FUCK YOU: A Letter

I am having a bad day. Repeating emotions coming through to show me something that I hadn’t been able to see yet. Self-blame patterns, shame, guilt, and buried hurts.

 
I googled “why victims protect their abusers” I’ve already read about trauma bonding. I am just trying, desperately, to understand my own patterns so I don’t do this shot to myself again. 
She sent me a message once saying that it hurt that we couldn’t talk. 
You know what else hurts? Realizing that I gave eight years of my life to a relationship that was built entirely on lies and satisfying the needs and wants of one person whose behavior continually proves that they are self-seeking and that it will never change. 

It hurts to hate myself for having a kind heart.

 It hurts to have to remind myself over and over and over again that loving someone who mistreats me does not make me a flawed human, or weak, or bad.

It hurts to come to terms with and accept that no matter what I did or could have done what I truly needed didn’t exist in that space and any time I thought I had it was an illusion, a metaphorical band-aid plastered over my wound to just get me to shut up.

It hurts to realize that the only time my partner really ever gave me affection was around their friends to build some illusion of a loving relationship and that it made me uncomfortable and I didn’t know why.

 It hurts to realize that every time the person I chose to be my partner had an opportunity to actually be a partner they chose to walk away, and abandon me emotionally, but play the victim when I scraped up what was left of my dignity and strength to walk away and try and find clarity. 

It hurts that when I did find clarity, my clarity was undermined and replaced with another lie intended only for that person to numb out their own shame. 

It hurts to have spent so much time questioning my own worth and sanity only to finally realize that there had never been anything wrong with me except my core belief that I didn’t deserve better, and that I could help her. 

It hurts to realize that my idea of love was toxic, and that receiving love is just as important, and that the lack of love I received wasn’t because I was blocked from accepting it, but that my partner was blocked from giving it in a way that I needed. 

It hurts that she admitted that she knew what I needed, but she withheld it to “see what I would do.” 

Shut down, assfuck. That’s what I would do. Find a way to protect my vulnerability from being manipulated against me. 

It hurts to know that the person I chose would have done anything they could to not choose me. 

It hurts to come to terms with the fact that the person I chose to love really only ever wanted me to hate them, and made choices to make that happen, and admitted to it-more than once. 

 And that I blamed myself for it. 

I guess it’s true. The truth hurts. It’s all I ever really wanted. It’s also true that the truth will set you free. That’s what I wanted most. 

I don’t expect her to care. She clearly never really has. I don’t expect that to change now. I just know better than to expect that of her. Not of other people though. Because it isn’t “expecting too much” to expect the people who say “I love you” to actually LOVE YOU. and expectations aren’t wrong, or setting oneself up for failure and disappointment. As long as they’re realistic. 

She expected me to be perfect, self-sufficient and subservient to her every demand. 

I just expected her to actually care about me. And she couldn’t. Because she lacks that capability. That’s sad. 

I feel bad for her. But I don’t feel bad I left. I feel bad I stayed for so long

 
And underneath all that hurt is the truth that I can be happy. Truly happy. And I do deserve love. Real love. Not whatever she fucking had to offer me.

 
I’m praying for her new girlfriend. That she wises up on a timeline more congruent with the last girlfriend than with mine. What I mean is, that she can see through your bullshit quickly.  And not just ask you for another heaping pile of it to pick through, and keep herself occupied for a few months at a time. 

Because she has kids to take care of, and we both already know that you’re just like the asshole that abused me when I was a kid. That you never really thought his behavior was wrong. And you are the asshole that abused me as an adult. And I’m the asshole who thought that was fucking normal. It wasn’t. 
You told me that you learned there were two kinds of people in the world. People like your mom and people like your dad. 

You became him. Abusive and predatory. Self seeking and narcissistic. And I thought if I could get someone like you to love me then I would be worthy of love. 

I handed my power over to you daily. And I didn’t get it. You were right. I was weak. Or, I let you have the power. 

I let you beat me down for years, and play the victim whenever I could finally stand up for myself. 
I still pray for you to get the help you need. Although I’m sure it’s a waste of my time. I still pray for myself. That at some point this will stop hurting. That the memory of you won’t sting so bad. That the eight years I spent with you were actually worth the wisdom I gained. To love myself first. Which is why I won’t grant you any more access into my life. At least I’ve got that down. But it still fucking hurts. 

Hurt People Hurt People

Form the words 
First in your mind

Bring them forward

And say it. 

Stop victimizing yourself 

Take your power back

Stand up for yourself
I need you to say it

I need you to pull the I from 

under the guilt. 

Take the Am from
all the calamity
That has taken over your life. 

Remove the A from the shame

That you have perpetuated. 

take the Victim back from all those who were left 
in your wake. 

Transform that into survivor. 

You deserve to heal. 
We all deserve peace

The Beginning of the Final Ending: Oct 30, 2015

“I would be willing to marry you, if that was something you needed for this relationship to work.”

“Excuse me? WHAT?”

