Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Are Some Promises Meant To Be Broken?

Georgette Heyer

“As soon as one promises not to do something, it becomes the one thing above all others that one most wishes to do.” 
                                                                                                             ― Georgette HeyerVenetia

Is the best resolution of a promise to break it?  Is that ever OK?  Is that ever the right/best/only solution?

Let's examine and you decide.

So...Are some promises meant to be broken?  What do we mean by "meant to be" broken?  Well, is it a promise that never should have been made?  Was it made "under duress"?

Dictionary.com and Google Dictionary define "duress" as:

compulsion by threat or force; coercion; constraint.
Law. such constraint or coercion as will render void a contract or other legal act entered
 or performed under its influence.
forcible restraint, especially imprisonment.

  1. threats, violence, constraints, or other action brought to bear on someone to do something against their will or better judgment.

    "confessions extracted under duress"

    "their confessions were extracted under duress"
    • LAW
      constraint illegally exercised to force someone to perform an act.
    • archaic
      forcible restraint or imprisonment.

Ah...so contracts (which are written, legal promises) signed under duress are not legally binding.  Therefore, are promises made in our personal lives that were extracted from us under duress, morally binding?

Are there people in our lives that force promises out of us made under duress?  Did we agree, against our better judgement, for a variety of bad reasons, such as:

  • To get the antagonist "off our backs"
  • Out of some misplaced guilt that a manipulative person knew how to "work"?
  • Fear of the unknown if the aggressor is told -  just flat out, "No, I won't promise that."

Let's be clear on one thing:  A person that attempts to force, coerce, threaten, guilt, obligate, nag, badger,  or torture you into anything OBVIOUSLY  needs you more than you need them.

This is an "Aha Moment" if ever there was one!  So much so that it bears repeating:

While they must feel they NEED you, YOU really do not need them at all!

Image result for breaking chains

Did you realize that?  No, of course not, as you are too "nice" to think that way.  That is, to realize that it's probably totally one sided.  They must feel they need you desperately (key word:  "desperate").

There is nothing you need, get or want from them, but there are things they obviously feel they NEED from you.  That's their low self esteem and their desperation and many other things, but it is NOT love.

Perhaps they feel they NEED one or more of the following:

  • Your financial stability
  • Your emotional stability
  • Your medical insurance
  • A warm body in the chair across from them at the dinner table
  • Someone to help with household chores
  • To present a false front to the world
Who knows?  Perhaps they just NEED to "play the guilt card" or the "oh, poor me/victim card".

All really bad reasons, but whatever they (or other reasons that are just as crazy) are, they are their perceived NEEDS, not yours.  You really don't need anything from them.  So, given that realization, why would they not be a little nicer?  Because they are banking on the fact that you are too nice to realize that it is YOU that holds all the cards!  

So when they, as the dictionary defines, threaten to "force, coerce, restrain" you, your response could be...wait for it..."Or what?"   They have no power over you because they have nothing you want.  That's the priceless answer to the million dollar question!  "Or what?!"  Yes, it is that simple because they are empty threats.  You have what they think they need...you want nothing from them.  To quote a trending phrase: "Bye Felicia".  (Yes, I said it!)

"Bye Felicia"...It's a thing.  Look it up! 
Basically, when someone threatens you with something you couldn't care less about.
There's no power there, because you don't care anyway.
Google it.

They have no hold over you once you realize...well...that they have no hold over you!  You have stuff they need (quite desperately)...they (to put it bluntly) have absolutely nothing that you need or even want anymore.  That's where their fear comes from...they are terrified you will wake up and realize that. As soon as you grasp that truth, their power over you disintegrates.


In closing, some areas to ponder, then you decide:
  1. Was it a promise made under duress?  
  2. Was the person that strong-armed the promise out of you acting:
  • In their right frame of mind?
  • Out of love or out of fear? (EVERYTHING - All decisions, acts and statements - are based on one of the two.  Out of love is always the right choice, out of fear is always the wrong one.  For example:  Why do they behave like your prison guard?  That's the fear factor. )
  • With your best interest at heart?  
  • Thinking of your future or their present?
And speaking of that, is it even really in their best interest or is it just the fear-filled, knee-jerk reaction of someone who is no longer the person they once were?

Sometimes it is cruel to be kind.  Or what we may think is kind.  But in reality, consider:  Does the promise enable and prolong an unhealthy and dysfunctional situation?  Is this someone not in a position emotionally, psychologically or any other way to be calling the shots?

Do you need to take charge and act rather than react?

Can you declare what is and let the chips fall where they may?

Would that, ultimately, be the kindest, strongest, most noble option?


                                                      Related image

    One final thought:

    Jennifer Donnelly
    “I know it is a bad thing to break a promise, but I think now that it is a worse thing to let a promise break you.”
    ― Jennifer DonnellyA Northern Light

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