World of Warcraft and Mental Health

About four or five years ago, I went through something that turned my life, and my head, completely upside down.

It started with, of all things, a migraine.

I was used to them. I got them all the time. I had them for days at a time. I pushed through. I got things done. I ignored the pain, and mostly, that worked. Admittedly, as things progressed, the amount of days I spent enduring migraines lengthened, until I quite possibly had less than a week out of every month where I wasn’t in pain… but it happened so slowly that by that time, I had adjusted. I persevered.

Until one day, my body decided enough was enough.

I had a migraine so severe I was screaming in pain. We rushed to the hospital, where they struggled to help. Eventually, the pain faded, and we went home… where I couldn’t forget what had happened.

The anxiety and fear of both the pain, and not knowing what had happened to me, or why, eventually led to another screaming migraine.

And another.

Finally, I was in such a state of constant vigilance, I couldn’t cope with even my normal migraines. I started having dreams of dying.

I had a dream of walking out into traffic… and I woke up completely numb – I felt nothing about it. I understood, my subconscious was speaking about my desperation. I wasn’t suicidal, but when you’re experiencing trauma coupled with pain, your brain does a funny thing. It grabs onto any idea for relief.

When I was a child, I was hit by a car, and I died. While I was dead, I experienced not light, but darkness. Pure, empty darkness. There was no pain, there was no fear, there was no hate, there was NOTHING… and it was the most beautiful, quiet experience of my life. When they brought me back, I cried for days, because I didn’t want to leave that peace for a life that was nothing but horror.

So of course, when I was again experiencing something I couldn’t cope well with, my brain remembered what it was like to be dead… and suggested, through dreams, that solution.

This is actually quite common in trauma patients. This does NOT mean they are suicidal. It means that their subconscious is reaching for a way out. That doesn’t mean they have any intention of acting on it… it just means they’re nearing the end of their endurance.

Realizing what my dream signified, I knew I needed medical assistance to get my pain under control. I had my mother take me to the hospital, where I TRIED to explain to multiple medical professionals about my pain, and the dream, and what I needed.

THEY decided I was suicidal, and stopped listening to me. They sent me to an inpatient psychiatric facility for a week, where I experienced even more psychological trauma. The only person I met during that week who DID understand was a paramedic who was an Iraki war veteran. He had shrapnel in his head. He lived with pain daily. He understood the difference between wanting to die, and your brain trying to find solutions to situations.

The end result of these experiences was an anxiety disorder, severe depression, and PTSD.

I sat on the couch for two years. I barely spoke. I wasn’t really aware. People spoke to me, and I honestly felt everything they said meant nothing. Their questions were all obvious, and clearly rhetorical. I stared at the world, and felt nothing, thought nothing. I was empty, at the bottom of a deep well. The world was very dark, and I didn’t care. The only time I experienced any emotions, I would be having a panic attack.

Eventually, we realized that the hospital’s solution of drowning me in medication I didn’t need had exacerbated my situation. My doctor took me off every medication she could.

I was unmedicated for a little over a year…. and slowly, I started to live again. I wasn’t my old self, by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t think I’ll ever get that person back. She died – that’s how I look at it. We found out that I have a sensitivity to sugar. I’m not diabetic – it’s a different issue. If I have too much sugar, I get migraines. We also found out I needed glasses, which clearly contributed to my issues. Dehydration and forgetting to eat definitely contribute, but the main cause is sugar. I stopped drinking gatorade, which I had been drinking because of chronic electrolyte deficiencies, and got an app for my phone that reminded me to drink, and to eat. My migraines and my anxiety both cause me to become very scattered and forgetful. I needed those apps.

Because I was home, and unwell, I had a lot of spare time. I read a lot, but even someone for whom reading is a passion can become tired of reading when that’s ALL you do… so I started playing games from Google Play. I played mystery games – games with a story line, where you would have to find objects, and use them to complete tasks to get to the next section of the game.

I bought a LOT of games. It was becoming expensive.

