Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

dennis

Jedi
The definitions of information and being may provide a starting point to resolve conflicts between information and being. Our sense of being is so often predicated on false or delusional information of what we are and what we should be in this world. The unfolding Covid tragedy is an example of this.


 

Persephone

Jedi Master
Then she was toying with you. She was discovering that her beauty gave her power over men and boys, and you took the bait. There's nothing beautiful about that, it baffles me you fail to see it now that you're grown. You can turn around the bushes and make this experience more than there really was (at the beginning you were implying the two of you had sex and had a kind of friendship). But there was no love, no friendship, no meaningful exchange or sex in this situation, just power-play and obsession.
That's what I quickly suspected when I read your story John.
I've been there as a girl, feeling empowered and confident when you feel admired, desired, etc. by a boy. Luckily for me my empathy would kick in when I would realize that a boy was really "in love" (as a teenager might be) with me and I didn't have the same feelings towards him. It felt wrong and unworthy for me to be the cause of someone's suffering when I could do something to prevent that person from remaining deluded and continuing to suffer.

But, as is often the case, the truth can hurt more (at least in the moment) than an illusion, no matter how difficult it is to live with (the illusion).
At that time, in the beginning, I would approach the boy and say, as tactfully and gently as possible (so as not to hurt their feelings), something like: "I'm sorry if what I'm about to say is going to hurt you, but I think it's much worse to keep you under the illusion that there might be a love affair/story between us. If it's ok with you we can be/remain friend."
Then I realized that too much sweetness and the "if it's ok with you we can be/remain friends" was too much, as it fed the hope in the boy that things could change" and as a result, they kept sticking to me or watching me from afar. So I became a little more direct and less "soft", it could make me come across as harsh or haughty, but it was necessary to break their wishful thinking/feeling and that was the point.
More than once I got the answer, "I wish you hadn't told me, so I could have kept dreaming..."

I've had quite a few friends in the past who have been "fooled" by girls like this, sometimes it's not even conscious on the part of these girls, at that age, or at least not done intentionally to do harm, but as adults if they continue it's because, more often than not, they've moved on to a very conscious power manipulation.
While trying to discuss with them (the male friends) I realized how difficult it is for them to see the truth, how great is the pain to admit that they have been lured and they have been deceived themselves on something that made them so alive, so full of hope and enthusiasm, maybe the only thing that illuminated their life at that moment, the illusion of loving and being loved...
 

hiker

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I have not seen Les Miserables on stage, but the book is one the best that I have ever read. As it happens, it's setting overlaps with the regency era in England.

I forgot to mention in my first post that Fantine is a prostitute with a child that she had to give up and the song I dreamed a dream is sung before her death by suicide. Such a gripping performance for a tragic character. This emotional display of a women's pain in an unbearable life helped me to fully immerse into the Chance Sisters Series. This song helped to connect with the subtile emotions of Abby's, Jane's, Damaris's, and Daisy's fears of a potential tragic life.

After reading primeaddict's post, I realised that I forgot to mention how I was prompted to read Les Miserables. Maybe it would be ok to share about it here, although it is a bit off topic.

My mother was an avid reader when younger, reading classics like Les Miserables, the Count of Monte Cristo, the Three Musketeers and so on.

As I had read the Lord of the Rings, she recommended reading Les Miserables at some point, saying I might like it too. I was like "yeah, yeah, whatever, maybe someday", thinking it would probably be boring, as at the time I was mainly reading fantasy, sci-fi and Stephen King novels. This was in my late teens, early twenties.

It took a while to get there; I was in my late thirties, when I finally decided to give it a go and read the book. I was surprised to find that it profoundly blew me away; it was genuinely masterfully written with many emotional and spectacular scenes. (I think if I had read Les Miserables while a youngster, I likely would have missed certain eloquencies, that were easier to pick up when older. I probably missed many even now!) I was particularly impressed and touched by Jean Valjean's "road to Damascus" moment, when he understands how his past actions have been ill mannered and has to change his ways. (I have to admit, that I skimmed through the chapter which described Napoleon's strategy at the battle of Waterloo, and which took dozens of pages! :-[)

The translation I read was done in 1927-31 and had that "old-time" feeling of flowery prose which suited the book very well. If translated today, the prose might be "modernized" too much, perhaps. Curiously, it reminded me of "the Odyssey", which was translated/ rendered to English prose by Samuel Butler in 1898(?), and was recommended here on the forum a while back.
For some reason, I seem to be fascinated by that kind of olden language!

