Posts Tagged ‘Mistakes’

What We Learn From Failed Relationships

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Anxiety, Arguments, Blog, Blogging, Change, Childhood, Children, Coping, Crisis, Culture, Dating, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Divorce, Dreams, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun, Greed, Grief, Growing up in abusive homes, Health, Humor, Inside My Mind, Journal, Kids, Learning, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living Your Dream, Logic, Love, Lust, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, NA, Opinion, Pain, Parent, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Poems, Poetry, Published Author, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Rejection, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Anxiety, Social Debates, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, The Invention of Lying, The Philosophy of Lyrics, The Philosophy of Quotes, Things That Give Me Anxiety, Thoughts, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Writing
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I would first like to start off by thanking all of my readers and subscribers. I learned today; I have readers from 61 different countries. I think that’s pretty bad ass. I am aware that my readership grew from the topics of philosophy, theology, and madness. So bear with me as I stray a bit from those topics. Today I would like to release that which has been permeating in my mind. I would like ponder for a moment the importance of learning from our mistakes in a failed relationship. Through all of this I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. So here we go.

The one thing I can say with out a doubt is I am far from sainthood. I have made my more than my fair share of mistakes, and bad decisions which played a role in the overall destruction of my marriage. I am ashamed and consumed with intense guilt because of this. This combined with my wife’s lies, and infidelity has allowed me to see the light. I am sure I could write a 200 page paper on this topic, but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

There are 10 main things I have learned in my failed marriage. Now mind you there are far more than 10, but as I said this is not a 200 page dissertation on my failed marriage. I will do my best to not place blame, because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Some things on this list will undoubtedly overlap, even though this is the case I feel each one deserves to be mentioned. Without further ado here is my list of 10 things I learned from my failed marriage.

