You Have The Right To Hit Your Own Wall

I don’t know why, but I always hated to be taken care of. I can’t stand to be helped when I don’t want to. Even as a kid, I didn’t feel comfortable when my parents were overprotective or when some challenges were silently removed with the help of other people. I felt like I was missing something. And it wasn’t always the thrill of the risk, it was something more.

The Hidden Poison

Later on, when I grew up and started to engage in my own relationships, something interesting happened. I started to notice when other people were heading against a “wall” too. In other words, I started to see how the outcome of a certain activity a certain person was engaging in, would be toxic for that specific person. Call it experience, or intuition, or luck, fact is I started to notice the “walls” the people were heading against. And they were literally running for that wall, with a lot of confidence and full speed.

In my early relationships I took the protective role. Every time I was perceiving such a wall, I took pride in letting the other person know about it. You’re heading against a wall, you’re going to get hurt. I even explained the whole process and how exactly the wall is going to hit. Most of the time, the other person would listen to me.

But, surprisingly enough, every time the partner was listening to me and the wall was circumvented following my advice, the relationship was slowly starting to degrade. Not immediately and not visibly, but there was a certain trend, a nuance that in a few months or years evolved in a much stronger difference of opinions. It was like avoiding the wall poisoned the relationship. Of course, my warnings were correct, and from an individual perspective, everything was better than before: the other person avoided a major crisis. But at the relationship level, something was rotten.

That Tired, Protective Guy

Let me give you an example. I had a girlfriend who was rather impulsive. Although we had quite a lot of emotional bonding and an overall healthy and friendly relationship, there were a lot of times when her impulsivity made her say stupid things or act in violent ways. Of course, those rants had consequences. Very close to the consequences you get after you hit a wall. Because I really enjoyed the other part of the relationship, I took the protective approach. Every time she was ready to hit another “wall” of impulsivity I was there, subtly turning the events in a different direction. For a good amount of time I was able to maintain a balance.

But then something different started to emerge. Not only was I supposed to give more and more support, but my peaceful approach was taken for granted. It was like keeping the relationship sane and safe was my job, and my job only. Quite a difference from the beginning, when we were just two people who were enjoying each other and their life together. Now I was supposed to calm her down all the time, to swallow in silence every fight and to be there at any sign of imbalance. Instead of being her friend I become her shrink.

Took me a while to realize that I don’t want to be a shrink for my personal relationships, but I eventually did it. And at that moment I left. And I congratulate myself every single day for that decision. When I did it, things were already in pretty bad shape. I was “guilty” for everything in the Universe, for her failures, for my failures, for her decisions as well as for mines. Quite a mess. And the breaking up didn’t went well either.

However, in a few months the silence slowly covered the whole mess and I was able to start fresh. This time, with a valuable lesson learned. I entered a new relationship ready to let the other person made her own mistakes. I made a commitment to be there after the hit, if and when she needs me, of course, but basically leave her alone to act exactly as she wants.

Now, back to the first relationship. We met again a few months ago, now from totally different positions. We still have a lot in common (I won’t detail more, but we still have some lifelong commitments). Fact is that even when we met again, the “you gotta solve this mess” approach was still there. Dormant, immobile and silent, but ready to be awaken at the slightest sign of complacency from my part. Of course, I didn’t gave such a sign, nor do I intend to do it. Everybody has their own walls to be hit.

Help and Growth

Hitting your own wall, doing your own mistakes and recovering from them is fundamental. You can’t function in a balanced way if you avoid doing that. Most of the time, people are avoiding difficult challenges upfront. But sometimes, our so-called friends and partners act in an over-protective way, preventing us from dealing with our problems.

Many marriages are based on this rotten approach. The wife is not autonomous because she is afraid of getting a job (afraid of failure, afraid of spending too much time there as opposed to being a mother or afraid of being on her own). And the partner will start to provide more and more, in order to keep her sane and safe. Hitting the wall of “getting a job” and “being autonomous” is exactly what the wife needs in order to grow. By providing her cut of the revenue too, husband will block this process. And, after a certain amount of time, husband will find himself in the very awkward position of providing a lot of other stuff besides the material support. Enormous emotional support being the most common one.

