Playing with fire
Today I want to talk about a specific topic. There is something called “Person without control over his passionate impulses”. For some people it is a problem in the education at the first stages of life, (Like when children go with their parents to a stranger’s house and they see an interesting object. Some children will just look at it and do nothing, while some other children will grab it, play it, break it, stole it even if they know it is wrong). For some people it is just a kind of personality. Basically it is a person with a lack of control, or without force of will towards anything that will give him immediate pleasure or excitement.
It is a person who cannot resist temptations. It doesn’t matter if it is dangerous, harmful or painful for him or for others. It is a person who lives thinking about “now” and doesn’t think about the future or in a long-term. This person will only focus on “What gives me pleasure today?”, “What makes me happy today?”, “What do I want today? And how far will I go to get it?”. And they will always find a reason to justify their desires or they will only say “I want it and that’s it.”
What are the signals? This people won’t think about long-term. While facing any proposal they will say “Let’s do it” without thinking about it. They will look for everything that gives immediate pleasure or to feel the rush of adrenaline. This person will always have an addiction, and if you take away one of them, they will find another one. They will jump from addiction to sex, to alcohol, to drive at a high speed, to drugs, to roller coasters, to gambling, to kleptomania etc.
They will enjoy the excitement of breakup up the rules and they will do anything that feels dangerous. The more rules you create, the more they will want to break them. Sometimes we see their bosses or leaders and other people around being indulgent or permissive, but it is because they already know there is no point in creating rules that won’t be followed.
They have moments when they need to destroy and I am not talking about huge things, they will destroy small things. They can do things like biting their nails and specially their cuticles. They know it is wrong, they know it hurts, they know it will have long-term effects on their hands… they keep doing it. They buy things by impulse and can even turn into hoarders. They have manias related to their hair. It can be hair pulling, biting or eating the own hair, drastic hair changes etc. They can do the same with their skin, they can scratch their skin until they get hurt. They are always related to pyromania and gambling. They put themselves on risk, on purpose.
Sometimes people don’t understand why they do it, but when they are doing something that they know it’s wrong, they have a certain pleasure, a feeling of freedom, they feel smarter because they fooled everybody. They want to reach a new level so they keep crossing limits. They want to know how far they can go. They are not looking to get into trouble, they enjoy escaping from those troubles successfully.
This person will want something, he will do anything to get it and at some point he will want something else, suddenly will leave everything else behind and go to get that new goal. When he is in front of a “temptation”, he will totally forget about anything else, he won’t think if it is bad, if it goes against any moral, commitment, responsibility etc… he won’t think if he is hurting others. He won’t think if he will get into troubles. He won’t think if it has bad consequences in a short or long term. He won’t think about anything. His brain just goes “I want it. I want it. I want it. What should I do to get it?”. Again, he won’t care if he has to fight for it, he won’t care if it will ruin any other project, he won’t care how much he has been working in another goal, he won’t even notice if it is possible or not.
Do they repent later? Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t because they found a justification for their actions. Even of the rest of the people can’t see it, in his mind, he had a good reason to do it. For him, it will be the greatest idea in the world, even if for us it is the most stupid decision. Sometimes he can feel guilty, he can be aware that he is hurting others; he will say again and again “I am sorry I will never do it again”. He can even cry, and those tears may be real, it doesn’t mean that they don’t really feel it. He may be feeling it. He may truly repent. He may be willing to change and he may say sincere words in that moment. But it won’t happen. He won’t change. It is something that people around him must have present on their minds. It won’t happen. He will never change.
And it’s not their fault. Sometimes people tell them “You lied. You don’t want to change. You didn’t work hard enough to change. You are a bad person. You don’t love me enough to change”. It doesn’t work like that. He is not a bad person; he is just unable to control his impulses. It is not an issue of “immaturity”. It doesn’t depend on the force of will, or how much he loves the people he hurts. He just can’t do it. He won’t change.
And this is the first mistake everybody does.
“I will change him with my love”. NO you can’t.
“Once he is on a friendly environment he will change”. NO, it won’t happen.
“If he loves me enough he will change. He doesn’t want to hurt me” NO, he will hurt you soon or later.
“If we all support him he will change”. No. People don’t change to that extreme.
If you can’t change him, you have 2 options. You can run away, because he will hurt you for sure, soon or later… or you can learn to bear it… (Or you can try to bear it until you get tired and run away).
Always, the first step is admitting. He must admit he has a problem, he can’t control his impulses and that he must be responsible for his actions. He must face the effects of his actions, people around him shouldn’t try to minimize his problems or he will never learn. If you don’t allow him to learn the lesson, you are stopping his development. I mean, you can’t completely change him, but you shouldn’t encourage him to misbehave. If you love him, don’t encourage him to misbehave. If you know he is weak, if you know he makes mistakes easily, if you know he is irresponsible and he doesn’t know how to behave… don’t encourage him. If you love him, don’t encourage him to become a worse person, because the same way, the situation will turn worse with time. Problems will get worse with time. And if he develops a personality that is unbearable, then nobody would want to be on his side, even you won’t be able to bear him, he will end up alone and you will be also guilty for his loneliness.
