120: Thoughts on Perfection inspired by Not Your Average Girl

There is no such thing as perfect. We are all a moveable feast, we are all growing and learning throughout our lives. Nothing ever stays the same.

Not Your Average Girl

img_-l1ndt61Not Your Average Girl had me thinking about perfection. Read her story by clicking here or the link below.

I’ve started and deleted this post three times now because I keep avoiding the real topic: perfect people.

As such, I’m just going to throw this out and see where it goes.

A few things I will mention first. These are a combination of things I’ve known for a long time and a few things I’ve uncovered since the reveal of my betrayal. In no particular order:

  • I am the oldest child in a generationally incestuous, neglectful, and alcoholic home with a drunken mother, absentee father and a professionally diagnosed narcissistic brother.
  • As the oldest, I was held responsible for my brother’s behavior, my mother’s emotional and physical well-being, and taught my needs and wants were selfish.
  • I grew up at the bottom of the social food chain that resulted in nearly every single day of my teenage years being verbally and physically assaulted and bullied at school, on the bus, and walking home from school. I had a small and fickle set of friends.
  • Family, friends, peers, teachers, and the adults around me taught me needs and wants are unimportant, selfish, odd, weird, stupid, and generally silly.
  • I was taught secret-keeping is essential for protecting the family from hurt.
  • I was taught vulnerability is a weapon to be used against you at some point down the road by those closest to you.
  • There is a generational history of estrangements in my family making the family I have extremely important.
  • I am an INFP (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception – at least that is what the test says…over and over and over). That is 4% of the population. When you and I start talking I see you – the good, bad, and ugly.
  • I am hypervigilant so I read people – the good, bad, and ugly.
  • I am empathic which results in me feeling you – the good, bad, and ugly.
  • I suffer from an anxiety disorder that makes me want to avoid conflict, embarrassment, and humiliation.
  • The vast majority of my inner circle of friends are women.
  • My grandfather’s favorite two expressions were, “You broke it. You fix it,” and “It’s too far from your heart to kill you. Walk it off.”
  • Like aspects of my marriage to K, the divorce was ugly.
  • When I was 25 I was physically, emotionally, and sexually betrayed by my first wife. It nearly killed me and I swore I would never be that vulnerable to anyone again. Ever.

holeIf you know these things about me, and take a moment to walk in my shoes, you know exactly why I betrayed C and K. You know why I keep secrets and told lies. You also know why I didn’t realize the trap I had built into my life until after it sprung. You also know that none of my damage justifies my behavior.

A few other things worth mentioning:

  • I am pragmatically optimistic. Author and historian William Stott wrote, “That the world can be improved and yet must be celebrated as it is are contradictions. The beginning of maturity may be the recognition that both are true.
  • I believe in the future but believe it has to be built.
  • I believe people’s intentions rarely match their actions perfectly but that everyone is making the effort to do better. No one gets up planning to make a situation worse.
  • I like people and am fascinated by their lives and experiences.
  • I find the expression and science of human sexuality consistently the most fascinating aspect of humanity.
  • I have no use for religious, political, or social dogmas. I am, by temperament, a non-conformist that occasionally conforms for expediency.
  • I’ve accepted the reality that I am odd but I don’t always like it.
  • I care what you think but my non-conforming nature makes me do what I need and want anyway…eventually.
  • My doctor said, “Sean if you were on a desert island you would thrive but you keep wading into the ocean to see how deep it is.”
  • I bonded with C. She is my soul passion. I feel about her in a way I’ve never felt for another person before. My original intention was just to sleep with her. I had no control over how deeply or passionately I fell for her. Trying to break the bond has been like emptying the ocean one thimble at a time.
  • I am enthusiastic about my Love for C, the people around me, the community, and the future and have never been afraid to show it.
  • I will do what I can to ensure the people around me are successful, happy, and free.
  • I believe people will always betray and disappoint you, especially the people we care for most. Expectations are premeditated resentments.
  • I have always seen C. I see her good and bad. Now I’ve seen her Ugly and I still accept her. This is not unique to C, I generally do this with everyone. Generally.

