Thursday, September 06, 2007

Worried about Riin

Recently, I saw the following article in the advice column "Annie's Mailbox:"
Dear Annie: I have a problem with my husband. He goes to the garage to work on things from sunup to sundown. He builds one thing and as soon as he is finished, he immediately starts another project. He says it's what he likes to do.

If we go somewhere, he talks only about his projects to me and everyone else. There isn't one day he doesn't open up the garage to do something. I feel like he's forgotten about me. Maybe he's lost his mind. He doesn't believe in counseling, so I don't know what to do. What do you suggest? -- Garage Widow

Dear Garage Widow: It's possible, if your husband has always been like this, that he has an obsessive disorder. But it's more likely that such complete devotion to his projects, to the exclusion of everything else, indicates avoidance. There's something your husband doesn't want to deal with and burying his head in the garage allows him to pretend everything is OK. You can ask, gently how to help with what is troubling him, or you can leave him be. Either he will come to a decision about the situation -- or you will. If you think counseling will help you work through it, by all means, go without him and get some help.
This reminded me so much of Riin lately only, in her case, instead of burying her head in a garage full of projects, she buries her head in spinning and dyeing. Like the husband in the article, I think she's trying desperately to avoid something she doesn't want to face. Unfortunately, since she won't talk to me, I have no way of finding out out what, nor can I do anything to help her.

I'm really worried about her. Going by what she's saying on her blog, this obsessive compulsive work often keeps her up way past her 10:30 bedtime (based on the time stamps on some entries) and, when she goes on vacation, it takes her three or four days to recover from the stress and fatigue. All this, coupled with her recent uncharacteristic behavior (particularly giving up cycling), says to me that there is something wrong. Desperately wrong. :(

Somebody has to reach her before she makes herself sick or hurts anyone else. So far, I've been the only one who's been willing to try. Unfortunately, as she flatly refuses to talk to me, my efforts have thus far been futile and I'm worried that, by the time I do manage to reach her, it may be too late. :(

I don't know for sure, but I have to assume that at least some people who are really close to Riin are reading this blog. I also know that Riin tends to hurt the people who love her. Those who love her are probably just as worried about her as I am, but having been burned by her, they're afraid to try to approach her. Honestly, I can't say I blame them. When you love her, whether she means to or not, she can really hurt you.

If anyone who does love Riin is reading this, I implore you: talk to her. Try to reach her. Find out what's wrong. Help her.

I can't reach her right now. I'm hoping someone else can.


On July 19, 2007 2:41:50 AM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
[H]ere's a suggestion about how to make it so you don't have to be so worried about her: stop paying attention to what she's doing. Then you'll have no information with which to conclude anything's wrong. Voila, nothing to worry about!
Too late for that now. I already know.

On July 22, 2007 3:37:45 PM ADT, Pete wrote:
I lived with Riin for 17 years. She was always her happiest . . . when she was knitting and spinning and dyeing, or doing whatever craft suited her--and geeking about whatever craft it was . . . Her going on about it until your eyes glaze over is what we call enthusiasm.

She does not need an intervention against was brings her joy in life.
Ordinarily, I would agree, but it's not what she's doing that worries me. It's the amount and intensity.

For example, I love cycling. However, if I was to start cycling 200 km every single day, it probably wouldn't be very good for me. Even Tour de France competitors get rest days, and the Tour de France itself is a three week, once a year phenomenon. If professional cyclists had to do the Tour de France year-round most of them would probably be dead before 40.

This is also in large part why so many WWE performers have cracked over the years. What they do is way too emotionally intense and draining, literally working sometimes 300 days a year doing crazy things to themselves. WWE wrestlers love what they do, but no matter how much you love something, if you do it to a level of intensity your body and mind can't take, it's going to break you sooner or later...

Yes, working with her hands makes her happy. What worries me is she's spending so much time doing the spinning, knitting and dyeing that she's not even getting to bed on time some nights. I know, as I'm sure you do, that missing sleep does a serious number on Riin's energy and emotional well being, more than most people. It also increases her risk of developing migraines as well.

