In Sex Love and Obesity Part 17 I had drawn a line in the sand. I had clearly told Peter that if the fighting and arguments didn’t stop and if I continued to feel emotionally abused in the relationship I was going to leave.
You know how they say perception is reality? That was so true here.
His perception was that we didn’t fight that much. That there were more good times than there were bad. He often voiced frustrations that I didn’t focus on what was good.
My perception was that all we did was fight. That there was so much fighting and negativity it was hard for me to focus on what was good. The things I remember as good, we’re all at the beginning of the relationship, when the arguments were few and far between.
Maybe, his perception was correct. Maybe mine was. At the end of the day though, the amount of fighting that was going on was too much for me to handle. My perception was my reality.
It didn’t matter to me if we had a few good days, enjoyed cooking or watching a movie together. The moment the next fight came along that was all lost and forgotten.
I felt emotionally wounded. I didn’t feel like the wounds were getting enough time to heal. Each argument just felt like a scab was being ripped off and salt was being rubbed in the wound.
I felt my emotional stability slipping away from me. I felt like an emotionally wound up bobbin and I was worried that when the string finally snapped, I was going to spin out of control
And that is exactly what happened next.
He had just gotten a job offer. There was a beer in the refrigerator that he had been saving for quite sometime as a “celebratory beer.” It was a limited time flavor.
I had been drinking. I was already extremely intoxicated. We were fighting. I don’t even recall about what to be honest. I had upset him early in the week when I admitted that I wasn’t on the same page that he was when it came to our idea of vacation plans in a relationship. He wanted vacations that didn’t include running. I knew I could only afford so many trips a year and that if one of them was devoted to weight loss conventions and the other couldn’t include running, I’d likely not get to go on very many running trips.
I wanted another drink. I grabbed a bottle of rum and he yanked the bottle out of my hand and poured it down the sink and threw the bottle in the trash. I’m sure he didn’t mean for it to seem so aggressive at the time. But, he yanked that bottle out of my hand in a way that I perceived it as a physical altercation. As an abuse survivor, I’m hypersensitive to sudden physical acts.
Whether he intended for it to come off that way or not. My brain exploded. Literally my brain exploded. I immediately went on the defensive. My dissociative episode went from -I am aware of what is happening right now- to shifting between moments of black out, time loss and feeling like I was present but not really present and completely out of control of what I did or said.
Angry, and trying to escape the situation, I started rummaging through the refrigerator for more alcohol and found this beer.
The argument shifted from whatever it had been about to this “celebratory beer” of his that I was about to drink. I wasn’t accepting his demands that I not drink his beer. He’d physically taken away what I wanted to drink. Now, as a result I was going to drink what was still there on sheer principle.
As far as I was concerned, the celebration had already been had. My friend had come over the night before and brought an entire six-pack of that same beer that we had all drank together. We had toasted his new job, celebrated it. To me, this was just a leftover beer in the refrigerator now. When I explained that, the argument shifted to who had drunk more of the six-pack the night before and how this beer was still his.
The argument went on for quite some time. He was fighting over a beer. I was fighting because once again I felt like he was trying to exert control over me. I was more upset about the physical act of him removing the bottle from my hand than I was about the beer. The physical act had pushed me to a limit. It had put me in serious self-defense mode. This was the first time one of our arguments had reached a point of physicality.
I told him it was over. I told him I didn’t want to be with him anymore and that I wanted him to move out. I was done. I wasn’t kind with my words as I let him know. I’ll admit, when it comes to fighting, it really brings out the ugly in me. I learned to fight as a small child. I learned how to be mean, venomous and hateful with my tongue. Therefore, I can’t be in relationships that consist of constant arguments, because once I am in the altercation, I won’t disengage and a very ugly side of me comes out.
Out of nowhere, he picked up the phone and called my friend in the middle of the argument. He wanted to get her to validate his opinion that I had drunk more beer than he did the night before in what he described as a “Can you settle a bet for us?” sort of way.
