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When is Enough, Enough?

March 17, 2010
 by Kimberly Ruff

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In any human relationship, the individuals involved periodically reassess the value of the relationship by running a cost-benefit analysis. But when the costs clearly outweigh the benefits, there comes a point where we must ask ourselves the hardest question to answer: when is enough, enough?



A married couple I know has what most of us would consider a “dysfunctional” relationship. The wife, Lara, is incredibly and unjustifiably paranoid that her husband, Jon, is unfaithful and uses her paranoia as justification to browbeat him into submission. While he capitulates at home in the name of preserving relational harmony, he’s quick to tell everyone within earshot how unhappy he is. Every couple of months, when his threshold for nonsense is exceeded, he publicly declares his intentions for divorce. On several occasions, he even went so far as to consult a Divorce Lawyer, but ultimately decided better of it. Despite the fact that he readily admits they are enmeshed in a marriage defined by mutual acrimony, the husband stays.

Why?

There are three possible options that I can see – either he’s quite literally insane (as Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results), he’s getting something out of the whole arrangement (even if it’s as seemingly small as having something to preoccupy his mind), or he just doesn’t know when to say enough’s enough.

Jon and Lara’s relationship mirrors the frustration over abuses that many Americans currently feel with not just this administration, but the general political atmosphere. As our economy continues to idle along under the weight of interventionist economic policies and we become increasingly cognizant of the constant infringements on our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights, many of us are starting to wonder how much more we can take.

In any human relationship, when the costs severely outweigh the benefits and the list of grievances is unforgivably long, there comes a point where each of us must say to ourselves the phrase that dwells just below the surface, waiting for a voice strong enough to speak it: enough is enough.

But if we do finally say the words our self-respect urges us to say, what precisely are we going to do about it? For Jon and Lara, the answer is fairly easy – move on. But when it comes to our country, the keeper of our entire lives, moving on isn’t as simple as filing for divorce and finding a new apartment. It comes at an incredible cost, one that would change not just our lives, but our fundamental sense of self.

Thus, declaring that “enough is enough” begs the question – so what are you going to do about it? Are you going to take the tact that anything worth having is worth fighting for? Or are you going to cut bait and run? Can we salvage our broken system? Or can we only save ourselves?



Related Content:

TFS (Part 1) - Aggression: The Unnecessary Evil - Nick Coons
The Selfishness of Love - Mike Renzulli
Where Were You? - Kimberly Ruff


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