Once, I believed cheating was one of the few acts which were never justifiable under any circumstances.
Life challenged that belief (and many others) during my divorce: my ex-wife had not limited herself to only one man for over ten years, whereas — thanks to my single-minded focus upon my marriage over the seventeen years that it lasted — when it ended, I found myself with few friends and even fewer potential romantic partners.
In my naivete & blind devotion, I discovered an important truth: bestowing undeserved loyalty upon another is the same as betraying yourself.
Amid the enforced social isolation of 2020, before I had even heard of the concept of a “trauma bond,” I suffered through its invisible riptides pulling me further away from shore. Before I understood the neurophysiology behind the addiction to toxic love, I shamed & scolded myself for being weak-willed & spineless: why could I not break my thoughts free from their orbit around the ever-engulfing sinkhole of her inverted existence? After nearly three years of wasted effort, I had established unequivocally that everything I poured into that void inevitably vanished as if it never existed.
Yet, my money, energy, & time flowed down the drain with maddening predictability each time her tendrils brushed against the edges of my awareness. So many nights wasted in unnecessary self-loathing, so many days lost to the unsolvable labyrinth of circular, pointless debates, the universe expanding & contracting around conversations that somehow left the cosmos with less […]
When you speak your truth they may be frightened.
Stand fast and take heart. To be enlightened
Is in fact a heavy burden
And you’re likely to feel unsure; but to be uncertain
Is quite truly a tremendous blessing.
In not knowing we learn the lesson
And open ourselves up to a higher purpose.
Know that loving words, acts of service,
Quality time, gifts, & physical touch
Are not the only ways to express our love.
It can also be shown through benign distance.
Understanding that you then may sense
The best way to love a star-crossed lover
Is to let them choose another
And choose yourself instead. Do not waste
The pain. The stain, the bitter aftertaste,
Will fade as your light is rekindled
By the same one who let it dwindle.
To love unrequited is not your fate.
What you have to give is much too great
For one lifetime. Death itself shall not dissolve
Your soul. Use this time & life to evolve
Your potential. Close your eyes and see
The boundless boundaries all around. To be
Once again unbound is not a demerit
Nor is it wrong. All along, what you waited to inherit
You were given your first day on Earth.
From no other source pours your self-worth
And dignity. Your identity need not be defined
By the past you left behind.
A far better future awaits you, dear.
Falling down, you shall rise without fear.
Mr. Perfect, I am not, nor ever will be.
When my emotions are triggered, sometimes I yell at the people I love, and it takes me several minutes before I give them the apology I immediately know they deserve. My sense of humor is occasionally offensive & immature.
I’ve been known to fart in the car after hitting the window lock to punish my sons for not doing the dishes the night before. I constantly forget the birthdays of friends I have known since I was five.
My omelets still fall apart in the pan one-third of the time (okay, two-fifths).
But I am Mr. Sincere Effort. My grandfather always said, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right, and I applied this mantra to my marriage. I didn’t excuse myself from the domestic responsibilities. I did the grocery shopping & the cooking. I made the arrangements for holidays, birthdays, camping trips, vacations, & special occasions. I bought the picture frames and hung the family portraits in ascending chronological order along the staircase in our home. I did my best to make decisions together, to view marriage as a partnership of two equals, and always create an environment where my wife felt comfortable speaking her mind. I valued my wife & my family and did my best to express that in every way I could.
I took breaks when I had to, made mistakes because humans do, and sometimes pouted more than a grown man should, […]
I once pushed my wife out of the car. This might trigger an emotional reaction, especially from someone who has been a victim of abuse. You might be tempted to conclude I am an abuser, a monster, deserving of punishment, in need of psychiatric evaluation & counseling, and my opinion is not worth hearing.
That I had made several respectful requests for the hitting & hurtful words to stop, warned her repeatedly that I was losing my patience to tolerate her behavior, and informed her that if it continued, I would pull over & ask her to get out.
Does it matter that when she chose to continue, and I pulled the car over, I gave her time to exit, only resorted to physical force when she refused to exit & continued attacking me and made every reasonable effort to avoid causing any injury to her person & belongings in the process?
Perhaps you would still be disinclined to excuse my actions; after all, I was not in any real physical danger. Would your judgment be as harsh were the genders reversed? Would a woman in my situation be considered to be in real danger simply on the basis of the man’s superior size & strength, or would she be judged the same? When does defending oneself from abuse cross the line of reasonable self-defense to become criminal behavior, and is this line drawn differently for men than it is for women?
I ask these questions because they […]
I never realized I was in an abusive relationship until several months after it ended. Our first ten years together were the happiest years of my life; the changes happened so gradually, I never understood. How long does a cucumber soak in the brine before it becomes a pickle? Does it matter? You can tell which is which by the taste.
