Wed, 12 Feb 2003
Dear Mr. Wonderful,
Okay... its been just over three years now since my girlfriend broke up with me... and I'm still pissed off.
Is it wrong to still be angry? Is there something wrong with me? Is it possible that I am entitled to still be upset? Or is there some sort of healing process that I have just not finished... I've heard there's some kind of grieving process with like five stages: Anger, Pleading, Sorrow, Denial, and Acceptance... and I seem to have gone through the Pleading, Sorrow and Denial, and am stuck in Anger... how do I move to Acceptance and just get over it all? I am looking for good honest advice from one who has experience... what can I do?
Very very sincerely,
Dear Bitterlas Bitterby,
No, no, no, my friend - these "5 stages" of which you speak are for when one discovers one has a terminal illness, like compulsively walking into the penguin pen wearing a herring suit.
Psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth "The Swiss Miss" Kubler-Ross described these general guidelines to help people understand the process of receiving and assimilating catastrophic news. While being dumped is certainly bad for your diet, sense of self-worth, future plans, and liver, it is not catastrophic in the sense of impending irreversible, impenetrable death. When the person or persons who have caused you sadness are still around to create awkward situations on the mid-town bus or have phone numbers you can drunkenly dial at 2 AM to no good purpose, then the stages run more like this:
1. DENIAL - "I'm sorry, the connection must be bad. I thought you said, 'Please die to release me from the torment of this loveless relationship.' Heh-heh. Hello?"
2. BARGAINING - "Okay, okay. You can date other people and I'll date you."
3. DEPRESSION - "Yeah, I'm over it. It's all for the best. I'm just gonna... eat... this light bulb."
4. ANGER - "Fuck! Those were my CD's!"
5. REALIZING THEY'RE AN IDIOT - "Hang on... I'm hot stuff! Daaaaaamn Did that idiot lose a catch, or what?"
Now, of course, that's in an ideal world. Here on Planet Squalid, things tend to be messier, more individualized:
Mister Wonderful's 5 "Post-Breakup" Stages
4. INEBRIATION (2)
5. MOVING TO NEPAL, SHAVING YOUR HEAD, LEARNING TO LOVE YOUR INNER GOAT
Mister Dark's 5 "Post-Breakup" Stages
5. CUDDLING WITH THE CATS
Mister Malice's 5 "Post-Breakup" Stages
My point is that there's no right way to go about this. So you're still mad. So what? It just means you haven't yet found a travel agent who can get you a good deal on the Nepal trip.
Listen: Angry is a Tar Baby, Brer Rabbit. The more you fight with it, the deeper you stuck. You gots to be a Zen Houdini - free yourself by getting trapped in something else. Like a friendly Sherpa.