Toxic Recycling

In this era of reduce, reuse, recycle, and combined with my Chinese upbringing, I’m loathe to actually dispose of anything. There’s always another use for an unwanted object rather than dooming it to the landfill. Yet there are certain interpersonal dynamics that probably just need to be dispensed with.

I feel almost every couple goes through this dynamic: You’re having what seems to be a perfectly calm day and then the next minute you’re sniping at each other. It’s always the other person’s fault, of course. I was just minding my own business when your attitude happened to come along.

One day during an unexpectedly turbulent moment, Chris observed that we both were noticing the others’ negative energy. Both? Negative? We were both carrying around some crap and then blaming it on the other when an argument escalated. Ohhhhhewwww.

Right then we realized that we have a tendency to recycle our internal garbage/unresolved issues between us. When Chris is feeling peaceful and tuned-in, he will realize that I’m just having a bad day and give me space, and/or he’ll let it roll off.   But when Chris is having his own stress or unresolved issues, the dynamic turns into fireworks. And visa versa.   If I didn’t initiate it, then I did escalate it, so we’re both responsible.

Awareness of our dynamic means that now, when things start to get touchy, usually we can stop and acknowledge that we’re recycling our garbage. That’s usually sufficient to stop the dynamic in its tracks so we can return to what we want to grow, recycle and regenerate: love, gratitude, affection, interest, warmth, kindness and compassion.   You can never have enough goodwill in a relationship, and it should not be squandered with mindless bickering and arguments. After all, waste not, want not.


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