7 April 2007

A Mastercard Moment

As in, some things money can't buy. Yesterday something happened that no amount of money could buy, I'll start at the beginning & hopefully it will all make sense :o)
A few years ago, when I was 17.5 I started seeing someone who was quite a bit older than me (by 19 years) it wasn't an issue because we really got on & so the age difference wasn't a problem as some people may think. First 3 months were fine, really good in fact & what he did he did in such a clever way I didn't notice it happening, as you read this you may find that quite unbelievable & so would I if it hadn't happened because it appears such a black & white situation but when you are in that situation you honestly & truly do not notice it happening, it is done in such a clever & slow way.
It was after those first 3 months that things started to change, I have no idea why, whether it was planned or whether something triggered it I really don't know but things really changed. Things went from being fine & happy go lucky, both of us enjoying being together & just like a relationship should be, he'd had problems with women in the past, quite serious problems & maybe that's where the roots lay, I don't know. He'd spoken to me about what happened & explained & that was fine, I was happy with that & so was he.
As I said, after those 3 months things changed, he went from being laid back, relaxed & fine to being questioning, jealous, abusive & just completely & utterly horrible.
If i wasn't where I said I was going to be at the exact time I said or didn't call at the exact time I said I would he would question me, 'Who have you been with?' 'What have you been doing?' 'Where have you been?'
I suppose really Im a people pleaser, I don't like people being upset or anything like that & it's worse if I think I may have been the cause of it, & I didn't see anything wrong with it, I honestly thought it was me, the way he put it & the way he was honestly made me believe it was my fault, that if I had called when I said I would he wouldn't be like it, if I had been where I said I was going to be & not 5 minutes late he wouldn't be asking me questions & it would have been fine.
He made me see things differently, he made me view people differently, including some of my closest friends, he would say things like 'Well if they thought that much of you then why aren't they here, why haven't they called?' Why this, why that etc etc. I started seeing less of family & friends & more of him, being on the phone to him when I wasn't with him.
And if I hadn't called or txt for an hour he would accuse me of seeing somebody else, of being a 'slut' 'after all I've done for you you treat me like that'
If I didn't answer the phone when he called or text straight back when he text me, even if i was at work I would get accused of seeing someone else, of not loving him, upsetting him, causing him to 'worry about me' & when he said all this I completely believed it was me, it was my fault & me that had caused the situation & the argument.
Slowly I cut off from friends, not completely but distanced myself because of how he made me see things, how he twisted things. Im naturally outgoing, flirty & bubbly & fun, that all but disappeared, I stopped being flirty because it 'made him worry that something would happen to me' & when I say flirty I mean just general joking & inuendo's, not coming on to someone & giving them the nod & the wink, it's just how I am & anybody that knows me knows thats what I'm like & anybody that doesn't know soon finds out that there is nothing in it & it is just a laugh & joke.
I lost the spark I had, I was quiet & sometimes withdrawn, I was either worrying about him & what would be said if I was running late or hadn't managed to text or call or was crying because of what had been said. Nobody knew really because I kept it hidden, I wasn't living at home then & that was when things were very difficult with my mother & father, which was, I suppose, ideal for him. When I called my mum or went round I would put on a clown's face & if I was quiet Id put it down to what was going on with my parents. I did the same with friend's, it's only my best friend even now, that knows the whole story.
I was depending on him more & more, Id spend nearly all my free time with him & if I wasn't with him Id be on the phone to him, I honestly believed I needed him & that he was the best thing for me, he was the only person I could rely on & the only one I could talk to about anything.
I remember one day one of his friend's, who had been on life support in hospital, died. It was expected because there was nothing more they could do for her. My phone was switched off because I had an appointment at a different hospital, when I came out I switched it back on & saw 15 missed calls & 8 voicemails, in an hour. I called him straight back & asked what had happened, what was wrong? I was really upset & really worried, he told me & turned round & said 'You don't care about me at all, you are selfish the only person you care about is yourself, that's why you have barely any friends.'
I was listening to this & believing it, I was crying because I hadn't been there when he needed me, he put the phone down so I text him, apologising & saying I was sorry, I got one back saying 'Fuck off you selfish bitch'
I saw him that evening & he didn't apologise for what he had done or how he'd been, I apologised. He said 'I accept that but you should have been there, I needed you & you weren't there, you let me down' I explained I'd been in hospital, that he knew Id had an appointment that day & that my phone would be off, all he kept saying was that I was his girlfriend, I should be there for him like he was for me no matter what because thats how boyfriends & girlfriends were, that if I wanted this to work Id have to stop being so selfish & think about his feelings & what he wanted, I said yes & apologised, again.
I more or less stopped having a social life, if I did go out with friends he wanted to know who I was with, where I was going & what time I would be back, otherwise he would get 'worried about me'.
He didn't like me being alone with male friends so I wouldn't be, Id only see them in a group or if I bumped into them in town, I did bump into a friend once, one of my best male friends & he asked if I wanted to go for a coffee, I said I shouldn't really but it was my lunchbreak so I agreed.
We went and sat down & had a chat & he asked if I was ok, that he didn't see much or hear much of me anymore, what was going on? I just said I was seeing someone now & thats how things were, of course there wasn't a problem. He started to get a bit cross then, saying Id changed, I wasn't who I used to be & why was I being like it, what was wrong? I said there was nothing wrong & in the end I accused him of being jealous, jealous that I was seeing someone & he wasn't.
Hard to believe but things got a bit worse until my best friend invited me round to her place for the evening, saying she needed help with revision for an exam she was taking for her college course & that she'd pick me up from work, she didn't need to revise at all but she got me round there & made me see how things had changed, made me see the person Id become & why Id become that person, at first I didn't want to hear it at all, I got up to leave & she wouldn't let me, not until Id heard her out.
