The big question is why? Why can someone care about an individual to receive a do not contact me a message? What ever happened to the statement, “I care about you?” How come some acquaintances say, “You should hope for the good in people,” but still rip that other person’s heart out? As much as I try to think about what I did wrong can that person still say you are worthless to me. When I ask her, “The time we spent together meant nothing to you.” How does that make a person feel whom’s life is already terrible?
Why should I care how I behave in my life? As much as I would love to blow roses up the tailpipe I can not be so joyful. Everyday I think today is the day that I am going to find that lady who is great, understanding, and caring but no. I am left with the incentive jerk holes that wander this earth looking to make someone’s life a living hell. You may sense that I am angry!
I know I have been not to pleasant regarding this lady friend, BUT WAIT a minute, I almost forgot one of the most important rules to physiological psychology that may explain the behavior. The maturation of the brain. This woman I speak of is younger than myself. Research conducted by Arthur Toga, Paul Thompson, and Elizabeth Sowell could not give a definite conclusion to the endpoint of cortical development (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113697/). The study illustrates the real definite age of brain development is later 20s early 30s. The study, interestingly, also showed an increase in volume size of the amygdala and hippocampus during the 3 to 15 years of life.
Following that research, we know that the amygdala is the integrative center for emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation so we can conclude that having the increase in volume can elicit a higher or more intense range of behaviors like anger. We can then infer that the increase in size in the amygdala can then be transferred into the size of the hippocampus because the structure sits on top of the amygdala. It is important to point out that the function of a hippocampus is for memory in particular long term memory. So is that why we see temper tantrum issues in young children to adolescents is because of growing in size in the amygdala?
I wonder if the researchers would conduct a longitudinal study to see if the increase in these regions in the brain finally decreased or stay the same throughout life. If a child throws hissy fits again and again, thus having an increased amygdala, would him or her still be capable of reaching the same emotional intensity and duration?
I digress but maybe that is the issue with people who are in the same cohort as myself. She or he chooses not to associate with me because the brain is not fully matured. Who am I kidding, readers are probably thinking, Chad, you are stupid! No person in his or her right mind would EVER think that is the case. I, then again, am, more than likely, trying to be optimistic about my situation. In other words, just maybe this lady’s brain will evolve a better understanding with time. There again I use my optimism to hope for the best out of a person.
Hey now wait a minute. If my statistics or psychology professors have taught anything it is to be aware of outliers in the normal bell curve. That being known, I am, in itself, not normal from this so, “standard curve,” right? A person would think that maybe I have found another outlier in this lady. Who am I kidding though?
Using my knowledge I thought the things that I did where good.
Yes we did become intimate to fast for those actions I do apologize but then to not realize or have the self worth to think of the other person in our relationship and how I feel regarding the situation is very immature, selfish, and just mind boggling. On our second get together; we meet for lunch. I was walking to go sit down somewhere and she reached to hold my arm stating, “she liked holding my arm.” We sat down and started to eat some oriental quasean chosen by the lady friend (e.g., notice the word, “lady friend,” whom happens to be a woman who was my friend) and we started talking and later; she fed some of her egg roll, like what a romantic couple does, to me, right?
I later told my parents later that day about her actions during supper at my home and my mother asked, “Is she a big flirt?” Why in society today is a women seen as a flirt but if a man engages in the similar behaviors he is viewed as psycho or rushing into a relationship?
Please understand neither of us were asking for sex; but is this how some of my behaviors are perceived at by other (e.g., sisters, brothers, or parents) people? My mother’s question just reinforced my already confused and irritated behavior.
Have you ever heard of the saying, “Your personality will start to turn out like your parents or significant other when you are always around him or her?” Well I can see similar behaviors in my father and mother that are transferred over into me. Looking at just the other night, I was still upset about this acquaintance and the way the relationship ended so I engaged in some promiscuous behavior and that angered my father. I confess that was stupid and childish but my whole point of such actions was to forget about my problems; and I succeeded. If I could find something or someone that would just let the pain or agony leave my body I would love! Watching my father express himself I thought this is how I behave when I am am angry to the T.
Now looking back in retrospect, I realize NOW that the relationship was not healthy. We have problems that neither of us where going to fix being together. I thought I could help her through those tough times and vise versa. I had my attachment issues and she had her own. The issues she faced at the sole root where attachment and trust. I met her parents who seemed like a lovely couple. I could see where the attachment issues come into play because the father was part of the military forces. He was gone quite often at an early age in the sisters and her development. The other issue has to be trust. She is a strong and caring woman who had relationship issues with another guy a year or two ago. I can not even begin to imagine the pain or emotional discomfort she feels from this guy.
