The Grass is Always Greener Syndrome!
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I coach a lots of Mums, in particular, who are going through a divorce and I read with interest this article in Psych Central Blogs
How many times have we heard the cliche, “The grass is always greener on the other side?” While the overuse of this phrase has mostly dulled its impact, people who experience the “grass is greener syndrome” endure a significant struggle with commitment.
What causes this issue?
The hallmark of the “grass is greener syndrome” is the idea that there is always something better that we are missing. So rather than experiencing stability, security, and satisfaction in the present environment, the feeling is there is more and better elsewhere, and anything less than ideal won’t do. Whether it’s with relationships, careers, or where you live, there is always one foot out the door.
The problem with this is the greener grass is usually based on fantasy and fear. The fear comes from several possibilities, including fear of being trapped in commitment, fear of boredom, fear of loss of individuality, and fear of oppression.
Along with these fears comes the issue of compromise. In people who fear commitment, comprising certain desires, needs, and values for the sake of the unity can feel like oppressive sacrifice. When this happens, the perception is that there is something else out there that will allow us to have all that we crave, want, and value, and that it will happen on our terms.
This is where the element of fantasy comes in, and with the fantasy comes projection. We’re going to want what we don’t have, and there’s a fantasy that we’ll get what we don’t have, and that the parts that we’re currently happy with won’t be sacrificed in this change. However, what ends up happening is that after the “honeymoon phase” of making the change, we find ourselves wanting to flip to the other side of the fence again because we discover that there are other things that we don’t have, and because the novelty of the change wears off. It ends up being true, that we always want what we don’t have, even if we’ve already jumped the fence several times.
This is where projection comes in. When the grass is greener on the other side, we’re usually (if not always) placing personal unhappiness with ourselves onto something outside of us — generally a partner, career, living environment, etc.
Read more here