Better Living Through Chemistry? Your Brain May Actually Be Working Against You In Matters Of The Heart

There’s A Mad Chemist At Work

According to Helen Fisher PhD, the physical pain that people feel when they have been rejected is very real. Her research has shown that when emotional attachments and love addictions become entrenched, neurology within the brain changes.

Once this happens, having the source of the addition forcibly taken away and/or being rejected by that source of that love addiction sets up some nasty PHYSICAL yearnings and pain—comparable to kicking crack cocaine cold turkey.

Not only are there the emotional longings and those rivers of unending tears, but there is also a physical element that can be torturous.

A Very Real Chemical Addiction

Being in love strongly activates the same regions of the brain that get stimulated by morphine and cocaine. Furthermore, emotions of rejection light up the part of the brain associated with physical pain—and, the longer the relationship lasted—the worse the pain can be.

It takes time to release all the neural connections, but they do eventually fade—if not reactivated. Hence the value of No Contact.

Dancing In The Streets

I called Martha & The Vandellas to come and play while I did The Dance Of Joy when I found this out.  It was such a relief to finally know what I was dealing with! The thoughts that were swirling around my head and the emotions in my heart were so overwhelming. They didn’t make any sense to me.

My logical mind knew that someone who could callously ghost a loyal spouse after a long term marriage wasn’t worth one nanosecond of anyone’s time. Yet, the more he rejected me, the more I craved him and wanted him back—at any cost. It seemed like a paradox.

In additional to dealing with the psychological trauma from my childhood that his ghosting unmasked, I ended up waging a war against some very powerful chemicals in my brain as well.

Back Away From The Edge

So before you’re tempted to throw yourself off a bridge somewhere—take heart. Keep in mind that at least some part of what’s bringing you so much distress may simply be your own human biology. In other words—you’re attempting to kick your own form of crack cocaine—solo.

Next, consider how Your Dear Departed couldn’t function on his/her own for one second. No, he/she had to line up a new teat from which to nurse in order to bolster their fragile ego in order to dump you.

And you? You’re drinking from a firehose of emotion and facing all your ‘stuff’ alone.

So tell me, who’s the hero and who’s the clown?

Very Powerful Aversion Therapy

Trust me on this one—both the pain of kicking your love addiction and the unsavory memory of your emotional DT’s will soon become your new best friend. Soon, they will serve as powerful reminders, strengthening your resolve to never again romanticize your ex or dilute the truth about who Your Dear Departed really is.

In other words, when the old programming tries to mount the hard drive in your head—or whenever The Memory Channel tries to serve up a rerun of ‘the good old days’ from the highlight reel of your relationship—your response will be quick and  sharp. Reflexively, the words “Programming Canceled” will roll off your tongue like peas on cowhide.

The takeaway here is that no matter how much you love someone, there comes a time when they simply become more trouble than they’re worth. Period.

Trigger-Proof

Hang in there because soon the memories of your ex and will elicit the same response as the thought of having your gums scraped by the dentist. Pavlov’s dog became conditioned to the sound of the bell, soon you’ll be conditioned to an entirely different reaction than the one you’re having now.

In other words, rather than experiencing a skipped heartbeat and breathing a yearning sigh when piece of mail arrives with his/her name on it—your automatic response will be more along the lines of concurrent eye rolling and gag reflex. As even more time goes by, you’ll find that you won’t react at all because you simply don’t care anymore.

When you realized how truly distasteful Sweet Cheeks has become to you, you’ll soon find yourself wishing him/her and their new love the very best in life—and really meaning it!

No Deposit. No Return.

At that point—if you’re like me—you wouldn’t take him/her back if your payoff was a cavalcade of Brink’s trucks and a solid gold Mercedes.

But in the meantime … breathe. Remember, much of what you’re going through is probably due to those darn chemicals!

You can’t sleep, you can’t eat
There’s no doubt, you’re in deep
Your throat is tight, you can’t breathe
Another kiss is all you need
Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough
You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love

The Rejected Brain

Is Love An Addiction?

Semper Fidelis … Psych!

One Down … One To Go … Check!