My husband suggested I try creating a character on WoW. When we first met six years ago, I had tried to play, but I had this tiny Vista hybrid laptop. It had a flip around touch screen, and the latency on the thing was so bad, I couldn’t see what had killed me… It was so bad, that I got very frustrated and just decided that I wasn’t a gamer. I didn’t blame my tech… I blamed myself. After all… I’d played console games with friends. I knew I was bad at games. Shoot – I died during RPG’s.

However, he convinced me to give it another go. I had a newer computer, and he’d played on it. It wasn’t awful, so he thought I would be able to play. He was right, for the most part.

Because I have a lot of social anxiety, I didn’t run any dungeons. I just quested. Despite that, I leveled a toon to 100 in under four months. For a new player, that’s pretty good. He bought me Legion as a present, for making it that far.

The thing about Warcraft is that it gives me goals. Small, achievable tasks, for which I gain rewards. Slowly, my mental health improved, because my confidence in my own ability to solve problems grew. I started running dungeons with my husband and his best friend. I joined a guild and ran some content with them.

My new laptop couldn’t handle Legion. I had latency issues. I had lag issues. Loading into dungeons and scenarios took too long, and I frequently dc’d and spent a lot of time catching up to groups… and dying.

We started saving for a computer that could handle Legion. I got The Beast as a Valentine’s Day present this year. I LOVE my Beast.

After I got The Beast, and realized that a large part of my problems WERE in fact technological, I started feeling confident enough to pug dungeons. We moved to a higher population server (we’d been on Moonguard, which is an RP server, and not really our style) which was progression based, because I finally felt ready to move forward. To challenge myself.

I found a WONDERFUL guild. I can’t even begin to express how helpful and understanding they’ve been. I was clear from the start about my issues, and the reason we click so well is that they are a group designed to support people with my health issues.

Because of Warcraft, and a strong support system, I’ve begun to enjoy being challenged. I still get frustrated if I die a lot. I feel like I’ve failed my team. It just pushes me to learn more.

I’m working, right now, to gear a new character, because I want to get into the higher level dungeons, the mythic plusses, and into the Nighthold Raid. I want to run the heroic Guldan battle, and get my Ahead of the Curve achievement.

I want to be ready for when Tomb of Sargeras comes out. I want to be in the front lines. I want to be part of the team of guildies who run mythic challenges for the guild weekly.

A friend dragged me into battle ground scenarios last weekend. It was the first time I’ve done real PVP stuff. I didn’t die as often as I expected. It was chaotic, and confusing… but I learned a lot. I think I’d like to do more, because I know things about my toon I didn’t know before.

 

I have gone from someone who, when I couldn’t log into my bank account, ended up curled in a ball under a coffee table, completely hysterical, to someone who is actively looking to challenge herself. To push. To grow.

World of Warcraft saved me. I am reborn, and I am ready to face the World… and the world.

Thank you, Warcraft, for teaching me that I Can. And thank you, my husband, for insisting I try it. You’re right… it’s cheaper… and a lot more fun.

 

An Ending

For years, I believed that you did things because it was all you knew. I thought you showed me how much you cared when you sent me food, cat toys, clothes, books, blankets weighted specifically to help with me with my autistic anxiety attacks, because you didn’t know any other way to show me – and I excused that because of how far away from each other we were… Even stranger, in the beginning when I kept telling you not to do these things, because I felt I would owe you something in return (because everyone always wants something in return for their charity), and because I felt that anyone who buys me things was attempting to buy my love (because it’s happened so many times before) – you told me not to worry about it. None of that was true about US. WE were DIFFERENT.

When my illness became so bad I couldn’t communicate anymore, you waited for me to answer your texts – even when it took months, even when my answers simply never came. Of course, you took me to task for my negligence of you, but you were always been the first to admit you are needy and greedy – and I always assured you that wasn’t the case. I agreed that I was the negligent one.

When I was so sick, I simply wanted to die, and you would tell me I wasn’t allowed to die until you were ready to go, yourself, I told myself that you were being loving… the truth is, telling someone they can only die on your schedule is cruel, and grasping. It is not caring when they’re experiencing what I went through. It’s just more emotional torture added to the experience.

