Bonnie & Clyde

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Jay-Z & Beyoncé

“All I need in this life of sin, is me and my girlfriend
Down to ride to the bloody end, just me and my girlfriend” –
Bonnie & Clyde by Jay-Z feat. Beyoncé

Bonnie & Clyde Kind of Love

Bonnie & Clyde Kind of Love

Jay-Z and Beyoncé are arguably two of the most powerful married celebrity couples.  In my eyes they are somewhat the “perfect” romance if the perfect romance does exist.  However, if you would have asked Jay-Z 10 years ago if he would have foreseen himself not only with the most beautiful girl in the music industry, but married and with a baby, he would have probably said you were foolish.   In an interview conducted by Oprah she traces Jay-Z’s footsteps back to his past to reveal to us the man we see in the media today.

When Jay-Z, or Shawn Carter, was just five years old his worst nightmare came true:  his mother and father divorced.  Jay-Z, before the divorce, had thought of his father as “Superman.”  After his father left his life Jay-Z was afraid to love again, he was afraid to fall attached to someone and to have his heart broken as his father had done once before.  Jay-Z never allowed himself to love someone after he had once loved his father until 2003 rolled around and he met his father again just before he died.  This encounter with his father after more than 20 years allowed him to revisit his past and to let go of this hurt to love once again.  In 2008, after 6 years of dating, Jay-Z married the love of his life, Beyoncé Knowles.

Connecting the Dots

“There’s an epidemic of divorce, with one in two marriages failing.”  — from a CNBC Special News Report

Over the past few years the spot light has been put on marriages and the divorce rate.  The United States Census has shocking data that reveals a dramatic decrease in the amount of marriages and an increase in the amount of divorces between 1980 and 2008.  Romantic relationships are of particular concern because they are what lead, in most cases, to marriages and the conflict that occurs within them is what leads to divorces.  Digging even deeper than that, it was evident in Jay-Z’s case how his relationship with his father prevented him from engaging in a romantic relationship.

There are countless people in the world who never had the luxury of healing a past relationship, so when they engage in romantic relationships they are directly impacted by those early experiences.  Have you ever had an experience with someone you loved so much that somewhere down the line that love was breached?  Was it with your mother, father, or guardian?  What if I were to tell you that that relationship formed early in your life may still have an effect on you today and could possibly be the factor holding your romantic relationship together or pulling it apart?

What’s Your Style?

“A lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.”  –John Bowlby

When two adults decide to commit to being in a romantic relationship, things can get rocky especially if both of the adults or even one of them has some childhood baggage.  One article that focused on how childhood experiences influence adult romances stated, “Relationships and attachments experienced in childhood appear to influence the way in which individuals think, feel, and behave in their adult romantic relationships.”  Psychologist John Bowlby explored those relationships and attachments experienced early in childhood and how they serve as a basic model to how we view ourselves, others, and relationships by labeling this concept attachment theory.

A Secure Attachment = Lasting Impression

A Secure Attachment = Lasting Impression

Julia T. Wood in Interpersonal Communication—Everyday Encounters states, “this first bond shapes how comfortable we feel getting close to others and how secure we feel in others’ acceptance and commitment to us.”  Think of one of the earliest relationships that you can remember ever having; this relationship could have been with your mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, or some type of guardian. Depending on how you and that relationship with that person was formed and is sustained today is most likely how you view many of your relationships.  There are four types of attachments that can be formed:  secure, fearful, dismissive, and anxious/ambivalent.

  • A secure attachment is one formed when a caregiver responds to the child in an attentive and loving way.
  • A fearful attachment is formed when the caregiver is unavailable to the child or is rejecting and abusive to the child.
  • A dismissive attachment is one in which the caregiver has complete disregard for the child.
  • An anxious/ambivalent attachment main component consists of the caregiver reacting to the child in an inconsistent manner which can foster anxiety in the child.

Research by Alan K. Goodboy and San Bolkan sought out to find the link between adult attachment and behaviors that causes tension within relationships such as jealousy induction, avoidance, infidelity, and spying.  In their quest to find answers they found that those with a secure attachment had minimum use of using destructive relationship behaviors.  They were more likely to avoid destructive communication/behavior and would prefer the use of communication and behaviors that enhanced their relationship.  In contrast, they found that those with an insecure attachment would engage in using negative relationship behaviors despite their level of satisfaction with their relationship.  Take Monica’s case for example.