Prior to his departure, Casper The Ghost held two jobs—he was the IT systems administrator for ywo different multi-million dollar corporations. On D-Day, as he was walking down the sidewalk to leave me, I heard him muttering something under his breath about the ‘commitment’ that he’d made to one of those employers.

He was the sole critical technical resource for both organizations—one retail, one medical. At the retail company, he’d agreed as part of his contract to give a full 2-month notice should he ever decide to resign. The muttering I heard was him talking to himself, lamenting about how—now that he’d done the deed and gotten me out of the way—he was still obligated to stay in town long enough to ‘honor’ his two-month notice period.

Honor and commitment … in the same sentence …  and both uttered by his lips? They’re both such fluid concepts these days, don’t you think?

The Bee Gees Sing ‘He A’int A Sociopath, He’s My Brother’

As things played out in the successive weeks, it became apparent that there was nothing even remotely noble underlying his decision to stay in town. Nope. He simply was sticking around because he had to—you see, the Visa he’d applied for had not been fully processed and received. [What Visa? I had no idea that he’d even applied for a Visa!]

Oh how thrilling the duplicity and suspense of the wait must have been for him. Once the Visa arrived in the mail, he’d then be free to bolt like a racehorse from the starting gate and leave the U.S.—with ‘her’.

I would later learn that Casper’s brother [a former Marine like my departing ex] was aware of my husband’s pending plans and had been his willing accomplice. Dear Brother-In-Law had willingly and knowingly let Casper use his address to apply for the Visa.

Oh Well, Blood’s Thicker Than Water

I was very disappointing when I learned of this two years later. I would’ve expected a good brother to say to a sibling about to careen off the rails something like this: “You know Bubba, you’ve been married to this woman for 29 years. She’s been good to you. You really owe it to her to tell her before you just up and disappear.” Especially since Dear Brother-In-Law had served our uncle in The Marine Corps, supposedly learning about ‘fidelity’.

But no, character deficit must be genetic. I can only surmise that Dear Brother-In-Law [like Dear Father-In-Law, the good Baptist Sunday school teacher] was afraid of ‘taking sides’ as well. Never mind that it would have been the right thing to do.

Note that when I refer to right and wrong, I am only talking about the WAY he planned on leaving. If he wanted a divorce, all he had to do was say so. Who in their right mind wants to stay with someone who doesn’t want to be there? Not me.

Correlation Or Causation?

Right and wrong …  Accountability … More fluid concepts!

My bad! Had I chosen Physics rather than Nursing in college, I, too, would have been up on Fluid Mechanics. Always a day late and a dollar short it seems.

Oh, well, maybe next time.



A bit of related trivia: Casper always liked to tell me that USMC stood for ‘Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children’. I think this is an insult to the many men who served our country and who—unlike Casper and his Bro—apparently were absent the day they talked about ‘Semper Fi’

The Big Gotcha!

Just Another Day In Camelot, Or Was It?

Obviously, for my husband Casper to ghost me the way he did, he must’ve deemed there were a number of issues with our marriage—at least from his perspective. However, this was news to me. Always a day late and a dollar short, my crystal ball was on the fritz and regrettably now, I never completed that tea-leaf reading class.

Call me asleep at the switch, but right up until the day he dropped the bomb, I saw nothing out of the ordinary in his behavior. We’d had no arguments or disagreements to speak of, nor was I aware of anything that signaled a man dissatisfied with his marriage.

For goodness sakes, we even worked together!

Co-workers had often commented to me about how well they thought we got along. I remember several laughing and saying that they didn’t think they could ever work with their spouses. I never understood this, and always thought to myself, “If you both loved and respected each other, you could.” Well, so much for my early warning system, right?

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Flying Under The Radar

To make things even more shocking, Casper was one to send me ostentatious displays of cut flowers at work. He was great to always remember my birthday and our anniversary.

And, very oddly, just a week before he left, he’d given me a large array of loose jewels, supposedly in celebration of our 29th wedding anniversary. [Looking at it now, he’d probably bought them for the other woman and she either didn’t like them or didn’t want them. Then, rather than go through the hassle of returning them, he probably gave them to me, seeing as he knew he was leaving me the next week.]

