The Bess Houdini syndrome refers precisely to the faculties of the legendary Hungarian escapist of the 19th century. However, in this case we will speak of a psychological escapism derived from avoidance. Thus, one can escape from a family situation, from a job or from daily obligations.
Ego struggles, complacencies and even how difficult it is to express oneself authentically without harming the other are common circumstances in interpersonal relationships. That said the fact that many people escape from these relationships expresses a much deeper symptom in today’s society.
In many cases, the relationship is direct, the more commitment, the greater the “need” to escape. It is naturalized in many people, but what are the real causes of this phenomenon? Why is it so complicated to get involved emotionally?
The emotional involvement that most of our relationships require was never so questioned. Social ties have been an active part in the evolution of our species.
The implication can also be defined by its opposite, distancing. Both the feelings and the ability to externalize them are essential to empathize with others.
Even Bess Houdini would be surprised
The patterns such as the family and the “flock feeling” that marked the lives of our elders have been distorted.
We live in an individualistic society where the movements led by youth are increasingly dispersed. This characteristic is not only seen in relationships, it is also common in friendship relationships, which tend to utilitarianism.
The emotional flight: its phases
Bess Houdini syndrome usually has several phases. All of them mark a process that goes from delivery to total rejection. Let’s see the main characteristics of its phases.
- Implication: stage of sentimental boom. In it, persuasion strategies are executed to obtain what is wanted from the other person. It seems there are no limits to friendship or love.
- Doubts: the weak bases under which the ties are built cause the appearance of doubts quickly. This is when the house of cards begins to fall. He does it slowly in order to leave no traces.
- Escape: final stage that occurs when there is no contact. The other person has run away from our lives and communication is null.
A society that does not help
The individualistic society in which we live does not specifically promote relationships. Technology has put total communication within reach.
Nowadays we do not have to be close to a person to be able to interact actively with her. This makes it much easier to break relationships, since we do not have to justify our position by looking the other in the eye. Our links transcend those around us physically.
In this context, devices that “facilitate” social relations have appeared. Examples are Tinder or Facebook, where we can contact people from all over the world or find a partner in minutes. People are no longer indispensable: there is a reserve “bank” with many other people waiting .
Supply and demand of feelings
The speed at which we change ties makes the ecstasy of love and friendship last very little. Once a link is finalized, you go back to the market to find the ecstasy of novelty . This is how a kind of supply and demand of feelings is created with the common denominator of novelty. In this “market” there is superficiality: a striking profile in social networks is fundamental.
Bess Houdini syndrome may have its roots at very young ages. Many relationship experts say that one of the possible causes is the little emotional education that adolescents receive. They are bombarded with stereotypes of relationships, but without a clear idea of how to manage them.
The flight reaction
Although we identify this syndrome in specific people, its effects and characteristics are the product of a social phenomenon. The syndrome can manifest itself in various ways-depending on different factors, such as the personality of the individual-but the end is always the same, the flight, behavior that usually appears when you feel fear.
How to detect an escapist?
To analyze the Bess Houdini syndrome you have to start with yourself. On many occasions, people surprise themselves by complaining about these attitudes, when they have other people as “plan b”.
Emotional involvement involves egocentric renunciations. Thus, an indication that betrays any escapist is the impossibility of engaging beyond their own interests.
The dilemma arises. Do we become totally involved? If we get involved in a superficial way we cannot pretend to establish strong and lasting bonds, they imply a risk. Thus, the use and flight of repetitive and repeated is a clear symptom of emotional weakness. Weakness can be expressed in various ways.
- Avoidant behaviors: people who cannot get involved cannot break links directly. This is how they progressively avoid contact with people through excuses.
- Denial: these people may show a certain sentimental block. They usually have problems to externalize their feelings without actions.
- Egocentrism: these people have difficulties to plan activities that turn out of their interests.
It is not all lost
We analyze emotional escapism as an individual and social phenomenon. We must analyze our actions and if we detect some characteristic of the escapist type, we can stop it before it becomes systematic . Some keys are:
- Face the fear: it is true that when we get involved we also risk it. Confidence, empathy and feelings seem to be at stake. But we should not be afraid if we are consistent with our ideas.
- Self-esteem: we do not have to sell something, to someone, that we are not. The people who will come and endure will do so because of our real characteristics.
- Caring for the other: getting involved is something important and playing with the expectations of the other person is an escapist sign. Sincerity is a way to protect the rest.
The well-known saying from love to hate there is a step” has been transformed into “from love to rejection there is a scene. Although we can certainly identify the Bess Houdini syndrome in several people who went through our lives, it is necessary to be objective. Individualism and the speed at which the environment around us changes has also been transferred to our relationships, so that now they demand more and better social reflexes.