Episode #25: Is the “Cutting off Culture” Harming Your Relationships?

Welcome to the black Marriage and Family Therapy matters podcast where we connect black families to black therapist. On Mondays, you will receive direct therapeutic support from a licensed therapist or professional connected to the mental health field. They will provide therapeutic and educational resources to help you have a healthier relationship with your family members. On Wednesdays, you will receive direct tips and resources to help you get through the stuck places that prevent many people from having relationships with their families and significant others that they desire. On Fridays, we want you to visit our blog which can be found at WWW dot black MFT matters.com which holds additional resources and action steps that you can begin implementing immediately to improve your relationships. This is necessary because we love that you are listening. But we want you to take action to while you are there. Please grab our A to Z relationship bootcamp and be provided with the skills you need to immediately communicate better within your relationships. Please note that while the therapists on podcasts are therapists, they do not serve as your therapist unless you have signed a confidential agreement with them confirming that relationship. Thank you in advance for listening. And we hope you are inspired. All right. It’s time for the show. Here is your host, Dr. Connie Omari.

Dr. Connie Omari
Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to today’s show.

Okay, now, the topic I have to talk about today is going to make some of you all feel really uncomfortable. And I’m going there today because I think you need to hear it because it is my job as a teacher, and a revolutionary to get you thinking about things that you don’t necessarily think about and some things that might seem on the surface of things relatively uncomfortable to talk about.

So today we’re talking about cutting people off. Okay? And why are we talking about cutting people off? I’ll tell you, basically, we live in a society society. First of all, let me start with this. I’ve been in my head about some personal things that I’ve gone through and, and continuing to go through. And I noticed that when I go through things, the people I attract, because like attracts like, also go through very similar things.

So the main reason that I want to talk to you about this is because I can imagine that some of you are either already going through something like this, or will go through something like this in the future. So we’re talking about cutting people off, okay, now the culture that we live in today, we live in a very immediate gratification needs being met society, okay, we see that through things like text messaging, through things like contacting making connections through social media.

What else just really, you know, used to back in the day when I was growing up, we had pen pals, we write letters, we, you know, do things we pick up the phone, do, you know, we actually would carry a quarter around and we put that into the payphone. And that’s how you’d make your phone calls. Because having a cell phone was unheard of.

And when it did become harder, then we had to deal with all these things like having all these minutes on the phone, and, you know, call them before nine o’clock, or calls after nine o’clock, because that’s when your three minutes kicked in. Because earlier, you know, you had to call like pay like 10 cents, or $1 or something, and I can’t remember so long ago, and the phones were really big. You know, I don’t know, for some of y’all who are a little old school, you know what I’m talking about. That’s how we used to have to communicate. But today, we don’t have to communicate like that you can send an emoji. You can just send a picture, you know, or, or a graphic or something to express how you are feeling.

And not that I’m knocking that because I am a millennial myself. I’m on the older end of the millennial generation, but I do classify myself as a millennial, I get the ease of it and the effectiveness of it. But to some degree, it has contributed to our lack of ability to really hold long lasting conversations and communications and connections with people. And the downside of that, essentially has been that Listen, my practice is full of people who are depressed because they have estranged relationships with people that they care about people who are anxious about developing relationships with people in the future because they don’t know how to have healthy relationships.

This time, it is time in our, in our culture in our society, there are more single people ever than they have ever been in the US history, people who have absolutely no intention whatsoever of marrying people who, you know, don’t even want to have children. And these things are not necessarily bad when these are decisions that are made exclusively off of a person’s individual choice. But my practice, and a lot of the colleagues that I have, have practices that suggest that these decisions are not made, because people genuinely want to all the time, but are made because they don’t know how to, we don’t know how to, because we have that little thing called cutting off that a lot of us do, where it interferes with our ability to develop relationships with people.

Now, before I break it down all the reasons why we shouldn’t do that. Listen, I am a relationship expert. And I am all about helping people to have healthy, long lasting good relationships. So I would never encourage anybody to stay in a relationship with anyone, or develop, you know, unhealthy patterns with anybody for the sake of just keeping a relationship, if you’re in a relationship that is unhealthy. If it’s hurting you more than it’s helping you, if it is chronically not meeting your needs, and you’re chronically experiencing unhappiness in this relationship, by all means, do what you have to do, but I’m talking about those people who cut people off often, and with very little ability to, you know, even try to work things through and it just says, I’m talking to you. I’m thinking, you know, part of the reason why we do that is because we don’t know how to like Sup, like I’ve had people, you know, explain to me Well, something happened with so and so.

