How to get out of an Abusive Relationship: get into the Audience of your own Life
How to get out of an abusive relationship:
Jerry Springer moments. Oh, how I’ve had them. When we date an Asshat we get a little batshit. Here’s one that would’ve made Jerry Springer chortle with glee.
My first Asshat, the Greek God, came to a party/adult sleepover at my childhood home when my parents were out of town.
He decided to play pool all night and wouldn’t talk to me at all. I don’t still don’t know why. My guess is that he had a perverse desire to exercise his control over me.
I spent the night escalating my attempts to get his attention. First I was flirtatious, then I was needy, then I was angry, then I pretended to be aloof. Then I tried seduction, extortion, badgering and a denouement of pitiable ass-kissing.
He could not be deterred in his quest to render me inconsolable.
The following morning, after we woke up, he pointedly looked at me and went straight back to the pool table, picked up the cue and began racking the balls. I wanted to rack his balls.
But instead I flounced over and tried to pries the pool cue from his kung-fu grip.
Given he was 200 lbs. of granite, this was not effective. He simply tweaked the pool cue out of my claws and bent to shoot. This is when I gifted him with a resounding slap across the face.
I remember my now-brother-in-law Kenny looking up from his Captain Crunch breakfast bowl with both surprise and an eager hilarity to see what might transpire next.
What happened was the Greek God filled his chest with righteous anger and picked me up by the shoulders lifting me so high my head practically scraped the ceiling. Shaking me he yelled, “Don’t you ever slap me again!” Then he unceremoniously dropped me on my ass.
This did not, however, stop me from pelting after him as he took his leave and practically throwing myself in front of his car so he wouldn’t drive away. But drive away he did as I dissolved into paroxysms of abandonment hysteria.
Oh that poor darling girl.
If only she could have gotten into the audience of her own life. If only she could have looked down upon that pitiful little wreck crying in the middle of the street she would have told herself, “Well just look at you weeping after a man who treats you like a whipped dog. Are the moments he’s loving and kind enough to make up for this humiliation? Don’t you see you deserve more and are worth more?”
Getting into the audience of our own lives, especially in our Jerry Springer moments, can give us the detachment we need to make better choices. It can help us extricate ourselves, even briefly, from our emotional/sexual addiction to our Asshat long enough to give us perspective and maybe get the help we need to overcome our addiction.
I had several more Jerry Springer moments with the Greek God, and did some repeat performances with my second long-term Asshat, Mr. Cruelly Handsome.
But I remember the day when getting into the audience of my own life finally set me free. I’d been dating Mr. C for five years and for the last three of them had been trying to get him to put a ring on it, to no avail.
Finally Mr. C couldn’t take the pressure anymore and moved out of the house we shared. I had an incredible sponsor in Al-Anon at the time (a fantastic 12-step program for those of us under the thrall of an Asshat, even if he/she’s not an alcoholic) and she made me promise not to speak to or see Mr. C for at least one month. A kind of a detox.
That woman called me every single morning at 8 a.m. to check on me and kick my ass if I was backsliding.
Some days I answered my phone and other days I didn’t. I was still bargaining with myself about keeping Mr. C, even if our relationship had taken a huge step backward.
And then it happened. I was running our dogs at the dog park when in the distance I saw a tall, broad-shouldered man enter. My dog Shelby took off at a sprint and leapt into his arms.
It was Mr. C. I hadn’t spoken to or seen him in three weeks. He strode purposefully across the grass toward me. When he got to me he had tears in his eyes. For the record, he’d had tears in his eyes on several occasions, usually when he’d cheated and wanted me back.
This time he walked up to me and determinedly got down on one knee.
Holy shit. I realized in that moment that he was about to propose. As soon as this became evident I somehow detached and watched the scene unfold as though I were in the first row at The Mark Taper forum watching a Greek opera.
I noticed the amphibian nature of his tears. I noticed he didn’t have a ring. I noticed my heart wasn’t happy when he said, “I want you to be my wife.” I noticed a golden retriever taking a massive crap just over Mr. C’s right shoulder. I noticed the thought I had, which was, “Yes, accepting this offer would put me straight into the shit.” And I noticed how calmly I said, “I can’t accept right now. If you feel the same in six months let me know.”
And that was it.
Jerry Springer went on hiatus to Gstaad. I felt a free-floating sensation of calm. I was free. The spell was broken and I knew I didn’t love Mr. C anymore, and even more to the point, realized I’d never loved him if love meant kindness, consistency, mutual regard.
Two months later I started dating the man who would become my husband and the father of my children. There’ve been no Jerry Springer moments ever since.
Have you ever had any Jerry Springer moments? Are you still having them? What did you notice when they were happening? What might you have told a friend if you saw them happening to her?
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