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.