If you know these things about me, and take a moment to walk in my shoes, you know exactly why I continue to reach out to C, make myself vulnerable over and over, and embrace, with intention, compassion.

I’m not perfect. I’m human.

I’m, to borrow from Perel, still writing the story. I’m “a moveable feast” growing and learning how to be, not more perfect, but rather more human.

IMG_62wh0s-EFFECTS-1.jpg120: There Is No Such Thing As Perfection

The expectation that one person will satisfy all of our many emotional, physical, and spiritual needs is a tall order. Instead of looking for a person who checks all the boxes, focus on a person with whom you can imagine yourself writing a story with. 

Esther Perel


Another gem of a quote popped up on my Twitter from Esther Perel not so long ago. Watch the 4 minute video here for her words of wisdom all wrapped up in a sexy Belgian accent: The expectation that one person will satisfy all of our many emotional, physical, and spiritual needs is a tall […]

via 120: There Is No Such Thing As Perfect — Not Your Average Girl

12 thoughts on “120: Thoughts on Perfection inspired by Not Your Average Girl

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  1. Wow, I didn’t know most of this about you either.

    Knowing people’s backstories, their histories, their experiences, is fascinating. People will tell you it’s no excuse for doing dumb things and I know that not for one moment are you using this as a get out from your betrayal. Equally, people with perfectly ordinary backgrounds with no issues will betray a partner or become a killer. Your upbringing is half of who you are. The other half is how you are wired naturally and they meet in the middle somehow.

    I can’t say I analyse myself as closely as you. I came from an ordinary and successful parentage (my folks have been married 49 years) but my school years were what sowed all the seeds of my problems and then I successfully sabotaged the rest of it. So here I am.

    I wouldn’t say I have any kind of anxiety issues but I also shy very strongly away from conflict, embarrassment and humiliation. Predominantly why I spent so long in so many bad relationships. In fact, the only reason.

    Happy with the imperfections because they’ve made me what I am for better or for worse. I have certainly built up a shield and I get regular reminders that that’s a good thing. But people will perceive that in different ways.

    1. It’s not something I would normally lead with and, in all seriousness, it’s not something I would have put together without a willingness to lean into the vulnerability with intention. I’ve been saying from the beginning that nuance matters. This is nuance and although I have alluded to some of it other writings, personal sharing, and professional advising, this is a synthesis of it all of it. When someone says, “But why did you cheat?” I’m just going to point to this journal entry.

      It won’t matter to anyone else but it matters immensely to me. I told a friend after digging through a lifetime of dating history, I”ve almost always dated serially and at time starting something new before finishing the old one. Sometimes I’ve only started a new relationship to end the old one. Which by definitions makes me philanderer. That needs to stop now. The only way to address that is to be only poly (or whatever the equivalent word for openly dating multiple people) and learn how to establish boundaries and to deal with the shit on the list above I’ve been avoiding.

      Also, drive a convertible. The world looks different when there is no roof. Which is kind of a boundary…but I digress.

  2. I like reading your posts. Dracula was the first badass Dom who was living a poly lifestyle. I think I have always been drawn to those bad boys like that. Eventually I leave, because I need, not want to be someone’s singular focus of affection. I refuse to share when it comes right down to it.
    Coming from such neglect and brokenness that I don’t believe that the trauma I experienced early in my life can ever be reparable with long-term therapy. The reparation would need to take place vis-a-vis a very dynamic primary relationship. A bit of me being the student and then the teacher; the hunter , the hunted. Complexity, variety.
    Just as you are realizing to stop philandering you would need to be only poly; I’m realizing I to fimd a partner that can teach and also want to learn. Strong yet vulnerable. Be okay with me both firing weapons and racing my car and also liking puppies.
    Although I have been primarily a victim to others’ predatory motives my entire life, childhood incest and molestation, partnered with a sex addict and more than one philander; I think my need to seek attention outside of of my present relationship albeit only emotional in nature, was a symptom of what is sorely missing in it. I believe I just wanted someone to tell me I was going to be okay and to hang in there. As I was lonely and cold and feel like I’m dying from the inside out. No excuses, but reasons why.
    I am rambling now so I will stop here.

