Stay away from cray cray

Joey Garcia

Why is it that a woman I dated for over two years—who stole from me, who had a personal crisis almost daily, who broke things in my house when she was upset and more than likely cheated on me—is someone I can’t get over? We had sex several times a day and it was some of the best sex I’ve ever had. Am I emotionally attracted to a person like that? Or am I having withdrawals from great sex?

You’re locked into feeding the hand that bites you. That’s not an emotional attraction. It’s not a symptom of missing lots of sex, either. You’re craving that cray cray relationship because it satiated a part of you that confuses intensity with passion and stress with excitement. Yes, beneath your mind’s obsessive return to thoughts about this woman is an addiction. You feel alive when adrenaline surges through you, directing your mind into endless loops of the “What now?” roller coaster. But that ain’t really living, honey.

A lot of people are attracted to emotional distraction without ever realizing that frenetic activity is rooted in fear, not love (or even “like”). Relationships that swing from the threat of abandonment to bonding (through sex or emotional intimacy) and back to near-abandonment keep us hooked and unhealthy. But healing is possible.

Here’s how: Take your mind back. When your thoughts float toward your ex-girlfriend, pull them into the present. Remind yourself of where you are now and what you are doing: “I’m in the car, driving to work.” If you think about her temper tantrums or the items she destroyed, tell yourself, “That was the past. I am now committed to taking care of myself.” Don’t masturbate using mental images of her body. Don’t fantasize about the sex you shared. Doing so indoctrinates your brain, strengthening its commitment to her as your source of sexual satisfaction. That delays your recovery and healing. Above all, be grateful that you are no longer in a relationship that fails to bring you peace, joy or personal growth. You deserve better. Love accordingly.

Twenty years ago, worried about making the wrong decision in love and career, I saw an astrologer. She said I should accept the overseas job I was being offered. She also said my boyfriend was a violent alcoholic and I should not marry him. I left, wondering about the value of her advice because my boyfriend didn’t drink at all, and didn’t have an ounce of anger in him. But I took the job, and the boyfriend married another woman. Recently I realized the astrologer correctly predicted that I would return to school for a graduate degree, the area I would study and the topic of my thesis. And now, as I struggle in my marriage to a violent alcoholic, while also considering an exciting job that would take us apart, I wonder about the power of suggestion. Did the astrologer plant a seed in my brain by proposing she can reveal the future?

I think the real question is what made you so susceptible to the power of suggestion. Why did the astrologer’s reading operate in you like a curse, rather than as a stranger’s opinion? Studies have shown that much of what a psychic or astrologer says in a session is not true; we simply remember the few predictions that line up with our life events. And while some people truly have the gift of prophecy, those individuals are rare. The lesson for you is this: When facing difficult decisions, avoid surrendering your authority. Instead, invest in deepening your self-knowledge through meditation, journaling, reflection and yoga. That way in the future, you won’t sabotage yourself in an effort to prove someone else right.

Meditation of the week
Yoko Ono's one-woman show at the New York Museum of Modern Art includes 125 “Instruction Pieces.” “Sleeping Piece I” is my fave: “Write all the things you want to do. / Ask others to do them and sleep / until they finish doing them. / Sleep as long as you can.” Are you a sleep evangelist?

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