Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's Only a Game

I try not to blog about Final Fantasy too often. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it's because I'm uncomfortable with it, even after years of playing. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not embarrassed that I play it's more of I'm uncomfortable having such strong emotions tied directly to something that is meant to be recreational and more importantly, is just a game.

Unfortunately for me, I have to blog about it, as blogging is my outlet to vent and express my anger, hurt and happiness. Recently for me the blogging in regard to it has been more from negative feelings than good and that made me truly question why it is I continue to play at all.

Back when I started, it was strange. A part of me enjoyed playing but another part of me felt so silly telling my friends or family about this other reality. When I'd make plans online and would have to decline offers to go visit or go out I could sense that little 'weirdness' people thought. But over time my family just accepted this as a part of our life and slowly it became less 'odd' so to speak. We played pretty seriously there for quite sometime, only in the past couple of years has our interest and enjoyment waned.

I suppose part of the change for us has been the people. That is the one aspect of MMORPG's I don't think many will ever truly understand unless they immerse themselves into the lifestyle. It's not just something you log into that you turn off as easily as hitting an off switch. The relationships and friendships take on their own life, just like they would if you meet someone in reality. And normally this would be awesome. It's a wonderful thing to meet and make new friends.

But there is a huge flaw, a flaw that makes it impossible to truly ever get to know anyone online. It's what I like to call the "behind the screen fearless persona". For people who have unhappy lives at home, who are depressed, sad, angry or jealous, for people who want to hurt others to build themselves up, online venues are just the right ticket. Here they can be whomever they want to be and no one, other than those they might know in real life, will ever know if it's the 'real' them or not.

Online these kinds of people can be vocal instead of quiet, angry instead of compliant, soft instead of hard or better still, hard instead of soft. They can do and say anything without fear of repercussions. There are no rules, no penalties, no moral codes. There is only you, the computer, the keyboard and the screen. What you choose to do is totally up to you. You decide how this story goes.

These past few months I've been struggling with one person in particular and as you can see from my entry below, it's about to come to heads. This woman who plays online is very manipulative, very cunning and she knows it. She plays a cool game and while I see her exactly for who and what she is, others have the blinds on and either cannot or will not see what is right in front of them. She plays a good game of manipulation. She is an emotional vampire as Lawfrog would say.

She has something to complain about each day. It ranges from her total failure of a husband who never helps her with their children, to having another migraine, to being totally stressed, to 'needing a break'. Yet she is online, each and everyday, for hours on end and she's a stay at home Mom who's youngest child is older than my oldest. I can be as symphathic as the next person but I realized long ago that people don't pay their money to hear my tales of stressful family woe. They don't care about my children, my heartburn or my lazy ass husband.

Still, each day she tells everyone her tragic stories, whether they want to hear it or not, whether you're a complete stranger or someone she actually speaks to. She also loves to play the 'one up' game too. So if you have a story, prepare yourself to be 'one upped' because she has something that was harder, sadder and more difficult than you could ever come to understand.

Her life you see, is pain.

I made the decision to stay clear of her when I found out about her many online 'relationships'. I know many people find love and happiness over the net but when you're a married woman with children it just seems wrong to me to play the field. I never told her this because she made a comment one day comparing her children to my own that put me so totally off I just avoided her completely thereafter. But if you've ever played and shared a linkshell or guild with someone, you know this is easier said than done.

Fast forward months later and now we absolutely hate one another. While I've never personally done anything to her months of not kissing her ass has made her resentful. She's one of those women that takes things one of two ways: You are for or you are against her. There is no middle ground.

I'm struggling with what to do about this. It's obvious I cannot continue to just let it go and hope for the best. There is no reason whatsoever for me to be unhappy doing something that is meant solely for the purposes of entertainment but at the same time I don't fork out our monthly fees to take it up the ass from this psycho bitch either.

I'll sum this person up with one example. There is a thread with members of our linkshell and their pictures. She posted a recent picture with 3 other women in which her hair was in a ponytail, she was blurry and in a very large t-shirt. She looked rather heavy in the picture and posted above it, "I've lost a lot of weight since then."

Then directly below that photo she posted a picture taken from her high school yearbook with her in 70's/80's western wear. She then said that she looked "like the older picture" just her "hair was different". She laughed that "I really need to take a new picture soon".

That alone tells me all I need to know about this person. How can she take responsibility for how badly her life has become or how unhappy she is if she cannot even move out of the past? And more importantly this tells me that nothing I say or do will ultimately mean shit because anything I say will trickle through one ear and flow right out the other. No one is going to make her comfortable in her own skin until SHE is comfortable in her own skin. Her own insecurities are going to be the cause of her inevitable downfall.

So it's only a game, a game with real people on the other side, or at least real people pretending to be 'real' people. Or better still, real people who wish they still looked like old glamour shots photo's.

(LOL The picture above is not of this woman, I suppose I could have been cruel and made it up to impose her character model on top of that high school shot of hers but I'm not that petty. This is just a random google'd shot I came across)


JAMIE said...

I know in WOW if somebody annoys you, you can just block them. Or I would simply leave the guild. Even better, I wouldn't anwer back if she talked to me in private and eventually she would give up.
Why don't you go guild searching. Get rid of this gal and meet some new friends at the same time.
Chad, our friend S and I ended up quiting are guild and just playing the three of us. Very easy to meet up with people if we want to do instances but between the 3 of us, we normally don't need anybody else's help. It's nice. we don't deal with other people. The way I like it. LOL ~ Good luck~~

Jaime said...

Hey Jamie ;)

I've heard WoW is similar to FFXI in some ways but very different in others and one of the huge differences is the time and numbers of people it takes to do things in the game. Take Dynamis for instance. This is an event where you enter a 64 person capped zone and depending on time extensions can last up to 4 hours (yikes I know). Dynamis monsters drop some of the best gear in the game so of course it's popular.

The problem with this girl is she is a 'leader' in our shell. Jimbo is the main leader overall. This causes so many problems and is the reason things just plain stink for me right now. I can't really ignore her as she and I have to speak from time to time about linkshell matters.

My old friends who have left FFXI have tried to get me to come on over to WoW wth them. Maybe someday. For now though I'm really trying to get Jimbo to just throw in the towel. I'm ready to walk away.

Thanks for commenting. If anyone understands this I knew you would. It's hard to explain sometimes.

JAMIE said...

Can Jimbo kick her out of the guild. If somebody is causing that much problems then get rid of them. In any game there is always somebody to replace an idiot.
Sorry you are having so much trouble.

Lawfrog said...

This woman is a classic example of low self-esteem and is clearly attention starved. There's a whole area of psychology emerging having to do with the internet and the way in which people act out online.

Clearly, this woman has a desperate need for attention and adoration. She tells her "sad" stories to anyone who will listen, which is indicative of a person who is desperately seeking attention and sympathy for her plight. She wants everyone to tell her how she is being wronged so she can feel good about herself.

The old picture of herself is another indication that she has not fulfilled the dreams she once had. I would not at all be surprised if the picture she posted from the 70s/80s isn't even her own, but rather a friend or someone random from her yearbook.

She hates you Jaime because you are everything she pretends to be: a good mother, pretty, thin, successful in your endeavors and with a husband who is supportive of you in many ways. She does not, and will never, have any of that. You are the embodiment of everything she wants to be, but will never become.

There is nothing you can do to diffuse a person like this except walk away. Her issues are beyond the scope of what anyone could deal with in a game or anywhere else on the internet. She needs professional help and I hope someday she gets it.

In the meantime, remember that she is the one with the problem, not you. Her life is but a broken shell washed up on the beach. A sad remnant.