Episode 18: The Black Hole and How to Crawl Out

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"I realized that no one is ever going to make me feel like enough. No person outside of me is ever going to be able to fill that void inside." -- Chris Kosley, Community Member OneTaste™ Urban Retreat Center

Chris Kosley was a really nice guy. He did everything that he could to please women. He demanded a price, however. If he didn’t get what he wanted – attention, love or sex – he got pissed. Except that he usually didn’t say it; you just felt it. For Chris, nice covered a Black Hole – a void inside of him that craved constant validation from women. This is the story of a nice guy who got angry and what happened when he began befriending his Black Hole.

Transcript

J : A while ago I realized something about myself. I wanted an intimate relationship with a man badly. I wanted this relationship because I wanted all the perks that I assumed would come with it; a steady companion, someone with whom I felt a deep kinship, but I also wanted something else. I wanted validation, proof that I was loveable. For me, being in a relationship, especially with someone I looked up to, represented proof. If they could love me, I must be loveable and worthy. I must be a good person. I must be doing things right. Otherwise, why would they be with me? The problem with this type of logic that has you looking to others for validation is that you start relationship from a pretty messed up place. If you are looking to your partner for validation, then inevitably they will fail to provide what you need. That’s because you’re looking to fill a black hole, a place inside of you that is empty and can never be filled, only satisfied on a very temporary basis.

J : From One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Francisco we bring you A Taste of Sex, a reality audio based program about the One Taste community, its residents and their relationships. On today’s show, the Black Hole and how to dig your way out. I’m J .

J : No sooner have you filled a black hole, then it empties out. So you get in a relationship, and at first it feels really good. “Finally,” you think to yourself, “finally I have found the person who loves me. Finally I can rest from all of this doubt about whether I am worthy of love.” It seems too good to be true and it is. Something happens. Maybe your partner doesn’t pay enough attention to you or maybe you don’t see enough of him or her, or maybe it’s not the kind of attention you wanted or maybe you have a fight or maybe he is always looking at other women or she doesn’t give you as much sex as you would like. The black hole wants more and more validation, more and more proof that you are in fact okay. And you can’t win. You can never have enough sex, clothes and attention, to do more than momentarily satisfy the nagging doubt of the black hole. The prescription to freedom from a black hole isn’t pleasant. You have to feel and be all of these things that you feel. So you have to feel like you’re unloveable, feel like you’re unworthy, feel like you cannot have what you want. You have to go into these places deliberately so that they can no longer hold you hostage. And then you discover the real study state, the one that existed all along, but you just didn’t recognize it. It’s the place of knowing that you can’t look to anyone or anything for validation, you can only look to yourself. I won’t lie to you, the process sucks. All sorts of messy unpleasant emotions rise up, and it isn’t cool to be lonely, it isn’t cool to be needy, it isn’t cool to be angry, and yet that’s what’s necessary to satisfy the demons. They have to be heard before they will give up. Okay, so today’s story, it’s about a guy named Chris Kosley who came to One Taste a really, really nice guy about a year ago. He really wanted to please, especially women. There was a price to pay however. If he didn’t give him what he wanted, which was love, sex or attention, he was pissed, and I mean pissed. Like, he might not say anything but you could feel it. He hated you for denying him. Some advice for men, if you want to get in with a woman, you cannot take anything personally, nothing. You must be a stone Buddha. You pay attention to her, but you let everything she does, every mean comment, every two-faced remark, every hypocrisy pass through you. For a time Chris like me and thought he could win me over by being nice. Well warning to all men, I am looking for any excuse not to like you. Also, I’d like to note that I am not proud of what I am about to reveal. So Chris would text me messages on my phone like, “How are you today?” or “Have a nice day.” My response? “Leave me alone. I’m not your girlfriend.” So then he would get pissed and act like a pouty four year old who doesn’t get his way. I could feel him blaming me as he looked at or away from me, in the silent treatment that eventually became his primary tactic to deal with my ignoring him. Over time, Chris’s anger started coming out at all of the women of One Taste. At One Taste we actually think this is a good thing. He began saying words that matched his emotions. It wasn’t pleasant, but at least he was being real. And then Chris had a realization that all of his anger started with a fear that he would never get what he wanted, which was love, and that every time a woman said no, he took it as proof that he couldn’t have it, and so he lashed out, and that he had spent much of his life angry at women, and that nearly every time he had sex, he was using it as a validation that he was worthy of love; ie, to fill his black hole. In his mind, if he got sex, love or attention he was loveable. And then he realized that it wasn’t the women’s fault that he was angry, it’s that he was really fighting himself and his black hole. And that the only way to fill the black hole was not to feed it, but to go in and excavate its source. This is the story of one incident that happened along the way of that excavation. It was with Beth, Chris’s research partner. Before we go further, let me give a little background information. First of all, research partner is a term that describes a striving for consciousness in a relationship. Second, that the following took place in a large loft space that about 40 of us share and where it’s hard to keep much a private matter. Third, that Chris and Beth had been together for about 6 months when this incident happened. Fourth, while Chris and Beth are research partners and share a space together, they also have sleepovers with other people.

