Tuesday, August 10, 2010
And it all comes flooding back
(I know this video is about abuse more physical then what I went through, but the first time I watched it I seemed so familiar, that push/pull on/off feeling rang very true.)
I've mentioned before my first boyfriend P. We were together for almost 3 years. I moved to the city with him. We lived together after we broke up for another 9 months. What I don't often tell people is that the relationship was emotionally abusive. P spent a lot of time isolating me from my friends, he would tell me how ugly or fat I was, but how he still loved me and I should be grateful to have him. He never trusted me and used to call me a whore and accuse me of sleeping with other people despite the fact that I never did and never even came close. He controlled every aspect of my life to the point where I started doing things I didn't want to to please him and just stopped going out with my friends or going to any parties (and I was in college at the time, so there were plenty going on) because I didn't want to face the interrogation and accusations afterward. I was reamed out if I ever didn't answer my phone or immediately text him.
Through all that, I stayed, in large part because he spent most of the effort he put into the relationship to convincing me that I couldn't do better. That I was weird, I was fat, I was stupid, I was ugly, and no one else would have me. At first, I tried to break up with him, but he would cry since he knew it was my weak point, or later on, when that stopped working, he would make veiled suicide threats instead, until finally, I resigned myself to staying with him. Right before I started dating him, I had injured my knee, and started gaining weight. He dated me through the weight gain and made sure I knew it. When I was at my weakest point, with little self esteem, something in me broke, and I started to eat up everything he told me.
I would complain about him to my friends, and when I was alone, I knew how much I hated him, but I didn't leave. Even after we broke up, we weren't really. We still had sex, we still we completely enmeshed in each other's lives, I still paid for everything he had, including the apartment we shared. Nothing changed, but he used the break up as an excuse to bring other girls home and have loud sex when he knew I would hear it. He also creepily listened in and masturbated during the one time I brought someone home during our cohabitation.
Finally my best friend put his foot down. We kicked him out. I still saw him all the time (he worked at my local grocery store), and I occasionally broke down and had sex with him. Finally, about 18 months ago, I decided I'd had enough. I started deleting him from my life. His number, his email addresses, his facebook, were deleted or blocked. I even started grocery shopping somewhere else this past month.
But today, I saw him as one of the visitors to my online dating profile. Then he texted me. I can't seem to get him out of my life, no matter how hard I try, and he, for the life of him, can't understand why I would want to. He maintains he never did anything wrong. He thinks it was all in my head. That's the source of his power. Any chink in my armor lets in those thoughts that I'm just crazy, and as soon as I saw his name, that's exactly what happened. All those doubts, those worries come flooding back. I start to wonder if I should just date him again. I worry that all those things he said about me were true, that I'll never find someone else who will "put up with me."
It took me a long time to acknowledge just how bad our relationship was. I didn't call it abusive until recently, and it ended years ago, but even through everything I went through with him, even though I can't stand him, part of me feels this constant pull to go back to him. I don't think I ever will. I feel like my roommate and parents would pull me away by my hair if they had to, but they would never let me go back.
... After typing that last sentence, and realizing how true it is that everyone stopping me is probably the only thing that's kept us apart for so long breaks my heart a little. I can only hope someday he's no longer that little voice of doubt in the back of my head.
Posted by cleofaye at 12:37 AM