In today’s society most parents want to know whom his or her child is chumming or palling around with, right? I being the extrovert tried adding the family to a social networking site. The grandmother, cousin, and two sisters accepted my request to become friends. I still have the hardest time comprehending why would the other three members of her family did not accept my friend request. Thus sending more warning signs my way that maybe I was not liked by her family transferring into her; another uphill battle. I later came to find out the flowers that had been placed on her mothers car had never been given to her.
I should have seen the red flags blowing up in my head but I like to experiment. I hope that a person reads the word, “experiment,” and does not think that the relationship, whatever it was, did not mean anything because it has much reverence in my life. Through our cute little infatuation phase we had been texting each other some stuff that I can not recall the specifics but I can recall a statement saying, “I hope I am your type, “lol.”
A quick side note to all the individuals out there: I never text message the, “lol,” statement because I know through my experimental psychology and all my other psychology classes that if a person wants to be or earn respect he or she should not use today’s shorthand lingo. It makes a person look uneducated. Every time I would send a message where I was joking or trying to be funny I would say, “lol,” to her. Another milestone that I realized I could adapt.
I have stated this crystal clear from the first day, “I see the value of every relationship with every person.” Yeah so what we shared memories together that I find meaningful but apparently those memories meant nothing to her. I told her, “I wish I had more pictures of myself before my accident thus making us take more pictures together to form those memories or bonds that can NEVER be erased as long as both of us live?” Well part of me is still hopeful that MAYBE just MAYBE we still could be friends and the other half is screaming, “Wake Chad!” you are a hopeless romantic whom more than likely will never find that person that cares for you like you do for her. A person that will have enough knowledge of you to know that you are a caring guy who wants people to like him but when I start to ruminate about previous situations I sit there and replay details for an event. My relationship woes do transfer into other areas as well.
My relationships with my family are not the best because I wear my emotions out on my sleeve with every person on earth. I get worked up very easily and have lack the self- control that an average Joe Shmoe might posses. After my brain injury my limbic system which is a group of forebrain structures that includes the hypothalamus, the amygdala, and the hippocampus that regulates or controls my emotions was badly injured. Likewise, when I am in an emotional rut I am deeply in that state of mind. I find it almost impossible to bounce back after working so hard to overcome everything. In a contrasting fashion I experience ecstatic almost euphoric highs because remember again I have had a brain injury. Na of course you did not forget that, right?
I had one the best times in recent years with my brother. Ryan and I rode in my car to my grandparents on my father’s side cabin to put up my ladder deer stand in Crivitz, Wisconsin. The day was going alright after we pick up the tree stand at Menards. My father, brother, a family friend, and his ladyfriend (e.g., I chose that word correctly, “ladyfriend,” because I am showing her respect by NOT call her a, “girlfriend”) and myself went to a friend of my grandmother’s friend’s house to pick apples. As you can may imagine my brother and I threw apples at each other joking around and having fun. We then continued to drive up to the cabin.
I say it was probably one of the better times with my brother because he included my thought in the construction of the deer stand. He asked for them, not a good idea but he still asked, he did not get upset or make a snide comment after he realized we put the tree stand together wrong. He did not voice any concern about my lack of participation due to using two hands to construct it. He even volunteered to climb up in the stand and spray the wasps in the dead oak tree. My brother whom is hyper allergic to bee stings. All in all it was a very productive time at the cabin with Ryan. I have noticed a good change in him and his behavior.
Through out the entire day, so far, I have been inconsistently thinking about what I did do wrong with my lady friend because as stated earlier I tend to ruminate about my prior behaviors or interactions. A side note is important here, rumination is a feminine characteristic that I feel is true to some extent, but not entirely when it comes to all females because I do it too. I feel like I am putting the effort to think about our time together so why can that process (e.g., ruminating about our interactions) on why or when will that be accepted in a relationship? I was growing very anxious to talk or text her so I sent it before we finally left for my cabin. Another point that you may have forgotten is the anxiety ridden behaviors many TBI and myself individuals possesses.
Anxiety does evoke the same “fight or flight” response that stress does, which means, like stress, anxiety does trigger a flood of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine designed to enhance your speed, reflexes, heart rate, and circulation. However, stress can occur with feelings of anger, sadness, or even happiness and excitement.
Anxiety, on the other hand, virtually always involves a sense of fear, dread, or apprehension. While stress may occur due to an external source (like an argument with your a person), anxiety tends to be a more internal response. Furthermore, brief anxiety may coincide with a stressful event (becoming too attached), but an anxiety disorder will persist for months even when there’s no clear reason to be anxious. While the exact causes for anxiety disorders are unknown, your brain is actively involved. Hey now did I mentioned the limbic system some paragraphs before in particular the amygdala? With almost EVERY brain injury there are feeling of anxiety. I can not make it sound more or less critical to life for all brain injuries but anxiety blows!!
