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Friday, May 3, 2013

Ask DrFran: The Green-Eyed Monster

By DrFran Babcock

Dear DrFran:

I never thought that I would be someone who would write to you. I mean, I have never really had much in the way of problems in my life, and haven’t really had the need to ask for help. I seem to have become another person lately.

It’s funny, in a way, because many people believe that Second Life™ is the place to become someone other than the human you are—to try on a new persona.  The new “me” should have been someone with better values and qualities to admire. Yet, I have become someone I would look upon with scorn.

I was not looking for romance in Second Life™. I was at a concert of a performer whom I like a lot, when I received an IM from someone I didn’t know. They asked me about something I had in my profile that had to do with an interest in railroads in Second Life™. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that it was a pick up line, I responded, and we chatted happily while listening to the music. It turned out that Carl liked this singer as much as I did, and that we had a few other interests in common. He was involved in the mainland railroads, and we shared about sims we had visited with active trains. He mentioned a few other places to which I had never been that had great train sets on them. I didn’t think anything of it, and logged when the concert was over.

The following day, Carl IMed me, sent me a friend request, and asked me if I wanted to see some of the beautiful train sims we had chatted about. I agreed, and we spent a very pleasurable few hours visiting the NY Healthscape sims, which have a long train ride on them, and a group of Japanese sims that had a monorail.

Fast forward to three months later, and Carl and I are spending most of our time in Second Life together. I never realized how close you can become to someone when you only have  voice or typing for commnication.

Slowly, I found myself becoming very dependent upon Carl for passing the hours in world. It was such a gradual transition, that it took me by surprise when he didn’t log in one day, and I found myself in a sad and angry state. This was so not me. I am not someone who moons over guys, and Carl wasn’t even a flesh and blood presence in my life. What the heck was going on?

I couldn’t believe that I had been moved to such an extreme of emotion, so I was not prepared for what followed. Carl was not about much any more. I remembered that he had told me the name of an alt he used, he said, when he was working on the mainland train and trolley lines. I searched for the name of the alt, and was surprised to find that the alt was online.

What I did next was shameful. Even now, as I think of it, I redden and dislike myself. I logged in an alt, and IMed Carl’s alt. I made up a silly excuse about a trolley on the mainland line malfunctioning and his name was on the vehicle. He asked for a TP, and we spent a few minutes chatting.  I scrutinized his profile and saw a pick for his home location.  I went on the Marketplace and spent a lot of Lindens on a spy HUD.

In the following days I hung out near Carl’s alt’s home sim, and waited with the spy HUD. It only took two days before I found him several thousand meters away on his sim. There was another green dot on the map with him. Knowing that he might not even remember my alt, I TPed over to his location, and spied behind the walls to find him in an embrace with another female avatar.

I teleported away, but frankly, I don’t kno whether to be more upset about his infidelity, or the way I behaved. This jealous, stalking behavior—where did it come from? In truth, I haven’t stopped. I keep stalking both avatars whenever I can. I have map rights on Carl, and check out where he is whenever I can. It takes all my willpower not to teleport right up to him and confront him. I have been so ashamed that I have stopped speaking with him, and log on at times when I know he cannot be in world.

Help me to make sense of this, DrFran. 

Sign me: Jealous Fool


Dear Jealous:

I can see how Carl’s behavior was hurtful, and could have brought about the response that you describe. I don’t really have a lot of information about Carl from your letter, and will have to speak in generalities. I congratulate you on the bravery it must have taken to write to me about this.

Human nature is odd, and we can never know when something will happen that will trigger a response in us that seems out of character. A good example of this is when people behave in extraordinarily brave ways when a crisis occurs.  Conversly, the worst in us can come out in certain situations. We all have a dark side; all of us. It is impossible to be human without it. Most of the time this side of us doesn’t surface. The response to Carl pulling away from you must have reminded you of some long ago loss of a person’s attention.

Psych 101 quickie class: Whenever I have a strong reaction to a seemingly neutral or upsetting situation, there is information I can learn. For example: I grew up in a home where mistakes and failures were just not permitted. If I came home with a 99% on a test, I was asked why I hadn’t gotten a 100% on the test. Of course, as an adult, I have come to understand that a 99% is a damned good grade. However, any time I feel that I am being criticized, or told that my work is not up to par, I really start to freak out. I am able to say to myself: “That was then, and this is now,” and I avoid a melt down. When I was younger, it was not so easy.

What I think you need to think about, Jealous is if you can make a connection with Carl’s infidelity. As I said, I don’t have enough information to even make a guess as to what it might be. However, I do think that someone in your early years did something that you may have interpreted as a betrayal.

Stalkers often behave as they do because they feel a loss of control, when someone pulls away from them. The more the person detaches from them; the stronger the urge to cling, and to demand information. This only pushes the person further away. Therefore, the only suggestion I have beyond looking into your past, is to stop the behavior immediately. If you can resist checking up on Carl, you will find over time, that the impulse to know what he’s up to will fade. I know it doesn’t feel that way just at this moment, but it’s so. Please don’t confront him. This will never turn out well.

Please let me know how you make out, if you uncover any past betrayals, or if you have an update on your relationship with Carl.

Fondly, DrFran

Obligatory disclaimer: The column Ask DrFran is the work of DrFran Babcock, and may not reflect the views of SL Newser as a whole. Please direct any correspondence to DrFran Babcock. I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

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