“You are Darth Vader,” he said. “You can’t take a wounded mentality into the office. If you want to go to summer camp and be emotional- go ahead. You can’t let anything bother you— it’s all about winning.” And all I could say was, “Really?”
In close to two decades of working intimately with men- as a performance coach, business consultant, interviewer- I have only met ONE MAN- this shmoe- who insisted that men have to be stone cold in business, and that success only comes through becoming a robot (or imaginary Star Wars character). The real thought leaders, communicators, makers and influencers of business and society-at-large know damn well that being human makes all the difference in one’s success, be that as a businessman, father, friend, brother, mentor, whatever.
So, the one thing that stirring my thoughts as I spoke with the Darth Vader guy was … dare I say… he must have been scorched by Kryptonite one time too many.
And when I say Kryptonite, I mean THE EX. I’ve come to grasp and appreciate that one thing which truly, monumentally shifts a man from being authentically imperfect, causes him to run away from being human, and drives him to cover up in layers of armor… is a woman. Specifically an Ex.
And when I say EX I mean that one woman who tore your heart out, totally disrespected you, made you feel like you were never enough, left you for someone else, corrupted your kids … or some combination of those and some other kitchen sink item. She may have been your first wife or fifth, your last girlfriend or something in between, but for some reason she still holds stock in a part of your brain. She is that horrendous dream that keeps coming back- and you can’t wake up. The rash that keeps showing up where you just can’t scratch it enough. That thorn in your side that you point to as a reason (read: excuse) for why you act a certain way with women now.
These Exes are all Kryptonite. And it’s better to acknowledge and dissect the truth in order to finally rid yourself of the fatalistic view that SHE will always be a shadow on your bright future.
Yes, the Kryptonite I’m referencing is the very same (metaphorical, mythical) radioactive material that causes Superman to become debilitatingly weak. This compound is unforgiving and invasive beyond words, and like any deadly amalgam —it invades your body, mind and spirit as if it wants to leave you for dead. Distorts your thoughts and wrecks your emotions; levels your hormones and drains your power; robs your memories and taints your view of the future. But did you know that there are umpteen different colors of kryptonite— and therefore different responses to its radiation? Oh, mister, you are in for a show here. But beware, this might still churn up some ugly stuff.
THE MANY COLORS OF KRYPTONITE: A guide to understanding which is your Ex
Green. Alluring in her glow, Green Kryptonite is the iconic original that virally weakens its victim’s powers across the board- just enough to leave him wondering what hit him. The breakup or divorce happened all too swiftly leaving feelings as charred live wires, and Green becomes a tender reference point in all too many conversations, activities and memorable moments. Ironically, she is also harmful to other humans given sufficient long term exposure and yielding awful cancerous results (think Lex Luthor). So, when someone tells you that you sound like a broken record or your current sweetheart/spouse starts pulling away, to protect her own life from the green funk surrounding you… you know your Ex was Green.
Red. Red Kryptonite definitely has more of a bite- even causing bizarre behavior and transformations in its victims. Perhaps you were with Red for a longer period of time or she had some kind of deep-rooted hold on your mind and soul. This evil Ex shifts your thinking into perceiving the world under a nasty, angry negative lens. If you’re wondering where the hell the sun went and feel like you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror… you Ex was Red, in spades!
Red-Green. Oh, this one’s a doozy, causing you to mutate, temporarily growing a third eye in the back of his head. When you read between the lines here, boys, this Ex puts the curse of jealousy, paranoia, and doubt in your mindset. When you assume your next sweetheart has some kind of agenda with you, you are on the lookout for any kind of deal-breaking flaw, or you presume she cannot ever be totally trusted… well, you know your Ex was of the Red-Green alloy.
Silver. As lovely as Silver Kryptonite is, she is also cruel— causing her victims to suffer from delusions in any part of life. If you’ve caught yourself diving down rabbit holes left and right, assuming agendas of coworkers or friends or making mountains out of molehills, then Silver is still dangling around your neck, mister.
Black. This one is really vicious, causing its victims to actually split into two separate entities: one good and one evil. If a Hyde surfaces to your Jekyll and you find yourself crafting vengeful thoughts, lashing out snarky remarks about her, or wearing a billboard stating that you will rule over the next women you date… you know your Ex was Black Kryptonite. For sure.
Red-Green-Gold. Honestly, I think this version leaves the greatest wake, for it permanently removes its victim’s abilities and memories of ever having been Superman. This Kryptonite reduces a man to an insecure boy again, stealing the confidence, charisma, strength and powerful identity he once had. She never doles out encouragement, has a gift for passive-aggressiveness, and aims to overpower you in front of friend and stranger alike. If you feel like you’re not enough anymore—will never bring enough to the table in your current or next relationship—and all your other brilliant accomplishments have lost their value… your Ex was Red-Green-Gold.
As for how to rid yourself of Kryptonite’s leeching power, peel back the people, places, habits, things and environments where where she still lingers and clean house. Here’s a start:
- Turn around and don’t look back. RARE is the case wherein Exes get back together and live happily ever after.
- Disconnect (for a while) from the folks with tentacles to both you and Kryptonite. Earth is teeming with a gazillion people- go find some awesome new chums.
- Stop driving TO her house. Unless it’s your carpool day, or there is a major emergency. If you forgot some special item from your toolkit there- just go to Home Depot.
- Stop driving BY her house. Sure, you moved within 3 blocks of her house when the kiddos were in school, but find another route to work, my friend. Nothing ruins a Monday morning like wondering who the hell owns that red BMW sitting in her driveway.
- End ALL connections on ALL social media platforms and apps. I don’t care how long ago you were together.
- Wear a Taser that zings you every time you mention Kryptonite’s name. Hey, reverse-Pavlov works brilliantly.
- Take a long breather from stepping foot in those once-favorite & special-moment places. Create new memories and see new sites.
- Clean house- literally of anything that has HER in it. Things can only hold the value we place on them. If they’re radioactive, they aren’t adding to your life- they’re taking away.
- If you’re in a relationship now, TALK IT ALL OUT. Puking all the Kryptonite out of your system with the person who LOVES YOU as you are today can help you heal.
- Nothing clears away bad habits and thoughts like the opposition. It’s a helluvalot easier to quit smoking when you get jazzed about boxing or cycling. Plus, you feel 10x better!
Never Stop EVOLVING. ~ KD
©2016 Kimberlie Dykeman. Sponsored by Kimberlie Dykeman Enterprises– Executive Performance Coaching, Retreats & Wingman Support for Gentlemen.
This is also featured on the global platform The Good Men Project where Dykeman is a regular contributing writer.