After "Les Mis", I read the Hunchback of Notre Dame (also by Victor Hugo), and the Count of Monte Cristo. Both were brilliant.

It appears that "mother knew best" in this case. :-)
 

Redrock12

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks! But you know women need to be able to handle the rough stuff too and have some spine;-). Men can't be always around to save the day.
@ryu I have no doubt you've got the intestinal fortitude to handle the rough stuff and kick butt if the situation calls for it and none of us super-dudes are around to take care of business.:cool2:
Just trying to be funny.;-D
 

Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I unexpectedly had a day off this week. First time called back to job #3 in 15 months or so, and they neglected to tell me I needed a weekly Covid test before I could work there. Ugh. I submitted to a test and scheduled another for Monday.
On the way home I stopped at a thrift, something not done in a long time. At the back of the store (on the hopeless rack) was a perfect fit, perfect length, empire dress with a detachable watteau, all in butter yellow with brocade bow, probably a 1960s bridesmaid number. Perfect for wearing around the house and staying in a Regency state of mind. Minor condition issue, so only $1. It is for staying in and reading. Why not? :-)
 

Jo Bugman

Padawan Learner
That's what I quickly suspected when I read your story John.
I've been there as a girl, feeling empowered and confident when you feel admired, desired, etc. by a boy. Luckily for me my empathy would kick in when I would realize that a boy was really "in love" (as a teenager might be) with me and I didn't have the same feelings towards him. It felt wrong and unworthy for me to be the cause of someone's suffering when I could do something to prevent that person from remaining deluded and continuing to suffer.

But, as is often the case, the truth can hurt more (at least in the moment) than an illusion, no matter how difficult it is to live with (the illusion).
At that time, in the beginning, I would approach the boy and say, as tactfully and gently as possible (so as not to hurt their feelings), something like: "I'm sorry if what I'm about to say is going to hurt you, but I think it's much worse to keep you under the illusion that there might be a love affair/story between us. If it's ok with you we can be/remain friend."
Then I realized that too much sweetness and the "if it's ok with you we can be/remain friends" was too much, as it fed the hope in the boy that things could change" and as a result, they kept sticking to me or watching me from afar. So I became a little more direct and less "soft", it could make me come across as harsh or haughty, but it was necessary to break their wishful thinking/feeling and that was the point.
More than once I got the answer, "I wish you hadn't told me, so I could have kept dreaming..."

I've had quite a few friends in the past who have been "fooled" by girls like this, sometimes it's not even conscious on the part of these girls, at that age, or at least not done intentionally to do harm, but as adults if they continue it's because, more often than not, they've moved on to a very conscious power manipulation.
While trying to discuss with them (the male friends) I realized how difficult it is for them to see the truth, how great is the pain to admit that they have been lured and they have been deceived themselves on something that made them so alive, so full of hope and enthusiasm, maybe the only thing that illuminated their life at that moment, the illusion of loving and being loved...
Ahh yes that is what is termed nowadays as 'the friendzone'. I've certainly been there more than once with a mix of anger that they are rejecting you and wishful thinking that if I just stuck around long enough they'd eventually realize I'm good enough for them. I realized a while ago that it's a selfish viewpoint on my part; sticking around someone in hopes that they will find you attractive. In the end, you can't call them a friend, because if they were you would not be expecting anything from them in exchange. To use Kant's notion that people are not means to an end, but ends in themselves. I should like my friends/family/partners because I like them for who they are, not what they give me.