In exchange for all of this perceived care, you received from me acceptance, and excuses for all that you were. I accepted the things in your life, and the things about yourself, that were out of your control, beyond your power to change. I accepted those things about you over which you DID have control, and yet still would not change. I occasionally discussed with you what I thought about how your choices, and lack of choices, were affecting your health – spiritually, physically, and mentally… but I never thought of it as judgment, or a request for you to change… I accepted you, wholly. You were who you were, and that was more than ok… it was wonderful.

While you were going through your separation and eventual divorce, I dealt with your constant  criticism of my relationship with my husband, and your frequent oblique references to your ex, as if my husband was cut from the same cloth. I always told myself that your negativity towards R was because you were so hurt… I realize now that there were other issues you had with my happy relationship – one was jealousy… our relationship is significantly healthier than yours was, and I am happy with my husband. The other issue was one of ownership. Every time I mentioned a problem I had, your immediate response was to tell me to run to you, come live with you and be your only person… you never included my husband in your offers unless I brought him up. In your mind, I belong to you, and with you, and shouldn’t be happy anywhere else, with anyone else. When I look back on conversations where you talked about my husband, I feel very manipulated, emotionally. That is not something a friend would do. 

When you expressed an interest in my husband, I was open about it. I know what happens around you when you want things and have to be sneaky, and that is not what I wanted for any of us. When, to protect myself and my relationship with my husband, I laid your desires on the table, you were angry. Part of it is that you enjoy sneaky theft, but a larger part of it was your deep, abiding fear of rejection. Seduction works for you. Bluntness leaves you too open, too revealed. It terrifies you. 

Of course, you and your therapist decided I was a raping raper who pushed you towards things you swore afterwards that you didn’t ever say you wanted. You looked good from that angle… and I took the fall like a good dog. 

When I agreed to take a stronger roll in my own life and power, and in yours, I asked for one thing from both you and the Universe. I asked that I no longer carry the blame for those things that are beyond my control… and you failed to keep your oath.

I experienced something I did not understand, and I came to you for help. You laughed at me, and then you told me that what I’d done (even though it was something beyond my control) was stupid, and that it was going to cause you harm, and that maybe next time I found myself in such a predicament, I should take a moment to think about the larger picture, and all the facts, before I do something like that again.

In other words… you blamed me, and you chastised me. 

You seem to think you gave me information I was unhappy to learn. I was glad to learn what my power had done. I was happy to understand. What pissed me off was your attack of things I had no control over, your blame of me. It’s like yelling at cats for having hairballs or shedding. They have fur – to expect them not to have trouble with their fur from time to time is irrational, and to hold them accountable for their troubles is unreasonable and cruel. 

When I found myself in a situation where I was doing things, but didn’t know what was happening, or even WHY, and I came to you for help – you lorded your superiority over me, and told me, once again, that I think I’m just SO smart that I can do anything I want, because I’ll always find a way out of it. Except that you know that’s not true, and that’s not how I think. This is not the first time we’ve had this EXACT discussion… or even the 90th.

The truth is there are moments in my life where I am fully aware of everything going on around me, yet I am not the one in the driver seat… It appears to everyone else that I am in complete control of what is happening, and yet THAT’S NOT ACTUALLY ME. I move, speak, change the world, and everyone sees my face, my mind, my hands; everyone hears my voice. It’s still not me. I do agree that I’m fully conscious in those moments, where time and the multiverse seem to take a breath, before a sudden wave of power and will changes everything completely… and the epicenter is absolutely me, but I am still not the architect – and saying that I am is like saying I’m to blame for the sun rising.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I say this to you – you refuse to understand it. No matter how many times I tell you, “I wasn’t thinking anything at all – there wasn’t an opportunity for me to think, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t do this,’ or ‘Wow, the ramifications of this action make it inadvisable…'” – you STILL insist that because I was there, and the action happened through me, that somehow I could have stopped it, could have changed it… and that next time this happens, I should take control and make it NOT happen.

All this, while also telling me that one of my biggest issues is that I try to control everything (though of course anyone who consistently has their life turned upside down by a puppet master universe would OF COURSE have control issues) and that I should stop “insisting that the system behave the way I want it to,” WHILE you’re simultaneously telling me I should have more control over myself.

