Thank You For Being With Me

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“I don’t care that all you can do right now is sit in your chair, I love you. You’re not six feet under and you’re here with me, that’s all that matters.”

Hot tears slipped down my flushed cheeks as I looked away from him, the ugly truth of one of my biggest fears uncovered.

Will he cheat too? Decide that I’m too sick for him to deal with as well and end up regarding me as a worthless, mentally ill cripple?

(Who doesn’t sexually please him well enough?)

It’s a real demon of mine and my boyfriend knows that.

“From all that you’ve told me about your past, you should be patting yourself on the back, honey. Don’t even get me started on the first one who put you in the hospital and then the second one, who did you even worse if you ask me…”

Which one is worse? Abusive relationship A or abusive relationship B?

Flip a coin?

As hard as I try to run from my two abusers, they continue to seep into my current reality. I’m just a middle-aged woman with a love of fuzzy socks, not a sorceress who can cast a magical spell, abolishing the memories of my past traumas.

It takes time, people tell me.

How long?

Everyone is different.

Are all men nasty, evil swine?

No, of course not.

Is there something wrong with me that I found not only one, but two of them?

No, I was just asleep for a long time.

My boyfriend kisses me on the forehead and smiles at me.

“Thank you for being with me.” I reach out to take his hand.

“No, thank you for being with me.”

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Self-Conversation

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The first one was somewhat thrust upon you without much time to really think about it.

Even the thoughts that did whistle through your mind that this didn’t feel quite right were mostly ignored due to your youthful, inexperienced and trusting nature.

Love meant that he had a right to know your every move, your every thought.

Your friends were scared off and only by sheer willpower did you get to keep your family, although when he snapped his fingers to leave, you’d jump and scoop up the child that you had together before he lost his cool.

He was in charge and he called the shots. You had no opinion of your own, nor were you allowed to be an individual. Bravo on eventually getting even by defying him more and more often as the days went by. Even back then you had some spunk, you were just starting to figure out how to fight back the best way that you could.

He was no king of hidden things. He was blatantly abusive and almost proud of it, as sick as that sounds. Every person who came into contact with him knew that he could turn nasty in a heartbeat, but he also had the ability to be charming when it suited him.

He was a crafty bastard, no doubt. But you took your beloved kid and courageously escaped after just less than 6 years. Phew, that has been a total bitch, but you’d never allow that kind of thing to happen to you again, you swore to yourself.

The second one you chased because you enjoyed the thrill that it provided you with. It was much like a challenge, to win the heart of this man who seemed to struggle with living life almost as much as you did.

He shared the same twisted sense of humor with you, bantering naturally back and forth as quickly as a tennis game, a match of wits.

He broke your heart constantly, but you kept taking him back because you still believed that you were destined to be together and after so many years, you knew him so well. You got smug about it, thinking that no matter what sort of drama that he brought to your table, you had no choice but to endure it because that’s what love was.

A race of endurance no matter what the cost.

He was the rabbit. Instead of being the tortoise, you were the ostrich, with your head buried under the sand for just shy of 15 years.

Forgiving yourself, now that’ll take some time, but it’s an extremely important part of moving onward, otherwise your future with the third one will be poisoned with rodent killer.

A Brand New Hurdle

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One of the last exit lines that asshat said to me prior to his final departure from my life was that he missed the way things used to be with us before I got sick.

That was his way of plopping the blame of his vile behavior onto my lap instead of just admitting to the fact that he was incapable of truly loving anyone, especially through sickness and health. (A true narcissistic move if there ever was one.)

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not 100% whole as a human being. Over 20 years of various abusive tactics by two different men, I am most assuredly fucked up in all the wrong places.

The truth? I don’t know how it’s supposed to feel, to be loved and cared for by a man. It’s a completely foreign concept to me.

Sometimes I feel like the chronic numb spot the size of a dollar bill on my back that I’ve had for a decade or so ever since I yanked my back putting stock away during my working days. My boyfriend goes above and beyond to prove himself to me, but that damned numbness will take over and I start to have doubts, honest to God disbelief that I am worth a shit, not worthy of being with someone as decent as he is.

I’m starting to despise myself for this lack of insight.

I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve prayed for guidance, for more clarity and peace of mind; that my days of living in a fake, hellish existence are over with. I repeatedly ask for healing, for growth and self forgiveness.

Just when I thought that the hardest part was over with, I’m now faced with a brand new hurdle to jump.

How do you fucking learn to let somebody love you after being treated so callously for more than half a lifetime?