And I’m in fact, I’m thinking about a time that with me, shoot, what’s my cut me off? And she was like, well, Connie, you know what you did? I didn’t like you, you hurt you hurt me. And you know, when you hurt me what to do when people hurt you, you cut them off. And the interesting thing is, I had no idea that I’d even hurt this person and had absolutely no idea what this person was talking about, et cetera. And here I was being cut off. And it doesn’t just happen to me.

So if you’re looking at me or listening to me and feeling like oh, well, you know, that’s just Dr. O or whatever, no, you know, it happens more often than we want to admit. And again, a lot of times, it’s just because we don’t know that we don’t have to do that.

So I’m here today to tell you that you don’t. And these are some reasons why First, cut people off, prevents your ability to get to the other side of an argument. Okay. Okay. So I am a huge fan, absolutely. 100% in favor of conflict expecially when it’s healthy, because it helps to resolve issues. So I don’t just mind disclosing that I recently got into a conflict with my brother. And when I tell you, I got into a fight with my brother, like he and I, we never fight ever, really ever. And I’m not quite sure that’s necessarily a good thing. But this, this issue was a fight. Okay.

And you know, we didn’t talk to each other for like, a week or so. But for us, that was like super huge. Um, I know a lot a lot of it was me that with my, with my stuff. But the interesting thing is, I remember just waking up and telling myself, Oh, my gosh, thank God for this opportunity to grow a little bit closer to my brother. Okay. Because by getting on the other side of that conflict, whatever it was, that had us at odds with each other, to the point where, you know, I found that talking to him was a little bit challenging at the time, he couldn’t talk to me very much at the time, getting through it and getting back on that has made me so much closer to him.

And I am so incredibly grateful for that ability to not just have a surface issue conversation with him, like we were able to talk about things that were uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable. He was uncomfortable. Clearly we both were, you know, like I said it was it was not a pretty argument, but we survived it. And I love him more today than I did before the conflict started because I feel like he gets me in a way that he would not have gotten me Have we not had that argument. And my brother he’s very he’s got a little bit of that macho, isn’t he doesn’t have the language to say those things. But I slipped in heard him the other day at the end of our conversation. He was like, I love you, Tony. And it’s something that he hadn’t done before. And I know well, he has said it before but it’s not something that he says very often. So I know with AP 100% certainty that because we chose to work through it. that very, very difficult situation we became closer than we were without the conflict. And that brings us to our to my next set second bulletin, which is that it prevents relationship grow.

Come on, like if you cut a person off, like that’s usually it, you don’t get an opportunity to see what that person has learned from that experience, you don’t get to learn from that experience, you don’t get to grow to gather to get on the other side of this experience.

I work with, as you know, a lot of women who are trying to get relationships with people, and a lot of times based off of their negative experiences, whether it’s infidelity, or domestic violence or some type of abuse they have a tendency to just say, Well, I’m looking for these red flags. And as soon as you know XYZ happens, and as soon as it triggers this level of anxiety, or whatnot in me, I’m going to just cut the relationship off. And there’s a part of me that just says, No, not quite, you know, of course, we don’t want history to repeat itself, especially when it wasn’t good. And when we had negative experiences with it, but the solution is, people don’t learn how to treat you, when you don’t teach them how to treat you better.

Okay, and you got to, to some degree, be willing to go to a place of discomfort, and uncomfortability, to be able to go there anything that you get in life, you got to fight for it. Think about some of y’all who have been successful at losing weight or want to be successful at losing weight. And a don’t feel good not to eat last cookie, okay, it doesn’t feel good to have to get up at five o’clock in the morning and run a mile. But when you do that you get closer to your goal. The same thing in relationships, if you’re in relationships where there is no conflict, that’s why I said earlier with my brother, we didn’t usually fight, that’s not good. If you if that what are the odds that you are just going to necessarily agree with everything that the people in your life theme, or that they feel, you’re not going to agree, you’re not going to agree. But you get to the other side of things by working through the discomfort not cutting people off.

Number three, there’s a loss of energy really less invested in the relationship. Basically, if you’ve been in relationship for five years, and then that person decides to cut you off, or you decide to cut that person off. You’ve literally wasted everything, you know, so you got to ask yourself some questions like why are you in this relationship with someone for five years? That really you know that you’re just going to eventually cut off anyway? Like, why? What is it about you that is attracting like toxic people to the point where they can be toxic for this long and your life? Now, as I even as I say this, I think of a relationship that I cut off, it’s actually really the only relationship that I’ve ever initiated, cutting off.