I stayed & we talked for about 4/5 hours, her making me see what had happened & how things had changed, what they had become. She took my phone off me & just made me listen, not shout or get cross, just explain & talk, & fair play to her, I wasn't interested at first but she persevered & kept on & in the end I just broke down & cried my eyes out. I loved him, I really really did & would have done anything for him, I told her this & she asked did he really love me? Would he do what he was doing if he really had respect for me & wanted the best for me? Make me unhappy & never ask how I was or how I was dealing with things but if he had problems or was finding things hard I was expected to listen, no matter what & if I tried to talk about things that I was finding difficult or was upset about the answer I got was 'Ive got enough problems of my own, I don't need to hear about yours as well'
I said of course he loved me & he wanted the best for me & she asked how could he? When he had pushed most of my friends away, they hardly saw anything of me anymore. I didn't go out hardly at all anymore & had to be accountable to him for everything, my reply was he was worried in case something happened & thats how a relationship is, she confronted me by asking was her boyfriend like it? Was he demanding & jealous? Or abusive & non suportive? I had to admit, no he wasn't, he treated her with total respect & let her have her own life.
Everything came out that night & it felt like something had fallen away from me, I felt light & not weighed down. I don't know how she did it but she did & Im so greatful because looking back I cannot believe how Id changed, how I was & how I was living my life. Just how much control he had had over me & how he'd managed it. Writing this has made me see even more how shocking a situation it was & how I never ever put him as being the one in the wrong, just how easy it is to end up in that situation. Im not a clingy, shy person, Im a social butterfly, Im stubborn & argumentative, I stand up for myself & won't take rubbish from anyone, I speak my mind fend or please & if I feel something needs saying I will say it, Im not afraid of confrontation if something has to be said or done & Im not afraid of what people do or don't think of me. Im independent & support myself, I like having my freedom & space. And if someone like me can be pulled into a situation like that then it makes you realise how manipulative, how cunning some people can be, just how much things can be twisted & how somebody can completely change your outlook & views & how easily it can be done.
After my friend had spoken to me & made me see I didn't go home or switch my phone back on that night, he didn't know where I had gone because my friend had picked me up from work & changed plans when she had me with her. I phoned him the next day & told him it was over, I didn't want to be with him & I didn't want to hear from him again, could he not contact me & leave me alone because if he didn't I would take things further. He said all the stuff you would expect him to, going from me needing him & needing his support to a being selfish & stupid little bitch & letting my friend make decisions for me & run my life. He never laid a finger on me physically, not once, it was all mental so I can't say he was physically abusive because he absolutely wasn't.
After that weekend I saw him once to end things properly & it was so hard, much much harder because bits of me still believed that what he said was true.The last thing I heard was about a year ago, that he was moving because he had applied for a transfer, it was also his job that made me think, when I was with him, that he couldn't possibly be capable or wouldn't do such a thing so therefore it must be me.
The mastercard moment comes in now, I was walking home & saw him yesterday, I wondered how Id be if I bumped into him again, whether Id be quiet & apologetic or still have feelings for him, want to be with him still or whether Id hate him for how he'd been & what he'd said in the past. Weirdly I didn't feel any of that, I didn't have any feelings for him but at the same time I didn't hate him either, very weird. I spoke to him, asked how he was how things were with him & he said he's moved back, missed being here & things & felt more settled here. He asked how I was, what Id been upto & whether I was seeing anyone etc etc. I told him that I was & about my plans for moving to London with my best friend & how hopefully it would all slot into place. Must have only been 5 minutes we were talking, if that. I said my goodbyes & wished him luck & it really surprised me how I felt, or what lack of feelings I did have. It took me a long while to get over him & start to think about seeing someone again, looking at him & talking to him & walking away, the only thing I felt was pity & some sadness, pity for what sort of a person he is, how he is single & how if he hadn't been like he was things could have been different for us. & sadness at how he doesn't see, he's still that same person & still selfish, still complaining about his lot & how difficult things have been for him, including his second marriage, he hates his ex wife with a vengence & blames what she did & how she was for how things have turned out for him & how they have affected his life, to some extent it is her fault but he clings onto that as the root of all his problems, both emotionally & generally.
Seeing him & walking away yesterday not having any feelings for him, not wanting to be with him or regretting what had happened, being able to let go & accept that that is how he is & that is why he is still single now has acted as a kind of closure to the whole relationship. I knew in my heart of hearts that I didn't want to be with him & wouldn't ever see him again but was always curious about how Id be & how Id handle it if I did bump into him again. And now I know, there really are some things money cannot buy & that is one of them, being able to have complete closure to a situation & let it go, accept it happened but it's in the past now & it won't happen again because you won't let it, your older & wiser (if only slightly ;o) ) & know that you can handle things & don't 'need' anybody, you like having someone around & being there for them as they are for you, it being equal & genuine caring, genuine love but you want them & you want that, you don't 'need' them. They enhance who you are & compliment who you are, not try & change you or who you have grown to be. They love you for you, the good & bad, your annoying habits & little quirks because that is what makes you 'you'. You can accept that if something did happen & it did go wrong, & you ended up not being together for whatever reason, although you would be devastated you would get over it, you would carry on & your life would not come to an end. You would be upset & unhappy for a while but it wouldn't last forever & you would always love that person, no matter what happened or how things ended because they had let you be you, treated you with respect & let you be who you are, let you have your freedom & space, the same as you do them. Picked you up when you were down & shared the good things that happen, be there through the best & worst of times for you, not just expect it to be a one way thing. Being able to make each other happy & enjoying that person's company & being with them but not depending on it, not needing it so badly that if something were to happen you would be afraid, scared of not having that person around & what the consequences would be of not being with that person. Just realising & accepting that things are just fine as they are & you can cope on your own just as much as anybody else can but that person being there is a bonus & a comfort, not a hindrance & a worry. To sum it up Dido's 'See you when you're 40' could have been based on & written for him.

