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July 6, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Predicament of the Week II: The Enabling
In which Breakup Girl addresses the situation that has, this week, brought her the most (a) amusement, (b) relief that it is happening to someone else, and/or (c) proof that she could not possibly be making this stuff up.

Dear Breakup Girl,

Well, after making it as the Predicament of the Week (June 29 which also happened to be my birthday) you may have thought my story was done. Nope, it wasn't... if it looked bad before it is even worse now. She contacted me once again by e-mail and I got so upset that I actually responded to it informing her that she had hurt me a lot, and I understood that she wanted to end the relationship but she did not have to do it in such a cruel and callous manner.

Here are a few lovely quotes from the e-mail she sent to me. She begins "Yes, I needed a real man, and you've got a long way to go before you become one, emotionally." She then goes on to inform me that "Yes, fine I had an emotional affair, but then this wasn't the first... what do you think Casey was?"

By this point in the e-mail I was beginning to reel quite a bit, but it gets so much better. She informs me that "Yes, you ran out of things to give me emotionally. There was nothing left but anger and sheer boredom. And this I concluded in our 2nd month of the first year. I just thought that it was because I had not been in a relationship in almost a year and I didn't know how I was supposed to be feeling. I kept saying I love you because you wouldn't let me go if I didn't. It was just words and didn't mean much." Nice isn't she, she went out with me for 2 years and 10 months after coming to this conclusion apparently because she couldn't find anyone else. However she notes, "You don't know how long I've wanted out." She then turns to financial matters to inform me, "Yes, he has more money that you could ever hope for. He planned his future, he knows where he is going. And guess what? I can actually go places now that I can afford them." She now gives me a veiled threat in the form of "Yes I came into the department with Chris. And if you're around next year you might run into us more often than you'd like."

Can it get any worse you may wonder? Yes, yes it can. She tells me "Burning your cards and letters... no, I shredded them two weeks ago (with Chris' shredder). MY decision. I feel nothing for you." Either way the last cards you gave me I was throwing away right away. So those were lost to begin with."

Hey and it only gets better, she tells me "You love a person for who they are but also for what they aspire to to be, what they are, how they think, what they want, etc. You loved the computer, and me. Sorry, but that is unfulfilling for me. You are a child, and I have no patience for a kid. It made me furious that there was not an ounce of seriousness in your life, present or future." I found this hilarious. I was a lieutenant in the Canadian Forces, I worked as a Legislative assistant to a Cabinet Minister, I started my undergraduate degree at the same time she did and I am finishing my Masters and looking for a good Ph.D. program while she is still struggling through her first undergrad. Listen to this, "Look at you...a working man with salary and car bonus in store for you. All because of Prozac...Even though Prozac is mainly responsible and highly addictive, so if you think your getting off it any time soon good luck, for your success." I mean this is just plain cruel.

Finally she turns things around again and informs me "Damn you! You say you love me but I hope you understand just how much I despise you for this infantile behaviour." Huh, she is the one who has been treating me like I was totally worthless and then she turns it around. Throughout this whole breakup I have remained pleasant and kind and this is what I get?

Ah, but I love her finishing touches. She informed me that "If you want a war, I'll give you the worst imaginable. Let the games begin." She has actually threatened to send pieces of shredded things to my department.

This is getting really crazy and I have no idea what is going on. How could I have misjudged someone for so long. She informed me the only reason why she started going out with me was because she wanted to see if I felt more than friendship for her. I feel as if the last few years have all been a lie and the pain is just growing. I loved her madly and she took everything including any good memories I may have had.

Ahh but the story does not end here. She ends off by telling me that she was purposely cruel to me so that I would understand that she had reached the end of the road with me. She then concludes by saying she will not respond to any of her e-mails and she wishes me a happy life.

So here I stand now, on the verge of a nervous breakdown (and it isn't her fault, she told me to stop blaming her for my misery).Well Breakup Girl, I am even more confused than before. I am a basket case who doesn't know what to believe about myself, or her anymore. I have hit bottom and bounced back so many times that I think I am in danger of getting the bends. Please help me understand what is going on.

