Relationship Realness: So, Who's the Ringleader?
I loved the circus and the carnival as a child. I remember going with my mom and dad to see all of the animals, the circus acts, and the smell of popcorn and peanuts. Yes, I also loved the state fair and started competing in different ways as a child and then showing horses as a youth and adult. Those special memories are all part of my growing up and I treasure the images and sensory connections which surround each snapshot in my mind. Yet, I never had any desire to be the ringleader or ringmaster in the circus experience. I also never wanted to be a judge or administrator of the fair even though being a strong inspirational leader was my goal in life.
This episode of RHOD focuses on the engagement of LeeAnne, the engagement party, and many of the little pieces of story being uncovered by each “housewife”, some components not so positive and others extremely enlightening. As for the engagement party, D’Andra is assisting with the event planning in a beautiful space to be soon filled with many attendees which even include the “housewife frenemies” of Brandi, Stephanie, and even Cary and Mark (only at the request of her fiancé, Rich). D’Andra shares her insights on the theme, the carnival, as “let’s focus more on Cirque de Soliel and not Iowa State Fair.” The theme even includes a full cotton candy wall, very tastefully designed.
A very special guest, LeeAnne’s mom, will also make her appearance to meet all of the attendees, only after a therapy session including a full exposure of pain and memories of mom and daughter. Will they continue to heal and uncover even more together? How will LeeAnne use the newfound information of how the past really occurred and not just through the lens of a very young child? Only time will tell.
Just as every carnival or circus has a ringleader, RHOD is no exception. We find out after all the “players” have each experienced some form of manipulation during the season. Many predominately feel their own situation was orchestrated by actions and conversations by their very own “ringleader”…LeeAnne.
The next morning the festivities continue with an engagement brunch hosted by LeeAnne’s bestie, D’Andra. After many negative interactions and shared communication, Brandi finally confronts her friend, LeeAnne, with the powerful culminating statement of the manipulation during the season, “I am going to call bullshit. Honesty and truth is the most important thing to you”. To this all faces around the table are shocked, including LeeAnne’s. After more negative statements, Brandi promptly leaves the brunch followed by Stephanie and Cary and the final division in the relationships has now been created.
Are there manipulators in your life who are the ringleaders to drive situations, etc? They are exhausting and pull more energy than they share.
We all at one time in our life have catered to ringleaders.
We focus on their needs at the expense of our own.
They make sure they are heard in their own voice and we are not.
Ringleaders create division between people that agree with them and those that don’t.
Ringleaders use their past to drive their today and tomorrow.
They don’t move on from what others have done “to them”.
Ringleaders also demand more attention on themselves then building others up and supporting them in their lives.
What can we do about “ringleaders”? You may wonder why I will say the first tool, yet it is the most important one.
Love them, love them, love them. That doesn’t mean to give IN to them and only their needs. Boundaries will be important. Keep restating your boundaries and where your willingness truly lies in the situation.
Listen to them yet not by losing yourself. Again, boundaries are the most important skill you can learn. Discerning the truth from the conversation can be challenging.
Focus is essential. Talk with them about moving on from their past challenges and possible traumas. Acknowledge their pain in an authentic way. Focus on what amazing opportunities and possibilities are in TODAY and TOMORROW. Say it with me…healthy boundaries are most important.
Perception is only a reality for the individual. This episode gave us an insight on LeeAnne’s personal “mantra” of her past. Just as she demonstrated well with her own mother during an impromptu therapy session. As you may have seen, perception begins at any age. During the session, LeeAnne rolls back to her 3 year old self. The conversation further transpires with the “perception” of her mom’s 19 year old self functioning the best she could in the moment given to her with the problem solving skills available to her. Finding where reality lies and where perception ends is key. Placing boundaries of communication and positive expectation is key. We will never take someone from negative to our version of positive when perception is held. This was a beautiful interaction between mother and daughter. My hope is they continue to keep the discussion open and pave the way toward more. It can be easy to revert back to our old perceptions. Be aware of this yourself. Keep focused forward on the positives and what we CAN establish together and not on what we CAN’T. “Taking this step with my mother is just another brick in the foundation of the life I am building.” —LeeAnne
OWN it…your own thoughts, actions, and communications. Stand on them, even if they are hard to admit.
Positive and insightful communication as well as sharing your own needs is most important with __________. Fill in the blank. It begins with a B. LeeAnne’s mother shares a fabulous example of this at the engagement party when LeeAnne says “I do want to have a better relationship with you.” Her mom rephrases the words, “don’t say we want to let’s say we will”. Reframing the intention is a powerful technique.
When ringleaders are too overpowering, walking away or putting some distance between how often or how much we interact with them is the best solution. This can also be called, establishing or setting healthy BOUNDARIES.
If there are at any time feelings of being threatened, severely manipulated, bullied, or emotionally, mentally, or even physically abused…WALK AWAY.
If you or someone you know, needs assistance with ringleaders, strong individuals in your life or work, toxic relationships, or finding truth in these interactions, feel free to connect with me and I would be honored to “walk with you” or them even for just a while.