firefliesAbusers desire control. They want to contain us like fireflies in a jar. But we can not be contained for long without fighting to stay alive…

Your love affair with your abuser begins peacefully enough. He tells you he loves you so much that he wants to do everything with you. He never wants to leave your side. He wants to run to the grocery store with you. Help you drop off the kids at school. Even hang out with you while you shop and try on shoes and clothes. It’s sweet, you think, how much he seems to adore you. You eat it up. In the beginning.

Soon, this attention becomes smothering. He’s so close you can’t breathe at times. He’s on top of you as you try to eat, sleep, read and get dressed for work or school. The more you try to do things alone, the more he demands he goes along with you. You begin resenting him. You just want to be able to shut the door for some quiet moments or run out and complete a few mundane tasks like filling up your car’s gas tank, buying stamps at the post office, making a deposit in your checking account or shopping for new lipstick without him on your heels.

It’s not that you don’t care for him. You simply enjoy being alone at times. It’s your independent nature screaming to be free just as you always were before he entered your life.

Unfortunately, he sees your desire to be independent as a direct threat to his insecurities. What once seemed like a romantic gesture has turned into an abusive and controlling tactic. If you insist on going alone to run your errands, he accuses you of meeting someone for a lover’s tryst or of not caring enough about him to want his company. Every guilt trip in the book is played. You are exhausted by the absurdity of it all and simply relent in hopes of releasing the pressure.

More time passes, and he comes along. Every time. You never get your freedom. You can’t breathe and inhale as you please. Your resentment for him grows and grows. It builds up quickly and soon anger surfaces.

You are short with him. You snap at him as you would snap at a petulant child who whines when he doesn’t get exactly what he demands.

When your anger surfaces like this, you have real problems. Now he has “proof” of your heartlessness, bitterness and lack of love for him. Someone who loves him as much as you say you love him would not treat him so badly. (You bitch! You whore! You asked for it!)

You become more confused and just want it to stop.

The chaos can’t be assessed and ordered easily, if at all. You forget where the anger was born. You don’t realize you have been contained by his control. You don’t realize you are reacting directly to his irrational, unreasonable and disordered perceptions of how he thinks you should behave.

You become like the gentle firefly knocking itself against the jar, appearing like you’re nuts trying to get free.

If you do find a moment of quiet and peace, you’ll start to remember how it all started and where it has led–

You were once a bright and shining firefly flickering and zooming about. Spreading your light and energy among family and friends. Then he spotted you and wanted you for himself. You slowed down long enough for him to grab you and place you in his jar. He wants to keep you there, too. He doesn’t care or realize that the oxygen is dwindling and your fight to survive has nothing to do with him but everything to do with your desire to be set free. Free to be you.

Real love doesn’t take away our life force. Real love infuses our life force with more energy and love.

Frustration and resentment is a warning sign we must heed. Don’t let it linger and fester.


abuse, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Health, Lessons, Love, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD, Peace, Psychopaths, PTSD, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality
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Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. @Riley Ann, not to be disrespectful but the fact that a man is in prison for a crime he committed speaks volumes in and of itself. A man in prison is disordered–bottum line. Good, honest men are not usually in prison.


  2. Very well put! I can relate to the firefly very well except the jar was the cab of a tractor trailer. I didn’t realize for several months that he had me exactly where he wanted me. Over the road, living in a truck, out 4 to 6 weeks at a time, and with him 24/7. He had total control over me and even that wasn’t enough for him. He constantly asked me”what’s on your mind? What are you thinking about?” He constantly tried to invade my thoughts. This has been very hard to move on but I’m making it day by day, sometimes minute by minute.

    My youngest daughter is expecting her first child and it upset him very bad that I felt I needed to be with her when she delivered. I wanted 2 weeks off the road so I could help her and he paniced. He freaked out for weeks before we split saying “what about me? What am I going to do without you? Be prepared I will quit my job if I can’t handle you not being out here to help me!” So long story short, I was forced to choose between my grown children and grandchildren, and him….With in 2 days of me being out of the truck, he had filed divorce papers and hooked back up with his ex of 25 years. I hurt from rejection and having to accept the fact that what he had for me was never love. I was so blind sided by his charm, love, and passion for me that I did not know anything was wrong until I was in too deep. My heart hurts for the man I thought I had. Which never existed.

    Thanks for being there for us and teaching us the truth.
    God Bless!


    • Good article, thank you. I just want to give a quick insight to single ladies who may have met and had romantic feelings for a sociopath. I had been writing a man in prison, serving a life sentence. He wrote nice, long letters, but the red light finally went off as it was all about him. Then, out of the blue, he sent me a copy he had (retyped), (yeah, sure…to leave out his endearments), to another woman he was writing to. Now, they all do it, but this guy wanted to start to compare her to me, with words like, “like you….she…” So, writers to prisoners beware…..he’s not who you think he is…he is always plotting the next tactic…’s a guy at the lowest of the low and he is trying to surround himself with adoring admirers!! I didn’t expect anything out of it….I just felt compassion….many guys have no one to write to them… response….nada thing.


  3. This is a beautiful description of an ugly act. You really picked the perfect metaphor.


  4. “Chaos”. indeed.


  5. This is EXACTLY how it was! I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without having to answer incessant questions about why I was leaving the room alway followed by a “hurry back!” In there, I’d silently scream in front of the mirror. I felt just like a trapped animal. Reading this affirms my feeling that it really was that bad and that the best thing I have ever done is get out of there! Thank You, Paula.


    • And it speaks to not only our desire for independence, but also our introverted nature and need to think in silence. As people, we were not respected by our exes. Even my 7-year-old son respects that desire in others. When someone says to us, “I need some quiet time alone,” we should step aside and give them their space and time. There need is not about us; it’s about them. Humans are so sensitive but pathological narcissists/sociopaths only think of their own sensitivities. No empathy. 😦


  6. I have no idea how my mother has lived with the very thing and everything else that comes from a narcissist for over 45 years. It’s awful.


  7. Reblogged this on pajcaigaius and commented:


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