In my writing yesterday, @Innermind (on FetLife) said:
It’s always fascinating when someone writes about how awesome their lover is when they are together and just trash them once the relationship ends. Were they dating two different people?
Which inspired me to write about this. I’ve thought about this quite a bit, and I’d say there is one primary reason for it.
According to Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman:
“…[your brain is] made up of an entire parliament of pieces and parts and subsystems. Beyond a collection of local expert systems, we are collections of overlapping, ceaselessly reinvented mechanisms, a group of competing factions. The conscious mind fabricates stories to explain the sometimes inexplicable dynamics of the subsystems inside the brain. It can be disquieting to consider the extent to which all of our actions are driven by hardwired systems, doing what they do best, while we overlay stories about our choices.
It’s why we want to lose weight and get healthy while simultaneously skipping a workout and eating ice cream out of the container. Or why we decide to work harder to get ahead in our careers, and find ourselves operating with the same habitual behaviors.
So, knowing that, it’s like a battle in our heads between our two selves. Not unlike a political election:
Fights for the relationship and the love and focuses only on what goes right.
Fights to show all the bad things, the things that will lead to ruin, to hurt and loneliness.
And like politics, we don’t just have two parties with their own agendas.
Our white knight of social justice sees what SkepticalCantakerousMe is focusing on, and just knows it’s because our partner hasn’t been loved enough, and gets to the task of changing that.
Can’t help but despair, thinking of how all of these types of things have ended in the past…
Will fly off the handle with rage, with love, with lust, with power—you never really know, but strong emotions fuel this me, and if he breaks free from the straight jacket… well, we’ve all been there at least once in love, right?
So, like a political campaign, these selves are jockeying for power, and when they are tops in the polls, they act, posting on social media:
“Never has a daddy been so amazing, evah! <3 <3 <3!!! I wub you, snookiewookums!” – signed, IncurableRomanticMe
Right? We all do it a bit here and there. And we realize this is more socially acceptable than what CrazyAsFuckMe from our fight last night might have to say.
So, these things go on through the relationship. When SkepticalCantakerousMe makes a really good point or CrazyAsFuckMe gets loose and wreaks havoc, and the opinion polls starts to swing their way, IncurableRomanticMe steps up their game with over-the-top political ads, telling friends, family, and the world how wonderful things are.
And swings things back their way.
In some campaigns, the candidates are relatively friendly and civil, working together, sharing notes and pulling for the good of all.
Others, well, just look at 2016… sighs
The end of a relationship is like an election where SkepticalCantakerousMe wins. And sometimes, it’s an upset and one of the independents wins, and CrazyAsFuckMe goes fucking insane and gets spiteful, and generally send an atom bomb into their lives and other relationships, trying to eradicate the debris…
And, once things have settled a bit, the parties pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and the cycle starts all over again—a battle for power and control.
Our brains are complicated. And so are the brains of those we love.
We’re like two countries trying to ally, while our own inner factions and political turmoil are raising a ruckus about what we really want and the directions we’re going in.
It’s confusing as fuck look at it from the outside, as you said, @Innermind. If you really pay attention to what’s going on, it’s WAY crazier behind the scenes.