|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.