I am not saying, nor would I ever say, that Riin should stop doing her spinning, dyeing and knitting. Far from it. I merely think she has a dial it down a notch before she harms her health...

Besides, something must be wrong if she's giving up cycling and, particularly, turning her back on Ken Kifer's Bicycling Advocacy group. Despite her attempts to blame me for these things, ultimately she is strong enough to continue cycling if she wants to. The very stubbornness that she's using to shut me out could instead be channelled into not letting the yelling drivers get to her, but she prefers to play the victim.

I believe there's some part of herself that this whole mess has brought out that she doesn't like and doesn't want to deal with. I think all this intensive craft work is intended to avoid dealing with that something, whatever it is. She'd probably also deny that if asked. She probably knows she has a problem inside, but she's denying it to herself. I've done the same thing, denying my addiction to alcohol for example.

Riin and I share those flaws: we're both self-delusional and profoundly stubborn... :P

I also don't think it's a coincidence that this obsessive compulsive binge of creative work started pretty much right after she broke up with me. I therefore bear at least some of the responsibility for her current state. That also makes it my responsibility to help, if I can.

As Riin herself is fond of saying, everything is connected...

On July 23, 2007 4:39:01 AM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
You say you're self-delusional. I believe that. But you are also aware of your self-delusionality, and therefore able to be responsible for it.
Never said I wasn't. Neither is she. She knows her capacity for self-delusion, too. She recently, for example, made reference to "harboring the delusion" she'd be moving to Canada.
This going on and on about her, and analyzing what's going on in her life and whether it involves you and whether it's healthy for her -- it's inappropriate.
Both Canada and the United States are free countries. I can go on and on about anyone, or anything, I like, and if Riin doesn't want me (or, for that matter, anyone) analyzing her life, then she shouldn't be writing a blog. I'm sometimes fairly insulted by the fact that people tend to judge me (as you are) without knowing anything about me but I deal with it because, by writing a blog, I asked for it, as all blog writers do, in effect.
Dumpees *often* think the dumping was a mistake and that the dumper will come to regret it.
Of course I believe it's a mistake. I've already mentioned that. As for whether she'll come to regret it, maybe but not likely. If she ever does, she'll probably never admit it.
Dumpees *often* think that they ought to have some continued role in the dumper's life. But they don't.
True... but that doesn't mean I can't fight for it. She can continue to resist. That's her right, but I'm not giving up. That's my right.

Besides. Dumping me is one thing. Cutting me off completely is another. I have made mistakes, but I have not done anything that justifies cutting me off completely at the knees. Even she herself said that we could probably be friends eventually though "not for a while" (her exact words). I don't know how long "a while" is, but I'd like to think almost five months is enough of "a while" that she could at least talk to me now...

The situation simply isn't fair. Riin are very much alike in a vast majority of ways, but big difference between Riin and I are how we deal with the unfair. Riin folds and plays the victim. I fight.

Riin has used a lot of people in her life. Put simply, she used the wrong person this time...

I have a friend now with whom I had a fight almost identical to this one, right down to the childish threats of police involvement and flat refusal to say word one to me. Today, that person is one of my closest friends in the world because, like I'm fighting for Riin now, I fought for her and her friendship... for eight months. I never gave up and, eventually, given enough time, patience and understanding I finally reached her.

Today, she tells me she's glad I never gave up on her and that she appreciates the fact that I've always been there for her, no matter what.

This situation is no different.

On July 24, 2007 7:12:49 PM ADT, Anonymous wrote:
I think she really loves you and she is just afraid to admit it. That seems clear from reading her blog.
I agree with the assessment that she still loves me, but not because of anything she's said in her blog. I believe it simply because of my belief that love never dies; it just gets buried under a bunch of resentment sometimes.

That being said, I'm curious: what exactly do you see in Riin's blog that implies that she loves me and is trying to hide it?

