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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Can't Go for That


ReksHit up


My mom was a fan of Hall & Oates, so I heard the pop rock duo played throughout my home as a child. Personally, I liked their song “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do).” It’s a quintessential ‘80s jam.


To my surprise, a sample from the song was used on the track “Can’t Gø,” by rapper Reks and producer Short Fyuz (Fuse), on the album Order in Chaos (2018). The song begins with Reks stating:


Here we go again with the same ol’, same ol’

More things change, the more they remain the same, yo

More you and me, same team, let’s argue, and so

Here’s a couple things that I can’t go for


The rapper then lists numerus matters with which he’s displeased regarding his romantic relationship. When I used to conduct couples therapy, I heard a number of the same complaints, as Reks outlines:


Damn, you left the cap off the toothpaste

I’mma take a leak and leave the toilet seat up, shorty, just wait

You ain’t nothin’ like the lady I met on the first date

No longer my first love, you are now my first hate

Holdin’ on to a grudge, so petty, up late

Watch the mix when you fix my dinner plate

You still sexy, use sex weapons, great

And I don’t wanna lose the EBT or the Section 8


Concerning accumulated trivial matters which are associated with intimate partner relationships, I stated in a blogpost entitled A House Divided Against Itself:


Quite often, clients would attend session and lay out lengthy lists of perceived wrongs committed by their partners. I found that in the beginning stages of romantic relationships people sought out similarities, though in relational decline they meticulously searched for dissimilarities.


Reks briefly cites the reasons he’s perceivably incapable of remaining in the relationship. Nonetheless, he admits that there are elements for which he’d stay. The song continues:


I can’t go for back and forth, he-said, she-said

Breakups, make-ups, ruining our lives

Through husbands and wives, sacred is the ties

From firstborn babies to wishin’ each other dies

Takes two to tango when the temperatures rise

All went downhill when you opened your thighs


In hip hop, the term “wreck shit up” is a less crude way of saying “fuck shit up,” which one source describes as, “To make a bad situation [worse].” In the case of “Can’t Gø,” the rapper would likely ReksHit up if he remained in the intimate partner relationship outlined in the song.


LFT


From a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) perspective, “Can’t Gø” describes the impact of irrational beliefs regarding the process of low frustration tolerance (LFT). Saying things like, “I can’t got for that,” or, “I can’t stand this,” are examples of self-disturbing narratives which indicate LFT.


When I worked with couples, I promoted the use of tolerance and acceptance, healthy boundary setting, as well as open, honest, and vulnerable communication. These techniques address the unhelpful notion of a relational partner assuming, “I can’t go for” whatever is taking place within the relationship.


What I learned when helping couples was that often—though not always—by the time romantic partners finally sought help, at least one of the clients had already decided to end the relationship. For such a person, it wasn’t always a matter of LFT that influenced the decision.


Rather, some people ask themselves why they should, must, or ought to remain in an unproductive relationship—not whether or not they can tolerate staying. In “Can’t Gø,” Reks appears to have been in the contemplation phase while maintaining one foot out the door.


Personally, I think it’s helpful to ask oneself critical questions about why an intimate relationship may be failing. In specific, I encourage people to envisage what role they play in the downfall of their relations—taking personal ownership for their role in dissatisfaction.


It isn’t necessarily an easy matter to process, thinking of the behavior we exhibited that may have led to our own displeasure. If able to endure the discomfort concerning careful examination of this sort, you may be able to parse whether or not LFT is a hindrance to your relationship, or if perhaps you truly desire or need to leave.


Grandma’s smoking habit


I now invite the reader to forgive me an anecdote. When I was a child, my grandma by marriage used to chain-smoke. Watching television with a cold beer in a koozie, she would puff on several cigarettes in succession, sometimes using the ember of a finishing cigarette to light the next.


I despised cigarette smoke though I loved my late grandma. Interestingly, she wasn’t the source of significant emotional support I thought I wanted, because she practiced a Stoic approach to her version of rational compassion.