As a man, it's very easy to slip into it. I also had a personal experience with this recently. A girl that used to 'friendzone' me until I dropped my wishful thinking and accepted that she was just my friend. Once her mother got sick she, really confided in me and we grew closer till out of the blue she professes her feelings. I flew out to visit her after her mother died, and while I was there she tried to have sex with me but I stopped it. She was visibly uncomfortable and I felt like I was forcing her even though she instigated all of it. A few weeks after returning, she tells me she loves me and she wants to move in with me and get married. She rarely even lets me hug her, so this was a strange request, but she's the longest friend I've ever had and I do care for her. I told her if she should come visit first and then we'll go from there.
A week later, she changes her mind, says she'll never get married and I'm not her type.
And short time later, she's telling me she loves me and wants to get married, again.
This continues on for about 2 years to present day. It's obvious to me that she doesn't have feelings for me in the way I think, but I would be lying if I said there isn't a bit of hope every time she says she wants to come visit over summer. I tried telling her that it's hurtful for her to play with me like this, but I don't think she really got the point. I struggle now with how to approach this.

I got to thinking about this after reading your post and after finishing The Highlander's Christmas Quest. I thought the book was a good allegory of how our desire for perfection or our expectations in love can blind us to what is right in front of us. It relates to the all too common notion that everyone has their 'type', and if the partner fits the mysterious 'type' then the relationship will be perfect. It was something I was certainly guilty of back in highschool, but then experience showed me that the way someone looks has no relation to the way they are. While it may not be bad to use ideals as a model for life, we can't expect people to be ideals.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A few weeks after returning, she tells me she loves me and she wants to move in with me and get married. She rarely even lets me hug her, so this was a strange request, but she's the longest friend I've ever had and I do care for her. I told her if she should come visit first and then we'll go from there.
A week later, she changes her mind, says she'll never get married and I'm not her type.
And short time later, she's telling me she loves me and wants to get married, again.
This continues on for about 2 years to present day. It's obvious to me that she doesn't have feelings for me in the way I think, but I would be lying if I said there isn't a bit of hope every time she says she wants to come visit over summer. I tried telling her that it's hurtful for her to play with me like this, but I don't think she really got the point. I struggle now with how to approach this.
Your decision comes down to what you will do, not what she will do. 2 years of this nonsense is long enough. She's violated your boundaries over and over, and you tolerating it shows both of you just how much self respect you have. I know what I would do.
 

Jo Bugman

Padawan Learner
Your decision comes down to what you will do, not what she will do. 2 years of this nonsense is long enough. She's violated your boundaries over and over, and you tolerating it shows both of you just how much self respect you have. I know what I would do.
You're very right. I don't want to just ignore her, that doesn't feel right but I've tried talking to her about it and she didn't seem to understand. Thanks for the blunt advice, I need it!
 

Andrian

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Well she had her face six inches away from me for 40 some minutes and had to kind of contort herself from the desk next to mine to do that. I was hiding from her in a very little used resource room (it was when we both had free periods and I used to see her elsewhere at that time before the phone call). I have no memory of ever seeing other people in that room but I'm sure there must have been a person or two or else why would they have the room plus I have a memory of her looking towards the front of the room before leaving out the door at the end of the period so I figure someone might have been there. I was a little worried about this novel reading exercise bringing this back up; I was never thinking of her before except for something like my Mom driving us past her street on the way to church when we visit.
Hi John, just an advice from a man to a man, from a brother to a brother, let it go, close that chapter of your life and leave it where it belongs, in the past. Don't follow the path of obsession because it's the predator's mind trap that drags you in a personal hell where you're torturing yourself again and again and again. And it's you that is losing big time in this game. Move on, it's just not worth it to be led astray by an obsession, it will will only poison your heart and mind, and for what? Is it worth it?

You're very right. I don't want to just ignore her, that doesn't feel right but I've tried talking to her about it and she didn't seem to understand. Thanks for the blunt advice, I need it!

Hi Jo, sorry for my bluntness but here I'm with hlat, I think that you deserve better. It seems to me that the girl has her own lessons to learn and her own path to follow.

