from the authentic truth of a situation. An oft-cited “folk wisdom” is that “people tell themselves what they need to hear to get through the day.” That is a simple way of saying that you take the facts and knit them into a bearable story to survive. The narrative can be how you use a narcissist’s back story to take him off the hook. How you rationalize the bad behavior in the name of the beautiful lifestyle you have achieved. How you truly believe that in your fairy tale a single kiss will transform the frog, and the beast will finally be appeased. You write a narrative around a happily ever after (once he retires, once he gets the promotion, once the kids are grown) that never materializes.

Narratives can also explain how you got in, why you stayed in, and what you may do next. They reflect the traits that drew us in, they account for myths and misconceptions, such as chemistry, they account for the “rescue” fantasy (more on this in Chapter 6), and they allow us to make sense of the challenging landscape of the relationship with a narcissistic personality. The greatest challenge comes from taking an honest look at your narrative and allowing new ideas into that narrative.

The most dangerous narratives are those that are fictional, or an attempt to connect dots that create a distorted picture. I have repeatedly heard people say, “I think I fell out of love with him long ago, but I just love the idea of this relationship.” As you write or reflect on your narrative, figure out how much this is about the person and your true regard for him versus the entity called this relationship. It can be quite easy to love and fight for a relationship— it’s a place to hang your hat, to call home, an image to the world, a shared future—but because it is an “entity,” it is also easier to gloss over its faults than when you are talking about an individual person. A relationship can become a “higher order” construct, like religion, that we adhere to and rarely question. Many times, people simply want


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