The final straw, I think, was that when I asked, you, no… BEGGED YOU to PLEASE attempt to see what was happening to me from my perspective so that you would understand why blaming me for this type of shit is so hurtful, ESPECIALLY COMING FROM SOMEONE LIKE YOU WHO HAS BEEN THERE, TOO… 

When I said to you that you do not seem to understand when I tell you with words, or when I write it down, or when you see it happen to me, but that you seem to ONLY learn by doing, so would you please ALLOW a flow of information to SHOW YOU, BY YOU DOING IT YOURSELF, and you told me I was asking you to be raped – more than that, you told the world that I WANTED you to be raped, that I insisted on it… despite the fact that both of us have been in situations where we were not in control of what happened to our bodies, and neither of us would EVER wish that on ANYONE, EVER… that accusation was just it for me. 

The moment you said that you were not interested in experiencing my world for yourself, I said, OK. I stopped asking you for what I needed, and tried, ONCE AGAIN, to explain IN WORDS what I go through, and you called it a lecture, and then you threatened me – and then you followed that with some incredibly passive-aggressive bullshit.

That was the moment I realized how toxic you are.

I find it interesting that when I won’t do my job, I’m a horrible person, and when I do my job, I’m to blame for the things that happen through me. You call what I asked you to try and experience “Rape.” This essentially means, when you asked me to take back my power, you were asking me to accept rape… and now you’re blaming me for the results… and telling me I’m a rapist because I asked you to attempt to view things from my perspective. What I hear you saying is that it’s ok for me to be raped, and for you to blame me, but it’s not ok for you to emotionally, spiritually, or mentally support me while I endure what you have asked me to endure.

All the gifts in the world don’t make up for you calling me a rapist because I asked you for understanding – asked you for something EVERYONE NEEDS. All the food in the world would not make up for you being ok with me experiencing what you consider to be rape, and also being ok with blaming me for the results. All the pretty dresses, all the plush toys, all the blankets in the world, don’t make up for you greedily telling me that I don’t get to die on my own schedule, but yours. All the visits to organize my medical care, all the offers to pay for various therapies, don’t make up for you lying to me about so many things, and then blaming me for not knowing anything. 22 years of friendship doesn’t make up for you continuing to blame me for shit I cannot help, while doing your damnedest to remain as pure as the driven snow.

That’s about as pure as the shoveled shit. You have betrayed me, abandoned me – every time I have become homeless it has been because of you and your choices. Every time I’ve moved across country, except for the very last, it has been to suit your desires – to either have me, or to throw me away because you found something better for a little while – and the one time I have moved by choice, and for my own reasons – the one time I’ve managed to maintain a stable life for an extended period – when you finally realized what you had chosen over me wasn’t going to work for you anymore, you began trying to emotionally blackmail me into changing my decision.

Do not reply to this post. Do not call me. Do not email me. Do not send me another single thing in an attempt to make yourself feel less guilty for who and what you are, and all the betrayals you have heaped on me over the years. I do not want you – in my life, in my power, in my future – we are not family, we are not friends… and I don’t care enough to even want to be enemies – because you’re not even worth THAT kind of energy.

I have forgiven you, accepted you, loved you… and you have lied to me, accused me, blamed me, betrayed me… and all of this, for the last time. I’m done with you.

 I’ve blocked your phone number and your emails. We’re done. I got help and removed my power from your family line, untwisted our fate, and separated our godhead. We are now two, on two separate paths. I have paid you what I owe, and washed my hands of all of it. 

Thank the gods we’re over. That was the silliest 20,000 years of my life. 

I thought of you when I read this quote from “Urban Shaman (The Walker Papers Book 1)” by C.E. Murphy –

“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting. In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea. I liked the Irish way better.”

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/1PhRKC4

The Second Coming – Yeats

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

       THE SECOND COMING

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Feast Day of Saint Carl of Sagan

Blue Flame Magick

On November 1st, the Feast of All Saints, Jason asked some of us “Who are your Saints?” and suggested people think of the “great Sorcerer Saints and Mystics that have come before, and upon whose shoulders we all stand.” I knew right away who one of my main saints is, despite not being a sorcerer, and by many perceptions of him, not a mystic or spiritual person at all.

