July 31st, 2012

Weird Sentence

I just had two conversations that led me to ask a question I really should have asked (and answered) sometime in the mid-1990s: why do some people shop and buy things they neither need nor even particularly want and/or build their lives around collections of ... things without any real introspection about limits or themes of those collections, etc. that is, why are some people totally out of control and destructive with stores and credit cards?

I was married to one of these people. A friend and co-worker at the time was (may still be) married to one. I was (briefly) friends with one of these, who after her divorce hooked up with one of my exes and tried to sleep with one of my then-current lovers. This _might_ have been okay, if any of them had bothered to read, say, _The Ethical Slut_, however, they couldn't be convinced to do so or do any of the necessary communication to make that kind of relationship work out well.

Messy.

Anyway. Conversation #1 involved someone telling me about their impending divorce (not necessarily shopping related, altho I would not be surprised to discover there was a major shopping issue there, either). Conversation #2 involved me telling someone else entirely that this was further support for my theory that too-separate lives don't work out great in 21st century marriages. R. (not my husband or my sister) asked for further evidence and as we hashed out some examples, it occurred to me that this shopping thing kept popping up and I wondered if it was associated with a diagnosis ... which led me back to DSM V and the hoarding disorder proposal.

Then I thought, self, take yourself off to Amazon (where I would have a shopping problem, only I can apparently afford it) and see if anyone has a book out. I downloaded April Lane Benson's book, in part because reviews indicated that compulsive shopping was a way of enacting need-to-feel-good, conflict avoidance and anger, all of which sounded like a brilliant description of every instance I'd ever encountered. Me, I don't avoid conflict and I don't have much of a problem with expressing anger (the consequences can get a bit rough, but I'm not shy).

It looks promising -- to the degree that reading a self-help book for a problem you don't have but are attempting to understand can be considered promising. That is, repurposing a tool introduces unpredictability. But never mind that. I'm here for the weird sentence.

"There's pain underneath your overshopping habit, and kicking the habit involves exploring that pain: acknowledging it, identifying it, and then learning to tolerate it until it eventually subsides."

I was _right with_ the author through tolerate it. "until it eventually subsides" sounds like overpromising to me. We'll see what she has to offer.