Jason gives the counselor his attention, despite feeling like he could teach the class himself. How did a rockstar urban shaman like him end up at government-enforced anger management?
"Did you hit Hailey?" the counselor spits.
"Man, it was nothing — " Jason explains.
"It was clearly something."
"Look, Thomas… if anything it should’ve been a ‘Hey, Jason, don’t do that’. I had total control over myself and stopped as soon as she reacted, no one in their right mind would go and lay 3 charges on someone like me. She just snapped and ended up telling a whole bunch of stories. I have pages of emails and letters of her trying to take it all back. The cops didn’t care."
"Did you with-hold money?"
"Are you kidding me? I gave her my heart and soul."
"Okay smart-guy, did you hurt her self-esteem?"
"Dude, all I did was believe in her, train her in any skill she wanted, and have faith we could succeed together. I turned her into a model, fashionista, performer, web designer and more."
Jason yawns at another of these Monday evening sessions. He shuffles the ugly govt. issue ‘male privilege’ worksheets they’d given him. He wonders, was it just him, or was the anger management counselor getting… angry at him?
"Well, did you sexually abuse her?"
"Are you listening? I was like Gandhi. I inspired, uplifted, and gave, and gave, and gave."
"So you’re not taking any responsibility? Because we can’t let you back onto the streets if –"
"Sigh. I dunno how to make it clearer. I take 100% responsibility for my life and where I am. I ignored signs. I ignored her lack of faith. I tolerated her lack of communication. I don’t know what the fuck happened. It was nuts. I’m friends with all the concierges, but there was a new one that day. What are the chances? He saw an overly emotional damsel in distress, and she felt like abusing her power and spinning some webs. It’s a weird series of events not many people would predict."
The counselor frowns and makes some notes.
Jason’s eyes squint and skip around the room anxiously.
"I’m so sorry, it was a mistake. Look, I’ll do anything, I submit to you, please…" Hailey sobs, streaks of mascara pouring down her face.
"Shhh, don’t worry, it’s fine. We did what we did, let’s just move forward. I never blamed you or said one word against you" Jason hugs her shuddering body close.
Her tears taper off.
"God, you’re the best, I don’t deserve you."
"Hell yeah I am."
She punches him in the arm.
"Well, we lost the house ’cause of all this, so what do we do now?"
There’s a moment of fear you could cut like a knife.
With no place to sleep, no money for food, and no family to turn to, most relationships would crumble. Jason wasn’t having it though, he was loyal and he trusted that they could rise out of the situation. Hailey seemed like she was in it for the long haul too.
"Take a breath, sexy, we’ll be fine. We’ve been through worse. Bring your gym bag, it’s a gorgeous day, let’s enjoy Queen’s Park."
Hailey’s joy and affection shines bright as she hugged her man, yet again.
"Thanks so much Srikanth, for taking me and Hailey in. We really appreciate it."
"Hey man, what are friends for? And besides, I feel more comfortable knowing you’re not on the streets." Srikanth says, maybe a bit too gravely.
"Whoa, hey, we can handle ourselves, I don’t want to be some pity case –"
"No, no, I know you can. I just meant– like– it makes me happy to do this. And to be honest with you, whenever you’re around I feel like a new man, I feel more alive. I started going out more, having fun again, we’re even working on a website, I should be thanking you guys."
Hailey, Jason, and Srikanth all beam.
"Umm… Hailey’s beautiful by the way."
After a couple weeks at Srikanth’s, Jason manages to get a couple new clients and start bringing some money in. As soon as he does, Hailey wants to spend half of it on her eyebrows. Had she learned nothing? Did she not want them to succeed?
In the past Jason had no problem investing in her beauty, which of course, she loved — but she’d never used those looks to bring in clients, or win contests, or make videos or contribute much at all really, and Jason didn’t feel good about giving any more. Instead he asked a question.
"Hailey, do you feel comfortable spending half of what we make just as we’re getting back on our feet, on your eyebrows?"
Hailey starts to throw a tantrum.
