Romantic Feelings and Rejection

Content warning: suicide, depression, suicidal thoughts/feelings, domestic violence, sexual assault

I found myself thinking about how sometimes people threaten to commit suicide when their partners leave them. This is seen as abusive and unhealthy behavior. And it is. But what about those intense feelings? Because it’s branded as “abusive and unhealthy”, there’s certainly a stigma around it, so does that mean you are an abusive and unhealthy person if you feel (at least somewhat) suicidal when rejected? I am certain this is a controversial topic, but I think it’s something that should be examined.

I was recently rejected by a crush. It’s brought a lot of pain into my life, and some pain into my crush’s life (which then brings me more pain at the thought of making someone I have feelings for feel pain). But even after months (over half a a year since the rejection, and nearing a year since my crush began), I have not recovered. I’m still attracted to my crush, and I long for their love that I will never receive. I simultaneous want to love them with all my heart and hate their guts. Unrequited love is awful. And right now, it’s unbearable. My depression took a turn for the worst in the spring. I was crying nearly every day for weeks. I still cry, but I can now go days, and sometimes weeks, without crying, but it’s still the same thoughts that creep into my mind, making me feel worthless.

I am unloveable. No one likes me. No one will ever love me. I’m ugly. Will I be forever alone? Why haven’t I ever been in a relationship? What do people even think of me? Who would want to love me? I’m an emotional mess undeserving of love. No one would want to be with someone like me. I have too much emotional baggage. If I ever let anyone in, they will fear and resent me. My crush did. I want to be loved so bad. My touch brings pain to people. My love brings pain to people. If I’m incapable of being loved, what’s the point of all this? I never asked to be alive. I wish I was never born. I don’t like being alive. I hate myself. If I died, no one would actually care. Life goes on. Sure, some people would be hurt if I died, and maybe some people will come to my funeral, but then they will move on. I am no one’s best friend anyways. No one thinks of me first. No one invites me to do things. No one loves me. No one likes me. I hate being alive. All I want are great friends who love me intensely, and a romantic and emotional partner so I can love and be loved. I don’t have any of this. I don’t know if I ever will. If I never will, I see no point to being alive.

It’s a long chain of ugly, negative thoughts. I suppose this means I have suicidal thoughts and/or feelings, but in truth, I don’t have the agency to go through with it. Death scares me in the long run. I try and hold onto some hope that I will have that kind of love one day. But I hate having hope.

But the thing about these thoughts and feelings is that I can’t share them with anyone. They make me feel pathetic. People (in relationships, mind you) tell me I’m not missing out. They tell me I should try online dating (which comes with other emotional obstacles). You hear people say that you can never truly love until you love yourself. And sure, rejection hurts, but how long is it supposed to last? It shouldn’t bring a person deeper into their depression, and if that’s the case, then they have things to work on and shouldn’t be in a relationship anyways. If you have suicidal/depressed feelings, expressing them would make you abusive. But how is one supposed to get help unless they express these feelings? Also, having these feelings make me feel like I’d appear desperate and pathetic. No one wants to be with someone who is desperate and pathetic. No one wants to be around someone who is desperate and pathetic. And then I fall deeper into loneliness.

I tried DBT and seeing a therapist. I recently broke up with my therapist because she wasn’t helping. When I finally opened up about being afraid of never finding love, all she said was, “That must be really hard.” Another therapist I saw once said something similar. Why the fuck do they think saying that would help? That just makes me want to end everything sooner. Because as my negative thoughts indicate, If I’m incapable of being loved, what’s the point of all this? 

But besides me and my feelings, I was reading about Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) and her lover/husband, Percy Shelley, on Wikipedia. Apparently Percy Shelley’s first wife threatened to commit suicide, and that’s around the time he decided to marry her (to save her). She eventually committed suicide when she thought her second lover abandoned her. Percy Shelley apparently threatened to commit suicide if Mary didn’t reciprocate his feelings. And apparently Mary’s step-sister, Fanny, was also in love with Percy, and she ended up committing suicide because she felt rejected when Percy and Mary fled on a trip with Mary’s other step-sister, Claire, without her. I guess that was a double-whammy of rejected feelings: love interest and friends/siblings leaving you behind.

