What responsibility means in a relationship and how we avoid being responsible unbeknownst to us. In The Relationship Saver and elsewhere I mentioned that the only effective way to be responsible is to take 100% responsibility for your relationship. How do you know if you are not being 100% responsible? Well, there are a few behaviors that once you recognize them they will give you a pretty good idea of how responsible you are. In the coaching community we call it RACKETS. What it means is that we pretend we are doing the right thing when in fact there is a much more insidious reason for our action: avoiding responsibility at all costs.
And the costs are high. But first, let’s see what a racket is and deal with what we get out of what is called “running a racket.” The definition of a racket is: A fixed way of being plus a persistent complaint.
What is it that you do and what do you get out of running a racket?
- You are right and your partner is wrong.
Read the article “On Being Right”
- You try to dominate or avoid domination of a situation or your partner.
This may include pressure, bullying, insisting on your point of view, all subtle passive/aggressive behaviors, etc., as well as the “don’t tell me what to do” syndrome, even avoiding the domination of your own promises. (Read the article on Integrity In Relationships)
- Your actions are always justified (by you, of course) and your partner’s actions and/or opinions are by default invalidated.
We judge others by their actions. We judge ourselves by our intentions.
In short, what we get out of running a racket is avoid responsibility and by default lose power.
You may notice that for most people this is a default behavior, we do not know any different. But, the big question is: are we aware of the COST? Do you know what the costs are? I bet you don’t — these are very obvious so here they are:
- Love and intimacy
Love starts with complete acceptance of your partner (read the article onLove In Relationships in this blog) and intimacy is freedom and the ability to safely communicate whatever you are present to at the moment
- Full self-expression
This means being free to be yourself at your best without having to justify, defend, survive, or in any way compromise your integrity (read the article onIntegrity In Relationships)
- Health and vitality
You know how you feel when your relationship isn’t working. It can literally make you sick. Depression is another option. Vitality is nonexistent.
And now that you know what it costs you to run a racket you may try to become more aware of what comes out of your mouth preceded by your thoughts. In order to become aware here is how to recognize if you are running a racket or not: Whenever you are frustrated or upset and that state of mind is familiar to you, you think, “it always happens,” you may be sure that you are running a racket.
Running a racket and thus passing on the responsibility to others, circumstances and/or the environment is the best way to lose power and control of your life and a say-so in your relationship.
Please also note that running a racket is an instinctual, knee-jerk reaction and totally counter-intuitive. Nevertheless, it is a necessary component of your happiness in a happy and gameless relationship to be practiced on a moment-to-moment basis until it becomes your second nature and you can stop a racket in its tracks, even before it manifests itself in language and behavior.
Absence of rackets in your life guarantees happier personal life, stronger relationships, huge leaps forward in your personal development and valuable contribution to others.