Monday, July 4, 2011

So, You're a Bum Magnet, Huh? Here's Your 12-Step Program for Healthier Relationships

Okay, so last week's post got into the nitty gritty of the causes most frequently at the root of bum magnetism. But you didn't think I was gonna leave it there, did you? No way. The following 12-step program, devised by yours truly, is not only meant to help heal your soul but also fix your broken bum detector so that you can enjoy happier and healthier relationships. Are they easy? No. But nothing worth doing ever is...

Step 1: Own it, honey! Ain't no shame in the game. Recovery cannot begin if you're still lying like a cheap rug to yourself, friends, and family. Remember, you're the only one who hasn't acknowledged your secret. Everybody else knows. Admission helps you close the door of self denial and open the door to a new beginning.

Step 2: Decide when you're through with unhealthy relationships...and then don't enter into them anymore. If you want to keep on bouncing from joker to joker, then by all means, the choice is yours. But when you finally decide you're through, then live your life in a way that everyone in your life understands bums, players, etc. are no longer acceptable.

Step 3: Clean the skeletons out of your closet. Hell, we all know that bum magnets have loads upon loads of unwanted unnecessary shit in their emotional baggage. The day of denial is over and done. Build up the courage to face it head on and air it out to yourself, to the people involved, or whomever it takes for you to unload your lifetime of crap. Do it now while you are in control of how you handle it, rather than waiting until the shit unexpectedly hits the fan. Shit splatter is no fun to clean up. You want to deal with your mess in "healing" mode, not "survival" mode.

Step 4: Dump the trash. Once you face your issues and get all the crap on the table, then it's time to let it go. Release it. And this is one area where you don't want to "green." Don't store it for recycling. No. You need to go Bernie from Waiting to Exhale and let it burn!

Step 5: And, yes, that means the bum too! While your ridding yourself of all this other stuff, best to get rid of the symptom as well as the disease. You made a bad selection. Big mistake. Now you're gonna try and stick it out? For what? Wait for him to change? Wait until you change? The problem is that you were broken when you picked him and you need time to work on yourself. Besides, I have yet to see two wrongs make a right.

Step 6: Vow to stop dating until you get your picker fixed. Your bum detector needs repaired like a mo' fo' and you've already admitted it. Allow yourself to heal before you start jumping and diving into a new relationship and end up right back where you started. You've been wrong long enough. Time to allow yourself the time to grow so you can get it right.

Step 7: Take inventory of your life--past and present--and make THREE lists. In the first, list qualities that describe who you are. In the second, list qualities of the person you'd like to be (if you don't have anything to put on this list, see Step 1). On the third, make a road map of how you can get to List A to List B. (For example: List one: I'm opinionated. List two: A better communicator. List three: Shut up and listen.) Reward yourself for accomplishments but don't punish yourself for failures. We're all works in progress. Nobody's perfect.

Step 8: Ask your higher power for help and guidance to help you become a better you and fix that damn bum detector. I know what you're thinking. Why isn't this number one? Well, I'll tell you why. I find that folks frequently seek out help from the higher power but don't know what the heck they are asking for. And then the prayer or request gets answered and it's not what you wanted. And you say to God, "Okay, that's what I said, but that's not what I meant." In this list, by the time you get to Step 8, you've examined enough about your own self and issues that you know what to ask for in terms of what you need. I call this engaging in educated prayer.

Step 9: Tap into that inner voice, from whatever your source is, particularly when challenging situations or questions arise, and when it tells you what to do--you damn well better LISTEN to it! Stop ignoring the signs. Stop suppressing that inkling, funny feeling, suspicion, doubt, or other red flag that says, "Run, Forest. Run!" and RUN!

Step 10: Make a list of positive, healthy qualities (i.e., good character, honest, trust-worthy, intelligent) that you need (not want) and then don't effing compromise! Don't ever think you can change someone or turn them into the person you want them to be. Ain't gonna happen. People can only change themselves. You can't do it for them. And if your list starts out with good job, hella money, then please see Step 7, particularly list 1 and 2.

Step 11: Date again...but date slow. Once you have an honest and comprehensive understanding of who you are as a person, you've begun to make substantial changes in your own life and have succeeded enough to be of use to another human being, and you understand what you need from a partner, then open yourself to love again. Don't express date and hop into bed. You should wait a few months. I won't put a deadline on it except to say, you don't need to know everything, but you need to have spent time in his presence to be able to count the time in months and not minutes or hours. In that time you will have witnessed enough to know whether you can kick your relationship into a higher gear...or kick him to the curb.

Step 12: Each one, teach one. Now that you know how to diagnose and recover from a chronic case of bum magnetism, it's your duty and obligation to spread the gospel and save others from this chronic but curable affliction!

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