Don't know if I'm right though from what I've gathered from what you wrote it seems that you are not on the same wavelength, if that's the case my sincere advice to you will be to let her go by cutting out every possible link you have with her even those ones in our heads that sometimes we are holding up that may be used as weaknesses against you by your own predator mind manipulating you especially when you're most vulnerable. I may seem too harsh here but to me all this situation it seems more like a dance with the Devil under moonlight, a feeding mechanism. If that's the case then leave it and move on, it's not worth it. You deserve better and she as well.
 

John G

The Living Force
Then she was toying with you. She was discovering that her beauty gave her power over men and boys, and you took the bait. There's nothing beautiful about that, it baffles me you fail to see it now that you're grown. You can turn around the bushes and make this experience more than there really was (at the beginning you were implying the two of you had sex and had a kind of friendship). But there was no love, no friendship, no meaningful exchange or sex in this situation, just power-play and obsession.

We've been several members to point out that this experience is not what you made it out to be in your mind, I hope you realize we did it with your best interest at heart. I'm sure a part of you knows you've been had, otherwise why made us all believe in your previous posts that the two of you were close, when in fact, you never spoke a word to her?!
I never used the word "close". I did use the word "introvert", I wasn't close to anybody in the normal sense. I just watched people and I watched her more than anybody so she seemed close to me at the time and is the only person over whom I ever felt hurt; that makes her seem close to an almost autistic-like introvert even though it's just a biochemistry thing. My son thanks me profusely for passing along that gene. He due to a quark of teacher vacancies situation, had the same teacher from 4th through 6th grade. That teacher and my son developed their own sign language for communicating and once she stopped a lesson to let him finish talking to the guy next to him figuring he needed that more than whatever the lesson was.

I was 15 and she was 14 when we first started flirting without talking (my sister was in her grade and and said she doodled my name in her notebook); we were both just playing with something new. We just kept doing it for two more years and then she grew up and I didn't and she got a boyfriend not surprisingly and I got hurt because she was the only kind of closeness I knew in the biochemical sense. She as an adult now works with autistic children, I doubt there was ever a toying bone in her body; she can do tough love good though I suspect like with her phone call to me. Her last good-bye though sounded more I'm sorryish in response to my sudden change from forced confident pursuing to an instant conversation ending almost crying-like goodbye. I went from confident to devastated instantly over something she said.

Before that one last silent flirt session (with me 18 and she 17), she had shown up handing out track uniforms. I and her boyfriend were on the track team and her best friend (female-wise) was the team manager who normally handed out the uniforms. When I saw her (the girl I liked) asking me some uniform question, I saw the characteristic tilt of her head but her eyes were actually looking directly at me instead of off to the side of me like when she flirted and also there was not a hint of flirt in her, just totally business-like. I went catatonic. I just very slowly with my eyes still fixed on hers kept backing up until I ran into a wall and plastered my hands against it. I have no memory of how I got a uniform, my next memory was sitting at the bench next to my locker with my head in my hands trying to get back to feeling normal.

For the next track practice, not only is the girl I liked not part of the scene, but her boyfriend has quit the team. Her brother also talked to me about how good I was doing in the long jump. I was doing quite well, apparently being angry at the world can be good for athletic performances. I though angrily told him there are more important things than the long jump and got up and left. I wasn't in a good place. I even autistic-like one day kept jumping into the pit and getting out and jumping instantly back in without any running to the point where the coach sent someone over to ask me what the heck I was doing. She then did the one last silent flirt thing. I personally think she was genuinely worried about my sanity.
 

Mariama

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
But after they were divorced and Dad met Marie I think he found a kindred soul. She had suffered through the Japanese occupation of Indonesia and could probably understand some of what he went through in Changi, plus she was a very loving and caring woman. And maybe that ability in her helped him in the healing process somewhat. I had moved away to NZ by the time he and Marie got together so I observed this all from a distance
I think you are onto something. Two people I knew when I was growing up (parents of schoolmates, not married to each other) became good friends after discovering both of them had been in the Japanese prison camps (for civilians) in Indonesia. At the time I thought they were an unlikely combination, because I didn't know (being a young child) how important it is to be able to talk to someone who (partially) understands what the other person went through or at least can empathise.