  1. Never Lie: I did a lot of research after I found out about what my wife did. I learned that in humans our first response when we know we have done something wrong, that will ultimately lead to a negative outcome our immediate response is to lie. We do this for two reasons one we want to avoid conflict, and two we don’t want to get in trouble. Since I am a proponent of the tabula rasa theory (mind being born as a blank slate.) I feel this is a trait we learn as children, which carries over into adulthood. Lying to your partner no matter how small is a terrible idea. We can overcome this childish trait, by knowing our partner as well as ourselves, focus on understanding and know that mistakes are actually learning opportunities.
  2. Never Cheat: I think this one doesn’t need further explanation. It’s a painful and shitty thing to do to those we love. Even if (insert some attractive famous person) wanted to be with you, nothing is worth hurting the one you love.
  3. Trust: it should go without saying that if the two things listed above are followed then trust shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately we all carry the baggage of past hurt, what we need to realize is who ever we are with now is not the person who caused us hurt in the past. I would imagine it would be a good idea to be open and honest about these past hurts. A relationship that is not built on trust is like trying to build a house of cards on a windy day, neither of these two examples will be successful. The perfect advice one can give in fostering trust in a relationship is this; if you would not say or do something if your partner was there with you, then you definitely shouldn’t do it.
  4. Accept and Love Each Other For All Their Good Qualities, As Well As Their Flaws: let’s admit it people, no one is perfect, and those who claim to be are probably the most screwed up of them all. Initially I am sure that we all fall in love with our mates good qualities. During the “courting” or “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, it is kind of like interviewing for a job, you really are not being completely honest your just trying to get the “job.” As the relationship progresses and begins to become serious is usually when we start to notice each others flaws. The important thing is that we learn to love that person regardless of their flaws. In fact I believe our flaws can become the most exciting part of a relationship. When you love the good qualities along with the flaws you know you have found true love; when everything seems to fit like a glove.
  5. Never Put Your Partner Down and Break Their Will: this topic has a lot to do with item number four. There are just two things I would like to add. The first is from an article by John Gottman, PhD in an article titled “4 Signs of A Troubled Marriage” Here is the link.http://affiliatedpsychologicalservices.com/4-signs-of-a-troubled-marriage/ Gottman talks about “The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse” which are clear signs you are headed for a divorce. The first two he brings up is “Criticism” and “Contempt.” If anyone out there grew up in an abusive home where as a child you were faced with these two horsemen, having to deal with such things in a marriage is a key ingredient in a divorce. If you tell someone something negative about them enough times, with the right amount of nastiness it is only natural the other party will believe what they are being told, and inevitable this is who they will see when they look into the mirror. I don’t think people are aware of how serious the long term damage can be. My second point comes from a line from the song “Weight of The World” by Blue October. “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing.” It is one thing to help your partner grow and become the best person they can be, but in the process don’t try to change who they are inside. If you are hell bent on trying to force someone to change, there is always medication. If this is your goal please take to heart one of my quotes “Medication is to fix the people we don’t like.” If you feel you need to medicate your partner, it’s time to call it quits.
  6. Freedom: As your relationship grows, it is imperative that you do not take away your partners freedom. When I say freedom I am not referring to allowing your partner to go out all the time neglecting the relationship, and engaging in behaviors which fall into the first three categories I listed. When I say freedom, I say that it is clearly healthy to share and be with each other, but it is also healthy to have a respectful life outside of the relationship. I have made this deadly mistake in one of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of how damaging smothering and isolating your partner can be. If your relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust and respect this should be something you encourage each other to do. I have always admired the relationship between my best friend of 26 years and his lovely wife. I will not mention names, but I truly hope one day I can figure out whatever their secret is, and apply it to my future relationships. I am going to encourage them to write a book.
  7. Support Their Dreams: There is nothing more precious and sacred than some ones hopes and dreams. For some our dreams appear to us when we are young, others do not fully realize their dreams until they discover who they are. When I was young I had the normal boyhood dreams to become a professional football or baseball player, unfortunately like normal boys those dreams were not meant to be. Beyond those two options, I really didn’t have anything else that drove or inspired me, until the 5th grade. Long story short I ended up doing many writing assignments and I remember my teacher signing my year book, saying she could one day see something I have written being published. I was not a very well behaved child, so positive reinforcement from the teachers I tormented was rare, but from that moment my dream changed. I wanted to become a professional writer. As I grew older I held onto this dream, and wrote in private. I never thought anything I would write would be read let alone published. Again long story short one of my poetry books was published, I started this blog, wrote two children’s books, and two other poetry books. Needless to say this was the greatest I had ever felt about myself, because I accomplished something I never thought I could… my dream. I did not receive support from my partner, and in fact was highly put down and discouraged from continuing to write, until finally I had no option but to stop writing. The details behind this are not important at this moment.
  8. Open & Honest Communication: You would think this is a no brainier, but for my marriage and I would imagine many others this proved to be too challenging to overcome and sowed the seeds to our divorce. I feel if you have all seven of these things listed above then number eight would be a given, but if you take out one or two of the above it makes communication a challenge. I avoided and ran away from open and honest communication. I could make a laundry list for why, but this is already becoming too long of a post. Mainly I was afraid to honestly look in the mirror, I was scared I was going to receive an unhealthy dose of items four and five. Regardless of those reasons it is on me for failing in this aspect of our marriage. I need to take ownership for this, and like everything listed learn to not make the same mistakes. It is very difficult and challenging for me to be social, and communicate even with those closest to me. I know this is something I need to work on, but what always ends up playing over and over in my mind is the Pink Floyd lyrics from the song “The Final Cut” which I will add at the end.
  9. Be A Selfless Lover: This is actually one area where I have and feel the most accomplished. I felt I needed to add this, because in my experience men in general put their intimacy needs, or the final “outcome” before their partners. I will not go into detail in case my mom is reading this, but as men our primary focus and goal when it comes to being intimate is placing our partners needs before ourselves. Any man can do his business and be on his way, but this is a man who has failed. When it comes to intimacy your only goal and desire should be the feelings and ultimate “outcome” of your partners needs. Everything else should be secondary.
  10. Find Your Genuine Light: Tomorrow I am going to post a quick poem describing the meaning behind this comment. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe there is only one true love for everyone. I believe for everyone, there exists many individuals who could be considered your genuine light. I believe they are rare, but they are out there. My advice is if you feel you are holding your genuine light, don’t let them slip away because you cannot be certain another one will come around to light up your life.