Instead of a balanced relationship between two people who are enjoying themselves and their time together, they now have a binomial: one of the members is in constant need (material, emotional) and the other one is constantly providing. And because of the nature of the exchange, the one who provides will never be perceived as a partner, but as a provider. It will be more like a parent-child relationship.

Now, I know what you think: if you, as a personal development blogger, tell us to go ahead and hit our own walls, what exactly are you doing here? How do you expect us to find something useful for our problems in your blog? Well, that’s an interesting question and I hear it a lot (sometimes in a different form, but it’s very common). “What exactly are you doing with this personal development thing?”

Well, I’m not here, as a personal development blogger, to solve your problems. I’m not here to prevent you from hitting your own walls. Hitting your own walls is a fundamental right. I’m not going to take that away from you. Here, on this blog, I share my experiences in the hope that they will be motivational and inspiring. I try to ignite the spark of action. The spark of change. But that spark alone won’t do a thing by itself. You have to give it more oxygen in order to make it a fire. You have to do things. Even if that means hitting your own wall.

Warnings and Mistakes

Now that you’re prepared to start doing your own mistakes, let’s finish with a nice joke about warnings:

Two monks were sitting on the side of the road, with huge signs in big letters: “The end is near. Repent!” Cars were passing by pretty fast and of course, nobody would stop.. After a few seconds, powerful crash sounds were coming from behind the monks. And after each sound, the monks were trying to be even more persuasive, almost shouting.

After a few hours of doing this, one of them, apparently the younger one, asks the other: “Father, don’t you think it would be better to just write on those signs: broken bridge ahead?”.

I know, I laughed too. 🙂

Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner

The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Hey Dragos,

    I think it’s great that you encourage people to be more autonomous. I notice that a lot of relationships take a weird dynamic in which one person is the victim, the other is the savior. I constantly tend to play the savior, since I seem to be good at it, but I try to catch myself and stop if it’s not the best thing for me to do. Most people don’t need to be saved. They need to save themselves.

  2. Dragos,

    I’ve been through almost an identical relationship experience with an ex gf where Is started to feel like a therapist more than a boyfriend. That’ s a really dangerous place to be, but I think it was a necessary learning experience. Hitting those walls can be some of the things that make us grow more than we ever have. Thanks for sharing this,.

  3. Hi Dragos,

    I think it’s really important to allow people to make their own mistakes. We want to help those we love not go through the trials and tribulations that we did and would hope that they would listen to our wisdom, but ultimately you can’t live anyone else’s life. They have to learn their own lessons from the universe.

    I also believe that it’s really easy to fall into the stereotypical roles in relationships, but perhaps you were unconsciously giving out the care-giver or therapist vibe to your gf while she was giving out the take-care-of-me vibe that attracted you subconsciously. It’s something to think about particularly if one seems to attract the same type of person into their lives.

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with being the ‘therapist’ role in any relationship if that’s what floats your boat. If it doesn’t, then either work on your relationship or change yourself. You can’t change the other person. You need to let the other person go so that they can find someone else who will happily fulfill that role. You also need to free yourself to seek someone else.

    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Five Ways To Add Connection To Your Life =-.

  4. Hey Dragos, nice post man. Thanks for sharing your experiences man. I’ve “been there” in terms of acting as a “therapist” in a relationship. You do feel like you are stuck at a wall sometimes. The relationships came to an end and I felt a lot more free. I think it’s just about growing. Sometimes we have to hit our own wall in order to understand things better in life so we can be more prepared for the next crazy thing that happens. You did a good job of pointing that out here man. Thanks again Dragos.
    .-= Hulbert Lee´s last blog ..Kim Maglinti – Blogger and Creator of Mindset Success Coaching (Interview) =-.

  5. Hi Dragos,

    Love the imagery of hitting walls! I agree that a healthy relationship should be balanced. I think that there is some middle ground. It is not wrong to help someone break through a wall. Helping as a loving partner is no problem, but he/she needs to take the sledgehammer and break that wall. Helping instead of solving the problem keeps the balance healthy and might even make it stronger.
    .-= Martijn´s last blog ..The Blogroll – How we wrecked the ocean =-.

  6. Interesting read. I agree with much of it though I feel the marriage example wasn’t my experience personally, or with many successful, happy, loving couples I know who chose to have one partner contributing the the union in a way other than monetarily. Regardless, your main point of not saving or being saved by others is a healthier way to live and that was very much appreciated. 🙂

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