The hardest part about recovering from someone else’s emotional abuse is trying to rediscover who you are without it. Like, which parts are actually me, and which parts were instilled at such a young age that I don’t know if it’s me or not? It affects everything from my serious reactions to my outlandish humor. It affects my facial expressions and my speech patterns.
I was told by her partner that my relationship with this woman was just “this big bag of shit I’d been carrying around forever.” I am sure that truer words have never been spoken, but in order to get rid of it, I had to find out how it got there. I knew her partner’s answer wasn’t right… that I was trying to steal her life, her friends… as if I was just this bad Single White Female remake waiting to happen.
No, she promised me a family, and I was completely sucked in. A few years ago, I e-mailed her and said that I was tired of being called a family, when we really didn’t exist that way. So she called a meeting. We’ll get together, the four of us, and discuss what kind of family we want to be to each other.
Was this finally the conversation we’d been waiting to have for over a decade at that point? Dana and I brought our best bottle of wine, because we knew that this was a celebration… right up until it wasn’t.
“The kind of family we’re going to be to each other” didn’t exist. We showed up to cheese, crackers, and a large helping of “I don’t need anybody but my partner.” I had no words. At first, I felt like I couldn’t *really* breathe, I was in such fight or flight. I didn’t know what was happening. I could see her in my mind, in all her iterations, from 1990 on. “Ties closer than blood” couldn’t be nothing. I was sure of it.
I am also not sure whether she was coerced to tell me that. In fact, I am not sure how much her partner even knew about the seven years our relationship existed before theirs.
Any sweet or sentimental memory that I tried to dig up so that she might remember who we were to each other was cast in an oddly-hued light… an abandonment issue that no longer served me, or some equally disturbing response to something like “watching you leave Houston was literally the worst day of my life because I realized that I couldn’t protect you anymore.” I wasn’t bringing it up because I felt abandoned. I was trying to say, “how could we go from this to nothing without you telling me it was gone?”
And she didn’t.
Everything I thought I had was gone in an instant, but I held on because I didn’t know any better. It’s not like I got any notification that the series had been cancelled… so “held on” is a pretty strong term for someone who didn’t know they were doing it. I was just crazy because I couldn’t divine the cryptic messages I was getting and act accordingly. It’s funny, when someone needs me to know something, I generally require that they say them out loud, because my telepathy is pathetic.
I called her on it, and she didn’t want to meet with me, but said I could meet with her partner instead. That worked about as well as it sounds like it did. To add insult to injury, I said something about my abuser being too angry to meet with me, and her partner said, “no, she actually prayed with me this morning.”
Well, how nice for you.
I’m starting to see just how fucked up this story is, and how I’m so sad that I couldn’t see it until now. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache, and had so much more energy for the people in my life that would never think of playing such a large-scale game.
Now I just pray my hanging-onto-the-end-of-the-frayed-rope prayer…