What hurts the most is being last. You know, when you have a partner, you’re supposed to face the world together. What happens when your partner doesn’t even work with you? When you try to explain, through reasoned conversation without raising your voice, how you feel and that you want to know how they feel, yet they lie to you and hide things from you, and they “avoid conflict” with you by doing so.
We never really avoid conflict. We make its consequences worse by postponing it. I remember once she did something foolish that could be interpreted as unfaithful. And she told me. I was upset, but after one night’s conversation, perhaps argument, I wasn’t mad about it anymore because she didn’t hide it and she was honest with me. But I also remember, in the middle of the argument, she said: “I knew I shouldn’t have told you.”
She didn’t remember that we were fine the next day. Only that we initially argued. That’s the way she operates. Avoid conflict at any cost. Put it off ’til later and it might not happen.
It always happens. Later just compounds the lie. Makes the fight worse and reinforces distrust. But she doesn’t want to be in conflict. So she lies to me in favor of people who do get angry, who raise their voice, who get abusive or bully her. She does what they want so she can avoid conflict. She doesn’t do what she wants. Her entire life is spent in trying to not upset people, so she’s controlled by the terminally upset. Don’t mistake me. She’s not a bad person. She’s been abused into submission.
The problem is: people who have been abused need support to be strong enough to fight the unhealthy patterns that they were trained into by threat. But I have been trying for years to be that support, and all she’s done is pass on the feeling of worthlessness to me. Because I can be ignored because I won’t get mad. I’ll be understanding. But abusive people and bullies who she wants to love and respect and appreciate her will never do any of those things, no matter how hard she tries. They’ll always go back to pushing her around when she finally stands up for herself or for us.
I try to love her like I’ve never been hurt, but the becomes increasingly difficult the more she becomes the one that hurts me.
I can’t keep being lied to. I can’t continue to come last after everyone else. I can’t build a future with someone who refuses to try to lay those foundations with me. It starts with love, but without trust it’s a house built on sand. It can stand for a while, but the waves of troubles we all have to face together will rip the house to shreds.
She’s built a structure with stone foundations with them, but it’s not a home. It’s an oubliette. A little place they can throw her in and forget her until the torture makes her beg for mercy and do whatever they want. She could climb out, but she wants their approval.
It’s a hard thing to give up on someone trapped as she is, but when they fight you and not their captors, you either have to give up and respect their self abuse, or force them and become the abuser. I can’t do that. What she does reflects on her. What I do is my fault.
So I have to let go the rope that keeps her from falling all the way down. Because she’s pulling me in with her. Not trying to pull herself out. And once we’re both in there, there’s no way out for either of us.
Maybe I’ll be there when she pulls herself out. It’s likely I won’t. She’s kicked me away too many times for me to ever trust her again. I can love her without trusting her, but that’s not a partnership. That’s a distant friendship.
I hope she’s satisfied with what she’s chosen. I know, until she’s ready to pull herself out, she’ll never be happy. But maybe she’ll be satisfied with the constant abuse and discouragement and unkindness she’s always known. It’ll feel like home.
As for me: I’ll never go back to that. I would rather die with my self respect than bow to those who disrespect me.
I don’t want her to be so misused. But it’s her choice, not mine. I gave her the rope to climb out, she gave me the finger. I sincerely hope she’ll get to the point that she realizes her own strength, but I remind her of that without her permission. I have to let the rope go.
Your disillusioned friend