Solid wall to wall emotional pain the last 2-3 days, lump in the throat, eyes sore, head intense, almost hurting and always dark. Sunny outside. Should be there, making happen – planting things. Will make myself go.
Thinking this morning over where this pain comes from, and how best to make it stop. There seem to be three ideas: the mountain-man approach, the pain-is-part-of-life approach, and the rational-but-sad approach.
The mountain man, says it is a lesson in not becoming too dependent – these things happen, and you minimise your pain by accepting this and making sure you don’t give too much or go out on a limb solo. Get angry, and get over it.
The pain-is-part-of-life approach says that when you look at the big picture, worse things happen to other people, and it is how you deal with it that counts. Both mountain-men, and pain-is-part-of-life approaches avoid blame, and prevent thinking too much about the causes. Useful.
On the other hand, to think, and empathise is painful, and can be counter productive – and I do want to understand. I want to be strong enough to empathise, and work through it. It’s in my nature – even though I worry that it is too much for me right now. Still on with the puzzle…
The facts seem to be that after a couple of years of stalemate, a very destructive decision was made by my long term girlfriend. She could have come and talked and let me know she wanted to leave the relationship, and I would have been sad, but understood. I had been thinking the same. If that is what she wanted, I would have had no real difficulty. Much more important would have been to keep the friendship. Instead she chose to sleep with someone else and not tell me for nearly 6 months, damage our friendship and seven years work together all at the same time.
Why? Obviously to hurt me – that was part of it, but maybe also because she could not see how to make things better, because she felt she had no choice? This was something often said, and something I have tended to dismiss as a tactic to avoid the need of taking action – but let’s try to look at this more positively – lets look at this in someone else’s (maybe her) words.
Certainly there is the often stated idea that nothing she could do would be good enough, and that everything she has tried has not worked. Difficult to respect that – faced with the bare facts of no time or action invested – but the feeling is certainly there.
There is certainly also the idea that a relationship that has ended, needs space, and time, and that it never really works out in terms of friendship or conversation. I guess many people say that, but the facts tell another story – not that it is not possible, but just that they are just unable. I enjoy the company of several of my closest girlfriends, even when the separation was painful. It is possible, and I’ve experienced it.
In this case though, Lena, seems to have a strong desire to make a friendship possible. Just as with everything else with her, there is an equal and opposite expression – and an inability to act. Action was and is always the problem. So while my pain, and difficulties could be made so much less, by simple things, like saying sorry, like demonstrating the desire to repair a damaged friendship by investing and indeed repaying the time that was stolen – action is needed but never forthcoming. And action is never likely to be forthcoming with Lena – and just as it was in the relationship this is still so hard to accept.
Is it because she does not care enough about the friendship to invest the time, is it because she is too proud to say sorry, or is it because she genuinely believes the reasons not to act, or lacks the empathy to believe in the importance of repairing the damage caused?
The benefit of the first two approaches is that you do not have to think about why she fails to act. They both free head time for more positive things to think of. That way I wouldn’t feel constantly torn between wandering/worrying and thinking she-does-not-care, or switching to being concerned about her mental health, or then doubting my own worth. If only, but forgetting and not remembering is not a skill I have.