There’s a first time for everything. Old people like to say that a lot, or those only moderately older but seemingly wiser. There is a first time for any experience. Everything that’s ever happened to you has happened for the first time. I experienced my first time with him. Not my first time with sex, or even love, but my first time feeling helpless against a romantic partner. My first time in a genuinely emotionally abusive relationship.
You cannot reason with the unreasonable. He posted that after a particularly gruesome fight. How right he is. Facts and logic irrelevant, tossed to the wind against his angry breath. The ONLY way to reach a point of solace is an epic apology, on my behalf, without even once pointing out mutual (or exclusive) wrongs. It is utterly soul-crushing every time. And there will be an every time, time after time, in a never-ending cyclone of insecurities of narcissistic proportions. You’ll feel like Dorothy just wanting to get back to your simple life in Kansas but you’ll have to do a hell of a lot more than click your heels together a few times.
I want to say it didn’t start out like this, but it started out like this. The control, the criticisms, the yelling, the jealousy, the hypocrisy, and the shortest fuse known to man. The adult-sized emotional tantrums viciously vomiting blame onto me with such force, my words never could make their audible efforts. The world is spinning while I strain to stand up straight, to recognize my surroundings. But all I can see is a man I could have sworn 10 minutes ago I was madly in love with. The confusion slows my processing and my vision is blurred. The strong words and cold demeanor send me into high alert and I challenge it. I challenge this distance. I challenge the ridicule. I challenge this stranger before me. Of course, I meet my demise. Minutes, hours, and probably a breakup later, I rejoin the dance. I present a melancholy, timid ballet of sorrowful apology. I break down. I become more vulnerable than any loved person should ever have to be. And then he tells me while caressing my skin and wiping away my tears, he tells me this is when he loves me the most. When I’m vulnerable and frightened. Not in those words verbatim but in everything else. Like lyrics dancing flirtatiously between us, his words let me know when I’m the most lovable. It’s when I’m the most defeated.
The most upsetting part of this cyclone, this internalized land of fire and brimstone, is the love I genuinely feel for him. The love I need from him. Like a moth to the flame, I’m under his spell. I’m at his mercy. He implemented the path of control, seizing property as he came across it, but allowed myself to drink him in. I consumed myself in his toxic, all-consuming love. I imagine this is why it’s hard to quit heroin. His love had the power to surpass the laws of space and time. My soul would levitate within its confine. My breath long, in unison with his steady inhales, reaching deep within myself and expanding into the corners of all space. His love would unify me with a forbidden energy. A forbidden fruit. I consumed it like a savage animal, desperately wanting more, and feeling the pains of abandonment when it predictably departs. It’s a tone of voice, or I’m being too quiet, too loud, I’m disagreeing, OH MY GOD I HAD AN OPINION, CALL THE QUEEN OF FRANCE!! This would be the beginning of that day’s end. Nevermind the breakfast I made earlier or the loving intimacy I excitedly engaged in. Nevermind I am an individual worthy of love and respect and patience. I’m just wrong and there is no way, because of facts irrelevant, my love can go up against his deeply fractured ego.
The lesson I choose to take from this is this: when someone shows you their true colors, see them. If someone tells you they are a bad person, believe them. And if someone ever makes you feel less than zero, leave them. Dead weight likes to keep its company tethered; do yourself a favor and fly far, far away from here. He only loves broken birds, and you, my pretty girl, are not broken.