For me today is a feast day, with an unconventional feast celebration, for an unconventional saint. Outside of a technical definition adhered to by Catholicism, it’s hard to define a saint. Catholicism has a complex system of slowly canonizing and investigating miracles to evaluate if a person could be a saint. (A modern idea within the Church, as many early saints were considered saints by the people, and essentially grandfathered in.) Within Buddhism we have a myriad of interesting saints, but…

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I Find My Lack of Progress Disturbing…

Wednesday

GM

KKK I missed you so much!!!!

*hughughug*

Ok shall not squish you. *backs away*

ME

Lol

GM

You all right???

ME

I don’t really know… I usually tell people I’m getting there, or that I’m doing better… but mostly I’m just bleh anymore.

GM

*hugs* that’s a usual feeling to feel during recovery. You sort of hit a plateau of ‘blehness’. But that’s still an improvement from the horrible low parts of before.

Take it slowly ok? Don’t feel the need to appear OK just to please people.

ME

Don’t worry. I’m being careful.

GM

Good

ME

I have a good therapist.

GM

Oh that’s great

ME

Yeah… she’s been wonderful.

GM

I’m glad, I really am. You deserve good doctors.

ME

Yeah… it’s about time, huh. Lol

GM

Pretty much.

You’re not doing anything metaphysically right? Hope youve just been recuperating

ME

No… I’ve not done anything magickal since last year.

GM

That’s good, you’re focusing on recovering

Ah what am I saying? I’m just so happy to ‘see’ you again.

ME

It’s nice to be back.

GM

I’d like to think i’ve ‘grown’ in these few months. Lol.

ME

That’s good to hear. I’m not sure if I’ve grown… I think that I’ve changed so drastically, growth is the wrong concept.

GM

Well change isn’t a bad thing.

It just… is.

ME

Exactly.

GM

Changed how so?

ME

I’m not sure yet… I just know I’m not who I was anymore. I’m someone else, and I’m still trying to get to know the new me.

GM

Ok.

I’m not sure if what I’ve had to do lately has changed me.

ME

I didn’t realize I was someone else until the middle of summer, 15 months later.

GM

*nod*

That can happen.

ME

Yup. Lol Color me clueless.

Today

DR

Welcome back…I was wondering if I’d see you here again

ME

I needed some time..

DR

Nothing wrong with that…we all need to step away from time to time to work things out…it’s good to see you…pixelly speaking

ME

Good to see you again, too.

DR

How are you?

ME

Well, honestly I’ve spent the last 20 months trying to recover from a medical issue… I haven’t done anything more important than breathe.

DR

Don’t undervalue the importance of breathing, both literally and metaphorically…if you feel like talking about it in always a good listener, if not, it’s good to know that you’re still around

ME

I wrote a little on my blog… but I’m mostly trying to put it all behind me. I’m such a drastically different person from the Me that went through all of that… that old me died and now I’ve got to figure out who this person is that I rose from those ashes as.

It’s hard… like being a kid all over again… a lot of the time I feel very lost. At least my reactivity is getting better.

DR

I apologise, I am blogless and out of touch…but either way, kudos to you…it takes a lot to be able to reassess ones life

ME

I didn’t really have a choice… I was in so much physical pain that there were moments I was willing to die to make it stop… being tortured chronically by your own body, with no hope of relief or escape… well, I just had to confront things I believed about myself that just weren’t true, and I had to accept that, and adjust to what was real… I guess I kinda broke, and there was no putting the pieces back together the old way… I had to become someone new just to survive the experiences.

DR

Ah…metamorphosis…that is a concept I actually know quite a bit about

ME

*nods* I know. That’s why I can say these things to you and not worry about your reactions. It’s hard enough to talk about at all without having to comfort your audience.