A very long & heavy post, again, but something I needed & wanted to say :o)


staghounds said...

Here are the three signs. The first time you see even ONE of these, run away. He is what he is, you won't change him,

1. "Where have you been?"- demanding that you account for your time.

2. "Spend less time (with friend, on activity)"- limiting your range of action and people with whom you can interact. This cuts down on the chance that someone will notice how you're changing, and sets up a pattern where you let him (or her) control you- a submission habit.

3. "Bitch." Name calling means that he's degrading you, and taking it means you're degrading yourself.
Here's a test. Look at the conduct. If you wouldn't accept it from a stranger- a colleague, store clerk, or boss, why are you taking it from someone who is supposed to care about you?

Require the same level of respect from a friend that you do from a random waiter in a restaurant. If he (or she) wouldn't earn a tip, LEAVE NOW.

GirlNextDoor said...

Thats why I posted what I did, because although those points are easy to read & make sense when you are actually in that situation & you don't believe a person can change from being the 'perfect' partner to somebody so demanding & agressive, who is constantly questioning & then calling you a liar etc etc when they don't believe you because whatever you say or do, they will never believe you.

If somebody had asked me, before I got involved with him whether I would take that kind of treatment ANYONE, let alone somebody who is supposed to care for & protect you then I would have absolutely & completely agreed that no, I wouldn't. But when you are in that situation you really don't notice it happening, it was done in such a slow & deliberate way, it wasn't everything at once, it was bit by bit. And once it starts, it's a very, very difficult thing to break away from because you do start to believe it's your fault, otherwise why would he have changed?

I could go on for an eternity about the why's & how's but I've tried to explain & condense it. The only reason I did the post is because I bumped into him again & saw him with new eyes, he's still the same person he was a few years ago, he's still alone & still doing the wounded act, like you said, people like that simply do not change.

Thanks for your comments though, what you say is completely true, I ended it about 2 years ago with him, friend doing what she did made me see it couldn't go on. The person Im with now couldn't be more different, he is the complete opposite which has made me see even more how bad things were & how if I had stayed, they could have got an awful lot worse.

thoughts running through my head.... said...

there's a reason why men like that choose the women they date,he thought you would be easy to manipulate due to your age,no wonder he has had relationship issues in the past-men like that never change,they get worse with age.

GirlNextDoor said...

TRTMH, your right on both points, he hasn't changed & men like that do pick on women with certain vulnerabilities & weak points, combined with my age there was alot going on at the time & I guess those were the points he honed in on.

totallyun-pc said...

At least you found out your friend is pure Gold, she was willing to put herself on the line to tell you how it was.