I still have various ‘I Love You’ cards and loving emails that he sent to me during the day while I was working. Research has led me to conclude that all of this was no doubt to cover his tracks and keep me off-guard and unsuspecting—i.e., thinking everything was normal—until he decided he was ready to drop the bomb. A fool’s born every day, I suppose and I inadvertently answered that casting all. Oh well.

None The Wiser

I said all that to say that being naive, gullible—and hopelessly in love with him—you can imagine my surprise when all of this went down!

Despite the fact that I wasn’t up for considering the possibility at the time, I now know that by leaving—Destiny has spoken. And when these kinds of things happen, one must see past the hurt and be grateful. And I am. LOL

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written in 2013

Welcome

Casper Stars In His Own Lifetime Movie

By way of introduction, if you’ve never been to any of my other blogs and aren’t already familiar with my writing, ‘The Ordeal’ is how I refer to the period of my life post 2011. 

Casper is my nickname for my ex husband—‘Casper The Ghost’. During the period of ‘The Ordeal’ I was lost in space and trying to figure out which end was up as a direct result of my husband’s heinous ghosting of our 29 year marriage/ life together.

Not Your Usual Support Site

If this is the first post you are reading, I need to disclose that this is not a narcissistic abuse recovery blog. Rather, it is a HUMOR site. Humor about my story. So, depending on where you may be in your journey, and how fresh your wounding may be, this may not be the right site for you.

This is a site for me to tell my crazy yet humorous story, long after the fact—after I have had a lot of time to heal. If detailed information and personal support are what you need, there are plenty of other excellent sites that may help you on the internet. Many of them are here within the WordPress.com community itself.

Those bloggers and those sites do an excellent job of providing a touchstone for those of you still reeling at the hands of dastardly devils. They are a good start at getting yourself reoriented back to reality. I highly recommend you find several and that you become a part of a community.

This blog is purely for entertainment and creativity purposes—a vehicle to indulge my somewhat twisted sense of humor and creativity, drawing upon the events of my very real (and also once tragic) experiences.

Introducing Humpty Dumpty (Me)

To tell you about me, I am a card-carrying member of the Brokenhearted Fools Club. Ms. Humpty Dumpty here got chumped—big time. I was a the quintessential ‘mark’ for emotional manipulation. Look up any of the words below in the dictionary and you’ll no doubt either see a picture of me, or at least find me notated in the reference section.

No doubt about it, I was a schmuck, dolt, dimwit, Pollyanna, blockhead, boob, sucker, … you get the drift. I’m not afraid to admit it. Admitting a problem is the first step in fixing that problem. Today I don’t even care if people laugh at me, because the truth is, I WAS all those things! (Notice that I didn’t say I ‘am‘ those things?) It took a series of harsh face-plants to the pavement at the hands of this guy to wise up, but I eventually did.

Flappin’ In The Breeze

Prior to ‘The Ordeal’, I was an otherwise intelligent professional woman. How I got here (chumped so badly) was that I willingly put all my eggs in one basket several decades prior. Sigh … Yes, I was so love-struck and starry-eyed that I willingly gulped down all of  Casper’s propaganda, especially that ’till death do us part’ enticement and emotional hook. (Pardon me, I just threw up in my mouth a bit and I need to clear my throat.)

Now where was I? Oh yes, how I got here … Well, because I had my identity squirreled away in one place (in my relationship with him), I fell off the wall and shattered into a billion pieces when he capriciously up and left one day with no notice.

If anyone reading this leans to the conspiracy side of things—you’ve probably already sniffed out the story line. Yep, you’re right. I was pushed! Go ahead. Alert the tabloids. I could use a royalty check about now. (Smile.)

A Grim Fairy Tale Of The Third Kind

Seriously though, as I hit the ground, shards of my (thought-to-be) time-tested/happy marriage and stable home life flew everywhere. I quickly learned that the the steel girders that (I erroneously thought) underpinned my ‘happily-ever-after’ weren’t anywhere close to being up to code.

Lacking the tensile strength to maintain any kind of upright structure, they succumbed to catastrophic failure, just like The Twin Towers on Sept 11th in New York City. Bricks from the wall where I had been so happy to reside were thrown everywhere—blown apart by the impact of Casper’s sudden announcement.

