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Are You Splitting In Half?

by Oberon Von Phillipsdorf 8 months ago in advice

My cousin is splitting in half, but I still love her.

Credits by Unsplash.

Did you perhaps ever have the experience of telling someone something private only to discover the information coming back to you from a third person and in a form that is very distorted?

A few days back, my sister reported to me a comment that our cousin made about me. The report made me upset, but it also made me ask more questions about why would my cousin do something like that. The thing is — my cousin lies and manipulates often.

She often misinterprets things that are said to her and makes other third parties look bad or guilty. She has been doing this for years. I spoke on this topic with my good friend, and she told me that my cousin might be “splitting.”

Are you split?

Splitting is an attempt on the part of one person to make another third individual look wrong, bad, or guilty. In this case, my cousin was doing the splitting. She was complaining about me to our sister.

In doing so, she was causing me to look terrible or negative. However, my sister was also splitting by carrying the message back to me outside of my cousin’s awareness. I know my sister enough to know the fact that she enjoyed making our cousin look bad at every opportunity.

Let me tell you another example of my dear cousin:

Not so long ago, my cousin and my sister used to be inseparable. They went on vacations, looked after each other kids, and used to spend every Sunday together. My cousin used to idealize their relationships — she always talked about how close they are, how much they love each other, and at some points she even considered herself to be my sister “mother” rather than a cousin.

That was before my sister met her new partner.

The moment my sister hooked up with her current partner, the relationship between her and our cousin started to crumble. I used to receive two calls per day from my cousin telling me what an “inappropriate” boyfriend he is for our sister and how someone should advise her to “split” up with him.

Month by month, our cousin used to come up with more offensive things to say about him — but never directly to my sister. Until one day I confronted her — she denied everything. My sister married her new partner, and that’s when the really bad things started happening.

Our cousin started stalking my sister’s husband online and accused him of cheating on my sister — stating that she has seen him in the town with another woman. Our sister didn’t believe her and defended her husband, which led our cousin to start degrading the relationship she once held so dear.

Suddenly — our sister became all “bad”.

My sister was our cousin's “object of affection”. The moment she believed she has lost our sister’s affection, she cut down on a once so dearly loved object. She started seeing our sister as a horrible parent, friend, worker and seemed to focus only on her negative qualities.

From then on my sister decided to limit the communication with our cousin.

Defending Yourself

Splitting unfortunately happens all the time, at work, between friends, within families and couples. I believe that our cousin has decided to sabotage the relationship with our sister in order to protect herself from the fact that sister has caused her “pain” — by moving on with her life and finding a romantic partner.

It would make sense as it happened in past before and her behavior usually came in cycles. One day she called me up to tell me how much she loves our sister and how frequently she in touch with her, when just the same day, later in the evening she tells me she hasn’t spoken to her in weeks/

Splitting is used as a defense mechanism. We all use defense mechanisms to protect ourselves when we feel engendered. The problem of splitting is that it is a very unhealthy form of self defense that does nothing to help you interact in ways that are healthy.

It is unhealthy because people are neither good nor bad but rather a combination of both.

The Remedy

Do you ever catch yourself using extreme language for things that don’t require it? How many times have you stated: “I had the worst day ever!”, “I am a total failure!” or “He is such a bad person!”

This way of thinking is actually a defense mechanism that all of us sometimes use to tackle life’s challenges. Unfortunately, it prohibits us from seeing things as they really are. Things are never as bad as they seem.

Just few days back I caught myself thinking how “bad” my cousin actually is. But relationships can’t be either perfect or disastrous. People aren’t either smart or stupid, strong or weak, amazing or evil.

We are all unique and have our weaknesses and strengths, positive and and negative traits. And so does my cousin.

It is important that we try and see others in all shades of grey rather than just black and white.

My mother for example had a lot of difficulty seeing people in shades of gray. I remember, going back to my earliest childhood, that he tended to portray others as idealized or evil. Whatever happened in her childhood prevented her from having a more accurate view of people. That problems destroyed most of her relationships throughout her life.

One of the most destructive forms of splitting is in the form of racism. Hitler is an example of splitting. Jews, Eastern Europeans and other groups were defined as good for nothing except either elimination.

However, it is in the daily lives of many people that splitting most often takes place.

I love my splitting cousin and would like her to stay in my life. I am still expecting her to change her mindset, knowing it’s unlikely. Even thought I have been hurt by my toxic cousin many times — I forgive her.

Forgiveness does not mean that I approve of her behavior, but I am not controlled by it anymore. I have realized that none of us are without sin because we are human and we are imperfect.

And most importantly — things are never black or white.

When you realize this simple fact, you will free yourself from the prison of your mind. You learn to let go and accept the grey areas, instead of placing life on to good or bad scale. You will live a happier and more fulfilled life.


Oberon Von Phillipsdorf

A writer.

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