4 Ways to Deal with the Pink Elephant

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4 Ways to Deal with the Pink Elephant
It's that thing that nobody wants to discuss but everybody puts up with. Here's how make it vanish!

Every now and again you come across a situation in your life that blows your hair back, your skirt up or...just blows. For example: you find out the person you're seriously considering spending the rest of your life with isn't interested in a long-term relationship with you. Or you discover one evening, quite by accident, that your husband prefers blondes...who are hung like a horse. Or you learn that your new girlfriend is really a man, or that your movie star/governor husband has impregnated your housekeeper and has been paying her hush money (out of your pocket) for the last decade.

While most of us have developed various coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with such blustery situations, including confrontation, therapy, drinking heavily, freaking out, leaving, and divorce, the Pink elephant is quite a different animal! For those who aren't so familiar with this unwelcome visitor, the pink elephant is commonly referred to as "… an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss." (Wikipedia). You see, in most cases when confronted with certain truths we know what to do, or at least have some vague idea, and are compelled to take action because some line has been crossed and all people involved implicitly agree and act accordingly. Whereas when the pink elephant appears…it just hangs there like the house guest who never leaves.

Some examples might be: your roommate keeps eating all your food and never admits it or offers to pay, but you don't say anything because you can't afford to live there without them so you carry on as if nothing's wrong, him shamelessly eating his way through your house and home and you cringing every time you see him secretly wanting to scream: "STOP EATING MY FOOD, YOU FOOD STEALER, LEECH, COUCH POTATO, MOOCHER!" Or maybe your boyfriend drinks too much, too often and embarrasses and scares you, but you don't say anything because he says he can't live without you and...you are financially dependent on him and afraid to be alone so you muddle through growing more and more emotionally distant, eventually having angry or passive obligatory sex because now you can't stand when he touches you, yet you don't have the courage or resources to say no, so you don't.

Or maybe your closest relative, the one you have spent every birthday and holiday with for most of your life, has just embezzled money from his boss (who you know intimately) and neither one of you says anything to the other partly because you are in shock, you can't believe they would ever do such a thing, and partly because you don't even know what to say. Really...what does one say in such circumstances? Weeks and months pass while you tell yourself they will come around, make things right…right? Then after months of no one saying anything, a family function presents itself and out of what feels like the complete blue they send you an invitation as though nothing's happened and sign the card "love and miss you"… and you think What the?

This article was originally published at Maryanne Live . Reprinted with permission.
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Maryanne Comaroto

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Maryanne Comaroto

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