Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to pick up the pieces when it’s all over. Gloria Naylor
Dear friends and family,
I am writing this post for you because some of you are worried that you let me down. You asked me if there was something you could have done to prevent me from getting hurt. You watched powerless as I was diving deeper and deeper into the darkness of his world.
You did try to warn me though. You expressed your concerns. You tried to speak to me. You were wondering where the happy, easy-going Pascale that you knew was. You realised that I was vanishing in front of your eyes. I was avoiding you. Isolating myself. Lying to myself and to you.
You could see that I was becoming someone I was not. You were aware that my relationship with him was wearing me down. But I brushed all your worries aside. I pretended that I was fine. I even smiled and said I was happy with him. You see, I really believed it was true. He kept telling me that he was helping me. He said I was damaged when I met him. That he had built up my confidence. He had helped me feel better with myself.
But then everything changed.
I told him many times.
“Yes, you built me up, but then you tore me down.”
“What you give with one hand, you take with the other.”
“One day you’re Dr Jekyll, one day you’re Mr Hyde.”
I did not know what had changed, what I had done wrong. After all I was supporting him in all his endeavours, giving him advice, making sure that he kept his goals in sight. Doing everything that I could so he could be successful.
Yes, I was unhappy, crying almost every day. Howling in pain like a trapped animal. Feeling unbelievable pain. But I thought the problem was with me. I thought that maybe I hadn’t completely dealt with my divorce and it was affecting me now. I thought I was the problem.
How could I have ever thought that the man I loved and who I thought loved me was controlling me, abusing me, annihilating me little by little, for his own benefit?
How could I believe that he could purposely inflict so much pain on me?
I knew his behaviour was causing me some anxiety. I knew he was lying to me blatantly. I knew he was chatting and flirting with other women constantly. I knew he was not paying attention to me. I knew I was insignificant in his life. Invisible.
But I thought he was immature, insensitive, and maybe a bit childish. I did not realise that he was undermining my mental stability on purpose in order to completely subjugate me.
The abuse was so subtle.
It was like Chinese water torture.
Micro aggressions every day. Time after time after time.
“I swear, if you don’t change, I will leave.” Drip!
“All my friends think you’re crazy.” Drip!
“You can’t force someone to say I love you.” Drip!
“Gemma is asking if I’m sleeping alone tonight.” Drip!
“Where is the Pascale I met?” Drip!
“My client is really gorgeous, all the other PTs are jealous.” Drip!
I started doubting myself. Maybe I was a bit too insecure and jealous. Maybe he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Maybe he was right and I was crazy.
But then he would suddenly become all loving again.
“I love you so much.”
“I’d be nothing without you.”
“I want the best for you.”
It was all so confusing. He was a good person after all – or so I thought. My mind was in such a daze that I was unable to see he was destroying me.
My dear friends and family, do not blame yourselves. The only person to blame is him. He knew what he was doing. I didn’t. You didn’t. We didn’t
He broke my heart. He broke my spirit. He broke me.
What matters, my dear friends and family is that you are here now. You are here standing by my side. Listening patiently to my woes, comforting me, reassuring me and giving me hope.
You are here, picking up the pieces.
Helping me to get whole again.
That is what true love is.
Lots of love from me.