People returning to Holland after losing everything in Indonesia as a result of the WWII couldn't count on much understanding from the rest of the population including the Dutch Indonesians (called Indos; half Dutch, half Indonesian). I know that a number of them emigrated to NZ, Australia and the US shortly after arriving in Holland. That said, AFAIK the Indos were never incarcerated, the Dutch were, but that doesn't mean they didn't suffer.

The one thing I am grateful for is that my Dutch grand-mother never hated the Japanese and consequently, my mother didn't either (they spent 3 years in these prison camps). In hindsight that is such a gift for the next generations. OTOH I knew a family where the father still had unresolved issues (most likely blaming it all on the Japanese), so much so that one of his children even asked him for his approval/permission (?) when he found a job in a Japanese company some 30 odd years after the end of the war.

I for one am grateful that the romance novels also deal with the ravages of war, as the WWII has left its marks on my family and myself and many, many others. It has given me a deeper understanding of separation, loss, sorrow and building a new life, after the old one is gone. Thanks to the romance novels I can now empathise with my grand-mother and great-ant whose Indonesian husband was shot to death by (as my mother called them) "his own people" and as a result I have come to admire their strength and tenacity.

Added bolding.
 

Scottie

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Don't think anyone mentioned this, but there are 2 new volumes of the Lairds Most Likely series:



Along with #8 in that series, which also doesn't appear to be on the spreadsheet:


The reason I mention this is because I'm on Book 7 right now... They were pretty good, and got better with each installment. Book 6 about astronomer Hamish and Emily was quite good, IMO! Definitely much different than the Sons of Sin series.
 

Adaryn

The Living Force
Hi Jo, sorry for my bluntness but here I'm with hlat, I think that you deserve better. It seems to me that the girl has her own lessons to learn and her own path to follow.

Don't know if I'm right though from what I've gathered from what you wrote it seems that you are not on the same wavelength, if that's the case my sincere advice to you will be to let her go by cutting out every possible link you have with her even those ones in our heads that sometimes we are holding up that may be used as weaknesses against you by your own predator mind manipulating you especially when you're most vulnerable. I may seem too harsh here but to me all this situation it seems more like a dance with the Devil under moonlight, a feeding mechanism. If that's the case then leave it and move on, it's not worth it. You deserve better and she as well.
I agree. What she's doing - leading you on like this for 2 years - is wrong. If you choose to put an end to it (which would be the wisest choice for the both of you, IMO), you can either stop answering her calls / emails (no explanation, just silence), or if you want to make a point (provided you've steeled yourself enough for that), next time she calls you, be blunt about it: say that this relationship is leading nowhere and is hurting the both of you, hence you've decided that it was time for you to move on. If you want to hammer the point home "with style", play this song* for her over the phone – and sayonara. In case she doesn't get it, you can also record the song on your answering machine so that she can hear it everytime she tries to call you, until she gets it (ie: stops trying to contact you). Whatever you decide: good luck!

*
 

seek10

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The reason I mention this is because I'm on Book 7 right now... They were pretty good, and got better with each installment. Book 6 about astronomer Hamish and Emily was quite good, IMO! Definitely much different than the Sons of Sin series.
The following books were added after checking for the latest books of the authors.
273Anna CampbellLairds Most Likely8The Highlander’s Christmas Countess
274Anna CampbellLairds Most Likely9The Highlander’s Rescued Maiden
275Anna CampbellLairds Most Likely10The Highlander’s Christmas Lassie
276Jennifer AshleyMackenzies & McBrides11.75Fiona and the Three Wise Highlanders
277Lisa KleypasThe Ravenels7Devil In Disguise
278Mary LancasterThe Unmarriageable6.5Christmas Heart
Note: The book numbers for the Mackenzies & McBrides series are modified to be in line with author's website. Devil in Disguise is announced and expected to be released next month.

All the forms are synched with the new list.
 
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