Monica has been in a relationship for about 5 months and many would consider her boyfriend John the “dream guy.”  Although John cooks dinner for her just about every night, has a job as an executive director of a firm, and would like to marry Monica and have kids one day, she still engages in destructive relationship behaviors.  She often goes through John’s phone when he isn’t around and will often pick an argument with John for no apparent reason.  Despite the fact that Monica has a great man and is happy, she still employs in using damaging relationship behaviors in accordance with her insecure attachment.

Trust

“If you couldn’t find the heart to trust in your childhood, it’s going to be hard to find it in your adulthood.” –Darrien Drummond

Is trust something that is easy to come by?  Many of you would say no and would further add that it takes a while for someone to gain your trust.  In romantic relationships trust is built through self-disclosure.  Julia T. Wood in Interpersonal Communication—Everyday Encounters explains that self-disclosure is the revelation of personal information about ourselves that others are unlikely to discover in other ways.  In a nut shell, self-disclosure is the revealing of personal information to another person that builds upon each circumstance and brings two people together.

Those with a secure attachment will have an easier time building that trust than those with an insecure attachment.  In Jay-Z’s case he didn’t just begin to tell Beyoncé personal things about his life such as his father leaving him and his family at the age of five.  He most likely started off with superficial material such as the music industry which then led into him revealing deeper information which all helped build trust between them.

What You See OR How You See It?

“Your past can affect what you see in the present, if you allow it.” –Darrien Drummond

While it’s important to disclose of personal information that in return builds upon trust, it’s even more important to realize that it’s how we perceive this trust that matters.  Social Penetration Theory explains that yes romantic relationships can be built by moving from the outer to the inner, but it’s each person’s perception of that information that will move the relationship.   Jay-Z could reveal his deepest life traumas and darkest secrets to Beyoncé but if Beyoncé does not see this information as coming from a sacred spot from Jay-Z, then none of what he say’s would be really moving the relationship and building up that trust.  Take this case for example.

Monica, as stated before, has an insecure attachment and John has a secure attachment.  John often tells Monica about times when he was younger and he used to live in an orphanage and how he was always scared of what family would come and get him next.  He also used to tell her how sometimes he would think about running away.  John would perceive this information that he is revealing to Monica as very personal information and to him he feels as if he is growing even closer to Monica.

On the other hand, Monica really doesn’t think of this information as deeply personal, as it hardly even moves her.  Monica finds it a lot harder to reveal deep information as John often does.  As you can tell, while one person can perceive the disclosing of information one way, the other person could perceive it another way and yet it’s how they both perceive the disclosing of information that will in turn move the relationship.

We All Want to Be Loved

“Being deprived of love in childhood can make it hard to accept it in the future.” –Darrien Drummond

The third level in Maslow’s hierarchy is the belonging need.  The belonging need goes hand in hand with attachment because as Julia T. Wood explains in Interpersonal Communication—Everyday Encounters, “we want others’ company, acceptance, and affirmation, and we want to give acceptance and affirmation to others.”  The need to belong is fulfilled by being accepted in some way by others and being able to be a part of different social groups.  In line with attachment theory, when we form a secure attachment with another individual we are better able to see ourselves, others, and relationships.  A disruption in our need to belong and it will affect our attachment or a disruption in our attachment and it will affect our need to belong.  Let’s look at Monica and John’s life one last time as an example.

Monica never felt like her mother loved her.  He mother was never there to hug her at night and to be that smiling face in the audience at her school plays or graduation.  From this experience, it affected her ability to attach to others with this disruption between her mother and their relationship serving as a basis for how she sees other relationships.  Since Monica was unable to form relationships with others she also felt as if she never “belonged.”  She was never a part of the cheerleading team or any team in high school and she never had a group of friends to depend on.  Not only did Monica’s relationship with her mother affect her, the way she see others, and her ability to form relationships, but it impacted her need to belong in the world dramatically.

 

Looking Back to Look Forward

“Don’t allow your past to define you.  We must reconcile with our past in order to allow for a great future.” –Darrien Drummond

Love, It's In Romantic Relationships

Love, It's In Romantic Relationships

Looking back at the relationships that you can remember when you were younger do you see how they have affected you today?  Those early relationships that you formed, whether good or bad, have somehow affected the way you view yourself today, the way you view others, and the way you view relationships.  Having a romantic relationship is something that you have either already had or will probably form in the future, it’s important to not only be aware of what factors that you may have that will affect your romantic relationship due to your past, but also to be aware of your romantic partners past.

It’s also important to realize that although you may have formed an insecure attachment at a younger age that it’s never too late to clean up your past to make for a brighter future.  Take Jay-Z’s life for example.  He had loved someone so hard once before that he had stopped loving others and was afraid to love again, until he reconciled with his past.  Coming to terms with his past led him to marry the one and only, Beyoncé Knowles.