So this is what it’s come to, Jason thought.
She has me arrested, makes up lies about me, takes all my time and money, and I oh-so-class-ily forgive her and bring her back into my life… and now as I aim to have an honest discussion about the state of things, she freaks out?
Where did I go wrong? How can I make this better for everyone?
Jason went to the park to meditate. The kids playing there didn’t notice him, and the bugs seemed to understand as well, and left him alone.
He meditated all day and all night, barely breaking to eat or piss. He returned to their tiny room at Srikanth’s and fell into bed beside her, but he knew something had to be done.
And when he woke up, he knew what.
Jason took a stand.
"Rise and shine! I have something important to tell you. Ready?
I don’t want to be in the same physical location as you."
Hailey’s jaw drops.
"I’ve literally tried everything I can think of. I’m open to fixing things, but I have done everything I can to make this work short of taking a break. So that’s it. No more J, — you’re going cold turkey, girl. I’ll be living on my own to focus on stabilizing my business and life.
I still love you, I still appreciate you — I just have to focus on me, and unless you can figure out a way you can truly commit and help me improve my life, what I need is space."
Hailey throws another tantrum.
"Don’t even think about it– if that’s how you’re going to react when I express my true feelings, we might as well break up. No one needs that."
She calms, not wanting to break up.
With Srikanth at work, the two of them pack and leave in silence, until Jason speaks up.
"Look, this isn’t my number one choice, but I’ve tried everything.
I’ve given all I can give — I’m homeless, my business is crippled, and you don’t seem to be helping. If you can offer any solid ideas or solutions on ways we can succeed together, I’m totally open to them."
The pause seems to stretch out to infinity.
"I can’t." Hailey’s head drops, Jason feels clearer than he’s ever been, and is shaking for some reason.
Another awkward pause, and Hailey is crying now. Jason was expecting a different answer. She had "no ideas?" This beautiful woman who says she loves him has no solutions to offer or contribute?
"Okay, well this is it then. We’ll stay in touch, and when I have things more stable, we can reunite."
‘I see the good in things, see the good in things, see the good in things,’ Jason thought.
Sniff. "K. I love you."
"I love you too."
They split and go their separate ways.
In his heart, Jason hoped she would step into her own power, and really show what he’d always seen — a woman who could receive his gifts, elevate their life together and contribute substantially to their relationship.
He continued to encourage it as much as he could, sending notes and e-mails and getting his business thriving again.
She still wanted his time and attention, but he was focused on ryzing up from the dark, and the only things allowed near him were things that clearly helped and were clearly part of the solution.
So the break stretched on.
What happened when Hailey was cut off from him for a week, then two, then three?
She fled back to her wicked stepmother and stepbrother, who’d always hated Jason for inspiring their daughter towards a more adventurous, entrepreneurial life then the doctor/lawyer/picket-fence dream they’d setup for her.
Hailey knew that from day one, Jason had never done anything but encouraged her to shine, but she always had one fit in his world of support, and one foot in theirs of settling and status quo.
He gave, and he loved being generous. He gave her family gifts, and he treated them well. Still they hated him.
Shortly after their split, Hailey began staying with her Mom again, and Jason received a a 2-line email from her, dumping him.
No ‘ifs’, ‘ands’ or ‘buts’, and no interest in solutions or reunion.
Clearly the world he was offering filled with love, and joy, and people like Srikanth who cared and wanted to succeed together wasn’t for her.
She ended up back in some retail job, under her Mom’s thumb.
Jason had invested so much in her, offered an incredible life together. He found her beautiful, and he wanted to get along and thrive together.
She wanted something else. An easy out. Something she didn’t have to commit to.
Sure, he could chase her but he’d learned that extending a hand towards her was not a good move. What would he be moving towards? Drama? Neediness? Someone who didn’t believe in herself?
If the relationship was strong, she’d step up, he believed in her.
The betrayal hurt.
"…And I’m honored to be invited, Liz." Jason drawled charmingly.
