Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Confessions of a Crazy Ex Boyfriend 8/19

Confessions From One Ex to Another

This week I have something a little different for you. A few weeks ago I received an email from a guy who was going through a severe Crazy Ex Boyfriend phase, and he wanted my advice on how to extract himself from his situation. Here I will post his question (with the names changed to protect the unstable, of course) and what I wrote him in response. I would love for this to become a habit. If anyone knows any guys who need advice on troubling relationships, please point them in my direction. You know what they say, those who can't do, teach ;)

Hi John,

My name is Steve, and I'm responding to the blog you wrote. I'm acting
like a crazy ex boyfriend. Before I met my last girlfriend, I was a pretty even tempered man. I was peaceful living on my own and working on fixing my inner soul. I was on my way of working towards the being in the film/TV industry. Then came her, her name was Louise. We met online and starting talking for a while, soon we became an item. We were in love. Even though she was always annoying, self centered, and narcissistic, I put up with it. Sometimes she day by day stressed me out, and got on my nerves about me focusing too much on myself working. She'd compare her ex's to me and then continued to mock me, insult me, verbally abuse my ego and made me feel insecure. It was an on going emotional roller coaster for the both of us. I bought her things, drove for hours just to be with her and she did nothing. I did everything for her, when she wanted to be spoiled I did it. When she wanted to be loved, I gave her attention but it wasn't enough. When she broke
up with me, I went into a rage. Time and time again another woman takes advantage of my good heart. I acted out in revenge. I became a person I didn't even recognize, I was frighting towards her and myself. I became one of those online psychos. It felt like two dueling personalities fighting me, one that is still the same noble and honest man I was then the other is a side of me I've never seen before, full of wrath, envy, aggression. I started acting out; recklessly drinking, sleeping with strippers, just this self destructive person. I could handle the separation but it was the feeling of being used, hurt, and taking for granted and thus treated like garbage after. I started drinking more and calling her until she threatened to call the police. I can't get her out of my mind, and I just want to move on. I want to get my mind right but this past mistake is killing that. I'm trying Christ and self help groups but it's still too difficult. What should I do to get this woman out of my head?

-Steve

P.S I'm sorry this is long but I'm trying to change my ways. For good.

And this was my response.

You have some things going in your favor, and you can build on those to break yourself out of the situation you are in. you have enough insight to see both your own patterns of behavior, and those of the types of women you get involved with. That is the first step towards breaaaaaaaaaaking the haaaaaaaaaaabit tonight (sorry, I almost sounded like a Linkin Park song there for a second). First thing that helps is to not lose your sense of humor. Or if you have lost it, send out a search party for it. Life is too serious already without you making it more so.

Basically, you have four emotions that are running rampant in your psyche like rabid dogs; in fact it may help you to think of them that way. Mad, rabid Dogs named Rage, Envy, Hurt, and Sorrow. It seems that what happens is you let yourself be hurt. And yes, this is sometimes a conscious decision. Sometimes our hearts get broken out of nowhere, but you saw the signs, and you knew that this women, and women in your past were doing things to hurt you, but you stayed anyway. You probably have some Romasochist in you (see my latest post if you haven't already), which isn't awful, but is something you need to be aware of. Either consciously or unconsciously you attract or chose women who take advantage of your good nature. There could be any number of reasons for this, and until you figure out why this pattern is going to continue. You have to figure out why you continuously subject yourself to such torture. Do you have a "Hero" complex, in which you seek out damaged women and have the need to save them? Do you have low self-esteem and think that you somehow deserve the abuse you get from these women, or that you cannot do any better? Do you feel that you cannot or will not find a decent woman to be with? These are all questions that will take some soul searching and a good friend, relative, or therapist. You are doing the right thing by seeking help, but you have to know what questions to ask to get the right answers.

Your immediate problem though, is you have these Rabid dogs chewing on your heart and mind and you don't know what to do about them. You feel Envious, and you are overtaken with Hurt and Sad, which leads to Rage. And when you feel that Rage you don't care who you express it on. There is one more Dog in this Pack, and it's the Alpha, the Leader, and its name is Love. You, like most Romasochists fall in Love incredibly easily and hard and let Love rule you. Unfortunately, Love brings the rest of its pack with it, and that is where the chaos begins. So I say to you, Master your Love, and you'll master the rest of the Pack. Don't let your Love lead you into a situation where you'll be taken advantage of, and you will not have to deal with the rest of the dogs that follow Love. Even though Love is the leader, Rage is the most dangerous because it can turn inwards, and that is when you become self destructive. And you can only destroy yourself for so long before there is nothing left to break. First things first; get away from the stressors, get away from what's feeding the Rage, lock up your Love until your ego can heal itself. Right now you can't trust yourself to be with a woman because you don't know what is leading you into these poisonous relationships. Until you do, stay out of them. Muzzle your Love, and the rest of the Pack will follow suit. You can't think straight while you are still fighting the war, so take yourself out of the situation; cut off all contact with all women who hurt you, or who you have hurt; you don't want to add Guilt to your pack of dogs. Guilt will only make you obsess about the women even more, and that obsession is where a lot of the restraining orders and police activity stems from. And that is something we would all like to avoid, right?

