My Pet is My Best Friend:
As a Reality Distortion System



Types of Reality Distortion Systems

My dog/cat/guinea pig et al is my best friend.  Here we have a relationship of adoration.  It is certainly easier to look to a pet for love and affection than a human, because NOTHING is expected in return.  True, we feed, pet, clean up after our pets, but even if we didn’t, they’d love us.  And, we can love them, whenever we want. Or, we can tell them to go away, gently push them away, or put them in their cages, and we are FREE!  No human that I know, should put up with such treatment!  If YOUR WHIMSY is all you have to give to a relationship, I’d support you in sticking with your pet.

However, if YOU do want a relationship with a human, you are going to have to make some changes.  Opening up to intimacy filled pastiming (with a human) from intimacy free pastiming (with a pet) can be very challenging.  You will have to make yourself vulnerable – something a pet never needs.  When we work on getting out of this RDS we have to be prepared for disappointments and rejection.  But remember, there is NOTHING as satisfying as an intimate relationship.

What to work on – 1. Find a friend who is safe.  Ask him/her if he/she will help you re-balance your emotional isolation. Start by seeing if you can call after work, for example, and share your day.  Then ask your pal for feedback as to how you presented it.  The next one is very important.  Journal how YOU felt about this.  Since this is a project, this is daily work.  2.  Socialize.  Don’t mention your pet.  If you have spent a great deal of time isolating with your pet, you might need practice with this.  Join Toastmasters and NEVER give a speech about your pet. Toastmasters or some other public speaking class might be very scary, but it will help build your self confidence.  3.  Go OUT without your pet.  Go to coffee, wine with friends.  Remember, you are not ending your love for your pet, you are expanding yourself.  4.  Look for and hopefully find someone who you might consider for a intimate relationship.  You can write me when you get to this part.

How to implement new behavior – You will never stop loving your pet, but your pet can no longer be your primary relationship. 1.  Get feedback from your friend with whom you are having daily conversation.  2.  Attend sports events or any other activity you like.  Work on discussing how YOU liked it.  Then ask your activity partner how he/she liked it and LISTEN.  3.  Ask people questions and LISTEN.  4.  Share your opinion for a maximum of 1 minute – people lose their ability to pay attention after that length of time.  5.  Find a hobby and look for people with like interests so you can discuss your hobby…..this is a great way to come out of isolation with your pet.

Resist – Returning to confiding, isolating with, and focusing on your pet.  This is very challenging because it is safe with your pet and your pet doesn’t judge you.  Resist rationalizing why life with only your pet is, "good enough."

Beliefs in this RDS – 1. Relationships with humans are too hard.  I give up.  My pet is way more safe.  2.  When I am rejected, I must retreat, for it means there is something wrong with ME not the other person.  3.  I’ve been hurt so many times, what’s the point of putting myself out there.  4.  I’m not worthy of anything but my pet.  5.  I’m too lazy to exert myself to connect with a human (and this may be true – especially if you are on drugs/alcohol).

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