What does all this mean? Even romantic literature makes out threats of suicide as indicators of passionate love, which feminism now criticizes. And I get that criticism. It’s not healthy, and people shouldn’t stay with a partner who threatens suicide if they don’t want to be with them, nor should they feel guilty if they actually do. A lot of feminist circles make out people who are the abusive one in the relationship as the bad person, and makes it black and white. But what I’ve realized is that they are a person too, and every one of us is capable of exuding abusive behavior. There’s an Everyday Feminism article that talks about how people sometime use social justice language in an abusive way in intimate relationships.

An example from the article: “A few years ago I took a deep breath, looked one of my closest friends in the eye, and told him that I thought he should stop beating up his boyfriend. He blinked at me in surprise. He shook his head, as if he couldn’t believe what I was saying. Then he said, ‘But it isn’t abuse if I hit him. I’m more oppressed than he is.'” Point is, one thing I’ve learned this past year (partly from my personal relationships, and partly from what I’ve seen by living in a co-op with leftist people with a variety of marginalized identities) is that even people we think aren’t capable of being abusive are capable of being abusive, and their identities do not excuse or justify abusive behavior. I mean, in the last year in my co-op, a black guy got kicked out for vandalizing another co-oper’s car, and a white girl got kicked out when she was accused of sexually assaulting many guys. I will say that both of these individuals made others in the community uncomfortable, but then we felt weird for kicking out a black guy and a white girl because of certain aspects of their identities and how it relates to their crimes (and how it made us appear). In the end, they needed to be kicked out.

And then as individuals, we don’t like to consider ourselves capable of being abusive. Here’s another Everyday Feminism article that talks about being accountable when you have been abusive. Because, as the article says at one point, “Nobody wants to be ‘an abuser.’ No one wants to admit that they have hurt someone, especially when so many of us have been hurt ourselves.” (Also, both of the articles I used are written by Kai Cheng Thom, so sending out appreciation for your articles.)

If we go back to the Shelleys and literature, history shows that thoughts and feelings of suicide and depression after being rejected by a lover are not exactly uncommon. To be clear, I’m not making this point because I’m trying to justify my feelings, or feel validated. I hate feeling this way. All I want is to love and be loved, not feel unloveable and pathetic. I want to talk about the possibility of these kinds of feelings as being potentially natural, learning ways to deal with such extreme feelings, and not feel guilty about it. I mean, there are a lot of feminist/mental health awareness articles out there that try to help suicidal people try and assuage feelings of guilt in regards to their suicidal feelings/attempts, so this shouldn’t be too different. But feeling such intense negative feelings due to rejection looks bad, and comes with stigmas associated with depression, suicide, and abusive behavior. Related to fears of being a “bad feminist” because you may have these feelings or behaviors.

I’m still trying to find a therapist and friends (and hopefully one day a romantic and emotional partner) that I can open up to about these intense feelings, not get replies that make me feel worse, and receive love and acceptance that can help me start to heal. As a depressed person, or a person experiencing depression (person/identity-first language, you decide), I’m trying to accept and put out there that sometimes you need the love of others to start loving yourself again, because depression makes you forget how to love yourself. I have to relearn it, but without any knowledge, that means I need to be taught.

Am I bad for having these intense feelings? Am I an awful person for not getting over my rejection quite yet? Would I be a bad person if I never do? I am trying to allow myself to be an emotional person. There’s work to be done. And I want anyone else out there who may have similar feelings as me to realize that you are not alone. Let’s try and let our hope last a little longer, and recognize suicidal thoughts and feelings as part of the complex human experience.

(Also, if you are feeling suicidal, or find that you may want to act on those feelings, please get help. Call someone you trust, or call a suicide prevention hotline.)


Popularity as a Privilege

I’ll admit to being the type to fall under the spell of charismatic, extroverted, loved-by-all types. I can’t help but find such people interesting, especially since I have always struggled to make connections. I always wondered how I am always alone, rarely ever being asked to hang out by other people. If it’s because people suck at asking people to hang out, then why do they all seem to still be hanging out with each other? I guess that means no one likes me. That just makes me feel more depressed and lonely.

