Apparently we women aren’t talking about the devastation of being played as much as we could.
We would do well to share this kind of pain more, lest we think we’re alone when we are not.
To this day, I don’t know just how long I was deceived and used. I have a better idea than I did four years ago, but, really, I suppose I’ll never know for sure.
The article above is about as visceral a description of what it can feel like as any I’ve read. It certainly fits my own experience.
Here you go. What one woman said: “He created a fantasy persona for himself: the little boy lost. He uses it to trick women. And he targets the clever ones. He uses his looks to deceive women – not a good look but a hurt, vulnerable look. I used to think there was something more to it with him but now I think he’s just a piece of rubbish.”
I’ve experienced the little boy lost more than once. One man I lived with for some years and another I was married to for decades. I’ve seen this apparition in the workplace as well.
I’ve done my best to sidestep these individuals in the workplace and, honestly, I’m not seeing anyone these days, four years on from the moment my world was shattered into a million pieces. I suppose I’m forever going to hold a piece of my heart and myself close and away from any person I chose to see. I think that’s probably okay.
Think about it.
If someone made unilateral decisions that affected your health, financial security, and children’s well-being, if they deceived you (even in the presence of colleagues, therapists, children, grandchildren), if they physically and emotionally abused you over the course of a long relationship, if they exploited you sexually, if they left you and then began living with another lover, and then they proceeded to claim they were the victim of a divorce “they never wanted,” and they told a very mis-matched set of stories to some other people, including your own children, would you be content to say relationships are complicated and slather on the forgiveness for the gaslighting and other abuse?
I’m up to my eyeballs with people saying “forgive.”
Whatever I’m doing is helping me recover from a long term situation of abuse. If someone wants to call it forgiveness that’s fine. I call it living life. I’m quite done with people telling me that forgiveness is for me, not for him. I don’t need to forgive. I don’t even need to let go.
Fact is, I’m not all that angry anymore.
The water has gone under the bridge and it’s been flowing on downstream for quite a while.
It feels good to NOT define myself in terms of a partner. Through my entire life, I’ve rarely given myself the space to look at myself outside of some kind of primary relationship, aka “a partner.”
Life as a mother doesn’t define me completely either. Our relationships with our offspring are so dynamic that change in those relationships feels normal.
All of the “shoulds” encapsulated in my marriage became a trap. It may not be that way for you. I’m glad for you.
By the time I was able to end my marriage, I was living on a daily basis with disrespect, deception, and cruelty. I could see power being wielded over me by all kinds of expectations, including sexual expectations.
Coercive sex takes many forms in a woman’s life.
What’s life -affirming can get lost.
That water flowing downstream? I’m there. Plenty of debris has been left behind. I’m still here. I’m flowing on.