On July 26, 2007 7:45:43 PM ADT, Sue wrote:
If she makes herself sick, that will show her that she's pushed herself too far, and she'll know that it's time to ease off.
You pointed out earlier that you don't know Riin. I do. I assure you, she will not "know that it's time to ease off." She just keeps pushing herself until she drops. She always has, and probably always will. Part of the whole OCD thing.

I'm OCD about some things, too (particularly anything to do with numbers). I know what I'm talking about.
I presume you're not talking about physical injury when you say 'hurting someone else' . . .
You presume correctly.
. . . that's also not for you to intervene on -- if someone gets hurt due to her actions (what, are you suggesting that her working too hard while she works things out emotionally somehow puts others at some kind of risk?) that is between her and them.
You're partially correct. Once she has hurt someone, that's not my concern (there are five other people in her wake that were hurt before me and, as much as I'd like to help them, I cannot and it is not my place to). I'm just hoping that someone can reach her before she hurts someone in the first place.

No, I'm not suggesting that "working too hard" is putting people at risk in and of itself. What's putting the people who love her at risk is the underlying issues behind those actions.
You note that she's unwilling to talk to you. That's a good hint that she doesn't want whatever kind of salvation you are offering her. Adults are allowed to engage in self-harming actions. Other adults are not allowed to interfere with this in an involuntary manner.
What involuntary manner? I haven't forced her to do anything. Even if I could, I wouldn't. Forcing someone to do something only breeds resentment. Besides, even if I wanted to force her to do anything, I couldn't. She's just as stubborn as I am. All I can do is keep trying to reach her and hope that, eventually, she'll let me in on her own.

Until then, I'm just hoping that someone else who cares about her might be able to reach her in the meantime. Of course I'd like to help her myself but, in the end, I don't really care who helps her, so long as someone does.
You fear it might be too late? Too late for what?
To explain that would require me going into areas of Riin's personal history that would be appropriate territory only for those who are intimately involved with her. It's not my place to tell you those stories, publicly or privately.
Too late for you to manipulate or intimidate her back into your world?
You say that as if returning to my world would be a fate worse than death. You don't know me. How do you know what my "world" is like? Granted, I've made mistakes, but how do you know how much I've learned from this incident?

Look. If I thought that coming back to me would truly make her unhappy, I would back off. That's why I don't want her to move to Canada anymore. I've recognized that that part of our relationship would make her miserable.

However, I think a permanent relationship, with her living there and me living here, maybe with the occasional visit, might allow us to salvage some of the happiness that we both once shared. I think that's part of what she's afraid of. She's afraid I want to drag her back into the relationship as it was. I don't. I want a new relationship. Friendship, long distance relationship, phone lovers, whatever you want to call it, or whatever it becomes.

I do not want to intimidate Riin. If that was my intention, I wouldn't have canceled my plans to travel to see her.

I had originally planned to leave this past Saturday morning, taking a plane to Toronto and a bus from there to Ann Arbor (until the end of this year, Canadians can still cross the Canada/US border without a passport provided the crossing is over land). I had the whole trip planned out. I was consulting with Framework Cycle and Fitness about getting a travel bag for my bike. I was negotiating the appropriate vacation time with my supervisor.

Literally two days before I submitted my vacation request, Riin made her posting about me becoming physically abusive if she had moved here. The moment I read that, I canceled my trip immediately. Whether her belief was true or not was irrelevant. The fact was, she did believe it and, if she believes that, my arrival would have done nothing but frighten her. I didn't wish to do that, so I didn't go.

If I had wanted to intimidate her, I would not have canceled the trip.
Gee, dontcha just love open-comment blogs? :)
They can be frustrating sometimes but, as I pointed out to Anonymous July 23, 2007 4:39:01 AM ADT above, all bloggers ask for this by the very nature of what they do. So I deal with it. ;)

On July 29, 2007 1:10:36 PM ADT, Sue wrote:
It is not your place to assess that she 'won't know that it's time to ease off.' If she does, as you say, keep pushing herself until she drops, that is her prerogative.
I'm aware of that. I'm aware that I'm probably not going to be able to do anything to stop her but, according to my belief system, I can't sit here and say I love the woman if I don't even try to stop her.

