"A what?" you say.
A Fuser. A Fuser is a person who craves connection. Fusers want to do things together, with their partner, almost all the time, and sometimes that "wanting to be together" can feel insatiable.
Fusers often feel disappointed, frustrated, and hurt in relationships. Fusers talk about being "left behind" or "ignored" by their partners. They want more time, more attention, more engagement from their partners. It rarely feels like enough.
At the extreme, Fusers are terrified of being left. It's an intense fear associated with what it would feel like for a child to be abandoned by their parent. Less extreme variations of "being abandoned" can include if the fuser's partner cancels a date, is consistently late, or shows affection to other people.
The most painful part of being a fuser is that the constant pressure of wanting togetherness puts their partner and relationship into an unhealthy cycle of push and pull. The fuser feels that their partner is constantly pushing them away; when the partner pushes them away, the fuser panics and wants to get closer. As the fuser seeks to be closer, their partner keeps withdrawing and moving out, and around and around it goes.
This unhappy cycle can destroy relationships.
There are several ways to interrupt this nightmare relationship merry-go-round. I teach clients who are Fusers on how to be more empowered and independent. Clients develop a clear vision of who they are in their relationships. They learn specific strategies and skills that help them feel safe in themselves, less reliant on their partners' approval and affections, and worthy of love in many different ways so that they don't rely so heavily on their partner to meet all their needs.
Interestingly, Fusers often choose to be in a relationship with Isolators. Click here to learn more about Isolators.
There's all kinds of frustration - frustration with the guy who’s weaving in and out of the traffic, frustration with the government on how they’re distributing (your) tax dollars and frustration with the customer service representative whose first language is not English.
And frustration is super sneaky. It creeps up. It’s not like anger that shows up full of bluff and bluster. No, frustration is subtle, sometimes to the point of being barely discernible.
Also, frustration lies to you. It tells you that the other person is the problem, not you.
Which you know is a lie, right?
Yeah, it’s not true. It’s not a blaming thing of you’re wrong and they’re right. It’s more of a misunderstanding thing. At the heart of every frustration is the belief, that you aren’t in control of your destiny, that your power, your agency has been taken from you and that you can’t determine the outcome or that you’re being kept from accomplishing your intended outcome. And then you blame the person who appears to be getting in your way.
Let me give an example:
Person A is driving in heavy traffic and it’s moving so slowly. Person A is getting frustrated. She has a meeting in 15 minutes and now she’ll probably be late. Ugh! She starts imagining the repercussions and decides it’s not going to go well. She can't believe this is happening to her, again! This is a problem.
Person B is driving the same traffic. She is also due at a meeting in 15 minutes. She will also be late but she is not frustrated. She calls ahead, explains the situation, offers to reschedule. The other party is irritated but Person B takes no notice of that, she knows everything will turn out well in the end. This is not a problem.
What is the difference between these two women? Person A does not have a clear appreciation for herself or her faith in her ability to handle the situation. Person A is living in reaction to events and is now blaming the traffic for her shitty day to follow.
Person B believes that she is capable, resourceful woman who can handle curveballs. She doesn’t feel the need to take on what other people think of her because she has a clear sense of her own value and self-determination. She responds, rather than reacts. Person B has faith in herself.
Does this make sense?
I know this is a simple example but it does scale, even to the most intimate of relationships with the highest stakes. Frustration comes from a lack of belief in yourself and your power to achieve the outcomes you want in life. So, basically, you don’t have enough faith in yourself.
Yesterday this played out in my own life around my health. I didn't feel empowered to ask for what I wanted with regards to my food choices. I adopted the belief that it was okay for me to go along with everyone else's agenda and I could make do. By the end of the day I was frustrated, tired and irritable and inclined to blame my friends. I felt like I had spent the day reacting to curveballs. If I had started the day with faith in myself, a belief that I am worthy, and asked for what I needed to feel good in my body, I wouldn't have been so frustrated.
So, what if you're frustrated that your son isn’t taking his studies seriously? (I get you, mama!) Frustrated that your husband doesn’t remember to take out the trash?
Frustrated that your best friend can’t seem to get her act together?
There are nuances to this rule-of-thumb, like when when you’re frustrated on behalf of someone else or you’re frustrated that you can’t catch a break.
Read my next post on why that is... coming soon.
My client feels like crap. She made a mistake. It is indeed a significant, even life-altering mistake. It's also true that had she been more diligent, the error might not have happened at all. But here we are, and now there are consequences.
She blames herself and starts pointing to all the ways she's failed, all the ways she could have prevented it from ever happening, all the ways that she is now, because of her recklessness, sinful and unworthy of love or compassion. She calls herself selfish, irresponsible, a failed human being. She's inhaling Cheetos and a bottle of wine, in bed, watching re-runs of Modern Family.
I know that she's not a failed human being. I know that she is worthy of love and is intrinsically good. I have to help her to believe it too.
There's a belief that if you do something that is "wrong," you should name it, blame someone and then punish the person at fault until they're a bloody mess. Some of the women I work with do this to themselves, quite a lot.
They believe that if they name, blame, and punish, there is a righting of the wrong.
It doesn't work that way.
Punishing yourself will not prevent you from mistakes in the future, it will not change your behavior or choices from the past, and it will shut you off from your power and wisdom in the present.
Punishing yourself will keep you spiraling through feelings of shame, anger, and lack of compassion for yourself and others. These feelings will rob you of the opportunity to grow that comes from exploring mistakes with an open heart. It will keep you stuck in the past.
I explain this to her, and by the end of our call, she's starting to smile again. In talking through the details of how this happened, she realized that although she is ultimately responsible for the consequences of her actions, she had made choices based on a flawed premise. She doesn't deserve punishment; she deserves compassion, support, and a practical solution.
By working through her mistake with an open heart, she learned from this mistake and took steps to prevent it from happening again. Added benefits from this approach - she now feels compassion for women who find themselves in a similar position, whereas before, she felt judged. It's a win-win for everyone!