Emotion vs. Logic

I am often of two minds about a lot of things.

I call these “Emotion Brain” and “Logic Brain”.

They are quite often at odds.

My first pdoc told me that I was smart, I knew all the right things to do, and if I just listened to my mind instead of my heart I’d be just fine.

That flies in the face of all my spiritual training, which is all about “following your instincts” and “letting your heart guide you.”
But as I came to accept the bipolar diagnosis, I also had to accept that my emotions are totally fucked up and divorced from reality.
Logic Brain must reassert itself. Logic Brain must be in charge.
I realized last night that my emotions were running away with me, and I was allowing myself to just ride the tide.
But I can’t allow that to happen.
That way lies madness and I know it. That direction leads to unhealthy obsession and stupid decisions.
And much like what happened earlier in the year with my obsessive fantasies about J, I have to let go of the scenarios running in my head about M. 
I know that the reason I can’t be friends with J is that I can’t talk to him or anything without wanting to be with him. 
I’m hoping that I can reach a point where M and I are friends, or rather that I can just let a friendship happen without feeling the pressure of “what might have been?”. We knew each other when we were both emotionally vulnerable and just starting to figure out who we were. So, we have a real bond. It’s just not the magical, mystical, unreal “soul mate” bond I once thought it was.
It’s good to have friends that knew you then, or that knew a side of you that you no longer display to the world.
Much like talking to my BFF from high school, or Jerry, can help give me a better perspective on who I was, being friends with M could help me figure out who I want to be.
So, I did some journal writing last night, and some meditation, trying to inform Emotional Brain what Logic Brain has come up with. That usually takes awhile, though; Emotional Brain needs a lot of time to accept things.

About that, um, yeah. . .

So, I’m still talking to this ex, M, from when we were 18.

And I have no idea how I’m feeling about it.

It’s strange.

On the one hand, maybe I was a bit hasty in saying I’m completely over him.

No, I didn’t have the strong reaction that I had to the one in the spring, but as we’ve been talking, things have come up.

Something is there, though I don’t know how to define it.

We always had chemistry, explosive chemistry.

We didn’t always have good communication.

Once I got over being angry at rehashing the same old shit, we started talking about stuff we had NOT discussed before.

And I discovered that he did not have a critical piece of information about the beginning of our relationship.

I swear I told him this thing, more than once, at the beginning, but if he really didn’t know this, it puts some of his behavior in a different (better) light.

We started talking about meeting up “someday” in the amorphous future.

Which, as always with us, led to discussion of sex.

So now that’s in my head. And like I said, we always had chemistry, and that is still there. And now I can’t get it out of my head – an indication of my obsessive nature.

There are a million little reasons and a few big ones why rekindling a relationship with him would be a bad idea, and I’m self-aware enough to know it.

But I also know that we never gave each other a real chance – there was always something hanging over our heads. My issues, his issues, other relationships getting in the way. . .Always something. And we were 18/19/20 and had to make everything 10 times more dramatic than it needed to be.

I know that he’s showing more maturity and introspection than he has in the past. And I’m enjoying talking to him. And I’m looking forward to the possibility of seeing him next year.

I’m trying to not think beyond that (but my obsessive nature is making that difficult).

Out of the woodwork. . .

Apparently, this is a year for reminiscing.

Another ex has popped up.

The one in the spring was my #1 most influential relationship. This one is #2.

And he’s writing a book.

About most of the women in his life.

And I play a prominent role, I guess.

And he wanted a few of my memories to add to the book.

Um, yeah.

So, we’re talking, via email, and he tip-toes around a couple of the big issues. But he hones in on issues I thought we’d resolved ages ago. We have talked several times over the years. After our last encounter, where I literally told him he shouldn’t be looking up old girlfriends when his wife was about to have a baby, I pretty much was done with him. I think I got as much resolution as I was ever going to have with that relationship.

But what he wants is for me to just write, randomly, about some of my memories.

And I don’t want to.

So, I tell him I’ll answer specific questions, but not randomly write.

And the things he brings up are things we talked about back in 92 and 2004. I’ve apologized for the things I did wrong, and told him some of the things he could work on for future relationships.

In fact, I went back and found some posts on the Fool from when he contacted me back in 2004 and verified that we did indeed talk about this shit before.

Anyway, there was a point in my life when I thought I’d never get over this one and now, I’m thinking, “Thank the Gods that we didn’t stay together!” We probably would have killed each other.

To the good, this is not sending me on the roller-coaster that the other one sent me on. Just pissing me off a bit.

Reminiscing, Realization

I’m over the almost 2 month freak out about THE ex calling, I think. It hit a peak earlier this week, and suddenly, my feelings are very. . . different.