Now, as far as that's concerned, I've done everything I can. My conscience is clear knowing that.
If you think that she is not capable of living properly without your oversight, that is nothing short of delusional.
Whoa. Hold it. I never said that. I merely said she has a self-destructive habit that she needs help with. Most of us do. That doesn't mean she can't "live right." It simply means she's going to cause herself unnecessary pain and, as I said before, I don't feel I can very well sit here and say I love her if I don't even try to stop her from hurting herself.

Remember, Riin did the exact same thing to me when it came to my drinking habit. She would not back off even through I made it very clear that I wanted her to. Yes, we were still together when she did this but her help was uninvited nevertheless. Now I understand where she was coming from, and I'm glad she fought for me until she won. I'm simply returning the favor.
Don't you think resentment would be her reaction to the things you are posting and doing here?
Perhaps... but resentment was also my reaction when Riin kept pushing about my drinking problem.

I got over it.

Removing a splinter is painful, but once done you feel a whole lot better.
Yes, you have the right to post whatever you please -- but presumably you are trying to cause something to happen; something that involves her deciding she's willing to interact with you in some way. You really think being so disrespectful of her wishes will accomplish that?
No, but that's not the purpose of the blog. This blog is for me to work out my thoughts and feelings. A place to vent. Riin uses hers for the same purpose. That's why she calls it "Riin's Rants."

To accomplish the goal of getting her to interact with me, I'll do that through E-mail and, possibly, phone calls. Depends on what works.

Incidentally, once I've made contact, I'm expecting Riin will ask me to take certain things down off this blog. The day that happens, so long as she's willing to respect my wishes, I'll be happy to respect hers as well and take down anything she doesn't like. Like I said, writing it has served its purpose at this point. If she wants it down, I have no objection.
What I was suggesting was that, rather than thinking about her rights to make her own choices, you seemed to be focused more on what YOU wanted from her.
Maybe. If I am, I learned it from Riin. It's the way she treated me. The drinking thing is an example. It's not the only example, but it is the best one.

I believe you treat others the way you would want to be treated. Riin treated me this way, so I assume this is the way she would want to be treated.

Seems logical to me...

On July 29, 2007 9:55:01 PM ADT, Jan wrote:
blah, blah blah my god you are a boring piece of sh--.How about geting on with your life, such as it is and let Riin do the same. She is doing nicely with out you and that must kill you.
"The cat came back the very next day.
"The cat came back, they thought she was a goner,
"But the cat came back,
"She just couldn't stay away...

"M-e-o-w-w-w . . ." :P

Wow... this next one gave me an uneasy feeling, not so much from what it said as the tone of the language used:

On July 30, 2007 7:29:41 PM ADT, "Anonymous" wrote:
Message to all commentors on this blog:

We should all stop validating John's narcissism. It's painfully clear that he is the prototypical narcissist. Ignore him, and he with wither. Go forth into other internetness!
If I didn't know better, I'd swear that was Riin herself. It feels like the kind of thing she'd say, right down to the proper grammar, punctuation and the funny word "internetness." She likes to make up cute words like that (that's not sarcasm... I really do think her made up words are cute). You can see examples of this peppered throughout her blog...

However, I can't imagine Riin would post here anonymously. People who post anonymously are cowards, and Riin is not, nor has she ever been, a coward.

Still... it sounds so much like her it's actually giving me the creeps... :o

Anyway, Riin or whoever you are. I don't really care if anyone (other than people who actually know me) reads this. I've said it before, I'll say it again, and I'll keep saying it until the day they lay me in the cold, cold ground. I just write here to sort out my thoughts and feelings. If you want to read it or comment on it, that's fine. If you don't, that's fine, too. No skin off my onion.

Besides. A narcissist, by definition, is someone who is in love with themselves. To be honest with you, since all this happened, my self confidence isn't anywhere near that level. If it was, I wouldn't be writing all this crap here. I'd be writing E-mails to Riin telling her all this stuff. I'm ashamed to admit, though, that I simply don't have the confidence right now to push that hard.