Also, you must be careful because some people use it as an excuse to make a mess and just shamelessly say “I can’t control myself” with a smile on their faces. It is not the point. The point is to realize that there is a problem that must be treated with a special care to avoid keep hurting others.
“I must admit that I can’t control my impulses. I must admit that I am weak towards temptations. I must admit that I don’t think about the consequences when I see the opportunity of doing _______________. I must admit that I didn’t care about other’s feelings when I did this. I must admit that I always think about myself before I think about others. I must admit that the situations controlled me and I had absolutely no control over the situations. I must admit that I can be easily manipulated to put myself in troubles. I must not blame others for my bad decisions. I must be responsible for the consequences of my actions and do not expect others to fix my problems or to save me from situations I negligently created”.
“I must admit that I am with a person who can’t control his impulses. I must take care of my feelings because he won’t do it. I must remember to not put myself on a risk to save a person who will not think about me. I must always remember that he won’t change. I must not expose my beloved ones to him, because he will hurt them for sure. I must not think in a long-term. I must not promise to be on his side because I don’t know if I will be able to bear it forever. If he goes on the wrong way or harms himself, it is not my fault, I should not blame myself, I didn’t provoke it, I couldn’t stop it, I shouldn’t feel guilty. It is his personality and he won’t change”.
Once the person is aware of his situation, he must make it clear to his beloved ones. He must explain what happens inside of his heart, how he feels, what goes through his mind when he does things that he shouldn’t. He shouldn’t think about having an “average” relationship. He shouldn’t plan a long-term relationship. He shouldn’t get into formal relationship because he will only hurt his partner.
Once he is aware of his problem, he will be able to talk about it clearly before starting a relationship. He has to say:
“I can’t control my impulses. I am weak. I can’t keep a list of priorities. I can’t promise you that you will be my priority. I can’t promise you to have you in my mind 24/7. I can’t promise you loyalty. I can’t promise anything at all. I can’t promise you that I will love you tomorrow. I love you today. Today I am crazy for you, but I don’t know tomorrow. Today I am giving you my everything like nobody else and I am honest about it, but I can’t promise you anything else. I can’t promise a long-term interest. At the first opportunity I will focus on something else. It is not your fault. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It doesn’t mean you are not enough or important for me. I am like that. It is part of my personality. I can’t change it. Take it or leave it”.
And then the other person will evaluate if it worth to go on or if it is time to run away.
What would be a reason to stay? Well, if you get into a relationship with a person like that, without being aware of his personality, it may be really dangerous. These people are addictive. When they are focused on you, they will give you everything, they will be more passionate and affectionate than the average, they show an unbelievable love and it will look like they will do everything for you. The next day they will just focus on something else and act like they don’t even remember you. That situation may create an addiction. You receive an amount of passion and intensity that you can’t find with somebody else, but at the same time you face disappointments that you don’t face with others.
I would say that the safest step is to be away from people like this. I always say “I won’t get into an addiction because I don’t know if I will be able to control it”.
But still you can play with fire and make sure that the situation doesn’t dominate you. In Mexico we have an expression like: “Eating the bonbon”. “Bonbon” is used to refer a super sexy person and the expression basically means “An opportunity that you just can’t let go, but you don’t expect it to work in a long-term”. Let’s say that there is a super sexy person, you like him so much, he is interesting, attractive, he drives you crazy… but you know this person doesn’t have a control over his passionate impulses. You try to focus on something else but this person is a temptation. It is like having a thorn in your side. It is still there bothering… Once a person turns into a temptation, you will fall for it soon or later. It can be today, tomorrow or in 10 years… And I think is better to do it under a controlled situation than at a bad moment.
It can happen to me, it can happen to others, and it is understandable. I may say “It is better if he takes off that thorn now, and not later or while being with me. Then, later I won’t be worried or expecting it to happen”. I think it is better to take off the thorn sooner than later, before it turns into an obsession.
As far as you are aware that you shouldn’t expect too much, and you keep the control over the situation, you can play with fire. You let free enough feelings to enjoy the situation, but at the same time you don’t give everything to a person that you know will fail to you. If you know that you can expect a maximum of 1 month or 3 months of stability, and you know he tends to boycott himself at any moment, you simply don’t make long-term plans. Everything gets much easier when you say “I am sure we will break up fast”.
“Eating a bonbon” is like breaking the diet. You know you shouldn’t do it but also you have to spoil yourself from time to time. You take a piece of that chocolate cake and you will be fine, as far as you don’t binge or pig out. You should be able to stop eating before it harms you.
You just have to be the opposite of him. You have to make sure you are strong enough to control your feelings and to decide when to stop, when to put a limit and how not going back so it doesn’t turn into an addiction.