DR

I’ve always found comfort to be…well, comforting…but not all that constructive…it seems to focus too much on the problem, where as the solution/s are where our attention should really lay…which probably explains why no one ever comes to m for comfort

ME

*nods* honestly, I’m not a very comforting person anymore… my best is to avoid discussion of things that make people feel uncomfortable unless they REALLY need to hear it… but this is more that people feel pity and a weird kind of helpless handwringing over my experiences, which is useless to me and creepy, too. So I just tell people what they want to hear… I tell them I’m getting better, when really, there’s nothing for me to go back to and GET better… there’s just pushing forward towards a new normal that hopefully resembles some kind of functionality and purposeful forward movement… but I’m nowhere near that yet… I seem to be in that stage where you’re not an emotional or mental basket case anymore, but you’re not out-monstering the monster yet, either. A plateau.

DR

Never understood pity, it’s one of those useless emotions that does nothing but belittle the recipient, and expose the ignorance of the giver…

And to be honest, there is something comforting (yes I see the irony in using the word) about building from scratch and starting over.. it means you can pour a brand new, stronger foundation from the last…or, to avoid metaphors, the experiences make you stronger and more able to handle what comes next

ME

Yes to both points. I don’t want pity… I’m alive and that counts for something. And I learned things about myself that have made me a deeper human being. More rooted in the truth of what pain lays bare. That definitely makes me stronger than someone who has never experienced anything that pushes you to the brink, let alone into the abyss. I know things now… I survived.

DR

How are your closest friends and family taking it all…generally speaking

ME

After everything happened I really shut down a lot. So I don’t really have any close friends anymore. I just… they didn’t understand and I couldn’t cope with the baggage of trying to protect them when I needed to be protecting myself… and… my family doesn’t seem to have noticed. I don’t talk to them about it. My husband is the only one who sees how much of a mess I still am… but even there… we don’t talk about it… he just gets shit done and lets me muddle along behind him.

DR

Is that the best course…to muddle behind? I understand the need to “get shit done” I’m of the same mind…but one also needs to communicate…otherwise problems stay problems

ME

There’s not really anything much to talk about. I mean we do talk, when there’s issues… but my recovery isn’t something we talk about, or what happened, either… because talking about that doesn’t fix anything.

DR

Not even as a “comfort”?

ME

It doesn’t comfort me to talk about it. It upsets and depresses me. I know that’s a sign that I really NEED to talk about it… but I just can’t. It’s easier to just not think about it, not feel, just move forward…. well, except that I’m not.

It happened. No one knows why. There’s no fix for the fact that it happened… and since there’s no why, there’s no way to prevent it from happening again, and I can’t face that… so we just ignore the elephant.

DR

Good then…focus on what you do have control over…Everything else will either happen, or not, in its own time

ME

Exactly. At least that way, I don’t have to think about how terrified I am, which always leads to panic attacks and migraines… which lead to more fear… best to not start the cycle. That way lies dragons. I wonder, though, if I’ll ever get over the trauma enough to stop being so afraid. Therapy hasn’t really gotten me too far… I’m able to ignore the issue, but that’s about it.

DR

I don’t know how helpful my advice will be…but when I find I’m afraid of something I go at it head on…it’s like poking a wound…it’s hurts at first, but eventually you get numb to it…and eventually it just stops hurting…i know, it sounds cliché…but I never feel so alive as when I’m afraid

ME

My fear is of pain, physical pain, of being trapped in a place where that is my only experiential reality and as I burn and writhe under the pulsing waves of my own body betraying me, I know there is only one way out. My fear is of pain so great that rational thought becomes impossible and I am not Kat anymore. I am just an animal, with one need…. to make it stoo, and I don’t care how. I’m not afraid of garden variety physical pain anymore , or even emotional shit… and I’m not sure how to face that and become numb to it, because in that moment, there’s no me to face anything… and trust me… there’s no numbing it out. It’s the only thing that’s real. I didn’t feel alive, I felt agony, and I wanted it to stop more than I wanted to breathe.

The Biggest Relationship Mistakes I’ve Made

In learning to love, and learning about love, most of us go through a series of disastrous relationships – sometimes the fallout can be blamed on our chosen partner, but most often, everyone in the relationship is equally complicit. However, it sometimes takes a long time for people to learn how their own mistakes affected their failed relationships, simply because many of us blame the other party as being fully guilty, and never look at it beyond that.

I’ll admit that in the past, I have not exactly dated stellar material, but that doesn’t change that the biggest mistakes I made were never choosing a bad partner, but actually how I reacted IN the relationship itself.

