by Diva Rebecca
Jealousy, hurt, anger, feelings of betrayal and relationship grief are all very real emotions which can lead the most grounded people to commit the strangest of acts and behave irrationally. They can cause a perfectly sane man or woman to act in an insane manner and even cause people to be judged as clinically unstable or pathologically insane by doctors, even when they have been found to be completely sane and rational throughout their whole lives. We often hear about incomprehensible acts of violence in the news from time to time dealing with "acts of passion" when a jaded lover feels he or she has no alternative but to kill another human all in the name of love. It is too easy to assume that most of these people have always been unstable and a little bit crazy, and perhaps this is true. But when faced with some of the intense emotions which jealousy or rejection can cause, many people are able to act a bit crazy when their normal predisposition is of levelheadedness.
The most perfect example of this type of scenario occurred just this week when star astronaut Lisa Nowak was charged with the attempted murder of Collen Shipman, a fellow astronaut and competitor for the affections of William Oefelein. Lisa Nowak is a family woman who has three children and a husband of 19 years. Just a few weeks ago, she and her husband split after some intense fighting was heard coming from her home in her Houston neighborhood. Whether or not she was having an affair with Mr. Oefelein, another NASA astronaut, remains in speculation. However, she was in love with this man. She believed that he was having a relationship with Ms. Shipman and in an unbelievable act of rage, she drove over 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront Ms. Shipman. She even wore diapers on her travels so that she would not have to stop along the way. After donning a disguise and following Ms. Shipman to a parking lot and to her car, she sprayed Ms. Shipman with pepper spray in the face. Ms. Shipman was able to get away and Lisa Nowak was caught and arrested. In her possession they found the pepper spray, a BB gun, a new steel mallet and rubber tubing. It appears that Lisa Nowak was planning to have more than just a chat with fellow astronaut Shipman. The Orlando police department thought so too and she was charged with attempted murder.
Instead of turning their backs, Lisa's friends and colleagues at NASA and her entire family are behind Lisa. There are countless quotes from people who know her best stating that she has always been so level headed and completely sane. This latest incident is a shock to everyone who knows her. Not one person has gone on record to say that she has ever exhibited any psychotic behavior before. So you have to wonder, is it jealousy and rejection alone which can propel someone directly into the loony bin?
Most people and articles on this astronaut story have spent time dwelling on the intense emotional trials and tribulations of the life of an astronaut and the stressful situations they encounter on space missions and when faced with the tragic loss of life in shuttle disasters. Lisa Nowak, herself, lost a few class members with the shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas. Many people argue and theorize that the difficult lifestyle of an astronaut can lead to people cracking up over time. At least, this seems the likely assumption when you read about the plight of the astronaut's life intermingled in the articles written about Lisa Nowak. But you also read about how each astronaut was given intense psychological examinations upon entry into the astronaut program and periodically throughout their career. So we know that Ms. Nowak was deemed perfectly healthy mentally by NASA psychologists and we also know that her family and friends have given top notch reviews of her mental health.
I do think stressful lifestyles can lead to a strained mental health condition. But Lisa Nowak had everything. And up until a few weeks ago she was perfectly healthy, with a full family and prosperous career. Then, when she was faced with jealousy regarding a new lover and another woman, she apparently lost it. I don't really think her life and career as an astronaut had anything to do with it. I think she reacted in an illogical manner because she was mad with jealousy and became temporarily insane. This leads me to believe that even the most seemingly normal people are completely subject to fits of rage in love and anyone can act a little crazy sometimes.
Jubal Harshaw, a fictional character in a Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein said, "Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other". This was a very wise fictional character. You can't truly love someone and be so wildly jealous all of the time. This is not love but because the feelings are so intense, many people mistake jealousy for love. If the jealousy continues, that is when someone is apt to behave in a way that is completely uncharacteristic of that individual.
The acts of Lisa Novak touch not only upon jealousy and the difference between jealousy and love, but also upon hasty decision making while angry. When you feel jealous, or just plain angry while in a relationship, the worst thing you can do is make hasty and rash decisions on the spot while you are in a "not so bright" frame of mind. We are all guilty of this from time to time. But you don't want to burn yourself or do something you will frightfully regret in the future. The next time you are angry with your lover or feel that pain of jealousy, betrayal, hurt or rejection...step back. Wait a few days so that you can calm down. Sometimes impatience will get the best of you but it is better to hold your tongue during these time lest you will end up saying or doing something you will wish you could take back a thousand times over. Stop and let yourself cool down. When you give it a few days, distance yourself from the problem at hand and give yourself considerable time to analyze the situation in your own head, and even talk to peers about the problem. You will always find that you will handle the problem much better and more effectively when you are ready to deal with your demons. You will almost always get the reaction you were hoping for and you will always feel better that you waited.
So the story of astronaut Lisa Nowak teaches us three very important things.
- 1.Even when we make the stupidest mistake in love, we are still normal. We all have the propensity for making hideous mistakes, even if we are on the same level as Einstein.
- 2. Jealousy is not love.
- 3.Don't make rash decisions when you are jealousy, angry and hurt. You will almost always regret them.
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