The way to not be a Crazy ex-bf is to first, not be crazy. And the thing that makes most of us crazy is some kind of intense chemical reaction with the former object of our love. Cut that off, and the reactions die down, and sanity returns. Sometimes, you can never re-establish that contact. I have an ex that no matter how long it has been, when I see her I feel the insanity start to creep back into my brain. You have to consciously master your emotions, and save them for someone who is worthy of the Noble and Honest Man you can be. Those are the Dogs you want leading your Pack of Emotions. The second way to not be crazy is to not date Crazy… like attracts like, and Crazy girls will draw it out of you like putting a magnet on an Etch-a-Sketch pad. So if you want to move on you have to cut off the negative stressors from the past, even if they weren't all negative. Your personal growth is going to have to come at the cost of leaving some people in your past and locking them up there. You have your Hollywood Dreams; you still have YOUR LIFE TO LIVE. Write, go to writing groups, do things that will help you be the person you want to be, the person you know you can be. Do that and forget the women who want to tear you down and use you. When you heal yourself, you'll be able to see with clear eyes, and you'll be able to easily steer clear of the girls who are traps for your inner soul. You have pro-social factors in your life, support groups, God… go to them, leave the insanity behind, and you'll be on your way to being an ex-ex-crazy bf.

So yeah, I like this, it feels right for me. There's an obvious reason for that, but whatever. You have my contact information, and you can always leave comments, And as you can see, I am very enthusiastic about helping people with problems, so don't be scared, get things off your chest. As men we are so often made to feel like we should keep things in. That's why we occasionally go on shooting rampages. I'd much rather you email me instead.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Confessions of a Crazy Ex Boyfriend 8/13

Present Tense(ion)

For those of us who may or may not be affiliated with the “Crazy Ex-Boyfriend” demographic, one of the trials faced by such men is leaving the past behind. That is, in fact, what exacerbates the Crazy. The brain has a way of taking all of the good memories of the past relationship, making them seem even better than they were, and then mixing them in randomly with the comparatively miserable realities of the man’s present situation. The person almost always idealizes the past, remembering things to be better than they were, and forgetting the parts that were not so rosy. In some occasions, the past was actually rosy, and nothing was wrong; sometimes the man was the one who did all of the very bad things, and the woman was in fact pretty damn decent the whole time.

Obsession is the motor of any crazy ex, and the gas for that motor is living in the past. We all have moments in our life that we wish would never end. For some of us that wish is so strong that our minds actually make it a reality. Those moments literally do not ever end. The problem is, those moments are not always mutually valued. I remember specifically for me, there are some instances where I was with a certain person that meant more to me than they did to her, and that is what makes it hard to let those memories go. At some point there comes a reckoning, a moment when the man and women realize that they both have placed a significantly different amount of importance on a certain event or time in their shared experience. If it is the man who has exalted a time in the past, then he is not going to just let that go of that zeitgeist for anything or anybody. He becomes obsessed with making that moment in time be forever, whether the woman even believes that the “golden age” he is referring to ever existed at all or not. It is usually at this point that the man crosses the line into Crazy Ex territory, doing all he can to recreate something that has long since past, or never existed. Then come the restraining orders.

I personally believe that some of us, if our ego strength is not, well, strong enough, simply become only the sum of our shared experiences. What I mean by that is our Ego strength is similar to the main tent pole for our personalities. Our experiences are like the people who fill the arena underneath the tent. If that tent pole, our basic personality that should be stable over time, isn’t strong enough, and those people are really rowdy and drunk, eventually those experiences will break the pole and collapse the tent. Our personality then becomes entirely dependent only on our experiences. Since experiences, and our perceptions of experience, are rapidly changing and subjective, so too does the personality of that particular person become rapidly changing and prejudiced. Eventually the person who becomes the Crazy Ex, their subjective experience of the past becomes their objective reality. The person with low ego strength has based their entire personality and reality on positive shared experiences from the past that may have never existed. They CAN’T let the past go, because then there is nothing else left to hold up their tent, their psyche. Without their past, without the relationship they had, the Crazy Ex feels a complete loss of self. If there is no “them” there is no “him”. And the fact that the person’s ex is now denying that golden age and the concurrent present reality leads to confusion, frustration, obsession, and eventually, anger.

So, how do we untangle this Gordian Knot? The same way Alex did, we cut it. Cut yourself off from the past. One important step towards not being a crazy ex is to not think of yourself as an ex anymore, but to think of yourself as a person, whole and complete. And do not think of the woman you were with as your ex, but as a person you had some pleasurable memories with, but who, ultimately you could not be with in the long run. Do not let your emotions chain you to your past; don’t demonize the person who you were with, nor should you idealize her. She is a human being of flesh and blood, prone to mistakes and successes just like all of us. This is going to take some soul searching, and, most importantly, an accurate recollection of past events. The past is never how we remember it; if you don’t believe me, look up some studies about the reliability of eyewitness accounts. Our brains always twist the truth to make it a little more or less palatable to us. The point is that you cannot change the past, and like Michael McDonald says, things will never be the same again. That’s not to say your life cannot be better or worse, it just won’t ever be the same. Once you accept that, it helps towards letting go of the past. It hurts to let go of good memories, but you do not have to obliterate them; just put them where they belong, and stop trying to make them the present again. Disengage them from your waking present life and look towards the future. Concentrate on making more good memories in the future. Occupy your tent with hopeful, sober experiences, and that tent pole should get stronger and more stable, so the winds of change don’t blow it down again.