I was spending time with one of these magnetic people, walking through campus, and we saw several people he knew in a short amount of time, all of whom called out to him to say hi, and whatnot. I don’t ever come across so many people I know, so I jokingly teased him, saying, “Wow, you know so many people. So popular.” He brushed this comment off, saying it was only because he’s been at our school for quite a while now. But I’m certain it’s not just that. He’s been at our school for two years longer than me, and I’m certain he knew more people than me when he was my year than I know now. He’s also so popular that people he knows recognize him before he sees them. Later, I saw one person I knew as we were walking, and we waved hi to each other. The person I was with teased me back, and said, “See? You know people. So popular.”

During future interactions with this person, I teased him about his popularity. He is also someone who has been thinking a lot about privilege, his own privilege, and being sensitive about it (but in a good way). He then asked me, “Is popularity a privilege?” I then realized it kind of was. We often may attribute popularity to personality type, and whatnot, but personality can be affected by a number of factors, such as opportunities and societal pressures. For example, the class clown tends to be a cis white guy. Think privilege, think white supremacy culture, think white beauty standards, think neurotypical, think gender roles, think cisheteropatriarchy.

Having privilege can foster an environment where an individual can develop a strong, charismatic personality. And then once popular, more opportunities arise, because others want to be around you and ask you to hang out. It’s a cycle of privilege and opportunity.

Society is geared towards likable and extroverted individuals. As an AFAB and anxious Aspie, my social skills are a bit off, and my weirdness is used against me because of how society thinks I should act due to my assigned gender. What is the end result? I don’t have many friends, I’m lonely, people think I’m strange, I’m introverted, I’m anxious, I’m depressed…

Whenever I do have the opportunity to hang out with someone, I never cancel my plans. Even if I’m feeling unwell, or sad, I try to keep that plan in action. Because I know that every opportunity for social interaction is vital. It could lead to that person asking me to hang out again, or me reaching out to them to hang out again. And if I’m sad, canceling plans and being alone isn’t going to make me happier.

I see people around me who cancel plans to hang out with others, or cancel their plans to hang out with me. I know I should be sympathetic, because they probably need that time alone, and you should put yourself first, and socializing can be draining. But I’m not empathetic, because they have the privilege to not worry about having a lack of future interactions because they chose to cancel. That’s what it means to be popular. People still want to be around you, even if you don’t want to be around them.

I’m a bit bitter. I hate having people cancel plans on me, and I hate people flaking on me. And it’s always ever privileged people. Does my company mean so little to you?

Ableist Language

It’s always nice to know what exactly is considered not politically correct, and to be given constructive alternatives so as to move forward.

I still find this article lacking in what kind of language should be used around mental disabilities (particularly the psychotic and emotional disorders), but it’s one of the more comprehensive lists I’ve seen.

At the Intersection of Abortion and Disability

Abortion rights, eugenics, and disability have an intersection I wish didn’t exist. Pro-choice advocates often use eugenics-based arguments to get people to understand disability. Because, “who would want to be disabled?” “Having a disabled child is hard, for the parents and the child.” But it’s more of a societal problem. Society uses eugenics, pity, evolution, etc. to stigmatize disabled people. Society doesn’t provide the resources for disabled people, of all severities and kinds, and that’s what’s actually hard about taking care of a disabled child. Worrying about medical bills (because we don’t have universal healthcare), worrying about your child’s ability to be independent (because being independent is part of the American Dream we are brainwashed with, and is related to the idea of being “a productive member of society”), and so many other things. Society doesn’t provide the resources that would make it possible for parents to “have the heart” to care for a disabled child. There are articles and videos going around about the Zika virus and other similar disabilities, and they’re about abortion. Whether it’s trying to show that most people support aborting these disabled individuals, or trying to show how “hard” it is to have such a child, the point is saying disability is a valid reason to abort a fetus. I’m pro-choice, but when disability is brought in, I can’t fall for that. I’d be a hypocrite. I’d be saying some lives are worth more than others. I’d be saying some lives are worth living more than others. It’s shameful that supposedly feminist circles bring disability into their pro-choice argument. That’s not getting at the real problem. The problem isn’t disabled children, but the ableist and capitalist society we live in.

Quote for Thought

“What I worry most about is that we are more and more losing the formal and informal bridges between different intellectual, mental and humanistic approaches to seeing the world.” – Anton Zeilinger, physicist

As I skimmed through an article that listed what “smart” people (mostly scientists) are worried about, I came across this quote. Most of the other worries were around science and worrying too much, which I find amusing. Of course scientists are worried about science’s role in society, and of course they think it’s one of the most important things to be studied. The culture in the United States right now definitely puts an emphasis on STEM fields, and there is a certain prestige around being in any sort of science. Even though US culture puts science on a pedestal, we still do not do well in teaching our youth math and science. And then when young people enter college, many science classes have a “sink or float” mentality, or are “weeder” introductory science classes.