We were on a date. The first one we had been on in quite some time. I had taken the night off work at my restaurant job because I had a conference presentation scheduled for the next morning. I was nervous. Standing in front of a room of scholars to present one’s own ideas is intimidating to say the least. 

We had gone to one of our favorite spots. I didn’t make a reservation because I didn’t think it would be that difficult to get searing for a party of two. 

We waited for nearly two hours. The duration of the wait was extended by the weight of the silence that had been building between us. I was nervous for the presentation, but I was also scared of the direction our relationship was heading. I guess, I didn’t know what I wanted or what she wanted or where we even were. I had been trying to bring up the discomfort that had become our existence with each other. She didn’t seem to feel the same kind of discomfort. I felt our connection waning, and I didn’t know how to get it back. I needed something, but I wasn’t sure if she had it to give. I wasn’t sure how to ask for it. I wasn’t sure how to put it into words. I just knew something wasn’t quite right. 

After our really long wait, and the tossing around of ideas of where else we might go to satisfy our need for food-“No, I do not want to eat from a hot dog food truck. That does not appeal to me in any kind of way,” I said. 

The host took us to our table. I looked at the art hanging on the wall. It was a lonely picture. Blues and yellows. A woman sitting in a chair. It was titled: “These Two Needed to Have a Serious Talk.” 

The universe is so fucking cute. 

I felt so heavy. So helpless. So empty of any ability to express or make sense of anything I was feeling. I dropped my stuff and went to the bathroom. When I returned, that’s when she said it. 

“I would be willing to marry you if that is something you need for this relationship to work.”

I’ll never forget it. The way she presented this marriage proposal as a solution to the weight of our co-existence. This is not the kind of shock I was expecting to come from a marriage proposal. 

Her and I held strongly opposed views of marriage. When we first got together at 21 and 22 years old we agreed-marriage was a feeble institution and the consistent political fighting about whether or not gays should have the right to marry turned us both off from the idea that it was something we would ever need in order to feel complete in our relationship. I remember that conversation. We were driving to my parents house. 

Deep in the rebellion that defined my late teens and early twenties-i didn’t want labels or constriction. I didn’t want anniversaries or celebrations. I thought gifts were a cop-out. (I actually do still believe gifts are a sort of cop-out) I thought this made me freer. I was wrong. This was fear. 

Both of our histories had determined that marriage was a kind of trap, and often not healthy. My parents divorced right around my first birthday. I didn’t want to be like them. My mom and her current husband were both in their third marriage. I didn’t want to be like them. Her parents had been married her whole life. Despite the toxicity of their relationship-they found a way to make it work. Her father stayed in the basement while her mother ruled the upper level. There’s was more of a business partnership than one ruled by loving affection. She didn’t want to be like them. In that moment-we agreed, at least, about who and what we did not want this relationship to become.  

As time went on, my views about marriage changed. We argued about it a lot. She would say, “I’m committed to you.” I guess I was supposed to believe that. But I wanted an anniversary. I wanted a day that belonged to the celebration of our love and commitment. I wanted a pretty dress, and to write marriage vows, and to have my picture taken with the love of my life under a willow tree. I wanted to stand in front of a group of the people I care about with the person I care about the most and say-“This is my love. This is my life. This is my promise to always be here with you. No matter what. I choose you.” 

We fought about it a lot. And after our separation in 2013-I asked, first, if she would want to get married. More importantly, “What are you going to do about your father when we get married?” 

“He can choose to come, or not come. That’s on him.”

I felt a sense of relief, and a measured sense of growth. I felt like we were on the same page again. I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. 

It was almost two years later, and after a whole lot of moving around the topic without settling on a determined structure or arrangement to be made. We piled up excuses about why this isn’t the right time, or when would be the right time, or how we would afford it. 

“I would be willing to marry you if that was something you needed for this relationship to work.”

It still stings every time I think about it. 

Had she not heard me, ever? Had she not listened to the ways my world view had shifted? Had she not listened to herself when she said that she didn’t want a business-like marriage? Was she just trying to appease me? Did she even WANT this, or to be with me? 

“Excuse me? WHAT? This is not how I expected this to go down. I don’t get it. You always said you didn’t want a relationship like your parents. Something that is reduced to an arrangement made out of necessity. That is exactly what you’re asking me here. If that is how you see this, then I don’t want anything to do with it.”

I could see it in her face that she knew she screwed up the words. That I was disappointed. And that she was internalizing this. I don’t know how long she had prepared this offer in her mind or how much she might have thought she just totally blew it. She did totally blow it. And I totally blew up. 

I had grown tired of making excuses for her. We still needed to make it through this dinner. We still had a second date night destination to get to. And I still had the looming anxiety of my 8 a.m. scholarly presentation ahead of me. 

I was hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. I reacted to her offer in the only way I knew how. 

