Trapping Yourself

Speaking of unhappy relationships … here’s one situation that therapists see a lot of. One or both of the people in the relationship have made choices that have given them very few options in life. One obvious example is choosing not to receive advanced education or training in a trade, profession or specialized skill. That choice leaves a person with very little to offer to customers, clients and employers. With little to offer, one’s choices are very limited. Such a person often finds himself or herself trapped in a bad situation, where they feel helpless and stuck.

Here’s an idea to consider as a rule of life: Never put yourself in a position where you have only one option. Maneuverability, the freedom to move – that is, having more than one option in any situation – is the key. We need space and time in order to make good decisions.

Following are two examples which illustrate the potential danger of not having options. If, for example, you were teaching your sixteen year-old child how to drive safely, you might use these. 

1 – You’re coming to a stop behind a car in front of you, and your car is so close to the rear end of the other car, that, after you’ve stopped, you cannot move around it. You’re tight in behind it. You made a bad decision in giving yourself nowhere to go, in case you need to move quickly. If another car stops just behind you, you are trapped.

2 – You are following a car as it turns off the street into a parking area where cars are parked a few feet past the entrance way. In case one of those parked cars pulls out, it will force the car in front of you to stop in order to avoid a collision. You would then be stuck in the street, unable to move forward. Thus, you risk being hit by an oncoming car. If that happened, it would be your fault. because you were following too close. Once again, your action deprived yourself of maneuverability.

This idea applies to time, as well as to space. Let’s say your car is in bad shape. You think you’re saving money by waiting until it breaks down. So, when you need to replace it, you will be at a disadvantage. Not having time to shop around, you cannot make a good deal.

Unfortunately, all too many people make these errors in relationships. They leave themselves with very few options by failing to learn how to make a living on their own. Instead, they choose to depend on another person, never thinking that person might someday be unable or unwilling to take care of them. Sadly, it is mainly women who continue to make these choices, even in today’s ‘liberated’ environment.

As for work and career, you may know someone who dislikes his work, and can’t seem to find a way out. Maybe he chose not to learn skills that would make him desirable by lots of different employers and companies. Once again, when making big life decisions, it is essential to think clearly about the options and freedom your choices will give you.

If you’re feeling stuck and not sure what to do about it, you might look for books, articles, podcasts and videos on this topic. However, if you’d like to exchange ideas with a professional, please feel free to reach out. It might be that all you need is a little coaching and encouragement. The phone number is (219) 309-3928. I’d be honored to be of service.

For more thoughts click YouDO Have Options

Thanks for reading!