lotesse: (Default)
I had a surprise visit last night from a very old friend, a charter school sixth grade days old friend, and it was strange and intense and sort of sad. We were super tight as kids, but then he grew up into a Mormon and I grew up into a feminist and it's been weird ever since. We get really intense about communicating with one another – because I think we both actually want the same thing, deep down inside: for the other person to understand what we each think of as the only right point of view. Because we both know that things could be lovely if we could be in simple agreement together instead of having to do these complicated tightrope maneuvers. But neither of us is willing to question our own principles, and we end up running into the solid wall of our fundamental and apparently immutable differences.

He said that we hadn't fought in a long time, and I bit my tongue, because we haven't, but that doesn't mean what he thinks it does. It just means that I've gone from openly trying to convince him to tactically working to educate him. It means that I don't trust him enough to just speak without calculation and careful self-positioning.

It was the first time I've ever looked at someone my own age and thought that they looked old. I couldn't see the boy he was anymore in his face but I could imagine what he'd be like at fifty. Sort of broke my heart.

It's that they all think they were right about him – but they're all actually still wrong.

They all thought he was beneath me, not good enough for me, too damaged to deserve me, and I rejected that kind of thinking then and god help me I still reject it now. I do not believe that love should be the reward for achievement; I do not believe that love should only be given to those who are whole. I don't feel like I'm whole myself, never have done; how can I demand wholeness of others?

I didn't leave him because he was beneath me. I left him because he was cruel and overly demanding. He wasn't the sort of bad boyfriend my parents thought he'd be, he was worse. But the thing is, because they all decided that he was subpar and unworthy, because I love them but they can be dreadful snobs – because that's a given in their minds, they can't get around the idea of him abusing me as, as, I don't know, as effectively as he did. My mama says he isn't smart, but he was smart enough to figure out all my buttons and weaknesses, all the ways that I would let him off the hook, all the prompts he could use to get me to offer myself as whipping girl instead, all the patterns of tension and release, violence and affection, that would make me weakest and most trusting. He took me for everything I had. Money, time, care, coattails to ride, jeez I gave him so much, and he gave me shit all back, for years and years. It can't just be that I was a fool.

But that's what my mama's implying, isn't it, when she says he isn't smart?

Date: 4 Dec 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] highlyeccentric
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
*offers hugs*

If it is any consolation, I had a similar struggle with my parents' dislike of my ex. They *did* see he was screwing me up mentally, but... well, when they spoke to me about it they framed it in terms of *me* being fragile and needing shelter (which he didn't provide). Also, there were aspects to the abuse in that relationship which were only able to get a hold because of ingrained assumptions about how the world, and heterosexual relationships in particular, worked - which I had learned from my family.

Plus I got really peeved when my friends, who had all liked him long after I broke up with him, realised their errors... and began talking as if he had no attractive qualities at all. That was weird.

... it's all shitty, is my conclusion.

Date: 4 Dec 2013 09:37 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
princessofgeeks: (Default)
My second husband was an emotional abuser and extremely clever manipulator, and later went to prison for a sex offense, and I am very smart and yet I devoted a decade of my life to him.

I think that many people who have never been in this kind of dysfunctional relationship really just do not understand how it can work, brick by brick, over the years.

I hope that someday you can shrug off your parents' judgments of what happened. Because their vote really doesn't count.

I agree that love isn't something you have to deserve, or that only whole and unbroken people can or should love or be in relationships.

But there's a particular kind of broken that expresses itself in manipulating others and being toxic to them. I hope to never be in a relationship with that sort of person again. I hope I learned from my second marriage.

You are in my thoughts.

Edited Date: 4 Dec 2013 09:37 pm (UTC)

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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