Photograph by Flora Greenslade.
Okay…so you’re asking – rust? Rust is a nasty thing, we all know that. Metal objects crumbling away in the weather, rotting and corroding over time.
Well, I’m using rust here as a metaphor, people! As in rusting, deteriorating relationships. I’m fascinated, as are many (most?) of us about how people tick, and what causes people to make certain decisions and choices in life and relationships.
Why do some relationships, be they parent/ child, partners, siblings, friends disintegrate over time, and others flourish? Some relationships stumble, and eventually refresh; others, after one obstacle or more, never recover.
One of the worst pieces of advice about rust (that is, corroding relationships!) is to ignore the problem, sweep it under the carpet. If there’s an issue between two people, it’s better to acknowledge that, even if neither of you know, at that precise moment, how to solve it or exactly where to take it. That may come later, hopefully…perhaps some professional counselling may be needed. But at least it’s out in the open.
Linked to this sweeping it under the carpet motif is deceit. Hiding things away, pretence, secrecy ~ that is at the core of corrosive relationships. It’s horribly painful facing up and revealing past difficulties, humiliations, secrets, embarrassments… but well worth it in the long run.
More poor counsel is to minimise the problem. What if, say, the parent, cannot see what the fuss is about? The parent knows best, he or she thinks. Whatever the issue/ issues are, if the teenager is getting hot under the collar about it, then the parent should respect that distress, and really listen to what his/ her child is saying.
Which leads me to more bad advice , which is, indulge the other person, hear them, but not really listen. You’re busy, you say – there are emails to check, calls to take, social media to update.
But, hold on – you do need to listen! When a person really takes the time to listen to his/ her partner, sibling, friend, it’s special…sadly, even rare. If only the person could focus on the other, their words, their expression, and also notice the body language. If only they didn’t interrupt, or think about what they were going to say…and truly listen. The person expressing their feelings and thoughts is honoured and acknowledged. Respect and kindness is rekindled or extended between the two.
And disintegrating relationships are at the heart of my new novel, surprisingly entitled Corrosion!! It’s the second book in the Trial Bay series. The bad advice noted above is well and truly in motion in Collision – ignorance, secrecy, deceit, with the focus on a difficult mother/ son relationship.