One by one, even the few reinforced girders that were left standing made that creepy eery noise and slowly toppled to the ground as well. And there it all lay. Everything I’d known as my life for decades was reduced to a pile of rubble on the ground. Not  a very pretty site.

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

So, while I was still coughing and trying to find my bearings amidst the smoke and falling debris, Casper and Satan’s Mistress boarded a plane and jetted off to another continent—laughing a raucous cackle. They’d pulled it off! They could now kick back and relax without the ex wife mucking things up. Phase One was completed. They delegated Phase Two of my take-down to a subcontractor, their friend, The Wicked Witch of the ‘West’.

By the time the tail of their jet disappeared into the clouds, flying monkeys had already been dispatched and were beginning to circle overhead in tight formation. The only thing missing from my real-life movie trailer was the haunting echo and added threat of, ‘And I’ll get your little doggie too!’

Since I’d never been an animal person, there was no little doggie for The Wicked Witch or her monkeys to come after. So all you dog lovers can breathe a sigh of relief. There’s a cute little Fluffy or Fifi out there, still alive and kicking—still enjoying his/her daily ration of Alpo.

The fine print: Absolutely no animals were harmed in the making of this tragedy.


This post was written in February 2015 and was originally posted in another blog

 

It All Came Down Like A House Of Cards

Just When You Think It’s Safe To Come Out Of The Water

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you never know what will happen when you get up in the morning. I say this because just a few short years ago I was happily married [or so I thought], gainfully employed, established in a great career, and pulling down a nice salary of my own at nearly $150K a year. This was just my part of the household income.

I felt secure in the love of a husband I absolutely adored. I enjoyed the benefits of having an impeccable professional reputation, excellent credit, lots of friends, and what I thought was a bright future ahead of me. We had a nice comfortable home, several nice savings accounts, and even great health insurance.

D-Day

In February 2011, while running a few errands, my husband of 29 years pulled the car over, and shut the engine off. He then unbuckled his seat belt, tuned to face me and blurted out that he needed to “go away” to “see if anything could make him happy”.

When I placed my hand on his shoulder and assured him that whatever the problem was, he could be certain that I was “there for him’. Like an insane person, he started crying hysterically and screamed at me “But your [sniff,sniff] …. love [sniff,sniff] …is [sniff, sniff] … not [sniff, sniff] …  enough for me!”

Well, okay then. Point taken.

3, 2, 1 … Switch Personalities

Then, very strangely, it was as if someone had loudly snapped their fingers to get him out of a trance. He jarringly rocked back in the car seat and shook his back and forth as if he’d been slapped by someone and was having to get his bearings.

After taking a second to collect himself. he then turned, looked at me sweetly, and said, “You hungry? … I’m hungry … What sounds good? … I’m thinking salmon.”

He then opened the car door, exited the vehicle, and walked into the grocery to buy fresh salmon—leaving me sitting there stunned and bewildered.

And so began my crazy journey. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I’d just been served up my first dose of a power tactic that until that day, I knew nothing about—gaslighting.

The Sea Bag Drag

I sat in the car wondering what to do next—wondering what to expect. I decided to remain quiet and see what transpired.

We arrived home, fixed dinner together, and ate our salmon—in silence.

Then, within 20 minutes of putting his dishes in the dishwasher, he was packed and out the door. He left [it appeared] with only the clothes on his back and whatever things he was able to cram into a duffel bag as he ran around the house snatching up things like a crazy person.

Reality Makes A House Call

I would soon discover that he left with a lot more than just his clothes. As it turned out, he’d been putting money into his separate bank account for quite some time. Arrogantly thinking that he knew more than the financiers who crashed and burned on Wall Street—he’d also been dabbling in day trading.

It was only when our tax preparer scolded him in front of me about the number of ‘wash’ sales in his Ameritrade account that I even learned that he had an Ameritrade account! Further, in an apparent effort to be as liquid as possible when he fled the country, he’d also been buying gold for some time as well.

A Naive Ninny

I was the all too-trusting wife, happy to go off to work and let him handle the details of our personal finances. This was a great option for me as I had more than my share of obligations to attend to at work. I was happy just to work and have my checks electronically deposited.