J : So there was a point when you got so frustrated with her you took all her stuff down from the shelves, like at 5 o’clock in the morning or something and put it at the foot of her bed, your bed and told her you were done. So, what were the events leading up to that night, and then describe that night.

Chris Kosley: Part of it is we hadn’t been making out much for a while. I mean we weren’t having sex, we weren’t even really messing around. So there was this kind of pressure building around that. But then she would have sleepovers and make-outs with other guys, which in and of itself didn’t actually bother me so much, but there was this way of like, “I’m not willing to give this to you, but I’ll bring it over here to this other guy and lavish it on him”, and there was a way that she was doing that that was almost like taunting in a way or almost just like really just throwing it in my face that felt, it was just very frustrating. I would just feel shut out, and then it would just create this burning sensation that I would feel, and it would just, it would just like, a lot of sensation, like burning, vibrating in my chest, kind of kept me up all night kind of experience that would happen in the wake of that. It was the sensation of humiliation and feeling like not enough, which I think is actually at the root of a lot of this, like a fundamental belief that I’m not enough and that the only way, and to get, to feel like I’m enough I have to get that validation from outside, and so I go outside, to women especially, and I look for the validation in the form of sex and approval from women. On this particular night, I had come home from a meeting with my, this men’s group that I go to and I’d actually kind of moved some heavy stuff in the meeting, like worked with the guys, so I was feeling kind of raw when I came home.

Beth: I had just seen a play, I was very inspired, I was very turned on and really kind of flying high, and I was telling people about the play and I was really excited and I was the center of attention, which I love to be, and all of a sudden like my emotional radar picked up this like heavy brooding thing in the room, and it was like I was kind of looking around, but not really seeing him, he was, it was as if he was standing in the middle of a dust storm, I couldn’t see him clearly, and I remember thinking consciously, “Okay, you have to put your attention on him here even though you don’t want to.

Chris Kosley: So, I wanted to kind of sit and talk and connect with her and she was more like wanted to play and flirt, and we weren’t really connecting there, and she kind of, I felt like she did something that kind of was, she was kind of blowing me off and so I got pissed off at her. You know, there was this kind of terse exchange between us.

Beth: I walked there to get something, and I tried to make contact with him and he wouldn’t look at me and I touched his hand and he was like, “Don’t touch me”, and it was like so, so immature in a way. I was just shocked. I had that moment of feeling like I was looking at a monster. I was like really repulsed. I’m like, “What are you, 8 years old?” I mean I really was, I’m not a kind loving person, now the world know, and I really just I could not manage to open there. I was like, “You know, you make it so unpleasant already and then you’re going to make it even more unpleasant. Why the hell would I want to be around you? So I had my hackles up too and laughed it off when I feel defensive I get like really hard and so I just, I hardened up and had a shell and tried to make it look on the outside like it wasn’t bothering me, but it really kind of was.

J : This is A Taste of Sex. We’ll be back after this short break.

J : Welcome back to A Taste of Sex, a reality audio program about real people and their relationships.

Chris Kosley: She went to the bed right next to ours and was flirting and playing around with Josh. I thought she was just going to be over there for a little while and then she’d come back to bed, but it turned out that she had made a plan for a sleepover with Josh and hadn’t told me about it.

Beth: Found out later that I had not clearly communicated with Chris. Like at one point I told him, “Oh, I’m not sure if it’s happening tonight”, and then I found out that it was happening and I never told Chris, like, “Yes, it definitely is.” In my mind, like he knew what I knew, and so I didn’t, I didn’t really think to kind of go in deeper around that, I thought that he had the same set of assumptions that I did. And I could still, like the bed I had selected, this was really kind of inconsiderate, the bed was right next to our bed. So I had my sleepover, and it wasn’t even all that hot and heavy of a sleepover, but we were definitely very connected and playful and I’m sure he heard it and I could feel him just like burning so hard, feel him through the curtain.

Chris Kosley: I went to sleep that night thinking, “Okay, she’ll come to bed eventually and then in the morning we’ll talk, and you know, we usually work through these things”, but she didn’t come back and at about 3:30 in the morning I woke up and she wasn’t in bed and I was, and I realized that she was in bed with Josh and I just started, that’s when I started feeling that burn. Then at about 5 or 5:30 in the morning, this idea popped into my head. Because it’s just like I felt like a, I don’t know, it wasn’t necessarily logical, like I wasn’t necessarily thinking it through, like if I do x this is what will happen or it was just this idea of like, “Okay, this is as much as I can take or as much as I can handle”, or, and I wanted, there was a part of me that was like, “I want to send a message.”

J : So you wanted to punish her?