  3. You are going to be okay and hang in there.

    I said polyamorous but what I really mean is, right now, based on my experience, I need a Consensual Non-monogamous relationship. I think there is a difference.

    However, at the moment I’ve adopted a celibate approach. I have someone that loves me and cares for me, and wants to help walk me through this hurt, but I’ve decided there are some things I need to carry alone for a while so I can learn to love with them and not avoid then.

    Also, I love your blog. I hope you keep writing.

    1. I’ve never paid much attention to Briggs-Meyer profiles but as I’ve dissect and deconstruct my choices it has become abundantly clear to me there is far more at play than simply issues of right and wrong. Nuance matters to an you and I far more than other people. Which can be both good and Ugly.

      I’ve learned a great deal from the writings and podcasts at https://personalityhacker.com.

      None of this justifies or excuses my choices but it does help me embrace the necessary understanding and insights to mature through this experience.

      And thank you for reading and offering some feedback. I originally started to write in response to the vacuum but it has developed nto something more…

      1. I absolutely love 16personalities.com but I will have a look at your recommendation. The MBTI history is most interesting and has a long reach back to Carl Jung.

  4. Interesting. My background is so fundamentally different than yours I have to readjust my thinking sometimes to get the full scope of what you’re saying. Aside from an ages old dislike for Esther Perel (I feel like she skirts the true issues in favor of labeling most things “acts of exuberant defiance”) I agree with the assessment of human behavior. But I’m also a huge believer in mistakes as a massive catalyst for change. I’ve seen people rip others to shreds emotionally and then take time to seriously feel the weight of those actions and suffer some real empathy pains. It’s always fascinating to see humanity evolve. Then again, I’m a former catholic school girl so I’m convinced there’s a “burn in Hell” punishment around every corner anyway. Lol.

    1. You mean there isn’t?

      What would you say are the true issues?

      Pain and loss are the only catalysts for change. If there are no consequences why examine my choices. C did the right thing for her, me and Us.

      1. I’m just not a fan of Esther Perel in general- so it’s mostly her delivery (which I sometimes find flippant) that I don’t like. Every person struggles with a multitude of issues – some can be overcome, some have to be accepted and lived with. Most people never even reach the place where they can examine and reflect on the decisions they make and the reasons for them. I like the accountability you’ve been willing to showcase during this episode in your life. Most people would find it much easier to put full or partial blame on others. You owned it, and it makes the whole thing much more compelling. It’s like when you fight with someone and stop in your tracks to say mid blowout “I’m being an ass, I’ll stop here and back up to examine my role in how we got here” it’s completely disarming.

      2. Self-reflection and taking responsibility comes more naturally for some than others. That is also a result of our identity, experiences, willingness, awareness and hurts. I had no defense for my behavior when I was engaged in the behavior. My pride certainly worked to isolate me.

        I realize a large part of my responses, pre- and post-reveal, are a result of numerous qualities as I’ve outlined in this journal entry.

        The INFP is an enormous part of my responses. I had no idea.

        If it wasn’t for Perel I probably would be dead. I really thought I was a monster and the only man to betray themselves and their loves as horribly as I did. Perel helped me understand what I did was hurtful to me and others in a human way, and not as a monster as Interlopers repeatedly tried to paint me. The men and women on Twitter and here, and the ones I’ve connected with elsewhere have helped me understand. I’m indebted to their honesty and compassion.

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