-- Confused (and in more pain than ever)

Dear Confused,

In the professional opinion of breakupgirl.net Official Professional Belleruth, your ex-girlfriend is a "wacko meanie."

BUT speaking of "bends" -- sue me for mixing sea and land metaphors -- well, with this followup letter, you have rounded one.

Okay. We are all permitted "Isn't my ex a heinous troll?!?!??!" letters -- such as yours of last week -- ESPECIALLY if they are directed to Breakup Girl and not to said troll. Never mind asking for advice; venting -- as opposed to attacking -- is one of the all time great human inventions, right up there with music, the airplane, and Rice Krispie Treats. The point of venting, when you do it on your own -- in your bedroom, in a letter you'll never send, in your car while blasting Nine Inch Nails -- is to purge yucky feelings. Out they go; only you have to know. There's also another kind of venting: the kind you do to a sympathetic listener. The point of that kind of venting is for the listener to say, "YOU ARE SO RIGHT. YOU HAVE BEEN SO WRONGED."

Confused, we did that last week.

Listen carefully, and skip back up to reread this paragraph if necessary: I don't mean to diminish how extraordinarily much this whole thing smarts and sucks. I don't mean to in any way excuse or absolve Wacko Meanie. I don't mean that no one is allowed to write back and say, "Help Me Again, Breakup Girl, it still hurts!"

As a matter of fact, you should be telling Breakup Girl it hurts. NOT WACKO MEANIE. Wacko Meanie knows it hurts, Confused. That's why she's doing it. (What's she gonna do, go, "Oh my God, I had no idea!" and show up on your doorstep with fresh-baked Rice Krispy treats and a friendship bracelet?)

Now, the meta-question as to why she would do this in the first place, what kind of cruel toxic ore she's mining in her own depths ... damned if I know. The answer would probably involve words like "transference of self-hatred" or "out of her gourd." We could all drive ourselves bats hazarding guesses and trading theories, but what's the point of that? It's not like we're ever gonna Know or be Right.

So. Remember that "bend?" You, my friend, have taken a hard left toward "Injured Party, USA." The mileage you're getting at this point should not be about how innocent and betrayed you are (though that may well be) -- it should be away from her .

And toward a not-at-all-comfortable little spot called, "What's my role in all of this?"

Listen up again: Wacko Meanie's behavior itself is NOT YOUR FAULT.

BUT. It might be useful to ask yourself the following nightmarish questions (most are courtesy of Belleruth). Go slow, one at a time (maybe even with some handholding by a dear friend or professional-type person). Important: They really are intended to be open-ended, not leading. Breakup Girl sincerely does not have all these answers, and neither will you, right away. Okay, here goes.

"Why, indeed ,was I so blind to her ugly ways for three-plus years? I mean -- unless I've overlooked some beakers in the basement -- her transformation could not have happened overnight. Was I relating to some other idea or ideal of her? Did I know her at all? If no, why not? Was I deliberately/subconsciously looking the other way about something all along? Or was I really just not paying attention? Waas I just psyched to have a girlfriend? Do I love punishment? If so, what's up with that? Why would I prolong a conversation with someone so cruel? Why would I give her new material? Is it because her slings and arrows are ... dipped in truth serum? I mean sure, of course she knows just what buttons to push and is pushing them hard -- but is that why I can't just dismiss what she says as meaningless meanness? And why do I love recounting all this to Breakup Girl with so much relish?"

Remember, I am giving you an opportunity, not a scolding. This -- swiveling the lamp toward yourself, not her -- is your only means of gluing these shreds together into a new page of dignity and security. And again: no contact with her. She calls, you hang up; she emails, hit "ignore." I know you'll probably run into her at some point -- YIKES -- but it will be easier then if you shore up your defenses now.

You have been wronged, Confused. Now take the right turn.

Breakup Girl



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