I started thinking about other men from my past that have looked me up.

I was talking to an old friend last night; let’s call him Jerry*, since using only initials will get confusing very quickly here.

Jerry and I didn’t really interact that much in high school. He was a close friend of my boyfriend back then. Funny thing is at this point in our lives, I have much more in common with him than I do with the high school boyfriend. . . It was kind of fun to remember that time. I was all of a size 10 (thought I was fat!)**, I was one of the cutest girls in our group of misfits, I was happy most of the time.

The high school boyfriend, A, has looked me up several times. He’s happily married to the girl he started dating after we broke up, and he proudly refers to her as “his high school sweetheart”. (We dated for almost 2 school years, and he only dated her for the last 4 months of his senior year, but, whatever. . . )

Jerry says, “I think he is generally concerned with your well-being. I dunno, maybe he wants to see if he missed out on something.”

Maybe. 

I always thought it was more of the latter, but he is a good guy, and there’s probably a lot of the former. Considering how screwed up my life has been at times, I’m sure he hasn’t missed out on anything, considering all the years of crazy.
But, that aside, after I stopped talking to Jerry, I started thinking about another ex, M.

M was probably the biggest ex-bf before THE ex discussed before.

M and I had a very passionate on-again-off-again affair for quite some time. We stayed in touch and on the periphery of each other’s lives for several years. I even invited him (and his then-wife) to my wedding. (They didn’t come.)

M has also looked me up several times over the years. The last time, he spent months trying to find me on the internet. There are literally hundreds of people in the country with my first name/last name combination, and he combed the ‘net looking for me in a time when I had virtually no web presence. The last couple of times, it was very easy for me to realize that he doesn’t hold that big a part of me any more. He did, for a long time, but now he’s pretty much a stranger.

There was a point in my life when I never thought I’d feel that way about him. I thought he was The One, until I fell for THE ex.

A brief aside here, as someone with bipolar disorder who wasn’t diagnosed until I was 30 years old, I had several years that were. . . adventurous. I often had more than one romance going on at a time. I slept with a lot of people.

The number of times I’ve been in love can fit on one hand, but I don’t know the number of men I’ve had sex with. I know that I have broken a few hearts, especially my first husband (I had two marriages end before I was 25).

My first husband looked me up a couple of times, but I felt so bad about how I treated him, that I didn’t even respond.

So, J is not the only ex to locate and contact me. He’s not the only ex that sometimes thinks of me. All of them are married to other people.

On the one hand, it’s nice to know that some of the people that meant a lot to me at one point think of me.

On another, I can’t help feeling like they think of me as a crazy bullet they dodged.

My friend synchronicity says you should always sleep with someone crazier than you.

I think I’m the crazier one for quite a few people.

That’s a little sobering.

Anyway, as I was reminiscing, I recall a time when a girlfriend and I discussed a group of friends. If girlfriend 1, girlfriend 2 and I were in the same room and a guy walked in, the guy would want to sleep with me, marry GF 2, and be a big brother to GF 1. No idea why, but that is the way men acted around us. Something about how we presented ourselves, I guess.

And I realized. . .

I’ve always been the one that guys wanted to sleep with, not the one they marry. The one they have an affair with, but not leave their wives/girlfriends for.

At one point, I liked that, even needed it in a sick sort of way.

But by the time I was with husband 2, I didn’t want to be that one any more. I really was ready to settle down and grow up and be the married one. But I had trouble making the transition from superficial relationships to a real, intimate relationship.

I think the reason his betrayal cut so deep was that I was ready for that, and desperately wanted it.

I also realized that part of what I wanted from him was for us to. . . grow up together. You know, all that stuff you learn in your 20s about being independent, living away from parents, taking care of yourself, learning each other’s quirks and compromising. . . I wanted someone to grow with while learning those things together. I wanted to raise kids with him, to share all those little moments of babyhood, toddler years and school years that you go through with kids.

And since I cannot go back and relive these last twenty years, I will never have that.

My reunion fantasies?

Can’t ever happen.

Because we can’t go back and do those things together.

Even if, by some miracle, he was suddenly single, neither one of us is who we were.

I’ve said that before, many times.

But I don’t think I really internalized it, really believed it, until I went through it from this direction.

I also think part of the reason I’ve stayed alone this long is that I don’t want to play the same role I did before, as the one men want to have sex with. For one thing, I don’t channel my manic energy in that way any more. I want more respect than that. But I’ve never really learned how to act with men when I’m not manic.

This seems to be my next challenge.

And it’s scary.

*names changed
** I know, I know! Jerry said he remembers me as ” you looked soft, for lack of a better word. but that was a good thing. ” 

I have an answer!