Trying to understand the transformation from bliss to abuse intellectually is, in some ways, impossible – because there isn’t any logic behind certain choices & events; just emotion. And behind those emotions, there is pain, and there is fear. Fear of loss. Fear of rejection. Fear of change. Memories float to the surface unbidden, like bubbles of methane gas from long-dead, decomposing bodies of pre-historic creatures entombed in the black, noxious mud of a lonesome bog, flares of hope like will o’ the wisps luring me away from solid ground.
“But, she loved me, once…” No. She loved what I did for her. She loved my vision of her. And I allowed what she did to me, because I was in love with vision I had created. The good memories come on their own (why are those still the most painful?). I have to struggle to resurrect the corpses of the traumatic engrams. When she broke down the door, missing the head of our newborn baby by inches as I tried to shield him from her rage, I insisted upon counseling; we spent several weeks in the counselor’s office […]
When the breaking began, I painted over the cracks with crimson & gold. I did not think to ask myself what was the source of these brilliant hues, why I felt weaker & paler with each stroke of the brush, why the radiance no longer lit my steps, or why the dark shadows inside me were lengthening. I ignored the heavy stickiness, too thick to be paint, and the magical sparkling flecks, too precious to be merely real gold. It was my own life force & potential I was sacrificing to maintain the illusion, and the more I surrendered my reality, the more essential it became to me that I maintained my delusion. I was pale, cold, and dim by the time life pried the brush from my numb, desperate, unyielding hands.
“There’s a danger in loving somebody too much…”
I had spent a lifetime wishing on shooting stars and believing all I had to do was believe. For twenty years, I had given away my most valuable possessions to the least-worthy person imaginable. To the point when, once they were returned to me, I no longer saw them as being worth anything at all. My heart was held together by a network of scar tissue; the pain was all I had to hold myself together. As much as I hated this new self-image of weakness & victimhood, I depended upon it as the only source of any cohesive identity I had left. Without the pain & the scars, I was nothing […]
My ex-girlfriend and I lived together for about three years. Like most couples, we went through a lot of things together. Sometimes she would just get really angry if things didn’t quite go her way. During those times, sometimes we’d argue loudly. I’ve never hit a woman. It goes against everything I believe in. When we’d fight, sometimes she’d throw things and even break them or other things. One time she used a cooler and smashed my car window with it. If you ever heard about domestic violence against men, this was a classic case, but I was really into her. I’m also very loyal and, as a Marine, I don’t give up easily.
I can put up with a lot of things and I thought this was worth fighting for, so I stayed. The only things that would have made me leave would have been infidelity because as I said, I am a very loyal person. She asked me once if I’d ever leave her and I told her that cheating would be the only thing that would be the final straw. She actually said, “You’d leave this?” kind of showing off her body (she used to model), and I said, “For that reason? Absolutely!”
I used to work a lot of hours, from 0500 until sometimes 1900 or 2000, but I made good money. She would work, too, but not as many hours as me. Her modeling jobs were sporadic, too. Sometimes she’d take lower-paying jobs.
One day I came home […]
I’ve been through a lot, like many others who have unfortunately dated, married or had children with narcissistic women. The fact is that narcissistic people are one of the most dangerous creatures out there. But I managed to escape the abuse.
Just after New Year’s Eve with help from my family and friends I was evacuated from this abusive relationship. It was hard for me to leave her, especially since we have a baby together, but I had no other option.
Let me rephrase this I had two options: either I stay and continue to suffer or leave. I wanted to be there for my son. Currently, my I am in a very bad shape, like many who have been emotionally and physically abused by narcissists. I started therapy, I thought of suicide, I thought of going back to her, I thought of going forward.
Currently, I am living in my mums home.
The apartment that I bought is empty, I am unable to pay the mortgage, she robbed me of all the money. She wants the apartment to be sold and money split even. She hasn’t invested a single dime into the apartment, and we were never married. But she still demands it. Legally, she has no right to demand any money that she hasn’t invested.
“I will fight you until the end of my life if you don’t give me what I deserve!” That’s what she keeps telling me.
But the truth is that narcissists don’t just disappear, they are always here, lurking and […]
Have you heard the phrase, “stop badgering me?” I am sure you have. To those non-English speakers let me explain the meaning of this phrase. It means to persuade someone by telling them repeatedly to do something that they just don’t want to do.
Why do you think is the badger used in this expression and not any other animal? Because badgers are very tenacious, diligent, persistent — they don’t stop until they get what they want and need. This is what my girlfriend has been doing to me.
I’ve had a stuffed badger for years. This animal has been at my friend’s place for over three years now.
Why? Because I am an abusive relationship. Just last week when I was asked by my friend to come by to help him sort out his stuff and take my badger back — I was unable to come. Why?
Because of my girlfriend.
She just had to go mushroom picking and she demanded that I go with her. She imposed an ultimatum on me either they go mushroom picking, or she won’t sleep with me for a week.
Just to get this out of the way — I hate mushroom picking but looks like I had no other option, right?
This weekend my friend is relocating. So, he must either get rid of my stuff (video games, records and the badger) or he will have to take them abroad. Within two hours I showed up after 3 years of never showing up. Yes, my I haven’t seen my […]