Going crazy

I loved her and tried to heal her, but she destroyed our relationship. Why?

By Cary Tennis
January 28, 2004 1:51AM (UTC)
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Dear Cary,

I'm not the brightest guy on the planet, and I probably think I'm a lot smarter than I am. I fell in love with this girl. I knew she was bad news -- she had issues, depression, had been abused as a child, and had some real difficulties with sexual fidelity.


When I was in love with her, I knew she had problems being honest, but I let myself believe that she'd only avoid the truth, not lie directly. (I would believe her when she told me she just slept over at her ex-boyfriend's house to cuddle. Yeah, not too bright.)

I really loved her. I thought she lied and was depressed because she was damaged. I thought I could get through to her and get her to feel loved for something other than sex. I just wanted her to be honest with me so I could be there for her and tell her I loved her and that the person she really was deserved to be loved. I tried for years, never got through, and got fairly damaged myself in the process.

I trusted her, and I loved her. I really just wanted her to be happy, tried to help her have successful relationships with other people, and now I find out I was being used and manipulated the whole time. It's a bit of a pill to swallow, to find out about deception going back for years, from someone I trusted as a friend and did everything I could to heal.


Why? It doesn't make any sense. She ended up destroying our relationship intentionally. Betraying my trust in a way that was intended to devastate me (which it did). Why?

I keep waffling on this. Is she an evil selfish bitch who never cared about anything but herself? Is she damaged and incapable of being a decent human being? (And is that really her fault?) Is she desperate for help but unable to believe? Is she destroying herself more because she's ashamed of what she's done? Should I even care?

It's hard to let go because I don't understand what happened, or why it happened. Like maybe it's my fault for trying so hard and not protecting myself.


Going Krazy

Dear Going Krazy,

You dumbbell! You Einstein on shots of Cuervo! You complicated savant of the self!

That's a whopper of an opening sentence you wrote there, Dumbbell. (May I call you Dumbbell for short? It pleases me somehow.) It takes a weird, complicated, dangerous self-awareness to state not only that you know you're not so bright, but also that you know you're not as bright as you think you are.


Have another shot of Cuervo, Dumbbell. We're driving to Phoenix.

What? I'm not sure what that means.

Oh. Yes, I do know what it means. It means that I'm going to need you in a semiconscious, mumbling, nodding state in order to deliver a soliloquy that will snap your head back and make you see straight.


You're a very complicated guy. So you picked a complicated woman because you like complication. But it's really not all that complicated, is it, the return of the repressed, the ironic expression of unconscious aggression? You make it complicated, because on the one hand you pretend to be a dumbass literal-minded guy who likes Jell-O shooters and Foosball. But you know there are layers upon layers upon layers, and you secretly like the layers. You like the funhouse. And then you have this verbal sophistication that you will use to deny all this, which is why I've gotten you drunk and am driving you through the desert to Phoenix in this stolen Rambler, to distract you from the layers of verbal sophistication that you are using to confound the world around you, to keep us chasing you, trying to persuade you to talk sense, which just amuses you because you know already what's going on, you're three steps ahead of us anyway. Which is why I have to tie you up, gag you, and leave you in the desert for a while.

Stop mumbling. The gag makes it impossible for you to be understood.

Exactly, you say! It's the gag! I've never been understood even when the gag is out!


Exactly, I say! Because you're talking mumbo-jumbo. If you'd come along earlier, before everyone caught on, you could have been writing books about French thinkers. But it's too late now. We're all victims of their convolution now, and we're trying to get something simple, American and straight. There's nothing straighter than a road through the desert, and there's nothing simpler than a Rambler straight six. That's the kind of therapy I'm recommending to you, you Derrida'd dumbbell.

"Why?" you scream through your gag like a character on "All My Children." "It doesn't make any sense. She ended up destroying our relationship intentionally. Betraying my trust in a way that was intended to devastate me (which it did). Why?"

You're asking the wrong question. The question is "How?" Because it's not a question of moral intent, but of the mechanisms of human behavior, the way complicated, multilayered people like yourself are drawn to duplicitous and many-sided neurotics because they're more interesting. It makes the plot more interesting. The problem is that you're more interested in the plot, in how smart you are, than in the actual effects of your actual life on your actual self (yes, you do have an actual self.)

And perhaps you do not trust or have not made friends with this actual self, this simple, one-dimensional emotional self which does not care to be abused.


Einstein on Cuervo, meet Dumbbell. Dumbbell is just a simple guy who wants a woman to be kind to him and love him like a decent girl. But Einstein on Cuervo likes the wild and crazy relativity writ large across the sky, the paradoxes and intrigues that lie at the very foundations of matter and energy: He especially likes them written across a woman's body, because then the woman, superficially innocent and seductive as she is, represents the universe in all its cruel complexity and paradox.

You got kicked in the head because you stuck your chin out and dared her. You went along for the ride because you liked where it was headed. She got your number because you gave her your number. You abused yourself.

You don't have to become involved with neurotic, destructive women. You are smart enough to recognize the pattern. If you continue to become involved with them, you will continue to do damage to yourself. If you don't admit that you have a real, emotional self that is vulnerable, that can be damaged by such experiences, then you will continue to be abused.

Find some intellectual challenges to keep your mind occupied. And find a nice woman who'll treat you right.


If you promise to do that, I'll untie you. But you're walking the rest of the way.

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Cary Tennis

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