"And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our interview with Jason Fonceca from Ryze. I know that many women don’t believe that men who are willing to be this caring, open, and vulnerable even exist – so here’s Jason proving that belief wrong! Enjoy!" – Excerpt from Kate Karoush, dating coach.
Hmph. So much for that.
"Okay, picking up where we left off, I have to write something here for the court. You seem like a very intelligent guy, but if you’re still claiming you didn’t abuse her…"
"Thomas, man, look — are you saying the system never makes mistakes? I’ve no record in 32 years, not so much as littering. I have 100+ people who’ll swear I’m the bomb. She had like two bitchy friends (that shoulda been my first clue). I’ve had many long-term relationships with women, and generally treated them all like gold in like every way I know how. I’m not perfect but I did nothing to her man, nothing you been talkin’ ’bout did I do. I mean, I’ve been wrong more times than I can count, I keep learning more.."
"So you didn’t abuse her, and this course hasn’t helped you re-integrate into society? Are you saying you’re perfect?"
"Look, I dunno what to tell you. No emotional abuse. I was supportive. No physical abuse, to me it was nothing outside of any other reasonable relationship I’ve seen. Sexual abuse? Are you kidding me? Financial? All I ever did was give her freedom and trust with whatever I had. I trained her in new, money-making skills. Any project she wanted to soar, I amplified it. Nothing you’ve described as ‘abuse’ have I done. Not even close. I bring the fun wherever I am. I care about people, I make the tough choices and do what’s right . I’ve had fun in a park while homeless, I even invited friends down to visit and play cards! I’m a success-coach, I could teach this course and honestly I’m sick of — oh… oh shit."
Jason breathed deeply, tilted his head upward and closed his eyes.
A million images of giving to Hailey *for no reason* flashed through his mind.
"I did abuse her."
He’d ‘abused’ her in the subtlest way possible.
He’d been raised to be kind, generous, trusting, and to believe in others, so he just kept giving her chances.
He was way too lenient. This permissiveness was not badass.
Did they have a name for "permissive-abuse?’
He’d walk away for a short time, but he’d always let her apologetic words suck him back.
She was a clinging child who needed discipline, she wasn’t a woman; a committed partner to elevate them both.
All she really brought to the relationship was sex and hollow-worded lip-service, plus some out-of-control spending and he’d continually rewarded it. Fuck trusting her, he could’ve been putting his foot down.
She’d make some half-hearted effort and be affectionate, and bam, he’d happily give her money, friends, connections, logos, websites, clients, and more.
"Uh, so how’d you abuse her?"
Jason knew he was the problem.
His easy-flowing trust, faith, and generosity was the problem. All the things the world told him were good, were not *always* good.
And he’d done this more than once.
He’d developed himself to a masterful level, able to see the best in people and bring joy where-ever he went — great. But he wasn’t discerning with it. He’d give it to anyone, no matter what. It was actually a matter of pride for him."I’m good to everyone", he’d say.
He was happiness cocaine, and irresponsible with it; allowing people who clearly couldn’t handle the juice to get addicted.
He’d had people tell him so, too. ‘Jay, I’m addicted to you.’ – they’d literally said that to him.
He heard the echoes. ‘What can I say, J, I’d do whatever just to be around you.’
‘Well yeah, I just expected to pay for a hit of the, J.’
"Yeah, I did. You’ve helped me see it, man. Oh you definitely helped me, but probably not how you think. I already do everything you teach in this course. I meditate, I’m aware of my actions, I take full responsibility, I focus on solutions and harmony, I see everyone’s success, I trust, I communicate.
I’m a baller, and I’m not shy about it — and that was the problem. I thought believing in my positivity and happiness was enough.
I was wrong. Relationships take two, and I didn’t make that clear. I spoiled her. A lot. It’s not like she was gonna speak up and say ‘I need to have a harder life, please stop showering me with goodness.’ "
"So… um… how did we help you again?"
"Because you helped me realize that I’m no where on your silly ‘abuse’ list. I’m really, really not."
"I’m confused, that doesn’t sound helpful."
