The “What If” Game

Experimental Chimp recently wrote about how life would be different if the past was different. I have a name for this sort of thinking. I call it the “What If” game. I do it all the time despite it being a complete waste of the precious little energy I have.

Just some examples…

  • What if I was never born?
  • What if I was born a boy?
  • What if my parents weren’t so screwed up?
  • What if I told (insert any number of people) what was going on?
  • What if I would have went to medical school instead of graduate school?
  • What if I hadn’t lost my marbles during grad school?
  • What if I had finished my PhD?
  • What if I had left James?
  • What if James never hurt me?
  • What if I had killed myself instead of just thinking about it?

And my list goes on and on and on.

I have no idea why I continue to ruminate on these things. I realize that I can’t go back and change any of those things. Some I can revisit (like finishing my doctorate) but I can’t change the events of the past.

Granted, I’d be a much different person today if any one of those things were changed. But different doesn’t necessarily equal better.

One thing I gleaned today from doing some of the exercises in “The Courage to Heal Workbook” is that although I’ve developed some negative behaviors and coping strategies, I’ve also developed some positive ones. I’m extremely stubborn persistent. And I care deeply about the pain of others and I want to help them move through it. Does that make dealing with the abuse any easier? No. If I could go back and have a childhood free of abuse would I do it? HELL YES! In a heartbeat.

Maybe the whole “What if” game is a complete waste of energy. But that doesn’t stop me from playing it. Maybe there is a parallel universe someplace where there’s another Kathryn who didn’t have these experiences. Who’s to say she’s better off.

4 thoughts on “The “What If” Game

  1. Nice post,
    i agree that if i were given the choice to NOT have various unfotunate or just plain horrible experiences i would take it like a shot.
    But also, i think that the wish and talent you describe; ‘to help others heal & move through’ is only made stronger, more…honest maybe?? By all the shadows in the world.
    i just wish it didn’t seem to always be this way: the nicest ppl are generally the ones who’ve suffered!

    on the whole, i think the What If game is good, it means that you’re internally contrasting and comparing experiences; thats gotta be good for our emotional intelligence, sensitivity, growth?

    yeah EC’s post got me thinking about how it might all have gone differently as well….. :(

    take care,

  2. My what if game consists of, “what if reincarnation is a reality?”

    I must have been a really horrible person, and in this life Karma is catching up with me.

  3. Jasmine says:

    Hey….u know wat there is freind whom you can trust….there is a freind whom you can share all your problems,all your sorrows……and the wonderful thing is this freind already knows about your problems your sorrows,your feelings……His name is “Jesus”.And he loves you very much….he loves you so much that he died on the cross for you.And nothing can seperate you from the love of christ.

    You just cry out to him….and remove all the hurt which is stored in your heart……and ask him to heal your broken heart…..and you will find a comfort and peace which you never experienced before.

    I have gone through similar hurt and abuse like you have gone through.But since i accepted jesus as my saviour life has been wonderful.
    i know its hard for you to trust human beings…as many of them have failed your trust.But try trusting jesus . i’ll be praying for you.

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