Fiercely loyal? Absolutely. Obsessive compulsive? Most definitely. Narcissistic? Not bloody likely.

I almost wish I was narcissistic... at least I'd feel good about myself... :(


On Thursday, September 6, 2007 1:34 PM, Sue wrote:

I'm sure there are alternative techno-blogical explanations to the situation
that I just can't imagine, but it sure LOOKS like you're behaving like a
narcissistic 3-year-old over yonder on another blog...

"Techno-blogical." Cute.

Ignoring someone completely, as Riin has been these past months, is also behaving like a "narcissistic 3-year-old." I don't feel the fact that I am persistent makes me narcissistic but, if that's your perception, so be it. The opinions of others are irrelevant to this situation.

For what it's worth, though, what I'm trying to do is the electronic equivalent of Ghandi's "passive resistance." If you imagine Riin's blog as a building, then you could imagine me as "occupying" the building and refusing to leave. Ghandi used this tactic successfully.

It's the only peaceful way I can see to resolve this situation. I have to do something to break the stalemate.

As for my needing "help," Riin herself has been getting "help" for many years and she is, evidently, still just as screwed up as everyone else. I seriously don't see the value in it. Not for me, not for her, not for anyone. That's just IMHO, of course. YMMV.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:41 AM

    Shades of Gary Larsen: "blah blah blah RIIN blah blah RIIN blah blah blah RIIN

    Oh yeah, and here's a suggestion about how to make it so you don't have to be so worried about her: stop paying attention to what she's doing. Then you'll have no information with which to conclude anything's wrong. Voila, nothing to worry about!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tom Frost Jr.3:21 AM

    The time stamps on her entries don't prove that the thing she's writing about kept her up past her bedtime. Only that the stupid internet did. Doesn't it with all of us?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3:37 PM

    I lived with Riin for 17 years. She was always her happiest, always her Riinest when she was knitting and spinning and dyeing, or doing whatever craft suited her--and geeking about whatever craft it was. This is creative joy she is writing about. Working with her hands is a sign of good mental health for a Riin. Her going on about it until your eyes glaze over is what we call enthusiasm.

    She does not need an intervention against was brings her joy in life.

    Peter, Riin's ex-husband.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous4:39 AM

    You say you're self-delusional. I believe that. But you are also aware of your self-delusionality, and therefore able to be responsible for it. This going on and on about her, and analyzing what's going on in her life and whether it involves you and whether it's healthy for her -- it's inappropriate. It's time to stop.

    Time to deal with it, dude -- you've been dumped. It's happened to nearly all of us, and now it's happened to you. Dumpees *often* think the dumping was a mistake and that the dumper will come to regret it. Dumpees *often* think that they ought to have some continued role in the dumper's life. But they don't. Whether she is happy or not, stressed or not, moving in the right direction for the future or not, IS NO LONGER YOUR BUSINESS. You might wish it were, you might continue to care, you might continue to be interested, but it's no longer your business and you need to back off!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous1:23 PM

    So.. is this a matter of retaliation, as you have hinted at many times? Or, is this a matter of fighting for someone you love? I really don't think there can be both.

    You're a man already dead, John. You're caught in a world of stasis and anti-stasis. Time is chronologically confused for you. And, up until recently.. you're trying to make sense of it all. Leave the poor girl out of it. She needs not to be sucked into your obsession with collecting the opposite sex. Roads end, sometimes. Some go on. It seems as if this road has ended.. long ago. Accept it. Now you're just wandering through the sparse woods down by brook just beyond the dead-end street looking for a single strand of her hair that has long washed down through the viaduct and into the pipes-like-veins of the city. You'll never have her, or any part of her. So, stop harassing her!

    Deal with your own numerous and immense issues before poking your severely uninvited head into others.

