Colin Alston
M Colin Alston, Author, Illustrator & Consultant
Personal Development

Jan 10,2018

I’ll be forty-six years young in the next couple of weeks and I’ve had cause to reflect on the kinds of bad relationships that I’ve had that at the time I thought were good. More to the point, I had to reflect on the people that were my closet friends, business partners and lovers, and what made them my former friends, ex-business partners and ex-lovers.

For my part, I realized that for most of my life, I have not been a very good judge of character. A part of me always wanted to believe that the people I befriended and had gone through a number of trials and tribulations with had my best interest at heart—without having to pay them of course. I’ve gone out of my way to prove my loyalty and friendship through my acts of self-sacrifice and “reliability,” only to end up being extremely disappointed time and time again. Oh, I’m cautious now, less gung-ho, and a great deal more observant, but in my youth…plainly put, I was an idiot.

Oh, and before you go and say to me, “…oh Colin, I think you are being way too hard on yourself. You were young. And you are still pretty young. Look at your experiences as a learning process,” —believe me when I tell you that I am doing exactly that. However, I have to be hard on myself, so that I do not make the same mistakes again. I’ve made too many not to.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean; I once had a very talented and rather brilliant business partner that was also a good friend of mine. At least, that was the illusion I chose to believe in because at the time I needed to believe in someone that was larger than life that could help me reach greater heights in my career as an artist and a wannabe entrepreneur. Too many hard knocks career-wise.

I was so enamored with my business partner’s abilities that I failed to see what was staring me right in the face. All of my partner’s accomplishments and hard work was for one thing and one thing only…adulation. And it was the kind of adulation that my partner wanted most from those that would not or could not reciprocate it. If anyone my partner went above and beyond for did not unconditionally love my partner, they were deemed betrayers and they were considered THE UNRELIABLES

I ended up having to compensate for every single person that “betrayed” my partner until it finally dawned on me that I was being used. Used to fill in the hole that was in my partner’s heart. A hole that I could not possibly fill. But I did make the attempt. For years I did for my partner what those person’s that were a disappoint did not or would not do. My naive and idealistic views on friendship, and that sense of duty, ethics and my own desire to be respected—needing and wanting to belong cost me a considerable amount of my time in years, a considerable amount of money I would have otherwise saved as a nest egg, investments that could have been placed in more profitable ventures, and it nearly cost me my entire outlook on life. Never mind the physical pains I now suffer as a result of the decisions I made to maintain the support I gave to my business partner. And of course, when I needed something from my partner that was important to me, it would be like trying to pull out my own tooth to get it, or I would not get it at all, except excuses and a song and dance about how hard life is and yada yada yada!

When the relationship finally got too toxic with the disregard and the disrespect, it was hard NOT to notice what was happening. I was forced to see what was right in front of me the whole time, and I eventually had no choice but to severe ties with my business partner and terminated the friendship as well. It was hard—I had to smash “the quilt” that would have otherwise kept me from taking action for my own self-preservation—because I was now becoming one of THE UNRELIABLES. Yet, it had to be done, to preserve my creative mind and my mental stability. I’m sure that I am now number one on my former partner’s list of UNRELIABLES.

So yeah, you better believe that I am absolutely hard on myself. Because the next time I make a mistake like that one, it may cost me my life.

So let this truth be a lesson to those of you with big bleeding hearts that are in a similar situation whether it is business or family, friendship or any relationship like the circumstance I described—no one is larger than life, NO ONE… unless WE make them out to be. And usually, these larger than life people will not give you what you desire from them, rather they will get you to give to them what THEY desire. And as long as you have the resources they need to thrive on, you will remain useful to them and it will be at your expense. You will mean the most to them, and they will tell you, “I need you!” “You are the only one I can trust!” Yeah, until you run out of the juice they have been drinking. That is when they will go after the next person that has exactly what they need. They, are the true UNRELIABLES.

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