Sadly, the money I was told that ‘we’ were setting aside for college tuition for the grandson we had been raising since birth was somehow mystically-magically re-classified as ‘his money’—money he scooped up and took with him when he left.

Happy Valentine’s Day Dear

His departure [what I now satirically term D-Day] coincided with the Valentine’s Day holiday—and just three months before our grandson’s high school graduation. This was a slap in the face because several weeks earlier our grandson had just gotten accepted into the biomedical engineering program of large nearby university.

Sadly, in May, our grandson graduated with just my eldest son and me in attendance—a day he described as “the worst day of his life.”

My husband’s family? They didn’t even bother to show up. They disappeared quicker than mob informants in the witness protection program, weighing in as “no shows” for the event.

Their excuse? … “Not wanting to takes sides”.

Sides? … Um … The way I see it, there are no ‘sides’ in a unilateral decision—unless, of course, you’re counting the blind side.

originally written in 2011 and posted elsewhere on another blog

 

Yee Haw! I Wasn’t His First Rodeo

My Major Mistake

Hands down, I was a very easy ‘mark’ for Mr. Cheater Pants—especially due to the fact that I wasn’t his first rodeo. Imagine that …a person who ghosts a long-term marriage having a shady side? Well, butter my biscuit!

In all seriousness, a major red flag that I overlooked when I was in the throes of all my crying was that he’d practiced his schtick a few times—no doubt honing his craft of love-bombing on a few other girlfriends/fiancee’s prior to me.

Interesting [but not so mysterious now] was how both of these women were from families of a higher socioeconomic class. For example, one fiancee’s father was a local doctor. The other fiancee was the very one that he ghosted me for and ran away with.

I affectionately refer to this woman in my writing as ‘Satan’s Mistress’. She now has the illustrious title of Mrs. Cheater Pants. Oh wait—she refused to take his last name.  Hmmm.

She is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Got-Rocks [I nicknamed them that because my husband always made reference to the fact that they had money]. They passed away a few years ago—leaving everything to this only daughter—thereby adding to the attractiveness to my husband, in my opinion.

Slumming Were You, Darlin’?

In light of his illustrious past, and his shenanigans when he so callously ghosted me, I’m left scratching my head wondering why he was ever interested in me in the first place. No doubt, he was fresh out of better options. Other than a six-figure job that I worked 30-80 hours a week to maintain in the last decade of our marriage, I had no prestige to speak of. Perhaps he’d been having a series of ‘off’ years. Perhaps like a baseball player, he was trying to break out of a ‘slump’. LOL.

To target me back in the 80’s, he must’ve felt that he was looking at the bottom of the barrel. I had no money, no pending inheritance, and my relatives were not doctors. Hmmm … Shrug … Who knows?

But then—when you look back at it—he wasn’t exactly batting a thousand at that point, either. He’d just gotten kicked out the military and was living in a rooming house on the not-so-nice side of a dying city. To make things worse, Mr. Cheater Pants was having to work for minimum wage. Poor pumpkin.

But Even Buzzards Have To Eat I Guess

In any event, he swooped in—and like a dolt—I bought his schtick. Overtaken by fined-tuned and extravagant love-bombing and all his romantic-comedy moves, I was swept off my feet—-convinced that I’d found my soul mate.

But then, a true soul mate will never seek to take yours. Oh well, we live and learn.

Below is a video I did regarding this.


Young Love, Meet Self-Love

Carpool Carryings On 

I pick my best friend’s granddaughter up from school a number of times a week. Her birthday falls after the cut off, so she’a a year behind her peers in getting her driver’s license. And, as we all know, the cool kids NEVER ride the bus. LOL

Since I often serve as a surrogate mom’s taxi cab, I see a lot of things. Today was one of those days. My friend’s daughter called to say that she wasn’t going to be on the running track because she was in the bathroom consoling a friend [we’ll call her Jill] whose boyfriend [we’ll call him Tim] had just broken up with her over the phone from his college dorm. Oh my, drama was about to go down!

Fearing that Jill was too distraught to drive, my friend’s very sweet granddaughter piled her into the back seat of my car and brought her home with us—thereby transferring the drama from the high school bathroom stall to our house. More specifically, to the bedroom next to mine.

