The thing about abusive relationships is the thickness surrounding them. It starts small, a gentle swelling of the glands. A niggle in the back of the mind telling you that something is wrong.
As with all living things, we are defined by the flight or fight response. It is an instinct ingraned into the fabric of the mind. It causes the best of us to run when things get hard. It makes us fight for the ones we love, flee doubt, plunge head on into the raging storms of regret and dance in the silence of the mind.
Make no mistake, love plays on.
It was his ability to laugh that caught my heart, his childlike innocence that lingers on the breeze in the wake of his silly jokes. He made me feel five again, toes in the grass, sand in my hair, spinning my dreams through the cotton candy sky like stories and magic and tales.
He told me I was special. I believed him.
The first time he shouted I laughed. It seemed absurd that someone so gentle could shake the walls with rage. The last time, I cowered.
He told me I was worthless. I believed him.
Abusive relationships grow from within. When the warnings bubble beneath the surface and the need to survive grows strong the fearful mind tries to run, whilst the love mind fights for the beloved. Slowly, bit by bit, the mind implodes.
It is easier to remove the inconsistencies from the greater whole than it is to bear the wrath that comes from being contrary. It is easier not to be, than to be someones wrong.
By the time I was nursing my wounds I was barely me at all.
I grew up in a house filled with live music, kind parents, generosity, opportunity, ambition. I was raised never to raise my voice, to never shy away, never to resign myself to someone else. It was an outdoor, creative childhood, animal friendly, loving, free.
When I met you I hadn’t written anything in three years. I couldn’t remember the last time I had listened to music, or gone out dancing. I had given up yoga, stopped running, shut down my creativity, resigned myself to a life without animals and made peace with the constant reminder that I would never live in a place I could feel safe in again.
It was easier to be agreeable than to be dimished. Where there was once a spiritual yearning for greater things I found a small soul in a lost existance.
It had been a few years since I had started talking about leaving.
In the scales of love vs hatred the balance is circular. It’s not always a fist. Aside from things thrown, some broken household items and a few bruises the constant flow of torment was largely unseen.
I am not now nor will I ever be a miserable cunt.
If the mind is a strange place, the heart stranger. Each time a lover is referred to as hated the heart instills it’s flight or fight response. It retreats, deeper and deeper into the pits of self-loathing and despair, yet, at the slightest hint of reconcilliation, it fights back as though it can’t stand the possibility of being deprived of the opportunity to love it’s offender.
And so it is that the heart and mind move in concentric circles through the unbreakable cycle of abuse. Both heart and mind fight to love, both heart and mind flee to survive.
Friend, the time we spent together was short. You reminded me of myself a long, long time ago and brought me back. I told you it was complicated, yet saw with clarity the truth for what it was. In those moments of silence that followed I knew that despite the love I have always felt I couldn’t go back.
When I arrived home I bottled my dreams from the cloudy sky, packed up my heart and drove 400 miles into a new life.
In this great game, in the constant swirl of thoughts and words, it is the self we need preserve. I didn’t want it this way, but perhaps some friendships are designed to be short, to serve their dues and move along.
Freedom will always have a price.
It is not to say that I won’t love again, but for now, in this wide open space that is my heart I breathe softly, gently, without constraint.
You’re far too important to me to taint you with the complications of the heart.