Mistake Number One – Don’t Try To Fix What Isn’t Broken – OR – Love the One You’re With.

If you’re dating someone because of the potential you see in them, you’re not actually dating THEM… you’re dating some illusory dream of who they COULD be, if only they TRIED, if only they would listen to you, if only they believed in this imaginary dream of themselves as much as you do, and would WORK at it.

If you’re dating someone in trying to rescue them from their past mistakes, or their present ones, you might consider that those “mistakes,” those choices and their consequences and the learning experiences that helped them to grow on their path to this point – led them directly to you. In other words, if they had changed one single thing, it’s possible they’d never have met you, or if they had, neither of you would have been interested, and this relationship wouldn’t exist.

If you’re trying to save someone from themselves, that means you don’t fully appreciate who they are now, or all the hard work it took for them to get to you. You don’t love them, you love who you want them to be. Either you appreciate someone because of who they are, and that’s why you’re with them, or you believe the dream, and dreams belong in another world – they seldom happen in this one… dating a dream will never live up to reality – eventually you’ll resent them or even hate them for not becoming that perfect vision you have of them.

Mistake Number Two – Don’t Try To Be Someone You’re Not

We’ve all done it – tried to figure out why someone loves us, tried to figure out what they need, WHO they need (because it surely isn’t us – they must be insane to want US!), tried to understand exactly what their version of a perfect partner is, and become it, instead of being ourselves.

The truth is, if they’re with you, hopefully, they’re with you because they love who you are, not some idealized version of you, and not some perfect dream that you could never become. If someone chooses to be with you and you try to become something you’re not to please them, you end up being resentful of all their supposed demands, you feel suppressed because you can’t be yourself in the relationship, and they end up confused because they don’t know who you are anymore… and many times, since it was actually YOU they got involved with, and you aren’t you anymore, they leave. It’s really just best from the very start to be yourself – that way, you’re happy, and they know what they’re getting up front, so they’re more likely to be happy, too.

Both these classic mistakes are based on acceptance issues… the first one is the inability to accept another person for who and what they are, and where they’re at in their life – which is obviously not about love. If you want to change someone you’re with, you don’t really love THEM, just your version of them, which is never fair to anyone because most likely, that version only exists in your mind, and quite probably, if they wanted to change into that person, they’d have done it before they met you, and certainly they’d have done it for themselves, without your help. People never change for other people – they only change when they’re ready to do so, and because they want to. In other words… mostly they don’t… so it’s best to love the one you’re with.

The second issue is self-acceptance. The idea that no one could accept you for all you are, warts and pluses – or the idea that you don’t HAVE any pluses – is a personal insecurity, and needs to be rooted out before any relationship will succeed. If you don’t believe anyone could appreciate you, you’ll find a way to make them prove you right, eventually, and that’s just not a healthy outlook on life. Obviously if they’re with you, they DO see something in you that they like – and whether the relationship lasts or not, that should be encouraging to you. If you haven’t figured out what others see in you, you probably should stop dating for awhile and go find yourself – because only when you truly love you, believe yourself worthy, will you be able to accept the love of someone else as being real and possible. Until then, you’ll be so damned afraid of rejection and disapproval, you’ll try to be anyone but yourself – and you’ll never trust anyone you’re with as long as you do that, because you’ll know, deep down, that they’re not really with YOU… and in the end, it won’t matter to you that that’s your fault… them leaving will just confirm your beliefs about your own unworthiness… it’s a vicious cycle.

 

Thankfully, I finally grew out of either form of foolishness… When I met my husband, I loved him for who he was, and never even considered who he COULD be… and I didn’t try to be anything I’m not. We have been together for five years, and married for over two, and while there are things he does that bother me, and there are things I do that bother him, while we talk it out with each other, we generally don’t change much – because we’re comfortable with each other and ourselves, just the way we are. I’ve never been happier in a relationship, or felt safer and more appreciated – and he’s never felt more accepted… and that’s the way we like it.

Here’s to your relationship health. 😀

 

So… out of curiosity… what are some of your own relationship mistakes?