Saturday, April 24, 2010

Perhaps, perhaps not.

So, I read this article at the NYTimes, and wonder if it applies at all to my situation. It may apply to me, or the ex. Most especially, these lines stood out for me:
He was about to turn our first meeting into yet another encounter in which he was mistreated. It seemed he rarely missed an opportunity to feel wronged.

Of all human psychology, self-defeating behavior is among the most puzzling and hard to change. After all, everyone assumes that people hanker after happiness and pleasure. Have you ever heard of a self-help book on being miserable?

So what explains those men and women who repeatedly pursue a path that leads to pain and disappointment? Perhaps there is a hidden psychological reward.

I got a glimpse of it once from another patient, a woman in her early 60s who complained about her ungrateful children and neglectful friends. As she spoke, it was clear she felt that all the major figures in her life had done her wrong.In fact, her status as an injured party afforded her a psychological advantage: she felt morally superior to everyone she felt had mistreated her. This was a role she had no intention of giving up.
I know that my ex gets a self-righteous kick out of constantly discussing how evil I was, and how long suffering and self-sacraficing she was. In fact, her entire side of the family is like this. At family gatherings, the talk was always about how someone in the family had been wronged by someone else, causing them to fail at something, and how it was never their fault. It was always the other person's fault. In fact, there was a lot of divorce among her cousins, and in every case, it was never the cousin's fault (even the one that decided he was gay and left his wife. It was his wife's fault for being such a shrew, of course).

But then again, I wonder if perhaps I didn't somehow self-sabotage the relationship as well, all for a similar psychological reward. I may be blind to my own mind - most of us are. I know my ex and her family would read that article and not recognize themselves in it, and may in fact feel it applies to me.

But at the same time, I know I don't get a self-righteous kick out of failing. Failing depresses me.

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