When you are being abused, you end up with a laundry list of defense mechanisms. Besides flipping all my emotional switches and shutting down, the worst one was the implementation of walking on eggshells so as to avoid provoking his anger. Sadly, I never was able to perfect this, because he lashed out me for something almost daily.
If i did something that was wrong, according to him, I would note to the letter what he said I should have done so I could most definitely get it right the next time. Right? Never! The next time the situation arose, I made sure I obliged his every whim, and what was the reaction? I was expected to do what I did the first time, and I was punished – often severely, depending on my transgression – as I was also supposed to be a mind-reader.
This poisons everything you do, everything you say. You churn thoughts around in your head for what feels like an eternity before you speak, and you are sure to be careful when you open your mouth. However, no matter how deliberate you are with your words, you almost always inadvertently say something wrong. Maybe you used the wrong tone. Maybe the speed or pitch of your speech wasn’t perfect, and he belittles you in front of people for being so stupid and simple! Perhaps it wasn’t your words at all. You could have gestured wrongly, or looked up at a passerby at the wrong moment so you could spend the next five hours being accused of cheating.
You have to create notes in your head for every single person you and he know. Every time you see them, you have access the file in your mind and pull up your reminders of how you have present yourself to this person, how long you can look at them, whether or not you are allowed to hug them or shake their hand, what subjects you dare not broach. You have to do this when you are with him or not!
Tonight, on the way to a friend’s sister’s house (yes, I have my friends back now, but that is a topic for another night), my friend and I stopped to pick up dinner, and I went in by myself, forgetting someone connected to him works there. It was an awkward moment when I went inside and there is one of his dealer’s wife behind the counter!
For a moment, I panicked inside, and I started going through the notes in my mind. And then I interrupted myself. “What am I doing? Am I panicking because he knows her and she has a big mouth and will go home to her husband and say… what? I saw Amy? And then he will call the monster, and….”
Big deal, she saw me! Why am I walking on those eggshells again? Here I am readjusting my life and everything I do, and for what? I am not the one who did anything wrong!
Herein lies the purpose of this blog. The eggshells are in the trash, and while I am at it, in fact, so are all those notes cluttering up my brain. I am not doing this to myself anymore. One thing I can say without equivocation is that I am far safer out here in the unknown not knowing where he is than I ever was caged up with him.