Friday, July 13, 2007

Broken Pickers

So, what is the first step to finding not only the right person, but having a relationship that lasts?

Well, for me, it was dealing with my "broken picker"! Most of you are wondering if I am talking about harvesting fruit or finding men. I am talking about the men I picked. I think it was in a support group meeting where I first heard the term "broken picker", and someone was telling me that I had one. I thought they were nuts!! I knew that I went into every relationship expecting the best, and thought each one would work out. The person clarified the fact for me, that I was the person who picked, not necessarily in correct order, men who were unavailable, who were not going to commit, who were not always faithful, sometimes had addictions, and rarely had jobs that would support themselves, let alone a family. Subsequently the determination, that my picker was broken.

Now, up until this point in my life, my belief was that the problem lay with the men, and that somehow I had nothing to do with these relationships not working out. What a shock to find that it was about me after all. And why, you ask, did I pick people who were destined to break my heart, leave, or more commonly drive me to leave them? Well, a lot of it was because of a guy, Martha Beck, PhD, the well known life coach, (and my personal Coach Trainer) would call, my Inner Lizard. All of us have a part of our brain that goes back to the days when we were still crawling around in the primordial soup, and today scientists still call it our Reptilian Brain.

This is the part of the brain that tells us when to run if we are in danger, or stand and fight if running isn't an option. It is also the part of our brain that learns to recognize certain people, who we feel a strong emotional response to. This often begins with our parents or other caregivers who raised us. When I've had a strong emotional response to people in the past, I often thought it was charisma or intense attraction, what I didn't realize was that my Inner Lizard was responding to them, and not necessarily in a good way. It took me a lot of work with counseling and coaching to realize, that I was intensely attracted to men, who my Inner Lizard recognized as having some of the traits of my father (eeeuuuu!), and that my brain wanted somehow to heal our relationship through my relationships with men.

Now not everyone out there has a broken picker. And some people have them in varying degrees. What my picker did, was lead me to believe that I was intensely attracted to the wrong men, and that I wasn't that attracted to the right men. I did meet some very wonderful men along the way, but I would usually not stick around. So having a broken picker was a problem, but it didn't stop me from meeting decent people. Once I recognized this fact, I could learn to fix the problem.

So the first assignment along the path of finding and loving a nice guy, is learning to make peace with your Inner Lizard. This is accomplished first through committing to being single, while you work on your relationship issues. Now, don't run, it sounds really difficult, but the first key to having a keeping a relationship with a whole, healthy, human being is being one yourself. So, ask yourself a few questions:

1. Do I have a lot of turmoil in my relationships, whether they are with family, friends, co-workers, or romantic in nature?

2. Am I still working through childhood issues with my parents?

3. Am I often angry, tearful, moody, or depressed?

4. Do I use any substance to the extreme?

5. Am I truly available to be in relationships, or am I still in one that isn't working, grieving one that has recently broken up, in the middle of a divorce or separation, still in love with someone from the past?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, the first step is to work with a life coach, a counselor, or other program to deal with these specific issues. Martha Beck says, "you've got to live it, to give it". That means that to be in a relationship with a healthy person, you need to be a healthy person. For myself, I spent a couple of years working on building the life I wanted, and learning to be great alone, before I was ready to love a nice guy.

I would be happy to work with you to do the same. This may take some time, but not as much time as it will take if you do nothing. So start today, with me or someone else, because he is out there waiting, and wondering when he will find a nice girl.



Anonymous said...

When the nice guy shows up at the wrong time what do you do? Or was it the wrong time. Here goes: He loves me for me no changes necessary just the need to change my emotional unavailabilty. You see I was in a relationship that was not so healthy for me recently and it just ended but before it ended the nice guy showed up. Now i feel like i need time to be healthy on my own but have already committed to the new relationship as far as sex goes and dating anyone else. I see a therapist, belong to a 12step program, a women's circle, spiritual brother, supportive family and lots of friends who i speak to about the nice guy. Some people say i need time to be by myself and work on my health issues as well as emotional issues and grieve the bad boy. The Good guy is aggravated understandibly so and loves me and wants me to be healthy and wants me to do what i really want to do. I don't want to lose him due to the fact that i am messed up right now and not least i feel not whole.... i am going through a really tough time with this and would like your suggestion. How do i not lose the good guy, keep my sanity and not turn him away from me?