For the Love, Money, or Game?

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“Mixing Business with Pleasure”

Is it a Bad Romance?

Have you ever heard the phrase “mixing business with pleasure?”  If you have, many of you may have noted that doing so rarely recommended.  Why?  Is it the fact that you are mixing to much good together or is it merely the fact that like water and oil they don’t mix?  I think it could be rather convenient that you can form a relationship no further than a desk away or even the next office.

Do you work or do you plan on working in the future?  Have you ever thought about the possibility of developing a relationship through your job?  This question was particularly interesting to me because I work countless hours a week and to think about that even closer I spend a lot of time with people that I have grown to like.  What are the chances of me, you, and others forming a relationship through work?  One study pointed out that 40 percent of respondents had actually found their future spouses at or through work.

The Motive

In simple terms, a workplace romance is a relationship developed through the same work environment that involves some reciprocated sexual attraction.   Julia T. Wood includes a selection in Interpersonal Communication:  Everyday Encounters that states that it’s no surprise that workplace romances are developed due to the fact that 40% of employees spend more than 50 hours a week on the job.  Spending that much time with others makes room for a lot of opportunities to grow in liking someone with common interest.  A study conducted by communication scholars stated it’s the motives behind these romances that could potentially stem problems.  There are there motives:  for the love (a sincere desire for companionship or genuine love), ego (excitement, adventure, and sexual experience), and job (money, advancement, and job security).  Those relationships that were underlined by love were related to more positive feelings and those related to ego led to more absenteeism.  It is the romances influenced by advancing their job that leads to negative effects on the workplace climate and job performance.

4 Letters:  L O V E <3

Love

The movie “Just Wright” by Queen Latifah and Common is a great example of a romance formed through the workplace with the motive of finding love (follow the link to preview the movie).  The film is about a physical therapist (Queen Latifah) helping a professional basketball player (Common) recover from a serious injury.  When Queen Latifah first meets Common you can tell she likes him already, but she knows she has a job to do so she keeps it strictly business.  As the picture progresses her feelings not only grow for him, but he also begins to fall for her as well.   By the end of the movie what began as a great career movie for Queen Latifah and as an opportunity for Common to get back healthy for basketball turns into, love.

The Love, The Money, or The Game?

It seems workplace romances are something that is nearly impossible to prevent.  I know I work over 50 hours a week and I’m sure many of you currently work and probably work long hours as well.  I also plan to work in the future as I’m sure many of you will too, so it’s important to think about the possibility of workplace romances developing and understanding what they can lead to.  As this blog has pointed out, we must understand the purpose behind a workplace relationship that will most likely determine its outcome:  is it for the love, the money, or the game?

First Comes Love, Then Comes Commitment

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A Cracked Marriage

I Do?
“I do,” these are two words that are involved in a ritual that ties two people together forever, supposedly.  I’m sure many of you have had family members who have gotten married, friends, and even your favorite celebrities.  While some of those marriages are still going strong with their ups and downs, others have faltered and ended in a divorce.

Marriage in America

Divorce in America
I still consider myself pretty young and so I have not even considered getting married anytime soon, but I am pretty concerned with what life will be like being married.   I’ve met some couples who have been together for over 50 years and then there are those like Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries that results in a 72-day marriage.  Recent evidence has shown that 50% of all marriages end in divorce.  The discovery channel also points out that just over half U.S. adults are now married as compared to 72 percent in 1960.  This same study also explained that if this trend continues, married couples will earn their way to the minority group.  To add insult to injury, the U.S. Census Bureau has continued to show the United States as number one for the highest number of divorce rates compared to any other country since 1980.  Marriage seems to be something that America has put a lot of value on, however, in recent years it seems to be something that is taking for granted rather than valued.
Commitment versus Love
The biggest problem that has made its mark in the cases of marriages that end in divorce is the couple’s inability to distinguish between a commitment and love. Dr. Julia T. Wood states that “commitment is a decision to remain in a relationship.”  A commitment is simply a joint decision that is made, rather than an emotion that is felt.  While love is something that is usually fueled to lead to the decision to get married, it is that commitment that keeps the marriage going.  For example, one night at work I met a couple who came into the restaurant on their anniversary.   They said they had been married for 68 years and I asked them how they managed to stay married so long.  In a nutshell, they explained that when they decided to get married they knew that they would face hardships in their relationship, but the day they said “I Do” was the day they made a commitment to be together, forever.  Making an eternal commitment is what’s needed to sustain a relationship, despite the emotion of love or not, an everlasting commitment must be made.
Finally, I Do!
The turmoil that is currently being faced by married couples is quite astonishing.  No matter what couples are faced, it is important to remember that when they utter “I Do” that they are making a commitment till death departs them.  While the emotion of love may come and go, the commitment that they signed up for will last a lifetime.  I hope society will begin to look at marriage as an endless commitment rather than an emotion of love that they suspect will need to be present forever in order to sustain their marriage.  A commitment is one that is made for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish as long as each couple shall live.

