Saturday, June 6, 2015

Miss Me?

Find my new life here

Monday, September 2, 2013

Courtship Intervention

There's a frightening number of guns that show up in a
Google image search for "intervention."
There comes a time in every young woman’s romantic journey when someone in her life thinks they know better than she does. He’s too this and not enough that for you. Your backgrounds are just too different. He seems like someone who may have a midlife crisis and leave you for his secretary 15 years from now so you should probably just call it now.

In some cases there may be truth to the concern. I’m the first person to admit I don’t always make the best decisions when it comes to romantic partners, but I have managed to hold down a healthy relationship or two. And even in the midst of my worst decisions, the last thing I need is to give someone power of attorney over my paramours.

This may not be the ideal topic to tackle so soon after this post, but the fact of the matter is no one could have told me a single thing I didn’t already know about that relationship. If someone had given their opinion on the matter (they did) it wouldn’t have changed the course of its demise.

One of my closest friends spoke up in the best way possible, “I’m concerned this isn’t healthy for you, but I will let you make your own way in this and be here for you when you come to the appropriate conclusion.” I respected this approach and knew she was right. Others who presumed to know me more than they do, employed a vastly different tactic. I resented them for it.

But for now let’s put aside the most recent, extreme personal example and address this in general terms. There has never in the history of love and courtship been a happy ending to a romantic intervention. Each relationship is as unique as the combination of personalities within it. Just because you think a sizable collection of porcelain dolls is a deal breaker, doesn’t mean the psychopath isn’t a perfect suitor for your best friend (he isn’t, that girl better run).

It doesn’t matter if you phrase your concerns in the most Mary Poppins way possible, there’s no amount of sugar that’s going to ease that pill. Best-case scenario your friend politely says, “thank you for your concerns” and continues on her current trajectory. Worst-case scenario she marries the guy and you don’t get invited to the wedding.

You may be right, but in reality, unless you are inside the relationship, there are bound to be pieces left out of the larger picture. I’ve had people point out perceived “flaws” in truly amazing men before they even met the individual. I’ve also had people be perfectly supportive of some dysfunctional messes.

Most of the discrepancy comes in when friends view the relationship through their own personal deal-breaker lens. They wouldn’t like it if a guy wore that shirt, took them to this place, read that book, so I shouldn’t either. It becomes even more reprehensible when the friend in question tries to guilt me into making relationship decisions that would better align with what they want. The fact is, it’s my relationship and I happen to like that shirt, adore that place, admire that book and love that guy who treats me wonderfully, so you don’t get to question my choice, let alone try to push me to change my mind.

Unless you know the friend well enough to be able to discern your deal breakers from their own, keep your opinion to yourself. How can you tell your deal breakers apart from theirs you ask? Well, there’s a simple test: have they ever told you that they are bothered by the characteristic you are about to call out? No? Then leave it alone. Don’t presume to know what’s best for someone else.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Unwitting Surrender

Like this, but far less adorable.
I slipped into subordinance before I even realized I had relinquished any control. He seemed innocuous. A broken soul I could nurse back to health without putting myself in harm’s way as I had once, twice, thrice before. I was smarter this time around. And the him was more wounded. Hardly fit to take control of his own life let alone mine. But before long the wounds gave way to subtle manipulation. A quieter domination I wasn’t prepared for.

I never felt trapped. My identity seemed to remain intact even as I made room for a vastly different existence than the one I had envisioned. I was strong enough to carry my life and help him discover his own. I clung to the idea that “every sinner has a future” and I could bring light to his. Everything his brokenness demanded I gave. Not realizing each attempt to stitch him back together was draining me.

It wasn’t until I tugged at the one lie my dignity wouldn’t allow me to ignore that 18 months of deception began to unravel. I quickly realized his brokenness was strategic. He was smarter than I thought. Or I was dumber than I cared to admit. Motivated by narcissism, each crack he revealed was a conscious choice to disarm. This is not to suggest that every fracture was lie. He’s genuinely a damaged individual. It’s simply a different brand of disease. One far more infectious than I was prepared for.

Now weeks and months after the web came undone, he desperately fights to maintain some semblance of control with lies that grow more flagrant with each ignored call. And it hardly seems fair. Haven’t I suffered enough? Granted I’ve suffered as a result of my own decision to let this individual infect my life. But I also made the decision to ask him to get gone. Form of blocked Facebook pages, filtered emails, changed locks, new phone numbers and now a potential move.

Each attempt at contact feels like a violation. Each decision I have to make as a result of his predatory behavior feels like I’m ceding ground. I’m backed into a corner without the freedom to determine basic aspects of my life trajectory for fear his path will strategically cross mine. I’ve banished his physical presence but he gets to preserve his hold. 

He continues to invade from thousands of miles away. I continue to surrender.

He gains ground when I go to extremes to block contact. I wave a white flag when I read each message that manages to slip through. I forfeit with tinges of guilt and lingering compassion despite the fact that the circumstances that warrant compassion are likely blatant lies.

Of the hundreds of emotions I’ve experienced in the past three months, I’ve found those I most deserve to express are those I have difficulty embracing. I’ve seen the wolf beneath the wool and I’m still fighting the instinct to dress his wounds when I should be nursing those he inflicted on me. I deserve to be angry and the very fact that I question that anger with each pathetic line he gives me about his reformation and inevitable demise adds to the conflicted mess.

It’s a strange type of conflicted. With one clear path free of his existence. He has earned his place as a memory and nothing more. It seems the only way to lock him there right now is to retreat. Even if a stronger person would be able to reclaim her ground by any means necessary, I may have to regain my strength by going under it.