The third component of heartache is anger. Unlike the second component, where we blame ourselves and all our faults for driven the loved one away, this time it is the object of our love whom we blame for having behaved shamefully towards us. The person who has jilted us no longer seems to glow with boundless beauty of goodness, but appears on the contrary as a cruel, shallow, ungrateful being, in a word, a bitch, or a complete bastard, whom we like to see, not as before in order to declare our undying love and true remorse, but in order to unleash the full force of our wrath.
The third component manifests itself, then, in the form of painful fits of suppressed rage stirred by memories of all the loved one’s failings, which take place most often in the final weeks before they leave. They break off contact for several days despite promising to stay in touch. With hindsight, there have been several indication that, before leaving us for good, they have been seeing someone else for an unknown period of time, the duration of which we will seek to discover with the doggedness of a paleontologist attempting to date a dinosaur’s jawbone. Shortly before withdrawing from us, they assure us tenderly that they love us. If they’ve lied to us, it shows how shamefully deceitful they are; if they meant what they had said, then they’re shallow, fickle and irresponsible.
This resentment can became so intense it burst out: we begin talking to ourselves, reproaching the loved one as though they were present, imagining them trembling, crying or begging for forgiveness when confronted with our righteous anger. One step further and we start leaving accusatory messages on the loved one’s answering machine and voicemail, or writing them letters venting our anger in words aimed at hurting them in the same way as we have been hurt.
These attempts at revenge are ill advised because after the email has been sent or letter posted, we might suffer another unexpected attack of the second component (guilty brooding over our own past failings), which will be made all the more powerful by the sudden realization that what we have just done is irreversible and renders impossible the return of the loved one, which, despite all signs to the contrary, is what we are still hoping for.
Hector and the secrets of love – Francois Lelord