Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time in a Bottle

It was like climbing in a Delorean. A time machine. "When Overachievers Divorce." I couldn't pass this one up.

The title just oozes ego. And that of course reeled me in. Here then is the link...

It is written by a gal named Emma Wilhelm. Here is my quantitative analysis of that piece as written by Emma. The piece I suppose, offers the premise that overachievers simply cannot tolerate anyone who fails to meet their high standards of achievement. It forces them to get divorced. Makes them victims.

These are Emma's friends. Let me tell you about them. First there is "Erika." Soon to be medical professional, genius. She married a loser, a man lacking her profound sense of achievement. This was something she simply could not live with- thus she was "forced" to get a divorce.

Next up, Jolene. Jolene is another overachieving woman. Rather than focus on her ex- and his inability to see things her way, like "Erika"- Jolene is characterized as someone who sees the beauty in divorce. How it strengthened her. In fact, she calls it a blessing. Perhaps it was.

Last but no least, it's Emma's turn. Emma doesn't disclose anything about herself really, except to imply that she is in the overachiever class as well. She got a divorce 5 and a half years ago. Yea, me too. Let me tell you about mine.

There was a time in my life when I thought the external world was the problem. I couldn't possibly be the problem. My solution to that thought process was manifested as a fit of depression, heavy drinking, and blaming others. I never blamed my ex entirely, but I cannot claim that moral high ground until I got sober and connected the dots after I had regained control of my life. I see very clearly now- that I was always the problem. I made bad decisions, but that didn't mean I had to continue making them.

Here's my solution Emma, it worked for me and I will only suggest it to you and your over achieving friends. However, please feel free to ignore it if you want to stay mired in self pity and righteousness.

I have an ego which is mostly unhealthy. My first instinct is usually wrong. I am always the problem and when I work on myself and shoulder the blame- oddly enough- I don't blame others. My ego of course is the casualty in all of this- but I have found that killing my ego is very healthy. I no longer try to control the exterior world or tell you or anyone else- how to live their lives. I am not gripped with some unconscious fear that if you don't do things the way that I want- that somehow that will land us in chaos, make me unhappy, and feeling like a victim. Of course victimology means that someone else is always to blame- therefore to keep my feelings and emotions safe and intact- I must free myself from that partner who refuses to live life the way that I demand it.

Does that about capture the essence of what you have written Emma?

I'm not here writing because I need to heap some shame on somebody or claim some vastly superior intellectual high ground. I no longer feel it is necessary to hurt others to make myself feel better. I am writing this because there was a time in my life when I might have agreed with your premise. It was precisely that premise that enabled my ego to convince me that everyone else was to blame. Over achieving you see, doesn't have a damn thing to do with divorce. They are not mutually exclusive concepts with only one emotionally mandated outcome.

When I read this piece, it reminded me of that time in my life when I was completely unconscious and ruled by ego. It's not that I have lost my ego Emma, it's that I am aware of it. I am aware that what I have written here must seem superior and mean spirited. That's not the purpose nor a by product even. I found happiness because I embraced the concept that maybe I had been wrong all along. Maybe trying to change everything in my exterior world was wrong. Maybe it was as simple as fixing me instead.  I was lucky- my friends told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. And what I needed to hear was not what a great over achieving guy I was- but instead what a self centered and judgmental person I had become. Fix that first. Change that flat tire and get the car rolling again.

I know we speak two languages. I am male, I fix things.

Happiness is incredibly difficult to find within yourself, it is absolutely impossible to find outside yourself. Thank you for writing "When Overachievers Divorce"- it was like time in a bottle for me.


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me!

This post sounds like self-help-industry nonsense.

You are you who are.

Brian said...

I used to think exactly like you.

People have life changing events- don't discount the possibility that people change. In fact, they do. But maybe not you.