Hi everyone. I am actually a returning gamer who was pretty addicted to the virtual reality chat game, Second Life but managed to quit for a while. I relapsed and the 2nd time in I sort of went deeper. Before, I was addicted to shopping and the escape, and didn't really socialise. When I relapsed a few years ago, or as I saw it at the time "trying again", and "doing things properly this time", I fell into the whole SL family thing because of an inadequate one in the first life, and was hooked for a long time.
In RL, I never really saw myself as a horrible/bad person. I had and have people in my RL who love me and who I have incredibly lighthearted and joyful relationships with. Healthy relationships. But in SL, when I started to open up to people (usually very introverted) and let people in, I started to wonder if I had a severe problem. I was on the receiving end of so much manipulation, chaos, "drama" as they call it, snide comments and sometimes outright ugly name-calling when I tried to assert myself, and I have to say, I feel like it has left me pretty damaged. Before, I was one to keep myself to myself and I liked it that way - exploring places when I felt like it and just being my own company. But somehow the allure of a second family - in my naive hope that it would be a good replacement for my not-so-great first one - was too strong and it made me brave enough to try socialising there. After years of it, it eventually taught me some harsh lessons like not putting my trust and hopes on just anybody to fulfil a deep, aching need, and that socialising on there is risky and dangerous.
I was made to feel worthless, disposed of, wrong, like I didn't matter, and undeserving of fairness. I guess it would be classified as cyber-bullying. The people were the people who lured me in with smiles and niceness and the promise of love, and yet were willing to throw me away at a moment's notice when I asserted myself when I felt like I hadn't been treated nicely.
I had learnt that saying anything that they didnt like would result in verbal punishment. I started blaming myself, and along with keeping my feelings to myself, I would think self-blaming things like "I don't want to cause a scene again.".
Slowly, the cracks in the images that I'd created in my mind of these people - protective loving people who would take me under their wing - started to show. I started feeling repulsed whenever I saw their names or saw them type, but I didn't say anything about it of course. I just wanted to take a million steps back.
When I left, I still blamed me. And usually in RL I do have some kind of backbone, but these people broke me. I tried to leave in the nicest way possible, saying that they will be forever in my heart etc etc, and I said that I didn't want to cause any more arguments. In reality I just wanted ****ing out of there.
Now when I think of the place it makes me feel sick. I can't be there on my own now. I am uncomfortable. I don't want it. I want RL. And I guess that's a good thing, that I may not be ADDICTED addicted... but I do know that I have been addicted in the past so I wanted to join here again so that I can have some reinforcement that my choice to leave was a good one.
I had one close friend there, and I will miss her so much :( But at least we have skype, so that's good.
I can say hand on heart that I have never, ever been treated so badly by people who are outside of my family as I have in SL. Even bullying at school was not this bad. I spent so many nights in extreme fits of crying in bed over these people.
I would like to join this site to get strength so that I don't go back.
The good thing is is that I've learned a lot of lessons and I guess in a way it's made me stronger. But sometimes I wish that I had never let anyone in in the first place.
Thank you for this community.