I recently read this post on NWN about Nightflower who has returned to SL after first giving up her avatar in the hope of appeasing her RL partner. The logic, if that is the right word, that was used at the time went something like this... in leaving her second life she would unite the two parts of herself that SL had split.
As I have taken several previous opportunities to denounce the illusory myth of the Integrated Personality, it may be unneccessary to do so here. Suffice it to say that Nightfire's delusion that SL split her personality and therefore leaving SL would make her whole is not an uncommon idea as I heard it several times in the spring of 2009.
The other equally annoying concept of an 'addiction' to SL also drove me to mini rants (e.g. here) where I point out that blaming a medium for your behaviour is like saying " the phone made me act like this"..... nuts.
Now we have all at some time or another experienced, or heard of people who have had their circle of friends criticised by their RL partner. Giving up contact with a group or individual people in order to secure a relationship with another is clearly nonsense ... a slippery slope which only a sickly relationship would demand. If there is not room for a hobby and a circle of friends in your life that is not shared with your partner, then maybe there should be.
For one person to demand that the other give up using, say, the phone as it is destroying their lives is clearly rubbish, why would SL be any different?
One sentence which Nightflower uses needs particular examination.. "I leave to give my husband the secret part of myself that I've been withholding for so long."....The reason this sets off bells ringing in my head is simply because this secret part of ourselves we have been withholding from ourselves all our lives. The repressed content of our psyches becomes manifest through viewing our psyche in the Third Person. Playing out this role is pure therapy, and it is a therapy no-one should ask us to give up, and if they do, we should ask why this is being asked of us, rather than agreeing we have an 'addiction'.
If you find yourself in a dream in bed with a film star or a football team do you wake in the morning full of guilt and vowing never to sleep again?.. Ok... you will say, but I was unconscious and my unconscious is autonomous, therefore I am guiltless.... but an avatar is not fully conscious either (or your RL personna) and for the unconscious to lead you into rubbing pixels with someone points to repressed content which it would be more helpful to examine and question rather than blaming the medium that brought you together. You can't blame a Hotel chain if you exchange bodily fluids in one of their rooms, and you can't blame SL for a much more sanitary interaction online.
Guilt and shame are a part of the process of self discovery ....".. traditionally (in Western esoteric writings at least) fear and shame are the two Guardians. They are known as The Lesser Guardian of the Threshold (shame) and The Greater Guardian of the Threshold (fear) and the Threshold they guard is the one between normal consciousness and "The Spiritual World".... (that is to say in normal language that lack of self respect and anxiety hold us back from achieving our full potential.)
Their job is to allow no-one to enter a higher realm (consciousness for example) until they have been prepared as an acolyte (esoteric student) to such a degree that the revelations that ensue will be understandable/tolerable to the individual. Now this is all allegorical.... but has an archetypal stature which is worth talking about. We all share archetypes, they are the foundation stones of our psyche." (from a post about appearance).
I would like to thank Nightflower for her very personal account, her thinking is not uncommon and it is because of her honest writing that I have used her as an example, not because I think it was incorrect for her to follow her heart as she did. We all do what we think is best at the time.
I wanted simply to expose some very common misunderstandings that exist as virtual world myths.
This is my hobby, these are my friends, and they are a part of me. "Love me, love my dog/avatar".