There are so many things I want to say, yet I cannot chose just one subject. I ramble anyway, so I suppose this post will be no different.
Since November, I found myself trying to believe in another man. I didn’t try, though. I just “believed”. Stupid move on my part. He was handsome. He seemed sweet, caring, thoughtful and considerate. He was, toward others and in the beginning, toward me. If he hadn’t treated me so well in the beginning, I wouldn’t have held on as long as I did. As time went on, he still did the sweet things (as long as he wasn’t angry with me) for me… including me in his outings with friends, being attentive, etc. I saw red-flags in the beginning, which made my gut stir. At the time, those red-flags seemed trivial, so I put them on the back burner. However, I made it a point not to forget them. Some made me go “huuuhhhh?!”. I trivialized them, when I should have trusted my instincts. After 3 dates, he stopped me and admitted “I love you…I’ve loved you for a long time…”. We had barely spoken prior to going out for the first time. We talked a lot together, after…at least for a few weeks. He didn’t know me enough to proclaim his “love” like that. I didn’t know him…at all. I informed him that it was too soon for me to express something like that, since I barely knew him. “I don’t feel that way toward you. I’m sorry”. Love bombing? Definitely… For “his” birthday, he bought “me” hundreds of dollars in new clothes. He makes quite a bit of money, so it wasn’t something he couldn’t afford to do. At the time, I was warmed by the gifts, especially because it was his birthday and he was buying ME gifts! I still felt uncomfortable, though. Very uncomfortable. I was uneasy accepting them…but I still thought “Oh my gosh! What a wonderful man!”
He repeatedly said to me, “I’m not trying to buy your affections..” without provocation. I never asked. I just kept remembering everything I had read, and he was fitting the persona to a “T”. He wasn’t trying to buy my affections, per-say..but he WAS trying to buy my allegiance and trust. Still, I waited. For what? For what inevitably followed? For that, which I could have stopped before it began?
As time progressed, it became increasingly clear that this man is entirely superficial!! He was very private and silent about his day, with me. There was never a conversation started by him, which would express his elation about getting off work early, or any funny anything that might have happened. Friends share all their experiences. If we get off work early, it’s usually an unexpected treat which we share with our best friends. In the beginning, he told me, “I want you to feel comfortable talking to me about anything…” I thought he was sincere. What the reality was, however, I was unable to talk to him at ALL! He formed conclusions with nothing to base them on, and always held me accountable. I was placed on ignore every week, 2-3 days at a time…all because he “thought” I was saying “something bad” to him, about him and so forth, all because he was “mad”. The thing is, I was only allowed to get 2 words of the first sentence out, and then the shit hit the fan. He always tried to smooth things over the day before a planned public outing with friends and made sure to take “happy” pictures. I was always polite, and smiled for the camera..yet I was miserable. His friends and family saw and heard about the “happy” couple…always. When we left and were alone together, often times within minutes, his persona would change. He would be withdrawn, sullen and put me on ignore again, just out of the blue. Or, he would become angry and accusational. Soon, I realized that the “relationship” was nothing but a smoke screen for him. What he was hiding, I may never know. I remember every time my gut would stir, and why. I remember those times, very vividly. Some were very subtle, yet I noticed…and I remember. There were enough to alert me to those things that SHOULD have made me RUN! Yet, I believed…trivialized…
The end of this time was shocking, but not unexpected. I know his name…yet it doesn’t matter. He has enough characteristics to label him, yet it doesn’t matter. I will say, he went through great lengths to manipulate the opinions of others. Everything he portrayed to others, was to later support his story. He made enough money to buy the right things, even those I never received, to appear as the perfect man…in what he “believed” was the perfect relationship (even though he knew the truth) who was scorned and jilted by his “crazy” girlfriend. Poor guy. There were other things…crazy over the top things…that he did to support his “story”, which were out-right LIES! I could go into all of those things, here. It just doesn’t matter. He offered couples counseling, and to pay for it. I agreed, since he was showing a desire to work on things. What it turned into was another chosen avenue to support his already established lie. Within the first meeting, he expressed to the counselor that he “just didn’t understand” “I didn’t know she was miserable” “I thought we were doing just fine”…lies right out of the gate. After the second, he used what was said in counseling, as ammo against me. I called the counselor and told him, “I don’t feel safe or comfortable continuing with him, in the same room together.” I explained to the counselor what had happened and he let me know, “I am sorry to see you go, but I understand. And in fact, it’s HEALTHY!”
There was absolutely no affection in this relationship, except in the beginning. There was no “understanding” or admitting fault on his part. He put his arm around me affectionately for the camera and for on-lookers. When we were alone, it was entirely different. There was nothing for me in the relationship. That is, except for misery, walking on egg-shells, anxiety, etc… Why did I stay as long as I did? Every time he smoothed things over and offered a pseudo-apology, I found some hope. His apologies were always, “I’m sorry for my part in things”. Nothing personal. Nothing real. Always superficial, yet I still found a reason to hope. That changed. A few months ago, I started putting things into place to make an exit.
Good things: 1) Although I didn’t squash it when I should have and instead, placated the toxicity… I still paid attention. I never once allowed him to dictate how I was supposed to view things, though he tried. I recognized the manipulations and blatant gas-lighting (http://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/gaslighting-definition-techniques-and-being-gaslighted/). 2) Though I was becoming increasingly confused, I recognized this, too. I recorded the few actual conversations between us, not to use against him later, but to remind myself of how and why things were bad for me. It kept my CORRECT perceptions and actual experiences at the fore-front. Though I didn’t start out this way, I made sure to talk to my Mom, and a close friend about the abuse, within the first couple of months after the abuse was so clear that I couldn’t ignore it. I let SOMEONE IN THE LOOP! I wasn’t silent at ALL!
Bad things: 1) I am learning and getting better in some areas, but in others I still have to work to be free. That’s pretty much it in a nut-shell.
The first day we met with the counselor, the counselor said to me, “I just love your vulnerability!” I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that, but I do know and understand that the “vulnerability” is the very thing that is making me a target. It’s been ingrained in me from the beginning of time. It’s that which I need to become stronger in. Vulnerability isn’t the same thing as “needy”. This will be the topic of my next post…
Today, I’m a bit emotionally numb, still. But I’m not destroyed.