Now I have requested boundaries. And I’ve talked about that, we’ll continue to talk about that. And some of my work. I have requested that in my relationship, but I only want on one occasion has actually told the person you know, and I can’t really fit with you anymore. And this person got a hope. Well, I know, you know, actually to help they hear me because it’s something that needs to be said. But I went on a vacation with this person and this person got mad at me for something still, I think it was silly. I mean, I don’t think I have to go into all the details. But what ultimately happened was the person wanted me to go out with him that night. We were in a foreign country. I was out only with them on their behalf because they you know, we were about to leave and they wanted to have I guess their last little night of Hurrah. And I ended up complaining about mosquitoes.

Now for those of you who do know me, I have traveled to third world countries before and I have had malaria and it is not fun. So I was in this situation where I was just like, oh my god, I’m getting bit you know, maybe I was being the most because you know, I am a little bit of a diva. Maybe I was doing a lot but it got the person so frustrated with me that they left me and I’m talking about we were off the resort. It was completely dark. It was a Spanish speaking country. I don’t speak Spanish. I love my Hispanic folks though, but I don’t speak Spanish. And there was no lights and I could hear a dog barking and that and this person had the adrenaline to carry them back to the resort where we were, but I was kind of you know, like, like Sol and pretty much.

And so I was you know, I was confused and I kind of called person’s name a few times. I was like you come back, you know, and then it dawns on me that oh my god, they left me. So I felt like that was a very extreme reason to cut somebody off because I felt like even though maybe I was doing a lot but whatever I was doing wasn’t gonna like get anybody like murdered or raped or you know, hurt and I Not trying to, you know, make any racist innuendos. I think anytime a person is by themselves alone and not able to communicate effectively and is emotional, I think that’s kind of dangerous.

And so at least if the person was going to leave me in a situation like that I would have rather than done that in my home territory, not somewhere else. So, so that was a huge boundary violation for me. And I decided, you know, that I needed to terminate that relationship. And that’s kind of the criteria I like to give people. So if somebody is putting you in physical, emotional or psychological harm consistent, well, that is consistently like, if he could really have a bad outcome from you, it might be worth revisiting that relationship. And even then I’ve reached out to the person and, you know, tried to get back on track, but it didn’t, it hasn’t really materialized. But the point of the matter is, you know, I was in extreme danger, like I that I felt like that person had exclusively put me in danger.

It wasn’t because she said something I didn’t like, or she did something I did. Like she did actually a lot of things that I didn’t like, but and I think those are kind of rules that we should try to live by, like if somebody is not, because you have to, you know, we’re going to talk about this more in other examples. But if somebody’s really triggering things in you, it’s not always their issue. Okay, it really isn’t. And it’s up to you to kind of learn the difference in that.

So my next point is, yeah, it really is that when you cut people off, you avoid your own stuff. And trust and belief, chances are, you got a lot of it, especially if you’re attracting, like I said, a lot of people to you that you feel like you need to cut off, you know, if you bragging about cutting people off, you know, it’s so funny, because this is the beginning of the new year. And already on Facebook, I saw people say, Oh, just 2020 and I’m, you know, if you’re not doing this, this this for me, I’m cutting you off. Well, why you got to cut so many people off every time it’s a new year, what is it about you that you’re not facing that you’re not addressing that you’re not handling that you need to handle in order to develop healthy relationships with people? What is it so you want to make sure that you are not constantly cutting people off and constantly feeling like you need to cut people off, because guess what, you know, excuse my language, but your shit stinks too. And you want to make sure that you are are mindful of that and that you’re growing and becoming a better person. And when you’re cutting people off, who are bringing things out of you, that you might not want to address, that’s really what the issue is here.

My next point is, you know, cutting people off is has a lot to do with character says a lot about your character. And if you consistently have to cut people off, then you know, with good, like, pay, I mean, you know, two plus two, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with four. Character means a lot.

And, you know, it’s just not, it’s just not a good thing. And you know, it reflects, it makes you look like a bigot, it makes you look like a bigot. You’re not being very, you know, emotionally mature, responsible, because people who are emotionally mature and responsible, know how to problem solve, you know, how to work through situations, when you’re at work, and the minute something doesn’t happen that you don’t like, are you going to just quit the job? You know? When you are, you know, think about relationships with your parents, even, you know, how many times do they ask you to do things because and I’m saying this because I see, especially again, when we get in these relationships with people, and we have tau allow so many things to happen in these relationships that we shouldn’t. And the minute one of our girlfriend does something that you know, we don’t like or rubs them the wrong way, we cut him off, and I’m like, wait a minute, you let this man abuse you, he could cheat on you. He could do all these type of things. But your girlfriend can’t, you know, forget to call you or can’t get tied up in her own family with her baby and stuff.

