Monday, November 21, 2016

Social Isolation

My parents have been staying with me for a long time, and when they left I felt a sudden slump in motivation which led me to reflect on social isolation as the cause of my recent sadness.

When I talked about being collateral damage in other peoples' mid life crises what I really was, in both cases was a victim of deliberate social isolation. Through some sort of weird power trip, through negligence or through sheer self-centredness these two feature relationships of 2016 had the effect of locking me out of something and making me feel shit about myself. Both built me up and then knocked me down.

But coincidentally, these particular scenarios apart, when I am socially engaged I feel more motivated. This I guess is just a hangover from our tribal roots. I need to feel part of the tribe. So whether this has anything to do with my relationship woes or not. At least it keeps me from brooding a bit and acts as a salve to my bruised ego in these hard days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The functional face of love

www.childrensplace.com

Simon came from a family of four boys. It was a functional but undemonstrative family, and a family that didn't share its feelings.  The closest thing my mother in law got to sentimentality was to recall how at the start of each school year there were four sets of clean school shoes laid out (by her) on the bottom step. Yes, she did  a great job. She raised four polite and ostensibly functional boys.

George was also one of four boys, from a military family, sent off  boarding school with,  I imagine, a similar crisp sense of proper grooming and behaviour. Like Simon's family one or other of them have suffered with mental health issues from time to time.

Despite the intimacies George and I shared online the reality of him was one of functional, polite, respectful base-covering kindness with really no personal connection whatsoever, and it suited him to keep it that way. "I've left a bottle of cold wine in the fridge", "Stay as long as you like".

Somehow I see a common root in these two men with whom I tried to get close. A perhaps peculiarly English need to not show emotion and to soldier on. Both men are quite patently vulnerable inside but bury it so deep as to deny its existence. Further  they chose to somehow shut down when I show my own vulnerabilities. Even to the point of mocking me for the (to them) weakness of showing my feelings.  I first thought of this post back in August, but I was reminded somewhat of the sentiment again by Alain de Botton on "How to be warm".  A lesson they could perhaps both take.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

A gift maybe

This is a stock photo of Rick Moranis from firsttoknow.com. I picked him because he's kind of a regular looking (if a bit goofy) sort of  a guy.

Anyway this couple I  know split up lately, And the guy who is goofy and middle aged is taking it very badly. He messages her all the time and she can't handle it so she took to ignoring him.

So he's started texting me to try to find out what she's up to. The trouble is I know he had a bit of a thing for me before they went out, and I don't fancy him. No not even  a little bit.

But I am caught in this little trap. It is rude to ignore him so I send non-commital polite little responses and he sends me more. He likes every darn thing I post on facebook. Even I feel a bit smothered and I am not and have never been in a relationship with him, And eventually I put him on a restricted list so he can't see what I post and I muted his messenger contact so he can't see when I'm on line.

Maybe this is a little tutorial from the stars. In fact it was followed by a tutorial from Alain de Botton which to my mind is pretty much on the same subject. When George said "You've put me on a pedestal" I swear I had not, but this is how he saw it.

I never tried to insinuate myself back into George's life by contacting his friends. And our friendship did start off quite a bit more promising than this guy (lets call him Rick) and I did.

But how I am feeling about Rick must at some point have been how George began to feel about me. Right. I can't handle this, she's goofy and way too into me and I am going to put her on semi permanent hold. But Ill try to be civil with her.

The funny thing is we never were lovers, Or friends either once he realized he didn't fancy me as much as .. let's call her Juanita. But in the interstitial space between love sex and acquaintance there was a time when he was there for me and took an interest in my life.

So I guess Rick is lonely. Probably looking for a replacement,

You would've thought if I was lonely and wanting someone to be interested in my life there would've been plenty of places to look. but female friendship doesn't quite cut it. My mum and my son's care and attention do.