My heart sank as Jill sat on the phone … crying … begging …  and pleading with Tim not to break up with her. She had him on speaker phone [why?] and he kept trying to reiterate that he already had broken up with her and that it wasn’t negotiable. Well, she was having none of it! My neck and jaw muscles tightened. The hair on stood up on the back of my neck. I got goose bumps when I hear her plead the same idiotic words that I’d once uttered: “I’ll do anything … ANYTHING! … just please don’t leave me.” 

Not My Place

Jill wasn’t my relative, and now definitely wasn’t the time to for me to interject. She had her own mother, but unfortunately her mother was still at at work on a new job. Still, I wanted so badly to burst through the door and say. “Stop it! Sweetheart, please don’t compromise your dignity. He’s told you straight up, he doesn’t want to be with you!  Love YOURSELF and stop!” 

But that’s easy for me to say, as an old lady. And even harder to do when tender first love—and a $650 prom dress!—is at stake. But what better time to learn this valuable lesson than now—in high school—before further attachment and even more serious emotions are involved?

I had an inkling that the breakup was coming. A few of us did. A couple of months earlier the high school had their winter formal event. As would be expected, there was the regular hoopla surrounding it. My friend’s granddaughter is on school council and functions as the de-facto social chair for just about everything that goes on. So it was no surprise that that a gaggle of kids gathered at our house for picture taking before leaving for the dinner. 

As the cameras were snapping, I noticed Tim standing off by himself observing the goings on. Jill was oblivious—flitting around the room, chatting with her friends, and posing for selfies with her gal-pal squad. She was in top form, all dolled up and in a stunning dress that very artfully revealed her body to die for. The words often used to described her physical attributes have something to do with bricks and outdoor toilets. One would think that Tim would be glued to her side as was my friend’s granddaughter’s beau was by her side. Yet Tim was standing off by himself, aimlessly looking around the room. He appeared as if he was simply tolerating having to be there. I quickly recognized that look; I’d seen that look so many times on the face of my ex husband at social events. 

Jumping To Conclusions?

Afterward, I remarked to my friend’s granddaughter and several others that I found his behavior odd. I mentioned that I  feared that he ‘just wasn’t that into her’ as they say. I was assured that this wasn’t the case. One person even warned me not to ‘always be looking for that kind of thing behind every tree’ just because I’d had such a bad experience.  

Turns out, I was right. This young man had summoned the intestinal fortitude to end it now. Jill and Tim were such opposites. He was quiet and reserved and she was such a dynamo of energy and emotion all the time. 

First Things First, The Right Kind Of Self Love

He’d earned a full scholarship and was studying at a college in a town about an hour away. Pursuing an engineering degree, he had committed to a heavy and intense heavy class load. As one might expect, Jill didn’t yet appreciate that. Her focus was on dating and the fun of that whole high school experience. The constant texts, phone calls, and running up and down the road to see her had cut into his focus and study time—or so he said. It had begun to affect his grades. Based on this, he’d made the decision to regroup and focus on his goals. 

He’d broken the news and explained that she deserved someone who could be there every day and give her the time attention she wanted. Unable to truly ‘hear’ what he was saying, she went off the reservation with hysteria. 

I’ve Looked At Love From Both Sides Now

Wow. The process of growing up. Their relationship was forcing both of them out of their comfort zones. It was hard for him to have to do something that he knew would hurt her, and it was hard for her to have hear that he was bowing out gracefully. Yet, by the process of breaking up, both of them were presented with opposing opportunities to do their own self-work.

From the perspective of someone who got ghosted after years and years of marriage and left to wonder what happened, I applaud Tim for showing that he cared for her by at least having the courage and respect to make himself uncomfortable and have ‘the talk’. He did not lead her on, yet he stayed his own course. He did not run away like a coward. 

One thing’s for certain, there are different perspectives in relationships, aren’t there? But in the grand scheme of things, I believe that when there is mutual respect, those bumps in the road can be great learning experiences. That is, if we can face our fears and find the courage to do—or to look at—what we know we must. 

But oh the pain of young love …