And you know, can’t follow up with you or for whatever reason it is, you know, we often cut off the people that we don’t need to cut off. And we keep up with the people. We do need to keep up like our family members right now, who you know, kind of illustrate for me again, I told you, I don’t do this because they’d like to think I’m too emotionally mature to do it. But won’t talk to me, because I’ve you know, expressed my concern about maybe some of the violence that they’ve experienced in their marriages or in their relationships, not more or less than hurt them. But more or less, let them know that they might not need to be trying to tell me how to live my life when they’re, you know, not doing what they need to be doing either.

So, again, it’s really about recognizing that how you look, and what, what really cutting off people has to say about you. It also interferes with your ability to develop relationships with other people. Now, what does that mean? So because I’ve learned how to work through a difficult situation with my brother, who I love very much, I am more prepared to connect with my clients, I’m more prepared to interact with my husband, I’m more prepared to understand my children’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Because I’ve been through an uncomfortable situation and have gotten through the other side. So not only have I developed confidence, and intimacy with my brother, but it did has a domino effect, or enhancing my communication skills and styles with other people that I can bond and connect well with. So I want to talk a little bit about where that comes from.

And I just want to leave you with some questions to be asking yourself, that might contribute to all of this. And so the first thing I want to just draw your attention to is, listen, there was a time in our history, where we really, really needed to be guarded about our emotional connections, okay, because at any given moment, you could be sold off your plantation. And this could be you could be sold from your husband, your mama, your child, your daddy, your brother, your sister, whatever.

And I do agree that it did that that may have contributed to making it hard to really connect with people and really be interested in working through situations with people because you didn’t know, you know, you didn’t have any control. But I’m really big on recognizing when what happened at that time happened, because, you know, it was survival skills at that time, as opposed to, you know, what we really need to do to survive today. So that’s something you need to be thinking about, okay, it’s not about it’s not about, you know, you don’t have to do if something’s not working for you. Like, seriously, if you are cutting people off, like you’re not developing healthy, strong relationships is not working, you shouldn’t have to cut off a whole bunch of people in your life, you know, and if you are cutting people off, you need to make sure you cut them off for the right reason, not because they are reminding you things about yourself that you don’t want to see, not because they taught the real stuff.

And if you have to, you know, listen to them, you’re gonna have to look at some stuff about your own life differently. Those are not the reasons to be cutting people off. And you need to recognize that you’re no longer vulnerable in the ways that you used to be. So the behaviors and stuff that you used to have to adapt for survival that we’ve seen our parents do, and our grandparents too, doesn’t mean that we have to do them today.

Okay, so I want you to ask yourself some of these questions. One of the questions I’ve already asked you is, what does it say about you? If you have to be the person who’s at the middle of cutting people off on a regular basis? Really? What does it say about the quality of relationships that you’re tracking? The quality of insight that you have about your old self? You also need to ask yourself is do you really love that person? Now, I always mess up on this scripture. But there is a scripture in the bible in Corinthians that talks about love being patient, love being high love, not boasting, love putting away wrongs, etc. I’m gonna make sure that that that thing is actually in the show notes as well, because I want you to have access to that actual scripture.

And understanding that love actually is giving of yourself, it’s being there for other people. It is about showing up. Okay, through other people’s shortcomings and inadequacies. Because guess what, honey? You got them too. All right, you got your own shortcomings. You got your own inadequacies, you got your own imperfections, and you want people to be there for you, you’ve got to show up for other people again, expecially in situations where the showing up has more to do with you just, you know, not feeling secure in yourself or not really thinking you have anything to offer and, and be in some times threatened by what the person you’re cutting off is saying or doing. Finally, I want you to ask yourself, what is grace? What is grace? Like if we’re sitting here we sing that song Amazing Grace. That’s one of our major negro spirituals that we’ve used from generation to generation is century to century to find peace and savage life yet, we are very quick to ignite extend that very amazing grace that we that we request in have asked for for ourselves for so long.

So listen, I understand that relationships are extremely complicated, and sometimes we don’t know how to proceed and that’s okay. If you don’t know how to proceed What’s your relationship? Your I’m better off when you acknowledge that and find a starting point. But if you’re finding that your relationships that you have are often ending abruptly, that you are feeling sad, and you’re feeling depressed, and you’re just not reaching the quality of life, you’re not developing the quality of relationships with people that you want to, you know, you need to look at that. And you really need to ask yourself, is cutting that person off the best and only option?

And if you are, why, okay, and if you can’t give yourself honest, concrete answers to that you really need to, you really need to reconsider cutting them off. Thank you for your time, I enjoy showing up with you guys and being unconditional and not telling you off throughout the courses of of of our relationship and thank you for listening in and letting me be a part of your journey. Alright, peace and blessings. Take care, Doctor O.

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