For instance, if I was sad she wouldn’t say something like, “Oh, honey, it’ll be all right.” Instead, she’d administer some comparative struggle which demonstrated how self-indulged my problem was by suggesting something like, “Well, there are people in the world who are far worse off than you, dear.”


Despite her unwelcomed trivialization of my suffering—which I now fully appreciate (thank you, grandma)—she was the best personal cook I’d ever known, one of the most laid back adults I’d ever met, and she was the uttermost unintentionally funny person I’d met at that point in my life.


Some of my best memories as a child stemmed from grandma’s house, though I later realized that other family members didn’t share a similar experience. Because I loved my grandma and delighted in her frequent backrubs, I tolerated her chain-smoking behavior.


Coughing, wheezing, and with watery eyes, I’d lie my head in her lap as she drank, smoked, and watched Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Lost in Space, gameshows, or the news. Grandma was a woman of refined taste.


Regarding LFT, it wasn’t as though I told myself, “I can’t go for that smoking,” because I was actually able to tolerate my physiological response to second-hand smoke, which is reportedly a “Group A Carcinogen, known to cause cancer in humans.”


Still, much as people contemplate LFT in conjunction with their wants and needs when in romantic relationships, it’s worth considering whether or not I should, must, or ought to have chosen to endure exposure to harmful effects of grandma’s smoke. Of this, I’m reminded of Jurassic Park (1993).


In the film, the character Dr. Ian Malcolm poses a moral conundrum concerning whether or not it’s ethical to recreate dinosaurs by stating, “Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”


In my blog, when discussing should, must, and ought-type statements, I often relate them to self-disturbing beliefs related to the process of demandingness. This occurs when rigid prescriptions are used towards oneself, others, and the world (e.g., You shouldn’t cheat on me).


However, not always is use of these terms unhelpful. In the case of continued inhalation of my grandma’s cigarette smoke, it’s reasonable to ask whether or not I should have been exposed to her unhealthy smoking habit. After all, not all shoulds, musts, and oughts are created equal.


Conclusion


In the song “Can’t Gø,” rapper Reks expresses the inability to tolerate his intimate partner relationship. Given his expressed grievances, it appears as though he’d already made up his mind to leave.


Once upon a time, I worked as a couples therapist and attempted to help clients determine whether or not they could tolerate and accept dissimilarities and annoyances, or if perhaps they truly desired or needed to part ways. It was challenging work.


Whether working with couples or individuals at that time, I found utility in assessing people’s level of frustration tolerance. In particular, I invited clients to practice personal responsibility and accountability when they experienced low frustration tolerance.


Still, it’s important to understand that simply because a person could stay in an intimate partner relationship doesn’t mean it’s unimportant to stop to think if they should remain together. Some relationships are incredibly toxic, violent, and dangerous.


Using an anecdote related to my late grandma, herein I’ve illustrated how even though we may love a person for who and what they represent to us, there are behavioral matters which may be worth consideration when it comes to whether or not we should remain in their company.


Rather than detailing what those behaviors may be in regards to a romantic relationship, I leave it to the reader to determine. Ultimately, the distinction between “I can’t go for that” and “I shouldn’t stay, because of that” may be worth assessing.


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW



References:


American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. (n.d.). Secondhand smoke. Retrieved from https://no-smoke.org/smokefree-threats/secondhand-smoke/

Bandcamp. (n.d.). Short Fyuz. Retrieved from https://shortfyuz.bandcamp.com/

Daryl Hall & John Oates. (2009, October 25). Daryl Hall & John Oates - I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do) (official video) [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/ccenFp_3kq8?si=3D8M6f10_JUYLdQE

Discogs. (n.d.). Reks X Short Fyuz – Order in Chaos. Retrieved from https://www.discogs.com/release/12612206-Reks-X-Shortfyuz-Order-In-Chaos

Emoske. (2011, January 25). Fucking shit up. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Fucking%20shit%20up

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