    -Blavid

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous7:12 PM

    John, never give up. I think she really loves you and she is just afraid to admit it. That seems clear from reading her blog.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You wrote:

    'Somebody has to reach her before she makes herself sick or hurts anyone else. So far, I've been the only one who's been willing to try. Unfortunately, as she flatly refuses to talk to me, my efforts have thus far been futile and I'm worried that, by the time I do manage to reach her, it may be too late. :('

    No, nobody *has* to 'reach' her. She is doing fine, even if she *is* overworking herself as a way to escape. That's what people do sometimes. Distractions are, in fact, an excellent way to encourage oneself to move on, to go through uncomfortable changes. If she makes herself sick, that will show her that she's pushed herself too far, and she'll know that it's time to ease off. Not because you or anyone else says so, but because she knows how to take care of herself to her own satisfaction. That's the key here, 'to her own satisfaction.' Not to yours or anyone else's. And since I presume you're not talking about physical injury when you say 'hurting someone else', that's also not for you to intervene on -- if someone gets hurt due to her actions (what, are you suggesting that her working too hard while she works things out emotionally somehow puts others at some kind of risk?) that is between her and them.

    You note that she's unwilling to talk to you. That's a good hint that she doesn't want whatever kind of salvation you are offering her. Adults are allowed to engage in self-harming actions. Other adults are not allowed to interfere with this in an involuntary manner.

    You fear it might be too late? Too late for what? Too late for you to manipulate or intimidate her back into your world? I can only hope so...

    Gee, dontcha just love open-comment blogs? :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. You wrote: You pointed out earlier that you don't know Riin. I do. I assure you, she will not 'know that it's time to ease off.' She just keeps pushing herself until she drops.

    Sue's response: It's true, I don't know Riin personally. But that is irrelevant to my point. It is not your place to assess that she 'won't know that it's time to ease off.' If she does, as you say, keep pushing herself until she drops, that is her prerogative. You say that it's a trait of hers and probably always will be. Well then. That's part of who she is. If you think that she is not capable of living properly without your oversight, that is nothing short of delusional. When one person asks the other to leave them alone, they are revoking any invitation to participate in their lives, including to take action to ensure that person's wellbeing. You might personally still worry for her, but to obsess about it and focus on it and ask others to intervene; that's just inappropriate.

    I wrote: Adults are allowed to engage in self-harming actions. Other adults are not allowed to interfere with this in an involuntary manner.

    You wrote: What involuntary manner? I haven't forced her to do anything.

    Sue's response: No, you haven't forced her to do anything. But you ARE nevertheless attempting to interfere with her life against her wishes. That's what _involuntary manner_ means.

    You wrote: Even if I could, I wouldn't. Forcing someone to do something only breeds resentment.

    Sue's response: Ya think? Don't you think resentment would be her reaction to the things you are posting and doing here? Yes, you have the right to post whatever you please -- but presumably you are trying to cause something to happen; something that involves her deciding she's willing to interact with you in some way. You really think being so disrespectful of her wishes will accomplish that? (And yes, I heard you about her behaving disrespectfully toward you too, in the way in which she ended your relationship. I understand that pain, I really do, but I don't think that 'tit-for-tat' is a useful strategy unless further resentment is your GOAL).

    I wrote: Too late for what? Too late for you to manipulate or intimidate her back into your world?

    You wrote: You say that as if returning to my world would be a fate worse than death.

    Sue's response: Not at all, that wasn't even a thought in my mind. What I was suggesting was that, rather than thinking about her rights to make her own choices, you seemed to be focused more on what YOU wanted from her.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous9:55 PM

    blah, blah blah my god you are a boring piece of sh--.How about geting on with your life, such as it is and let Riin do the same. She is doing nicely with out you and that must kill you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous7:29 PM

    Message to all commentors on this blog:

    We should all stop validating John's narcissism. It's painfully clear that he is the prototypical narcissist. Ignore him, and he with wither. Go forth into other internetness!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your words can say anything you choose to say, but your actions tell the true tale:

    I'm sure there are alternative techno-blogical explanations to the situation that I just can't imagine, but it sure LOOKS like you're behaving like a narcissistic 3-year-old over yonder on another blog...

    Time to get some help...

    ReplyDelete