4. Your partner wears the role of the victim like a comfortable old coat.
You may find yourself impressed with how often the victim role crops up in your relationship with the TIAAB. He, or she, ends up being a victim of co-workers, extended family, and on occasion the neighbor’s cat. Because your partner is a victim, he or she requires your sole attention and unlimited support.
Conveniently, the victim mantel can also be used as a means to forego normal adult obligations. BTW, you must never complain about how the ‘victim status’ makes it difficult for you to relate to one another on equal footing like two adults.
If you make the mistake of voicing these concerns, you will be labeled as intentionally hurtful (see #3 above and prepare to apologize forthwith).
5. Feelings are everything.
In the world of the TIAAB, if it feels good, “Go For It!” Emotions drive behavior. When the tendency to blindly follow feelings leads to heartache the TIAAB laments “No one could possibly have seen how it would all turn out this way.”
You may think that this would be a terrific time for your partner to take responsibility and learn from a mistake. If that turns out to be your reaction I must conclude that you’ve not been paying attention… re-read #2 above and commit to memory.
But if you wish to disregard that advice and bravely push forward with the “I’m sorry this happened but there is something to be learned from this whole thing”, then skip directly to #3 above.
6. Just wanting something is tantamount to deserving the thing that is desired.
This has some interesting consequences: cars, clothing, electronics, jewelry, vacations, and much else are purchased because they are deserved. The precise basis upon which these items are “deserved” is seldom spelled out.
On those rare occasions when one does hear the rationale it boils down to “You only live once, and I’ve been through so much pain, surely I am owed a little happiness.”
That reasoning pretty much takes the dogs off the leash. It means if a credit card is within easy reach the lack of money for purchasing these much-deserved items is not a concern.
As a result, debt rises exponentially. Because no one purchase can ‘scratch the itch’ sufficiently, a cascade of chronic spending occurs. Eventually, debt rises to crisis levels, anxiety surges, tears are shed, and you are called upon to comfort your TIAAB.
Once again you might be tempted to think that this could be a great learning experience. But the TIAAB wants comfort, support, and absolution, not the painful growth that comes from taking responsibility.
Even so, there is a silver lining. The conflict and stress of the moment may lead to growth after all – yours. This might be that pivotal moment that you realize there is no way to have a mature relationship with this person.
Unlike the adolescent who struggles with such problems due to the natural course of social/emotional development, the TIAAB has no strong desire to mature. Consequently, unlike real adolescents who grow into healthy adults, the person you are with is most likely to stay in his or her present state for a very long time.
The bottom line: It’s nearly impossible to nurture growth when motivation is absent. The future of your relationship, in all probability, looks a lot like the present state of that relationship. What’s the solution? A fresh start, a clean break, a new beginning.
If your future plans include having children then you can count on raising a teen or two… maybe more. Although this may be challenging at times, it is also a very rewarding phase of parenting life. But trying to raise a teen who is already an adult, and is expected to be an equal partner rather than a child, is a witch’s brew for heartache. Think carefully before signing on for this responsibility.
Relationships are supposed to make you feel happy, and peaceful, not the opposite. The person you date should be an equal partner in the relationship, not a grown-up child who you have to take care of all the time, or cater to their whims and fancies 24*7. The moment you realize that you are dating a teenager in an adult’s body, it’s best to pack up your bags and leave.