Returning back to the issue about sending the text message. I like most extroverts do not like when we are not liked by a person. Applying that thought process to the message I can paraphrase to give the reader a good understanding of what I was trying to say
I have made many mistakes and now know that I need to fix or attempt to fix myself before you and I can be friends. I understand that I said I do not remember what happened that night but I do remember everything. I told you that I do not remember because I was worried that I was too touchy feely that night. I do not want to end what friendship we may have so I am going to just leave you alone and work on myself first.
I being very anxious about everything so I called a good friend whom I have the utmost respect for and his words are like gold because everything he says seems to just sound on point in my life. We talked about this lady friend and how wonderful she was but now the relationship has shifted to a more dislike or even a hatred for one another. My guy friend asked, “Do you think God gives us things we cannot handle; Do you think God wants us to fail; Do you think God made you get hit by a truck?” I obviously answered the first two questions with an immediate, “No.” The third question, however, took sometime time (e.g., 15 seconds of a pause) to say, “No,” but I wanted to shout, “Yes!” God has given me a filthy hand. My friend wrapped up the conversation with saying, “God never gives us too much to handle, God never wants us to fail, and lastly, God, never wanted you to almost die. God did not end your life in fact he allowed you to grow into the person with the insight I would have never gained unless I had my TBI.”
While I was back at the cabin to get a hammer and directions I found her reply back on my phone:
Enough is enough Chad you have pestered me to much. I am done with you and this friendship. I told you to leave me alone but you cannot abide by my request. Then some more things I cannot remember.
To sum it up she played me, but that means nothing now. Why is that? I feel it has a lot to do with relationship issues previously stated. I called after reading the message. Again I am like a glass case of emotions here teetering on the edge of Mount Everest. As much as I wanted to just blow her off like a postnasal drip and say, “Your loss,” and hang up the phone; something in me could not do it. Like previously stated I hope for the worst out of people is 150% wrong! I hope for the best out of a person!! I hoped that she would say nicely that we just need time apart, which I stated earlier, but no she said after I asked; “So the memories we shared meant nothing to you?” She said, “Not now, what is going to happen is you are going to say, “Fuck you,” meet a new friend and everything will be just fine.” I told her, “No.” I, for one, do not like acting like an ass to someone I care for as a person.
Getting back to the matter at hand, later stated that she was just infatuated with me. Whom do you think told her? More than likely a therapist or mother. You know what I say to that statement is it is a load of SHIT! Yes those people are meaningful in a person’s life but let the lady be on her own. How can you tell someone to feel for another person? It just shows that the relationship we shared was bittersweet. The relationship had it’s high and it’s lows. I, however, am glad we shared our time together.
What do you the reader think? Am I right or wrong to feel this way? What should or could have done differently? Connect with me….
Chad, my fellow survivor, you must remember that we, that is, you and I and all the other TBI and ABI survivors have experienced things that other people simply don’t (or can’t) truly wrap their minds around. If they care, then it may just be that the knowledge of what we have faced and overcome is simply too painful for them to bear. The rather odd thing is that I am experiencing a sort of déja-vú. Yesterday, I found some of my old poetry that I have believed lost for about twenty years, and many of the sentiments you voiced above are nearly identical to my own, as spoken with the voice of a 16-year-old girl.
Chad, I agree that you wear your emotions on your sleeve. That is not always a bad thing….at least it takes the guessing games away about how you feel. But friends and girls will come and go but family will always be there for you. It takes more than one girl to find someone that you really mesh with. I dated a lot of different girls through high school and college. Then I met Laura, I knew that she was the one……funny thing is; she thinks that she is the lucky one.
So take your time, get to know people, make friends, rekindle old friendships. But don’t stop putting yourself out there. I am one of the lucky ones and it doesn’t always happen like that. But cherish the people you do have in your life and others will see that and follow.
The thing that gets me is I told this woman everything. I invested a lot of my emotion and she did the same and I thought we had fun doing so in the adventures we went on together.
I read your notes and I see and hear a younger me.
First of all TBI’s are devastating initially…..we question why why why until we are blue in the face….the answer is simple….why not? Sure do we have physical limitations yes but in many instances the “feeler” portions of our brain compensates. Isn’t it amazing to feel? Isn’t it amazing to empathize and understand emotional pain? God has given us a gift. That gift feels like a genuine “pat” on the back, a hand to pick someone up when they are down. Last time I checked being that person and having that heart is a pretty big responsibility. You can’t rush Gods master plan. Recognize the purpose and beauty of your work and be patient…all you yearn for and desire is coming.
Very wisely put Matthew! I hope what you say is true. That is very optimistic perspective on life as well. A lot of what I write has to do with my life but it serves as a way to vent my emotions.
Please do not misunderstand I do believe in God. I just hope that what everyone says is going to be true in time. Thanks for your input!