I’ve been beating myself up over becoming obsessed since the ex called. But I found a Psychology Today article that I think is helping me, a LOT.

Go ahead, read the article, I’ll wait (it’s four pages long). . .

Some of the quotes that got me:

These relationships may be so indelible, so off-the-charts intense, because they’re forged in the hormonal fire of the teenage brain. . .

Dan McAdams, a narrative psychologist from Northwestern University in Illinois, has found that it is during these years that most individuals also form their core identity and sense of self—their personal mythology. The teens and 20s give birth to our personal narratives and our lifelong ideals. . .

“The adolescent brain is exposed to heightened levels of testosterone and progesterone, the steroid sex hormones involved in sexual intensity,” he says. “There’s also an increase in oxytocin, the same hormone that aids mother-and-child bonding following birth.” Chemistry thus sets the stage for once-in-a-lifetime sexual intensity paired with a unique opportunity for attachment—creating a model of love that persists for life. . .

To explain why separation and other adversities can make the heart grow fonder, she has coined the term “frustration attraction,” the idea that threats to the relationship can actually increase feelings of longing and ardor. Passionate love stimulates dopamine-producing neurons, which generate the motivation to seek out the beloved. But if the lover is absent, those brain cells prolong their activities, Fisher hypothesizes in her book Why We Love. “As the adored one slips away, the very chemicals that contribute to feelings of romance grow even more potent, intensifying ardent passion and impelling us to try with all our strength to secure our reward, the departing loved one,” she writes. . .

Many say they want closure, but closure is a myth, says Kalish. “The old feelings come back. Married people who want to keep their marriages should understand this before they search for a lost love and get in over their heads. Once these relationships take off, they aren’t fantasies, nostalgia or midlife crises. They are loves that were interrupted, and the urge to give them another chance is very strong.”

This explains EVERYTHING.

My response and feelings are not magick or some Divine fate or a lost mythical “soul mate” or any of the other stupid overly-romantic things I was thinking.

It’s a biochemical response!

And hell, I fight biochemical responses every day. I’m not always successful but because I know what’s going on, I can deal with it.

And when I say it explains everything, I mean everything!

While J (the ex) was not my first love, I can clearly see a line connecting dots. I didn’t get over my high school boyfriend A until I met M (curiously, first husband was in between there, and didn’t make the cut. Hmmm, probably why I dumped him).

I didn’t really get over M until I was with J (again, despite other affairs in between).

I can clearly see how my feelings from the other two relationships were transferred to J.

J and I were forced apart by circumstances beyond our control: a military deployment – one of the factors of creating this bond. He couldn’t deal with the forced separation (something I was always aware of) and transferred his feelings to Her.

This explains:

  •  Why I haven’t been able to totally let go.
  •  Why I have the fantasies I have 
  •  Why he looked me up now. . . EVERYTHING.

And as G.I. Joe used to say, “Knowing is half the battle.”

NOT sending a letter

This is sort of a continuation of my last post.

One of the things I don’t like about myself is my capacity for stupid obsessions.
Ever since that phone call, I’ve been obsessing. It wasn’t going away or getting better. In the comments, Monday’s Child suggested that I allow the fantasy to play out.
That sort of made it worse.
Yesterday, it was even worse.
Now, logically I know that this is just a way for my brain to distract me from other things I need to be doing or from the fact that I’ve (almost) failed at something.
I posted on Facebook that I was mad at my “diseased brain”. One of my friends, another math teacher who has been a long-distance mentor, posted about my brain not being diseased. We then had a private chat where I told her some of the background information.
She said all the right things. And I know all those things.
He’s a liar; he’s a manipulator; he’s not worth my time and energy.
I know.
But knowing that doesn’t stop my stupid brain from running the fantasies.
If I squash it during my waking hours, it shows up in my sleeping ones. If I try to consciously redirect it to where I’m beating the crap out of him, it still keeps running back to reunion scenarios. If I don’t find a way to fight this, I know where I’ll end up – depressed and anxious.
Last night, after chatting with JF, I pulled out my affirmation notebook and wrote a few simple positive affirmations to try to clear the psychic decks.
By the time I was done writing three affirmations twenty times each, I felt like writing something else.
I wrote a letter to him.
Six pages.
Wow.
I had no idea I still had six pages of stuff to work out about him. I haven’t written that fluently in years.
It has some bitter-sweet stuff, some anger, some pity, some sadness in it.
But there was a theme through all six pages. His lack of respect for me came through very clearly, maybe more clearly than I’ve seen it before.
When I was done, I felt . . . empty. 
I have no intention of sending this to him. It wasn’t for him. It was for me.
Maybe now I can actually get some work done.