Chris Kosley: Yeah.

J : So what did you do?

Chris Kosley: We were sharing a bed space together and we had our stuff kind of all mixed together in different drawers and shelves and things. I basically got out of bed, I pulled out one of her drawers and started filling it with her stuff, taking it off the shelves and separating it out from my stuff and there’s this moment when I looked at the clock and it was, I had just enough time, I could either take what I had done, put it all back away, totally forget about it, totally ignore it, wait until morning, talk to her, let things continue on, or I would have, or if I continued I would have just enough time that by the time people started waking up in the morning, and of course this was all for dramatic affect because there was, I, it was all intentional that, you know, that when people woke up they would see all her stuff piled up at the foot of the bed, and I had just enough time to do that, and yeah, it was like this kind of choice moment and like I said something had snapped and so instead of putting it away I just kept putting her stuff in the drawers and stacking it up and stacking it at the foot of the bed so that at 6:30 when everybody started waking up, pretty much all her stuff was there all piled up and with the obvious message of, “Get the fuck out.”

Beth: Got up in the morning, we got sung awake, and I got out of bed immediately and was like, “Oh, you have to go talk to him”, like I actually felt like I wanted to talk to him and I started thinking about just in my mind quietly what I wanted to say and how I would approach him, so I was kind of in my head when I approached him and when I approached the bed space.

J : And how long did it take you to, to see what was actually in front of the bed space?

Beth: It took me a while to focus, like maybe 20 or 30 seconds. Like, my brain kind of knew that something was off, but what I noticed before I noticed the stuff was that he was fully dressed at like 6 o’clock in the morning and he was just standing there brooding with this death ray of a look, like he had just been waiting, and like he had been waiting to like kill me when, or that proverbial kill me, when I came home from my shameful night or whatever, that was how it felt. And then it started to dawn on me. And I was looking around and I like, I think I looked back and forth between him and all the stuff, and I didn’t even, like my first thought was not, “He’s moving me out of this space”, my first thought literally was like this really removed like, “Oh, one of us is moving.” So when I realized that he was not going to put all the things away and tuck his tail between his legs and, it just, it was kind of obvious to that he was really digging in. I realized I needed to do something about it, and I remember now as I’m telling this that there is a part of me that could feel how scared he was and that was really confusing for me too because I wanted to entirely hate him and feel like, you know, it just turned out he was an asshole after all, and all those nice things he did didn’t matter ‘cause he was just waiting to hurt me like this, you know, my victim story. And, but I could feel how, how much he cared about me and how he was probably like doing that to spite himself, and I knew that we were very deeply connected as much as I wanted to deny it, so I knew he was hurting himself in a way too, and I was a little too angry for that to be any consolation, but, but it was there and that was one of the first times that I have felt such an intense emotion, like that amount of anger and still held any space of love for the person at the same time.

Chris Kosley: When I moved her stuff out I was aware that some of what I was feeling had to do with like feeling like I’m not enough and that that was my thing, not hers, and yet I still did what I did anyway, so.

J : Some things you just can’t help.

Chris Kosley: I don’t know, I think that maybe there’s a piece of it that’s like, I have to, like to move through it I have to, maybe I have to act out on some of the rage or I have to like let some of that manifest in some way. Because I’ve been stuffing it down for so long that if I, that yeah, there is a point where you just have to like let it come out. I still get completely confused and angry and pissed off at women. I mean, like an hour before this interview I had an interaction with Beth that had me feeling like, “I just hate your fucking guts right now”, and I can’t, and being, and feeling completely stymied, and feeling like this is just so frustrating and why am I doing this and what’s the point and, and yet I know that somehow it’s that process of feeling it that has it, has things moving in a better direction.

Beth: Now that I’m having some of that, that like deeply buried anger coming out myself, I can see how, god, it has so little to do with the actual people who are around me in the moment that I’m feeling it. Even when circumstance point to it directly being about that person, it so rarely is.

J : Have you seen any changes in his anger or how he deals with it?

Beth: Yeah, it feels fresher now, it doesn’t feel so stagnant. He definitely still has a hard time when it come up and I, I feel a lot for him in that place actually because again, I’m going through that now too, I mean he’s actually leading the way, he’s a little further along with it than I am, but I know how scary it is when you’ve been completely conditioned to not show your anger. There’s a reason for that, there’s a reason that you keep it in, there’s a reason that you keep something so powerful bottled up, because you think that it’ll burn the other person or drive them away, or that you’ll get, you know, deeply in trouble somehow. At least that’s my experience of it and so I can see how scared he gets in a way when it comes up, and so I feel like I can love him there.

J : Beth and Chris got back together a few weeks after the incident. Chris said he never really intended to break up with her in the first place.

J : You’ve been listening to A Taste of Sex. You can find us on the web at personallifemedia.com. For more information about One Taste, check us out at onetaste.us. I’m J