I love science, I really do. That’s why I want to go into research. I have been struggling with my feelings around science culture, and what I have seen of it, at least at my university. There is a certain admiration and pity towards those who immerse themselves in their studies. Part of me wishes I could be one of those people, completely absorbed and happy in my studies, research, and work. But then I have interests in political and radical activism, traveling, arts, humanities, intellectualism… I want to think about and experience everything. So many things, so little time…

I live in a student co-op, and certain hypocrisies exist within the community, especially as we discuss the intense and complex relationship between privilege and oppression. Being able to go to university is a privilege. We are taught that it will help us get decent jobs, which will help us gain economic privilege. Classism exists, and as much as we want to fight it, we are still part of the system, as university students. Getting to think about privilege and oppression is both an intellectual undertaking and an active fight for equality and justice. Universities are often a melting pot of (liberal) ideas, and many people do not become aware of the world in this way until entering college. Even as we expand our minds and begin to understand the world differently, western/white/male ideology still influences university culture. Intellectualism, logic, thought, and cerebral understanding are seen as superior to feelings, senses, and physical experience.

Something to also acknowledge is that not everyone can do “white collar” work. Jobs that are seen as “blue collar” work, working class jobs, unskilled labor, are still necessary and important for society to function. As a college education evolves from being a privilege to a right, the value of menial jobs decreases.

Even with a college education, science is seen as more practical and needed over other intellectual disciplines. Social work is still needed in society, but our culture looks down on those who require government help, and the lack of resources can be seen with the limited income of social workers. Majoring in arts, humanities, English, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, history, etc. brings a certain way of thinking that is still important to the collective understanding of the world.

I appreciate the quote above because I think Zeilinger, even though he is a physicist, is trying to say that by ranking different types of understanding, we limit our understanding of the world. We rank science over other approaches and disciplines, which leads to people taking other modes of understanding less seriously. When that happens, we lose so much. And these different approaches are also interconnected. In the past, philosophy and science were the same thing, and then over time they were separated and expanded on.

Intellectualism can be fun, and necessary for humanistic growth, but it has limits and comes with an extremely privileged background. On one end, liberal arts and intellectualism are seen as very privileged disciplines rooted in white/western ideology (and thus contributes to the oppression of others). Then on the other end, liberal arts and intellectualism are seen as useless disciplines that should not be supported as they do not contribute to our capitalistic society. There is truth in both of these accounts, but I do not want to lose grasp of how liberal arts and intellectualism are also important to and have benefitted society. The value of knowledge and understanding is not necessarily monetary or universal, but the value still exists as long as we still wonder, think, and dream.

There is another level of knowledge and experience that I did not cover here, which is how people of color, eastern cultures, developing countries, and other oppressed groups relate to the collective understanding of the world. As a white university student, I decided to look at the aspects I know I can speak to. My privileges and involvement in the culture that systematically oppresses these groups is still something I am trying to unlearn and understand. My allyship will always need and have room for improvement. What I will state is that the knowledge and experiences of these groups are definitely part of the approaches to understanding and interpreting the world that are being lost, and they need to be recovered and taken just as seriously.

Perhaps Zeilinger is talking about only science, or those of you reading this had a different interpretation of the quote. And that’s okay. But what I want to get out of the quote is that the value of different types of approaches to seeing the world is relative, and each approach has its own intrinsic value.

Medical Industrial Complex Visual

Leaving Evidence

The following is a visual* of the Medical Industrial Complex (MIC) and is offered as a tool for our work for collective liberation. It was created so people could begin to get a sense of what the MIC is and all it encompasses. I have found that many people understand the general concept of the MIC, but don’t always know what it actually is beyond hospitals. The MIC cuts across all of our work and continues to be a major site where ableism is manufactured, perpetuated and fed. Any of our work to challenge and transform the MIC and its influences must have a sharp analysis and history of ableism. For example, when fighting for healthcare, let us remember that we cannot simply fight for the right to receive care, but also the right to refuse care.

This is an evolving visual that will continue to be updated. At the…

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