That unthinkability is how it traps you.
August 10, 2019 9:21 AM   Subscribe

"The Worst Thing In The World", from September 2012, by Cliff Pervocracy. On the lengths we will go to when we believe that the end of a relationship would be The Worst Thing In The World. (Content is safe for work, except that the blog title "The Pervocracy" is in big letters at the top.) (previously)
posted by brainwane (5 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Eventually I started to understand. The next time a relationship ended, I cried and yelled plenty, but I didn't do anything inappropriate or harmful. I didn't want to let it go, but I wasn't filled with blind animal terror of letting it go. Breaking up was a bad thing--just not The Worst Thing.

Oof! One of the things that got me through the early days of my breakup in June was seeing how I was exactly as torn up about it as I had been at the end of my terrible, embarrassing high school relationship that was goofily bad in every way a teen relationship can be. Real heartbreak! But survivable and probably something I would appreciate happening in the future, even with some personal regrets.

I also kind of feel that yawning chasm of failure lurking below me about literally everything, and things in the last few months like missing a deadline and doing bad in an interview and making bad conversation with people on sidewalks has been exactly like opening the door with the six-foot cockroach behind it. Now I know what I'm dealing with and can get out the roach spray or call an exterminator instead of cowering outside of the door for the rest of my life! Some of my fears, even just the act of taking five minutes to write it out (or explain it to my therapist, now) and having to pin down the actual thing I'm afraid of is has been helping tremendously, because then it's something concrete instead of a nebulous smokey thing in my head. Then I can look and say, oh, that doesn't seem so bad, or oh, that's actually a big problem, I need to find out how to deal with that, boy am I glad I'm not going to ignore that out of shame for the next twenty years while it snowballs out of control unnecessarily.

I've always liked Cliff's writing!
posted by gaybobbie at 11:03 AM on August 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

You'll do whatever it takes to get away--you'll step on people, you'll scream at them, you'll shove them out of your way even if it hurts them. What I felt when I screamed "talk to me or I'll hurt myself" at my ex wasn't a power trip or an evil cackling glee. What I felt was snake-fleeing desperation.

Wow this is EXTREMELY TIMELY for me this morning.

Also the thing about maybe we should be teaching kids how to handle rejection made me think about rejection-sensitive dysphoria and that for me taking a class like that I just wonder. Like absolutely yes this is a valuable life skill and also lets reform society so that we don't need to be so hard on kids that they develop a complex like right out of the gate. Like hi Im new here on earth I've only been here 6 years but what I've seen has scared me so bad I'm never going to stop being scared.I don't know what kind of class would have cured me of that.
posted by bleep at 11:14 AM on August 10, 2019 [7 favorites]

Because it's like Stephen King says in Danse Macabre--knowing that there's something horrible behind a door is terrifying. Once you open the door, it's ruined.
Well, that's pretty ironic coming from Stephen Fucking King, the man who's built an entire career on describing the thing behind the door in such minute detail but it becomes not only not scary but incredibly dull.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:56 AM on August 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

I love this essay. Thanks for posting it. I am prone to this kind of distorted thinking, and I’m peeking through my fingers at a week offering at least one cockroach of unusual size, so this is well timed.
posted by eirias at 10:29 AM on August 11, 2019

Another thing I'm still thinking about this very good essay days later is it reminds me of how folks have misconstrued the practice of mindfulness and given it a bad name, but if you practice it the right way, for example, maybe you hear yourself screaming at someone in terror and you can stop yourself because they don't know about the terror part, they just hear the screaming. Maybe your brains impulse to do whatever in response to whatever is going on isn't something that has to rule and destroy your life if you have control over it.
posted by bleep at 2:15 PM on August 11, 2019

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