I went ballistic. I’ll never deny that. Like bat shit crazy ballistic.
I was furious that he had called my friend and was involving her in our argument. Plus, this wasn’t just any friend, it was a friend of mine that was also one of my clients. While she was more friend than she was client, there was still a gray area there. When it came to those gray areas he never seemed to understand that what I shared with friends and clients about my life was mine to decide. Not his. I was screaming. Literally screaming, at the top of my lungs in the back-ground begging her to hang up the phone.
I was embarrassed. I never wanted anyone to know how bad the arguments between us got. She heard me screaming and was worried. She asked what the heck was going on. He started to say things like, “You don’t understand how bad it is.” “You don’t understand what is really going on.”
I continued to go ballistic, afraid he was about to tell her the one thing I really didn’t want anyone to know. I was terrified he was about to out my darkest secret. He provoked me. “What you don’t want me to tell her Pandora?” “You don’t want me to tell her your secret?” “You don’t want anyone to know what’s really wrong with you?”
The only way I can explain what happened next is that I wasn’t going to let him do it. He was verbally poking me, goading me. It was like he was pushing a button, knowing exactly how I would react. I’d come out fighting. Which is exactly what I did. In this “Oh hell no you won’t,” fashion, I retaliated. If my friends were going to find out, it wasn’t going to be because he told them.
What I said next sounded something like, “Is that what you want? Is that what’s going to get your rocks off right now? Is it going to make you feel better to tell one of my friends that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder? Is that going to make you feel good? Great, okay, now she knows. Now I’ve told her. You got what you wanted. Now you can pack all your stuff and get out. We’re done. I’m done. You made good on your threats. You’ve out my secret.” Only there was a lot of f-bombs and a lot of other swear words thrown into it. A lot. I called him every name in the book. I said every nasty word I could think of. I was hateful. At that moment, I hated him more than any one else in the world.
I felt violated. I felt emotionally raped.
He had finally followed through on his long-time threats to out my secrets. Only instead of telling someone himself, he had roused me into an emotional frenzy where I did it myself. He had pushed me until I felt like I really didn’t have another choice.
Something snapped inside me. I can’t even explain it. I felt betrayed in a way I was pretty sure I’d never forgive. I had been living in fear of something like this for so long. Now, it had actually happened. If he was capable of doing this, I had no idea what else he was capable of doing.
Since he hadn’t ever made good on those threats before, I still trusted him. Even though I believed that he used threats like that to control me and manipulate me, I still trusted that because he loved me, he’d never actually do anything like that.
That trust, the amazing sex, and the good times I remembered before he had moved in with me had all allowed me to keep thinking that things could change. They had allowed me to keep hoping that things could get better and that somehow, we could get back to what we used to be. I’d been able to make myself believe that love would conquer all and that we would get back to the happily ever after that we had been chasing together.
Now, the trust was gone. I didn’t trust him not to hurt me anymore. I don’t think he will ever understand what he took away from me that night. The relationship was toxic. That wasn’t just his fault, it wasn’t just my fault, it was a combination of the two of us together that created that toxicity. His flaws, my flaws, when paired against each other just created poison.
Until this moment, I had always been pretty sure that I was the villain of our story. No matter what he had done, I had convinced myself that somehow it was my fault. My flaws were worse than his. My flaws made everything more difficult for him. I was hypersensitive. I was broken and damaged. I had a lot of emotional baggage. I had a lot of issues. I was the monster that he had somehow managed to love. I was completely convinced that he was paying the price for all the things that other people had done to me and that I would be crazy if I left when he loved me despite all those things.
This incident changed all that for me. There was absolutely no excuse in my mind for what he had done. There was no way for me to rationalize it as being my fault. Yes, I had been drinking. No, I probably didn’t need another drink. But none of that made what he did when he picked up the phone and called my friend okay. I still thought I was a monster. But I was starting to see the validity in “You are who you hang out with.”
Stay tuned for Sex Love and Obesity Part 19 – Round and Round She Goes