Till Death Do Us Part

Stand-Up & Vote!

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Does it matter?

There is mock election going on campus and you have to choose between Oprah and Bill Gates to be the next president of Longwood University, who will you choose? Would you vote for the 58 year old African American woman who was raised by a single mother in the streets of Mississippi or would you consider voting for Bill Gates, a 56 year old Caucasian born in Seattle and was raised in an upper class family? What factors would you consider in deciding who will receive your vote?

Since I’m now eligible to vote it has become important to me to consider reasons why one person or another should receive my vote. Should I vote for them because they are rich, Caucasian, African American, a woman, a man, because they went to Harvard, because they did not attend a college, does all of this affect what they know and stand for? It’s important for all of America to do their research on who they believe the best candidate to be the President of the United States.  According to The White House, President Obama is pushing congress to take action to stop the doubling of student loans, would you want a president who supports you as a college student?

When choosing which candidate to vote for it’s important to consider each ones standpoint. Dr. Julia T. Wood defines standpoint as “a point of view shaped by political awareness of the social location of a group—the material, social, and symbolic conditions common for members of a social group.” In other words, the experiences that we have in life, which range from our race to our gender down to our day to day life experiences and so on, all come together to affect our worldview. Standpoint also emphasizes that those with a minority view are deemed with the most objective, less biased view. For example, according to standpoint theory they would argue that Oprah is the best choice to be President of Longwood University because she is not only African American, but she is a woman and was raised in a lower class family. Her views would be less biased as compared to Bill Gates because of the different experiences they have both embarked on in life. While Oprah has been exposed to experiences of a minority group and has worked her way to the top, Bill Gates has always been to the top so he does not have the experiences as does Oprah.

Standpoint theory is yet another example that explains how each person’s perception is influenced in one way or another. Standpoint does not declare that one person’s opinion is right or wrong , yet it does explain that when examining who’s view is the least biased and most objective, it will be those of the minority group. This is particular concept can be examined not only in the mock election of Oprah vs. Bill Gates, but is something to consider in the election of 2012.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

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My name is Darrien Drummond, but almost everyone calls me DeeJai. I’m from a
little peninsula located off the side Virginia called the Eastern Shore.  I’m a
junior Communication Studies major (Communication Studies) with a concentration in Organizational Communication and Public Relations and with a minor in psychology.  On
Longwood’s campus I’m the Scholarship Chairman of Theta Chi Fraternity, a Peer
Mentor, in the Big Siblings Program, a Junior Marshal, and a member of Order of
Omega. Above all my affiliations and hobbies, I truly enjoy giving back to the
community in any way I can.  When I graduate I hope that the skills gained from my experiences on Longwood University campus will help me  become an event planner either in Miami or California!

My communication skills were put to the test when I became an
assistant manager at a restaurant. As an assistant manager I had to maintain
constant communication between the kitchen staff and the front of the house
staff, I had to keep order and grasp a system when it came to distributing
tables between servers and reserving tables that needed to be reserved due to
reservations, while also speaking with and helping different types of customers
as they entered the restaurant.  Above all, I always made sure I kept a calm demeanor,
I knew that if I showed that I was flustered that everyone else would begin to
falter as well.  Using the public speaking skills that I gained from taking a public speaking course and putting to use the knowledge gained from taking basic psychology courses are what truly helped me succeed as an assistant manager and effective communicator.

Last year I took a social psychology course that taught me a lot about how humans
see themself in the face of society is how they will engage and interact with
others. The influence of society and the mental picture each person has of
themself in society holds a lot of influence on their communication with others.
Although the social psychology course did not emphasize personal interactions,
as it focused on group settings, I was still able to gain some insight on
interpersonal communication. I expect from taking interpersonal communication
that I will see that there is a lot of information that I do know and there
will be a lot that I don’t know; overall, I want to maintain an open mind about
everything that I learn and hope that the knowledge gained from this class will
behoove me in my personal and professional life.