[NOTE: I started writing this in May, and I finished it in July. The disconnect between what I thought I was writing about then versus now has gotten fairly significant. Hopefully, I will be able to remember what my point was before finish it.]
I was thinking about this a little over the past couple of weeks, but I’ve finally managed to get some time to put my thoughts down. It really isn’t all the sins. I was primarily reflecting on Envy. (When you’re talking of the Seven Deadly Sins, they must be capitalised–so one does not mistake them for ordinary sins, I suppose.)
The Old Testament version of it would be “covetousness” or some such. “Thou shalt not covet…” etc etc. With greed or lust in your heart, it’s sinful to want what is not yours by right. In modern usage, this has become somewhat diluted, I think. What’s more, though: Envy and Jealousy have become largely interchangeable. In my view this is not correct: I don’t think that these two words represent (in the modern sense) the same thing at all.
To me–and you may disagree–these are different things. I’ll not go into much detail, but the primary difference is fear versus desire. If you envy someone, you want what they have. If you are jealous, you fear to lose what you have (if you do, in fact, have it, and it’s not some chimera of your imagination). Jealousy is poison, whereas Envy need not be. Being envious can simply mean that you wistfully wish things were different. Being jealous is likely to turn you into a twat, if you aren’t already. Jealousy is what leads to spousal battery, stalking, and other such social ills. Envy can be negative, but I don’t think there’s anything positive about Jealousy–with the possible exception of being able to learn about your own reactions to it and making yourself into a better person as a result. Envy is much more likely to result in self-improvement, if you decide that such improvements can result in obtaining that which you envy (e.g., being a better employee to get that bonus or raise or new position).
Perhaps the most insidious thing about Jealousy, in my opinion, is that people suffering from it as a rule do not understand either that they suffer from it or that it is damaging. They are blind to it and its effects, both on them or on others. And because of that, otherwise rational people become raving lunatics. In my case the worst thing I generally do is say exceedingly stupid things, either verbally or on paper (virtual or otherwise), but I eventually come to my senses. But I know that in my case the Jealousy is the fear-of-loss type, even when the loss is a foregone conclusion. I don’t like myself when I get like that, but I have yet to be able to figure it out soon enough to stop it from happening. However, because I can recognise it, I’ve also learned to stop spouting off a lot quicker than I have in past. Unfortunately, that’s still after the damage has been done.
Given that it is now several months since I started writing this, I have to guess a little at what set me down this path. I think it had something to do with a disagreement with the ex over what seemed fair in terms of post-sale arrangements with our soon-to-be-former house. We had had an agreement that would have resulted in me gaining a slight edge in the equity percentage, but I found out that me having paid extra resulted in me solely being poorer, since the mortgage penalties completely erased almost a year of equity in the house. I tell you, I sure as fuck felt like a chump, since I had already been riding close to the edge financially as a result of needing to replace the basement floor and paying my half of it, and possibly a little more. Her view on things seemed to be portraying her as a victim of something I perpetrated, as though I forced her into buying the house or to pay more because her income was 50% greater than mine. Even writing about it now, it still gets my ire up.
At any rate, something in my kinda finally snapped, and I realised that the ex was a lot more selfish than I had thought she was, and that her world view was a bit divorced from reality. I decided that the time wasn’t quite right to go into all of the things she apparently forgot, like me being a primary means of support for her during grad school (outside of her scholarship and TA fees), the amount of money I spent on her during that period, largely supporting her (exclusive of her savings and incidental expenses) for the eight months after she moved to Calgary prior to finding a job. Still pulling my weight after I lost mine. Reapportioning expenses to be more fair after my income decreased to the rate below hers, but keeping the mortgage sharing equal. But she doesn’t seem to have understood the difference between “fair” and “equal”.
Now, this is relevant, because when she left me, I had an episode of Jealousy, writing her things that were probably best left unsaid. I don’t know if I was just milder, or if she was a better person about it. What the mortgage thing did was make me aware that I’m almost past her and her decision just to throw away blithely our fifteen years together. Following on an earlier incident of selfishness on her part, it’s like this is the second stage of me finally getting past her. Each time I get angry at her (few of those times as there are), more of what I’ve held inside me burns away in that heat. It’s not all gone, and just looking at her can wash away all the pain and rekindle all the desire, but it’s getting easier. Now that the sale is complete, and I don’t have to see or talk to her any more, maybe it will get easier still.
As well, since the sale completed and I have more time to think about this without the house sale getting in the way, it feels more and more like being jealous or having an attack of Jealousy related to her is just wasted effort, because it seems more and more like she just wasn’t worth the effort….or at least, that’s what I’m trying to convince myself of. Certainly, “trying to keep” something I’d already lost turned into an exercise in futility that did neither of us any good.
As this is at least a second incident of me going off the deep end (sort of), and I’m learning the signs and the pitfalls, perhaps next time (if there is one), I can avoid it entirely. Perhaps not, but I can hope, and maybe the sin next time won’t be so “deadly”, and I won’t make such a fool of myself over someone else who doesn’t deserve what I have to offer.