Toward the very end of our relationship, when I told you about having been to a women’s shelter (yes, a story for another day) several months prior because you were abusing me, you said, “If I’m abusing you, why don’t you just leave?” This, despite you admitting to me just a day or two prior that you did abuse me and had abused other women in your past. You even went on to say how you wanted to change, would change and how very sorry you were. So when you asked me this, I replied very simply, “because of the person you were when we met. I loved him.”
It’s weird to be explaining to you, the predatorial abuser, why I stayed with you. But I will. Let me start with the frog analogy. I’m guessing you didn’t learn about this in your post-graduate work? Anyway, if you put a frog into a pot of tepid water and turn up the heat ever so slowly, the frog doesn’t realize that she is being boiled to death. This was us James. You controlled the heat and I was the frog at your mercy.
You chose to not see me as a person. I tried so hard to do whatever I could to make you happy in every possible way, remembering how lovely you were when we met during our intense, whirlwind courtship. How you showered me with compliments. How you told me you felt like you’d known me your whole life. How nobody but me had ever made you feel so loved. But this lasted a mere three weeks before the water in the pot began to slowly boil.
The truth that I so clearly see now is that you didn’t love me. Ever. You are a serial abuser and incapable of love. But I didn’t know it then. I was trying desperately to reconcile the two vastly different versions of you that I would encounter from day to day. And because you gave me crumbs of kindness, I thought if I could somehow manage your behavior and abide by your unwritten rules that the crumbs would magically turn into the whole loaf. I did not know then that a sociopath just wants to control and manipulate and hurt and destroy. There would be no whole loaf. But try I did.
Drive to your place to meet up so you wouldn’t have to make the trip to me? Check. (You realize you only came to visit me about 5 times in nearly a year and a half, right?) Send you sweet texts? Check. Take care of your children? Check. Talk softer? Check. Be less silly? Check. Not cut my hair? Check. Call promptly at 9:30? Check. Apologize over and over for things I haven’t done? Check. Not look at my phone when we were together? Check. Not talk to your friends in anything but a very bland way to avoid you thinking I am attracted to them? Check. Stay off of any and all social media to avoid you suspecting I’m having an affair? Check. Stay at home on kid-free days when you were too busy to see me but were suspicious of where I might go? Check.
The sad thing is that none of this mattered. Not any of it. You would control, attack, undermine and criticize me for any attempt and at nearly every single turn.
You were allowed to feel and express every single human emotion that came your way. I was allowed nothing. You were the person who was supposed to love me and be tender to me and protect me. You did none of these things, opting to treat me as an object to be controlled. I’m not an object, James. I have a heart and a soul and am warm to the touch. I am real. And this frog? She jumped out of the pot.