So this I guess is the odd little gift. The gift of being placed in George's shoes.  I still hope for contact from George but, looking at Rick I know there is not one single thing he could say or do that would make me want to draw him into my inner circle. That's not because he's a bad guy, or that there is anything wrong with him. I just don't want to encourage him. The same applies to me. there is basically nothing I can do to change the way George feels even about friendship. That kinda stinks since we were never lovers. Its almost as though even having designs on him at some stage has ruled me out as a friend.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Unresolved Loss

This blog is almost 10 years old, and has been a private affair for most of that time. It has been almost like a diary. I recently took the bold step of registering for the Mumsnet bloggers network. There has been a modest increase in traffic since then. Hello new people! I have also really enjoyed reading your blogs, especially those in the sex and relationships category where, apparently, I0naFi0na belongs. However, I must apologize on one account. You have walked in on an interesting time in my life. There has also been an upsurge in my posting, but this has been all around an intense and frustrating love-affair which has resulted in unresolved loss. Before I go on though, a bit of history. This blog, and I have traveled an uneasy path through

Autism
Mental health
Infertility
IVF
Divorce
Infidelity
(Yep in that order)
Sex Addiction
Single parenting and now belatedly
Love and
Grief


I am concerned that my new audience will find a self-centred, preoccupied middle aged woman in the throes of a mid-life crisis over a ridiculous self-centred toff who somehow needed to exert power over her, or use her to massage his own ego, or as a stop-gap on the road to his own relationship nirvana.

Also my recent post about how to get over a break up was unique to me, it was bespoke as it were. There are many more qualified to help you through break ups. But one element which I suspect is quite common in divorce in particular is, as I mentioned above, unresolved loss. This is exemplified by the case of someone who goes missing. The family are not able to grieve their death and continue to live in hope indefinitely which is painful.

My particular florid - but ultimately non existent  love affair is a case of this. Grief does not have to occur as a result of bereavement, there are many other life experiences that cause it. And there are also many great resources to help with grief. So the unique and heady mix of quasi-break up, unresolved grief and other unresolved issues I didn't know I had have resulted in a unique footprint which I have been moved to address in writing. In fact what I have been doing in the last 15 posts or so is, as grief recovery method advises, completing some unfinished emotional business  even the triggering reminders when I am trying not to think about this person are common in grief as well, and what I need to do is build an accurate memory picture. And again from grief recovery method


"We must grieve and complete our relationship to the person as well as to our relationship with the pain we generate when we think about or are reminded of the person. And, we must grieve and complete our unmet hopes and dreams and expectations. You must become willing to re-experience some of the painful events, and finally communicate what you would have said had you been allowed to, or if you had known how. It may seem frightening to root around where there has been so much pain. Perhaps it would be more helpful to be frightened of the alternative, a life of restriction and limitation caused by staying incomplete. The alternative of keeping the pain forever, of trying not to remember, of trying to avoid any circumstances or events that remind you of that person. Many people today talk of giving away your power. There is no clearer or more painful example of that then to have your life's actions and reactions ruled by the painful memories of someone who is no longer here."

As the author Russell Friedman says, even if the person you are grieving is still alive, you need to complete your part of the relationship, That living person won't change, they will probably carry on being just who they are, but you need to live a life of meaning not limited by painful reminders.

Clearly George was able to process and dismiss his role in the "relationship" quite easily, probably with the aid of  his own personal narrative which I can only guess at but might have been something like "Oh it was only a bit of harmless flirting, I didn't expect her to take it so seriously. I was only being gentlemanly when I asked her to come to stay. I thought it was better to tell her face to face about the real love of my life. Anyway I think she got the message she hasn't contacted me lately"

So my narrative which is emerging through months of tortured blog posts is something like "He was in a difficult place, he may even have not been in his right mind, he probably liked me at the time, he essentially got a better offer and was too cowardly to tell me, I think I massaged his ego and saw him through a difficult time. I also think from my point of view I imbued the friendship with a lot of other things I shouldn't have. Conflating all the things we have in common, even probably down to temperament, as implicit reasons that we are right for each other, getting my hopes up of righting some of the wrongs of my teens and early twenties and returning to my country of origin feeling a desperate need to keep this emblem of all I was looking for (or thought I was looking for) in a man, in my life. There will never be another like that. Well there may never be, but by his very actions he has proved that this particular emblem may not, in fact, be what is good for me. He was like a drug for me, and it has taken a long time to come down and process the withdrawal"