Because my abuse was spoiling & enabling, but you guys don’t talk about that. You’re too busy seeing everybody as a violent, disturbed criminal who needs to "be nicer" – but what you needed to tell me was to not be nice. To pull back on my attention and presence, for someone who was clearly squandering it.
Unlike all these other guys, I didn’t need to be more sensitive, I didn’t need to be more open with money or respect her sexually — I needed to withdraw my attention. I needed to stop rewarding half-hearted, uncommitted, relationship-destroying behavior from her. I needed to take a stand and say "you’re bringing barely anything to the table, and I’m spoiling you, and it’s not healthy." – I needed to let life teach her what happens when you don’t commit, but instead, I was the ultimate crutch.
"Uh, okay, so you ‘enabled’ her then."
"Yes, I did . Totally."
"Enabled her to what?"
"To be lazy and not change. To not grow. To keep using me. In fact, I encouraged it!"
"And can you see how that may have hurt her emotionally?"
"That’s kind of a stretch, but label it however you want, man.
I definitely know it wasn’t ‘good’, I don’t know if I should’ve been thrown in jail for it, charged with 3 ridiculous charges, and lost my condo. I’m just happy to be done with this. It’s a great lesson though. I’m already awesome, and if I’m more choosy with my attention, I’ll be a rock star. Plus this will help so many people who are fucking up their relationships by being ‘too nice’ – I feel like it’s a bigger problem than people realize"
Thomas shakes his head an makes some notes.
"Hey! Cut it with the head shakes and note-taking man.
The important thing here is that I know how I caused this, and as I said before, I take full responsibility for how I ended up here."
Thomas looks into Jason’s eyes, blinks, and looks away.
"Alright. You’re a good guy. And you know, Jason, I think I speak for everyone here, when I say you’re going places man. You’re different than anybody else we’ve had here, and you’ve brought a lot of fresh insight and thoughts we’ve never seen before. Best of luck to you man."
<Anger Management Group Cheers, and Jason receives the only back-slaps and hand-shakes any member received on departure.>
On the bus ride home, Jason took some time to appreciate all he’d learned. The lessons were hard, the betrayal intense, but now he knew what no one ever teaches you.Positivity is addictive, and it’s important to direct it properly, it’s not something to throw around without discipline.
For Hailey, being deprived of her ‘drug’ of constant affection was a shock. All of a sudden she was being called on to ‘work’ for it, and really step up her game…fast.
She figured dumping him would be easier than ryzing with him.
Some people can handle ithe passion, others not so much.
It dragged on because he thought he could believe in her, and that would be enough, but it’s not… she had to believe in herself.
Letting her go sucked, but not nearly as much as staying with that version of her would have.
The funny thing is Jason was still open to having her in his life, assuming she’d demonstrated a new self-reliant her that could cherish his gifts, but the ball was in her court, (and besides, part of his bail conditions was no-contact for a year.)
Either way, his life had changed forever, and in a good way.
In the next few weeks, he ran through his life and cut-off anyone who was reaping all the rewards of his goodness and giving the bare-minimum in return.
He was passionate, some would call it ruthless. Many felt hurt and rejected being suddenly deprived, but Jason knew he was hurting them. He knew they could O.D.
He saw these unbalanced and unhealthy relationships for what they were and called them out. As he expressed himself, many just stopped talking to him, and that was fine.
One girl was keeping him "under glass" for a dating emergency because he was super-loyal. No more. He took a stand.
Another used him any time she wanted to feel happy or learn something, like a little fountain of happiness-wisdom she could bask in on a whim. Adios.
Now he really is the world’s first rockstar urban shaman, and it just keeps getting better.
He still shines, but…
…now he shines only for those who can handle it.Real kindness is shining so bright that you burn people who can’t handle it. Don’t worry, it’s good, they’ll leave room for people who can.
So that’s my story, I hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings, what did you get from it? Have you ever given "too freely" to people who don’t cherish what they’re getting?
Related Post: No Fun, No Friends: Confessions Of A Positive Badass