So various things happened to me over the last month or two, which has strangled updates down to a trickle. In the first place work decided to be a pain in the butt and then laid me off. Then stuff happened regarding Strong and other… stuff.
It makes me introspective about my life choices, especially in light of what i’m watching other people go through. I am of the philosophy that two people in a relationship both play a role in creating the dynamic you play out, which is not the same as shared culpability should one person abuse the other, but the dissolutions and breakups we have, and the errors we make are still valuable lessons.
Some people like the high school boys I dated, were just nice boys- the first one I was maturing from girl to woman still, and too loopy for a relationship, while the long term high school boyfriend was sweet, but the take away there I got was not to date anyone dumber than you, because you had to respect someone you’re with. Nocturnal was an exercise in working out what I should and shouldn’t tolerate. In hindsight, if you aren’t used to being respected, you can mistake neediness for being important.
With Strong and why we broke up: As far as my perspective on the situation, not all relationships are stable or meant to last, and I went into it with the suspicion that our gulf in ages meant that we were in different places but more to the point, his tendency to precisely box everything off to control it was going to fight our D/s connection, while his communication style didn’t allow for candid admission of failure. To be exact I was his training dom, a safe woman who wouldn’t gut him in the process of him finally getting to feel loved and wanted for his vulnerabilities.
As far as my part in our breakup, since I am, shall we say, not a fan of conflict, there was little I could do in this circumstance beyond letting it be as it would be. I’d like to think I’m still a net positive on his life. And and I forecasted, from our initial connection where I crawled into his head, that was unsustainable, and he got himself increasingly walled off to the point where, as of the end of June, I was dealing with manufacturing my own happiness again. Which is to say, a very gentle and lucky way to find yourself breaking ties with someone.
For a brief few months before that, Strong had the rare gift of being able to have more impact on my happiness than I could have on it independently, and then I went back to making me happy. I dissolved our D/s agreement when I was no longer helping him, but also as a confirmation that I had learned some of the lessons I was supposed to learn from the Ex.
The Ex is one of those cases where it can be hard to talk about it because of how embarrassed and ashamed that sort of banal awful makes you feel when you survive it. It can be completely inexplicable- how did I let someone treat me like an idiot domestic servant, deny me sleep to the point of contributing to academic issues with my education and exacerbating my emotional health problems, while letting them so terrorize me that I completely unable to resist them? They are not, what you’d describe, as intimidating.
Well, the profoundly fucked up childhood I grew up with sure as heck did not help. Let’s be honest, when you learn your relationship models from a situation with abuse and enablers, it makes it much easier to ignore the what-the-fuck-are-we-doing?! feelings the insanity of an abusive dynamic engenders until you are enmeshed. That’s a hard other thing to talk about, because I don’t want sympathy for the shit that occurred at this juncture, and I’m leery of being treated like I’m dangerously crazy because I survived it- or not being taken seriously because someone hurt me.
The Ex was, to be honest about things, not all bad, but he was a horrible match for my own anxieties and vulnerabilities. If, in a love match, you can feel like you found a key for your lock, the Ex and I meshed his issues and controlling streak with my yielding , appeasing approach. Yes, while a dom (TM), generally speaking I tend to take stuff that’s not in my control and let it slide. I’m not one of those True Leaders people like to brag about being.
If you’re going to get all metaphorical about stuff, I’m a water person. I don’t make walls, I flow around stuff and find my own level. I can certainly be disturbed, but just as much as I can get all choppy and disturbed on the surface, but I can also take in and soak things pretty well.
Strong was an earth person, who put walls up absolutely everywhere, and locks people into them. The Ex? Fire, maybe? At once burning bright, but so fragile, needing to be sheltered and to consume constantly to survive. All appetites and needs, which was fascinating to my dominant/nurturing streak, but no brakes on the devouring aspect.
Wow, this is getting long. I’ll continue after the jump.
I have many happy memories with him. I certainly loved him very passionately and we had good years. Unfortunately as we continued together things got less and less sane, and I got more and more wrapped up in the crazy. Basically I’d describe it as being tightly constricted- herded away from friends he disapproved of (virtually all of them, and especially anyone who did not make him feel good about himself), life choices and opinions. I stopped wanting to talk about *things*, me who feels soothed by rambly lectures, because even the most innocent discussion could be a minefield. Nothing I liked or wanted was good enough. If I read around him, my laughter annoyed him. He would, given boredom, find fault with my facial expressions when I concentrated. Lacking any place to go, and constantly in a numb state of stunned incomprehension that someone was acting this way, I turned in on myself. It was that, or be evaporated completely.
Whenever he’d go away for a while, on a trip, I would start to be able to breathe again and we’d break up, but something would sabotage it and we’d click back together. Eventually stopped trying to talk to family and friends about it- they didn’t understand why I didn’t simply walk, and although they encouraged it, all it left me was embarrassed and feeling guilty I failed them for not dumping the Ex.
In hindsight, part of it was I never really learned to break up properly, or at that point, have an argument. Oddly, I’ve also also been the initiator with stuff like that- I broke up with my first two high school partners, initiated the fight that ended things with the next one, and every single time the Ex and I tried to split it was again, me. I broke up with Strong, I set the ground rules with the Swede, a temporary one month thing. Only, with the Ex, he did not listen to anything I said, which presented a quandary I never figured out what to do with until it was over.
I this were a BDSM porn story, I would have dealt with the Ex by locking him into a chastity cage and my inherent domliness would have won out. In reality, getting away from him, finally, meant acting like a battered wife making a break for it. After Strong’s presence in my life provided a wakeup call that I didn’t have to be miserable, I found an apartment I could afford behind my Ex’s back, signed for it, and then did everything in my power to avoid being alone together, up to not telling him about my address.
Him thinking I was fucking some man in a love nest provided an extra level of distance- up until I got an irate email with that accusation, I was still receiving outreach efforts from him implying I was unable to look after myself and he was here to rescue me- by loan or gift. Which, on the balance, was crazy and really summed up the complete lack of awareness on me as a person.
After about seven months of being broken up I stopped getting panic sensations when I was within an ten block vicinity to where my Ex might be found. Right now I’m still a little uncomfortable meeting him about paperwork, but I don’t think he’d be able to lure me back for love nor money. Nor crying, which was probably the most effective tool he had to chain me.
If he’d hit me, or just behaved like a cartoon villain, it would have been easier. However like many abusers, in his estimation, everything I did was a wrong to him that he was just reacting to. And, in turn, watching someone leave similarly ghastly circumstances and being able to help, at least shows I learned something out of the whole affair.