Seeking healthier perspectives during a rough time
August 23, 2012 11:13 AM Subscribe
I will soon be breaking up with my very dear partner. Typically, this is the point at which my life goes off-track for the next few years and I lose all perspective and any mental health I've achieved. I want to approach this period in a very different way this time. My question is how to avoid both zoning out/creating a protective fog/rewriting the past to be less dramatic than it is, and avoiding the other extreme of drowning in guilt for my partner's pain and their wasted energy and my destruction of our planned future.
posted by teslateslatesla to Human Relations (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My usual ways are 1) tuning out and dissociating and thereby losing big chunks of my life to the resulting haze and a false-sense of having simply written someone out of my past, or 2) painfully/obsessively marinating in the agonizing knowledge that I am ruining someone's life after promising them many things and then abandoning them.
I often gravitate towards partners who are quite socially isolated and idiosyncratic (and kind and generous and intelligent), so this perspective of ruining someone's life feels very true and very cruel. And various added circumstances make this perspective feel objectively accurate in this case. So this creates a huge danger for me. Often, when I know I can't make a situation better for someone, I assume that the least I can do is suffer in sympathy to the best of my ability and meticulously think through the ways in which I have crushed aspects of their lives and failed to live up to my long-term commitments. I've read enough Metafilter to know that this is a deeply flawed perspective, but it feels so real in the moment.
I'd really like to find a better way right now, as I don't want to slip into a bad/self-destructive period, just as I am making a decision that is definitely healthy and correct. What are some ideas that I can keep in mind to remain conscious of/open to what is going on and the pain I am creating for someone and the challenges they will face in dealing with this and explaining it to others, while simultaneously keeping a healthy perspective and healthy mental boundaries/remembering that there are options beyond debilitating guilt and self-flagellation.
Basically, I don't want to cut myself off from emotions and experiences that will help this feel real, but I don't want to drown in horrific guilt. I am in therapy and doing all kinds of helpful work in general, but Mefites provide different perspectives, and there may be some kernel or concept or book or meditation method or -something- that I hadn't considered before. Not as a quick fix, but helpful ideas or principles that healthy people use as guiding posts. I know it is a large convoluted subject, but sometimes small ideas help me. Many, many thanks.