Saturday, October 30, 2010

Write about your discontent

I read an interesting article called "Why Taylor Swift Is Right to Write Songs About Ex-Boyfriends." Its premise is

doing something creative when you're going through an emotional crisis is one of the best things you can do to cope, says Harvard psychologist Shelly Carson, author of "Your Creative Brain," which hits bookstores this month. "It's a stress reducer because it uses parts of the brain that are incompatible with anxiety and fear," she explains. Stirring activity in those "creative" brain regions actually overrides activity in those regions that move you to tears or ice cream binges.

I figured it was worth a shot. I am a writer, after all, if not a songwriter. The article suggested several ways to "take those negative feelings and launch yourself into a better state by producing something out of nothing." Including this:

5. Write about your discontent. Set aside 15 minutes for three consecutive days to write about your deepest thoughts and feelings about an extremely important issue that's affected you. It might have to do with a strained relationship, an illness, parenting issues, your job, whatever is taking center stage in your life at present. The exercise is called emotive writing and University of Texas psychologist James Pennebaker has shown in his research that a 3-day stint has beneficial effects on mental and physical health in those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Of course, you can do it as often as you like after the first three days.

So I decided to try. Here is my first 15 minutes' worth of writing about my discontent:

I’m still so angry that JV broke up with me. I’m furious at his parents for thinking I’m not good enough for him, or for expecting him to take care of his grandmother at the expense of his own life, when he deserves a life and happiness of my own. I’m angry that he lied to me about it, that he decided he didn’t want to be married again. I can’t believe that. During the time we were together, he did everything a good husband would have done to look after my care and comfort. If I couldn’t sleep he wanted to know why. When I missed my period and wasn’t pregnant he was worried. When I wasn’t feeling well, he thought long about what I should eat for dinner. He is a born husband.

And I miss his children, especially M2. I miss them so much, their little faces and how happy they were to see me and how much they liked my cooking. It made me feel more of a grow-up to take care of them. It took me out of myself, my narcissistic concerns about every twinge or bad feeling. Because I had to prioritize them. And I was able to do that because I had JV caring for me as well. They made me think I could be a good mother, even though I’m self-centered and narcissistic and obsessed with my own illness and ailments. I was still able to take care of them.

I don’t know how I’m going to find another attractive man who will want to take care of me the way JV did. I haven’t liked any of the men who’ve contacted me and followed up. I get so frustrated when someone makes contact with me and then drops it. That has happened twice on Supertova and innumerable times on Frumster. It always feels like I will never get anything close to what I want. And that isn’t necessarily a doctor or a banker, but someone intelligent, who can carry on a good conversation, who is well read and has heard of the things I talk about (aside from work stuff which needs to be explained to anyone).

I still resent JV terribly. I want bad things to happen to him and his parents. I hope he can’t find another job and stays in that miserable job forever, getting screamed at every day by his sadistic insane boss.
I miss the kids as much as I miss JV. They were supposed to be my kids. I feel cheated. I don’t know if I’ll ever have any children.

When I’ve dated men with children in the past, I’ve always felt resentful when it ended that I didn’t get to be a stepmother. So presumably I can meet another man with children whom I’ll love as much as M1 and M2. It’s hard to see now because I don’t know those future kids, and I know and love JV’s.

It just makes no sense. We could have all been so happy.

I’m furious that JV left me alone that weekend, right after I'd been demoted at work, and drove me to despair in my solitude. I hadn’t been in the hospital for 10 years. And without him, I don’t think I would have gone back in. I really believe it was his fault I ended up there. And it was not a good hospital to be in. Although in a sense it was a useful professional experience, because I interacted with so many of the other patients and was able to help them in a few ways. I think.

I’m supposed to write this for 15 minutes. It’s been about 8. I don’t feel any better yet. What can I say beyond the fact that he loved me and he left me, I wanted so badly to get married but I don’t know what he really wanted. How could someone who loved me leave me like this? Just drop off my stuff and never contact me again. Although he did want me to keep his house key, and I refused. The melodramatic part of me later thought I should go to his house and kill myself there, and let him find my body. But then I would miss his reaction, which would have been the whole point of that dramatic gesture.

I keep telling myself this is temporary, because if I’m not married by the time I’m 50, then I will kill myself. But this Yom Kippur, which I spent at home in bed because of the seizure I had on Yom Kippur in 2000, as the sun was setting—neilah—I prayed that if I wasn’t going to get married this year, then I didn’t want to be sealed into the Book of Life. It’s not a threat. I mean it. I prayed to die if I wasn’t going to find love and companionship. Because no matter how much my family and friends love me, no matter how much my clients appreciate me, it’s not enough. I’m sick to death of being alone.

I hate to think I put myself in this predicament, that in the past I rejected someone who could have made me happy. There’s no way of knowing. But it’s not just love where my life has gone wrong. I’ve gone thorugh so many helath problems and so much pain—knee pain, back pain, sinus surgery, disgestive problems, allergies, being hit by a car. And so much professional frustration and humiliation, which is so painful I can’t even write about it today. My life is just more disaster than serenity. Maybe a large part of that is my fault, but it can’t all be. 

I’m just tired of never getting what I want, and watching other people get it. I’m tired of all this poisonous envy and resentment. I think I would rather be dead than continue to envy and resent the people around me. And I can’t do anything to myself because it would destroy my mother. But I have no reason to live. I don’t feel close to God, I don’t feel any religious or spiritual sentiments. And I don’t have anyone who needs me as a mother or a wife. I’m not irreplaceable.

No wonder they say it takes at least 3 days to feel better. Rereading that, I feel pretty terrible. I guess I'll see what the next two days bring.

I also wrote a poem about JV's kids. But I posted it on the "real" Ayelet's page, so I can't post it here. It's not that great a poem, but it made me cry, writing it.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. All I can say here..without writing a similar story that I just experienced this past August and September in the final ending of my relationship...IS..I FEEL YOUR PAIN! One thing I do you are CARRYING ..PAIN ..and ..RESENTMENT in your heart!! I did this years ago with the break-up of the "almost marriage". Now, step must forgive...those who have wronged you! In order to go forward and become whole again..this MUST TAKE PLACE. Step two..your health..can even be compromised by this carrying pain within your heart..feeling rejected, hurt, used and abused! No healing has EVER taken feels like one big continuous pain and heartache. I also, felt and lived this way for many years. I learned forgive..then move forward. You do keep some of the pain with never TOTALLY forget. You must do what I say above to HEAL your own inner're spirit is BROKEN. I want to help you heal. You are the only one that can make it happen. I can advise by my past similar experience..however...ALL is up to YOU! Make the choice to be HAPPY! When you forgive..YOU will become whole again. Not going to be go one day at a time! I was just like you and I healed again. Yes, someone else can hurt you again. You must heal from all this past first. We take it day by day. Maybe you won't be hurt again. Maybe with healing and a whole spirit..LOVE will then find YOU! I am a firm believer and have done all I advise you to do. Thank you for listening and I hope this was helpful to you. I can not stand to see a good person..IN PAIN! Take care!

  2. The fifteen minutes of writing is supposed to be a private affair. And you interpret and deal with what you wrote. Public response distorts that and may not help with the healing.

  3. Got it. I will write the second and third days but keep them private.