Looking Back (Maybe)

I knew from the moment I woke up that this day would be hard. I’ve been all alone in this house for the past couple of days, but that hasn’t bothered me until today. Today would have been our two year anniversary. Instead of the happy memories that should be flooding my mind, all I can think about is the lies. I have no clue what was truth in our relationship, besides my part in it, and even that doesn’t seem completely true, since I was in love with a facade of a being. I do miss you though, or who I thought you were. I miss being held at night and told “everything is going to be alright. I have you. Just sleep.” Honestly though, that image has morphed for me too. I see you as more of a serpent luring me into a false sense of security , like Kaa in the Jungle Book, just waiting for your opportunity to strike. It is hard for me to think of you as vindictive in that way because all I ever knew was very subtle gestures, unless you were snapping at me. I could handle the snapping, it is the subtlety that scares me.

I told one of my dearest friends the other day that I am scared to get into relationships again. I don’t fear relationships themselves, but I fear the blindness that I have in them. All I’ve ever known in life are abusive relationships and, going into this one, I thought, “I won’t let that happen to me again. I know what they look like. I know the signs. I won’t let that happen’. But I did. He was so subtle. I didn’t even realize what was happening until I was standing on the outside of it. He never laid a hand on me, but he didn’t have to. His words and actions cut deep enough to scar me.

My first red flag should have been how often I said the words, “Don’t talk to me like that.” The second should have been the moments where I felt too tired to say that and allowed it because I knew there wasn’t going to be a change. I hate to admit it, but I thought our problems started when we moved back to Portland, but the abusive tendencies only increased when we got here and he started to realize he wanted to be back home.

When we lived together in Spokane, I played the perfect housewife. I did most of the cooking, all of the cleaning, did all of the grocery shopping, and worked part time as a nanny. I felt I owed that to him since he saved me from my house, in Portland, that was full of mold and brought me home with him. I was so unhappy and he knew it, which was why our goal was to get to Portland, as quickly as possible, the only problem being, he is the absolute worst at saving his money. So we started to budget, but somehow, even though he was making more than double what I was, I was paying half the rent, and buying all of the groceries, I was the only one who was able to save any money. Then I realized the little frivolous things he was buying and hiding from me. When I began asking questions or bringing up things I found that he spent money on and asked why he wouldn’t just be honest, he would lose it. It always went back to me being “too anxious”, “needing to worry less and have more fun”, or “not doing enough.” I knew in those moments that moving back to Portland would be completely on me. After a while, I think he began to say things like that more and tell me how stressful his job was so I would feel like he needed to be taken care of, but no matter what I did, it wasn’t enough. I never felt like I was enough for him and not for lack of trying. We kept saying “things will be better once we get to Portland” and boy were we wrong.

We could barely talk when I was in Arizona taking care of my grandma and gaining some financial help. When we did, it was emotion filled and rushed. Sometimes it was just “I love you. Goodnight.” I couldn’t talk until late and he had to wake up for work at 2am sometimes. So most nights it was brief. When we first got together he loved singing me to sleep, now it was a nuisance when I asked, but I needed it to calm my soul after my anxiety provoking days, so I persisted. He would either ignore me and fall asleep silently or do it begrudgingly. I began to feel as if I annoyed him. When I voiced this, he would respond in anger, never comfort, so I continued to feel this way.

Our reunion could have lit a city on fire. I felt like that girl that watched him get off the train again, as he swept me up into his arms and told me he would never let me go ever again. We were living and loving like we had when we were long distance. It was magical and breathtaking. That lasted a couple of months, only until we moved into our new place. He became profusely unhappy.

He hated his job, hated our roommate, and sometimes I felt like he even hated me. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, there was no happiness left in our lives, no romance. We were doing the same meaningless tasks over and over again, just so we could survive. Then he lost his job and the anger started to show. I brushed it off, decided he deserved to have his moment of anger and I was going to let him give it all to me so he could at least process it. That was his favorite phrase, “I’m just processing right now.” He would never tell me what he was feeling or thinking because he was processing. I learned as time went on that this was an aversion technique and he knew exactly what was going on, he just was never willing to share it with me so we could work through it.

Eventually, I became angry. He was sharing intimate details of our lives and how he was feeling with everyone, but me. Even though I begged him on a daily basis to remain open with me so we could work through things, he wouldn’t budge. He started hiding his phone from me and talking to random girls I had never heard of. He was constantly belittling me and my emotions. I couldn’t guess at what was going on without “telling him what he was doing”, which was never my intention. I was simply grasping at straws to understand what the hell was happening in my life, in our house, in our relationship. It was exhausting. I know that I started to lash back and do things my way without consulting him because at this point, I was desperate. I needed to make myself happy again, but never once did I think of taking him out of the equation.

Then he did it for me. He left last month. He blamed it on my anxiety and walked out the door. I think that was a lie too because when I asked him to explain, especially when he said things were getting so much better, he couldn’t. So I am left wondering what my part is and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find it yet. Maybe I never will. Maybe, my part was letting him treat me like this for over a year. I don’t know. Maybe.

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