We've all done it, had it done to us or have seen it in action - "Red Ball Syndrome".
The first place we see this in action is where you would anticipate this, the playground as a child. You're playing about, minding your own business and see a red ball (can be any color but in this analogy it's red) sitting in the middle of the playground, no one is playing with it, no one is near it, so you go over to start playing with it. This is where RBS takes action, not within you, but the other kid that's now coming your way. They have that glare in their eye, like you've done something wrong, they're mad at you it seems and you don't even know why. Before this kid even reaches you they are yelling "That's MY ball!".... You are confused, their name isn't on it, they weren't playing with it, they weren't even the one to bring it outside... Yet it's "their" ball? Ok... So you question them on this and their response - "Well I wasn't playing with it now but I was GOING to." Like you should have known or something.
The next place we see RBS and continually see it for a majority of our adult lives is - you guessed it - THE DATING WORLD! (Cue doom and gloom music).
High school is where we see RBS happen once again, how we begin to handle this now is much more different than we did as a child, because why? Because that "red ball" is now your crush, your desire, your want! How many times were you in the halls talking with your pals and you FINALLY get the guts to admit to them that you like so-and-so, hoping to be met with "Oh that's awesome, I'll see if I can put in a good word, you totally got a shot, go for it!" But instead - RBS kicks in and one of your buddies pipes up "Ya but I have totally had a crush on so-and-so, for like, forever, so ya, don't go there"... Again, like when we were a child, we are confused. This "friend" never once showed interest in said person, talked to them, hinted at it or anything, yet now suddenly they are interested so you better not be if you want to still be their friend.
The sad part is, as a teen we don't often question our "friend". We back down, we tell them to go for it, and watch our dreams with our crush fade into darkness. And this continues on well into our adult years.
The next place we see RBS has a little more fire, a little more spice, a little more JEALOUSY. Anyone who has ever dated someone and had a break up is guilty of this at the very least one time, but that one time can feel like absolute HELL.
So you date someone, whether for a short or long period of time, it doesn't matter, something happens and the dark clouds roll in on your sunny skies and BOOM it's over. It doesn't matter why you broke up, what happened, what the fight was about, RBS will likely come to surface. You are amicable after the break up, maybe still even chat and hang out or whatnot... Then... It happens... They start dating someone new. (Cue doom and gloom music) RBS is back once again. Did you want to get back together with them? God no, hell no... Well... Maybe? Who knows? But now, you don't even have that option. You are overcome with jealous, you are feeling territorial, you now feel the loss of this person.... Yet this person could very well be just like that red ball sitting in the playground that no one wanted to play with... Except you were that kid that ACTUALLY did leave that ball there, thinking you were done with it, but when you see some other kid enjoying it, you get upset and want it back. Sure your ex is with someone new, the "someone new" is now enjoying them, you miss when you enjoyed them, but do you really want your ex back? Really? If the answer is yes, this is your wake up call. If the answer is no, then you know it's time to move on.
The lesson in all of this is that we need to be sure that we listen to our hearts, our gut instincts on things when it comes to dating and relationships. We, as adults, must do our damnedest to no longer allow RBS to rule or dictate our lives.
Kerri Lee Griffin