 

“And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?
And smile in reassurance
As you whisper down the phone?
Would you send me packing?
Or would you take me home?”

Pink Floyd

These lyrics describe perfectly why it is so difficult for me to open up to people, which hinders my ability to effectively communicate.

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I am currently trying to learn Latin, and so far it has proven to be a daunting task, especially if you are trying to learn it on your own. I really wish I could afford Rosetta Stone. I have visited a few websites, and downloaded some books, but I am still having trouble with the language. So far I am able to say and understand the first four verses of the gospel of John. In my studies I have discovered that much of the English language has origins in Latin. With that being said I stumbled upon something very interesting. I noticed that the Latin word for “I” is “ego.” This was sort of an ah-ha moment for me.

My greatest enemy in life is my ego. In all my study and meditation on the Tao Te Ching I have discovered how harmful ego can be. It is literally destroying my marriage, and my life. I did a post a while back on “pride.” According to Pope Gregory I pride is the most damaging of the seven deadly sins. I am prideful to a fault, but after some advice from Rambling http://ramblingtaoist.blogspot.com/ I now believe pride comes from my ego. I try my best to live and follow the Tao but I question my dedication. I can read a verse and see the light contained within, but when it comes down to actually living it I fall way to short.

I think I live my life with too much “I” in it. I have admitted to myself and in therapy that I am a selfish person who thinks of himself first and foremost. It makes me sad when I actually verbalize this, because then it makes it so real. The question is how do I turn “ego” into “tu?” I wish I had the answer for this question. I think my selfishness is a built in defense mechanism; developed over time in my life. Which leads to another question; am I am just saying this as an excuse for my behavior? Am I taking ownership yet at the same time transferring blame?

There is nothing I hate more than self reflection. It is by far the most painful procedure I can endure. I have caused far too much hurt in my 31 years of existence, and very little joy. To say and realize this is an agonizing state of affairs. I dread this process; instead of facing it I just run to the hills. I wish there was a God I could pray to asking him/her to alter the past, but sadly even God cannot change the past. The devil can now frolic in my fields of sin. I am stuck with these sins for the rest of my life, and no amount of washing them in holy water will wash away the blood of damaged lives.

For better or worse I must reap what I have sown. I must live in these prison walls I have created. My misery is of my own doing, and karma is a bitch. My life of ego will never lead to a life of amor et gauisus peractio.

I have made many mistakes, and have had numerous regrets from my actions and decisions when I am in a mania state. I was reminded of one such mistake/regret yesterday. This one is so bad, I have buried it inside for many years. Starting at the age of six years old I collected sports cards, some of my fondest memories of my childhood were opening packs of cards with my best friend Andrew. I continued collecting up to the age of twenty-three. I had an extensive collection which was worth tens of thousands of dollars.

I went to visit my younger sister one day at her apartment. Her boyfriend had an impressive collection of video games. I was jealous of his collection, during this time in my life I had little to no money. I played video games all the time, but was only lucky enough to have one system at a time. I would get new or different systems by trading them in at GameStop which was FuncoLand at the time.

Her boyfriend Nick had a modded X-Box, this was the first time I had ever seen or heard of such a thing. She was telling me about it, and I asked if I could play. I turned the system on and I was taken down a trip of memory lane. This system had every single Nintendo, SNES, Genesis, Sega Master System, Turbo Grafix 16, Atari, and Gameboy game ever made. This included every and all imports.