It was like anticipating a trip to a colorful market and finding it closed on arrival





Monday, September 19, 2016

What can't be cured must be endured


Between about the ages of 6 and 10 my dad was out of town studying, and my mother was working full time. My mum hired an old family friend to look after us for a very cheap price. She was as old as my grandmother and full of homespun wisdom. She smelt of tea and talcum powder and she looked something like a wizened old version of this Disney character. She had set of neat but ill fitting false teeth. My feelings towards her were neutral. You might think the tea and talc remark implied motherly cuddles and nurturing but it wasn't like that at all. My older brother was her clear favorite and they would gang up on me to make me do things (or that is how it felt). She was full of home spun wisdom and I couldn't stand it. She actually made my flesh creep a bit (unfairly really) but being the child of a rather down at heel family at the time I didn't want to hear about make do and mend. I didn't want my expansive world to be narrowed down with platitudes about "what can't be cured must be endured". Hell No!! what can't be cured must be the catalyst for change. Or the trite and superficially diplomatic assertion that "it takes all sorts to make a world"...when I ventured a less than complimentary remark about a friend. It all just seemed so cloying and unimaginative.
But since my world has now narrowed so utterly as I said before I am beginning to have more sympathy with this woman and her cliches. She was one of those who never married because all the available men were killed in the war. She had lived in Nazi occupied France on the 1940s and contracted polio which had left her with three permanently curled fingers, but still she managed to knit. She lived in a very meager fashion and was really dirt poor and doing us a favour. So I have to give her  posthumous pardon for her apparently small thinking. She was just surviving. She really did have to make the best of a bad lot and remain cheerful, and stay on good terms with people,  and if that annoyed me for its narrow mindedness well, I guess I had a lot to learn.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bold Lavender and Camomile



I'd put my bag down and unpacked
mindlessly
returning to the humdrum life
ceaselessly
But early one morning
wordlessly,
my clock opposed to yours,
I opened a drawer
and from it emanated the smell...
[well thank you Procter and Gamble]
the smell of your laundry
I was transported
to your home
your bed
a time of expectation
and hope
a time where I loved
more freely than I had
before
prompted by nothing
but the ticking clock
that smell
evoked the un-lived promise of
decades of
separation
from myself.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Summary 1 How to deal with rejection/break up

I dont know if I'm an authority from having gone through this latest "break up" at such a late stage in life. I know it was at least as emotionally impactful, if not more so, than those where I have been in a sexual relationship.

A few things have comforted me along the way which I would like to summarize. In the order they came to me.

(1) I'm not mad. The worst thing that you can do is turn it in on yourself. Blame yourself. Make yourself ridiculous. There was something there, you did not imagine it.
(2)You only had the information available to you at the time. How could you make decisions on partial data?
(2) Sometimes a good cliche can work wonders.
(3) Find a metaphorical place to put things if they get too much for you. As they come in, just pack 'em tell yourself you can look later
(4) Sometimes in love (and life) you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time and become collateral damage
(5) Give yourself time
(6) You expected something lovely and you got a shit storm no wonder you are angry/lost/disappointed/hurt
(7) Referring back to (1) don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just because you hate what happened you don't hate everything around it
(8) And today's new one "Honor It" It relates to (1). People will say Bah! it wasn't love, it was infatuation, he's a wanker/bastard/fool etc, but the fact remains it meant something to you. To say "yes that's right it was an idiotic folly" is to make yourself ridiculous. And I had never felt that way before about anyone even my husband. So be it mid-life folly, delusion, or weird mind control from a capricious overlord.You are allowed your feelings.