Anonymous said...

I probably have a Broken Picker I keep trying to pick Nice Guys because I like the good guys etc but it ends up horribly. The only time things are ever ok are with a flawed guy or jerk of some type. I don't know why this is but I tried to date nice guys for over a decade & rejected 'jerks' like you're supposed to left & right. All the Nice guy ever did was pick people who treated him badly over me eventually he wasn't honest either. I find that those called 'jerks' or openly flawed guys they don't stab me in the back they are even honest. Maybe it is because jerks have suffered and they have empathy & kindness. How to love a Nice guy I know..ignore him. It doen't work if you actually LIKE a Nice Guy because I tried and I find that either he's only used to abuse or maybe disrespect is the only thing he understands. I won't treat him like those horrible women I thought he deserved better but I was wrong. Nice guys are very dangerous.

Anonymous said...; You saved my day again.

Anonymous said...

I could really use some advice. I hurt a sweet, beautiful man with my emotional unavailability. He broke up with me 3 yrs later, and broke my heart. I am working on myself. I really am. Should I fight for him, or let him call the shots on whether we will be together again?

Camille said...

Part of me has always known that I have a 'broken picker'. I am sweet, caring and attractive and have a hard time holding onto relationships with men. This problem became all the more apparent to me about a year ago when a relationship ended. I had been dating a man who was also involved with another women. When he stayed with her and not me, i was crushed and more depressed than i had ever been in life.
After a couple months, i started dating a guy who was another walking red flag. Barely separated from his wife, raging alcoholic and verbally abusive. That's when I joined a support group website, because i realize that I am making horrible decisions for my well-being. I am seeking out men who rip my life and mind apart and when I am a shell of my usual vibrant and happy self, they are gone.
When the ex and i basically had a street fight because his new gf came around, and things ended, i was left to pick up the remaining pieces of myself and try to gather some inner strength.
I stayed alone for awhile and felt so strong and started to be proud of who I am again. Then a nice guy caught my eye. We date occasionally, but his unavailability arises because he is a dad, so i clearly cannot be his priority. Meanwhile, i started dating someone else who I had been attracted to for awhile, but he has a gf of 3 years. And this is the horrible pattern that I continue to put myself in.
It sucks! I am in so much pain and turmoil. I came to the conclusion that I am addicted to feeling like I'm not good enough. I want to change, but I really don't know how. I know noone put a gun to my head and told me to be with another womans' man, so I have to blame myself for this feeling.

Anonymous said...

I am one of these so called "nice guys." I lost someone who I dearly loved because of it. She knew what wrong she was doing but being the nice guy I am, she found no remorse doing wrong to me.

She has made it clear that in the future, she knows we will work out. I cannot change myself and be a jerk or something because our young child fully loves me and I know it's because of my "nice guy" traits.

I don't have some kind of secret problem I think. Yes, Im human... so I do have my range of emotions. There seems to be a double standard out there. It sems when a nice guy gets mad or sad then they are wierd but when a jerk acts
ad or sad then they are just being human.

My point is that nice men are the true men. We understand or are willing to understand that thier companion can be really special and are willing to put the work needed to keep it forward. If a women cannot give a nice guy a chance, then it's because the lady has an issue not the guy. Society bashes men who treat women and other people around them with respect but make the jerks "normal." Then why do we bash other cultures that fully degrade women?

I haven't found a single date since our break up 2 yes ago. I been rejected over 11 times. I am a very handsome guy with a wonderful personality that shows in and outside of my home. My ex knows that as well. Honestly now, I do think my life is best alone with my child (I am a single parent).

I have had many married women tell me that I am amazing but I respect marriages and would never approach a lady who is in a relationship.

Basically if you want a guy who knows their is more to life then being selfish, get a nice guy. If you want to idolize a guy who thinks life is revolving around him, get the jerk. I work at a hospital and it's sad to see these so called jerks act to their wife when they are old and it's the wife who is admitted.... they still treat their wife like trash. I have seen the nice guys sleep side by side with their lady as if they just met with the lady just telling everyone how lucky she is. One lady who later died told me that her husband treats her like a queen even though she doest "see" a queen in the mirror and added that she cherishs being treated better that what she expected to be treated.