We had been discussing marriage about a year before that. We looked at rings. We talked about the ones I liked and why I liked them. We had it narrowed down to a couple of perfect prospects. I was never going to be the one that proposed marriage to her because I knew it was my view that had changed. I was waiting for her to be ready. I understood that her fear of commitment was real. We even talked about her brother, and how he and his wife were together for 11 years before they got married. We joked that it was part of their make-up. I needed her to come to me. I needed her to make that choice for herself. I thought we were on our way to uncovering that space in her. The place where she could finally feel safe to be gay and to be loved. 

Then she got sick. When the steroid that she was put on cost nearly $3000 after her insurance’s contribution- I shelved the whole idea. Sometimes life happens, and we have to adjust. I was totally okay with it. I was okay with all of it. I was not okay with this proposal. It felt like a simultaneous dismissal and invitation. I just couldn’t make sense of it. 

We made it through the rest of our date. It was awkward, and the tensions were high. I think she knew that she had hurt me, and I don’t think she had intended that to be the case. I couldn’t find the words to express all of my mounting frustrations. 

We went home and went to bed. The next morning she went to work. I went to present my paper. I never heard anything from her. No good luck. Nothing. No support whatsoever. Perhaps my searching for that was selfish. Perhaps not everyone understands the true value of a kind word in challenging times. Perhaps she was too distraught and preoccupied with the weight of the night before. The date that took place, in my mind, specifically because I took the night off work so that I could present this work at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning.  

After I finished-I called her. 

“Hey, what’s up?” She said. 

“Oh. Nothing. I just finished presenting my paper.”

I was met with silence. I fought back my tears of disappointment, and mounting feelings of shame that she didn’t remember. 

I was tired of making excuses for her. I still couldn’t understand that my needs were not being met in the way I needed them to be. I just kept accepting these crumbs. Even if I were able to articulate the way these transactions were hurting me-it didn’t matter. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why I gave so much and received so little in return. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t seem to be important to her. It seemed like I wasn’t on her mind at all. Maybe I was wrong. I just felt so lonely and so invisible. I cried, alone in the bathroom on campus. I just wanted someone to be proud of me. But not just anyone. I needed it to be her. 

Friends and family members alike helped me rationalize this intense two days. 

“You can’t expect her to be interested in the all the things you’re interested in. Not everything that is important to you will be important to her.”

I thought I understood. She never apologized for forgetting about me. I just kept moving. Trying to forget how much it hurt me. 

Eventually I realized that I didn’t need her to be interested in the same things I was interested in. I needed her to be interested in ME. 

Cycles of Abuse

The day I told her she was just like my abuser I thought she was going to rage on me. I prepared for the worst. I couldn’t get my words together. I crouched down because I wasn’t sure if my legs could withstand the weight of my words. I anticipated the bullets of “fuck you,” and “how dare you?” 

She knew how much I hated him. How much resentment I had, and had been working through to be okay with him. She never outwardly defended him, but she knew it was important that I make my peace with him. In those moments, she was supportive. 

I stumbled over my words for a few minutes. I tried to remember to breathe. Finally, I just ripped off the bandaid. 

“Oh. I’ve known that for years. I could never understand why you wanted to be with me when you hated him so much.”
My mouth dropped. That was not the disaster I was prepared to face. How did she know, and I didn’t? How did she KNOW and not leave or desire to change in any sort of way? How did I let this happen?

Well, I didn’t let this happen. I simply couldn’t see it. It’s one of those wild psychological phenomena. I never thought I would do it to myself. I thought I was SMARTER than that. The subconscious knows nothing of intellect. Our old karmic wounds do not know until they come to light. 

When she said, “I know that you were a kid, and everything and no kid deserves to be treated like that, but everything you’ve ever told me about him-I agreed with him.”

My head was spinning. Did she even listen to any of what I went through? Does she REALLY think it’s okay to say and do those kinds of things to another human being? 

Actually, yes. She must. She’s the same. 

Although it took a huge amount of courage and strength for me to face this truth with her-that was not the final end to our saga. One might think that would be enough. But there was still something in me that thought if SHE could love me the way I needed to be loved, then everything would be magically transformed. 

No. 

That is not how that works. 

Sometimes, I’m repulsed by the fact that I was with her for 8 years. Apparently seeking the approval of the one person I had tried to escape for the larger portion of my whole life. But this is how trauma works. When I think about this one moment I still ache in all my sore spots. 

If I would have known better, I would have done better. 

I finally do. 

Voices

I took tums to sixth grade camp because I had frequent heart burn. 

The chaperones laughed at my awkward claim, and made a comment about the benefits of calcium. Then again, even I didn’t know it was my words that were burning in there. 
When I was sixteen I lost my voice for five whole days. All the yelling at cheer camp must have damaged my vocal chords. Nobody asked about how much I just wanted to belong to a group that wouldn’t accept me. 

And when I came home I was greeted with gratitude that the family could enjoy a few more days of peace and quiet. 
At seventeen I found alcohol 

Which I thought would cleanse my wounds and let them close. 

This time the burn travelled down, and I had hoped that it would clear all the crinkled words that had been trapped. 
When I was twenty seven someone finally said what I had already known, “your words mean nothing to me.”