I was floored by such a thing, long have I dreamt of such a thing, the opportunity to own every video game of my youth. I asked her how he obtained such a contraption, and where do I find something this blissful?

She informed me they were illegal, and you had to know someone who had the knowledge to take out the old hard drive and put a new one in, with a specific hardware. She informed me they knew such a person. I asked her if she could hook me up with said person. I would trade my video game system and games to purchase an X-Box. She told me she would talk to Nick and get back to me.

Once I left her apartment the mania had set in, I was so excited to hear back from her. I could hardly contain my excitement. The mania started to get more and more out of control. I tried contacting my sister everyday, I would sit and wait by the phone. I think she got supper annoyed with me, and she just stopped returning my calls. I was able to figure out such things were going on, and left her alone. I was now on my own to find an alternative way to obtain my dream.

I had long since lost or destroyed my friendships, so I had nowhere to turn. I could not purchase this item at a store since they were illegal. The mania convinced me; if I am unable to obtain this item then the next best thing would be to purchase a retro gaming system and start my collection from scratch. Nintendo was my favorite system from my childhood so I chose that one as my prefered system.

During 2003 GameStop no longer sold Nintendo systems or games. I did not have a computer at that time so I could not look at Amazon. I had to resort to searching the cities for a store that specialized in older systems. I found a few, but prices were higher than I could afford. I was again discouraged at my failure. I had no options left; the mania and obsessive compulsion was at its peak. What I did next was so stupid, so horrible I chose to block it from my memory.

I begun to search our apartment for things I could sell to get enough money to ease my hunger. I had nothing worth any real value… except my card collection. I said to myself “no way am I giving up seventeen years of dedicated collecting, for a Nintendo!” With every passing day the selling of my cards started to make more and more sense, until one-day when it made perfect sense.

I announced the news to my wife, and she immediately told me the idea was really bad, and I would regret such a thing the rest of my life. The first time we had this discussion, she was able to talk me out of it. The following days and weeks we continued to have this discussion, by this time I was in a full-blown psychosis. My wife having dealt with this for four years knew she had to give.

I packed up my box of cards, which was a box for a 36 inch television filled to the top. Keep in mind this was no flat panel box this was an old school box. Every card in the box, was kept safe in the single hard cases. I did not include any of my “common” cards, for I knew that would be a waste of time. The individual card had to be worth five dollars or more to be placed in a card protector. I also had the hard screw cases which was reserved for any card worth over $100.00. I would say I had well over a hundred or more of such cases. The only time these cards were ever touched by a human hand was when I opened the pack, then immediately placed in protectors. I had PSA graded cards, one such card was a rare LeBron James rookie card.

I took the cards to a hobby shop, which bought cards and sold retro systems. I placed this huge box on the desk and told the man I was looking to sell my card collection. He started to look through the cards, and the expression on his face said it all. I was going to get some big cash, enough to buy not only the Nintendo but others. I would be able to buy hundreds of games with money to spare. An hour passed and he was still thumbing through cards, he barley made a dent. He stopped and asked me how much I was looking to get for the entire collection. My response was “I am just looking to buy an old system and a few games.” Those words were some of the stupidest words I had ever spoken.

He now began to make unimpressed facial expressions, and seemed to criticize every card he looked through. He finally stopped without looking through every card and said “I will give you two hundred for the entire box.” My heart dropped and my stomach became queezy. I needed this video game system, but not at this steep of a price. I told him I was not interested in parting with my collection for so little. He countered with $300.00, he explained to me cards were really hard to sell, and he would probably take a loss.

The extra hundred dollars seemed fair to my psychotic mind. I agreed, he offered me store credit and said to pick something out in his store. I had enough money to buy the Nintendo system, and eight games. It pains me to think about how much more my collection would be worth today eight years later. I kept the Nintendo for a few months before it broke down.

Years later I would end up buying a modded X-Box. This was four years ago. I have played it a for a combined eleven hours.