[Disclaimer: I wrote about half of this blog post... about a year ago, and I never got around to finishing it. It was really difficult for me back then to write coherently about this... Tonight, as I'm going through and trying to think of a post I feel authentic, and passionate about - and there are quite a few - they are still way too raw to write about quite yet. I've picked this one up and am attempting to finish it tonight - so if you sense some discombobulation, you know why. :) xo]
I'm an optimist. I'm an idealist. I'm a romantic. Just like anyone else, when I really like someone, those fancy rose colored glasses come on and that guy I'm with becomes superman... perfect. Good looking. Kind. Awesome. Unstoppable. Worthy. ... And most of the time, in hindsight, that seemingly perfect guy - was not the perfect guy for me. At all. While we'd all like to believe that people can change and become better - if only we are patient enough, we love them more, we pray more, we punish and teach, train them, we are kinder,... no. In general, people don't change. The problems you have had with your partner from the beginning of the relationship... 90% of them will be there to the end. The question is - can you live with them? Do the positives outweigh the negatives? (According to the acclaimed Dr. Gottman, the magic ratio is said to be 5:1 - though I personally think that's the MINIMAL amount. I'd argue the happiest couples have a ratio more like 20:1.) I recently ran into a friend who told me that she had just left her boyfriend - not broken up with, left. Raises an eyebrow, huh? It did for me - she had left him because he didn't seem to understand what it meant to be a man, her man, her boyfriend. Because of that, .... he treated her horribly (and the stories she told me were heartbreaking and absolutely awful). It kind of reminded me of a short lived relationship I had with .... the Emotional Terrorist.
The Emotional Terrorist:
Insecure. This bugger is all kinds of insecure. He (or she) comes in a variety of forms - but there are a couple that are just absolutely despicable. Abuse is imminent. He'll call you names, "a bitch, a whore, a slut, ..."... he'll bring you down so low you have no idea which way is up. Then he'll put on the kind mask and say, "baby, baby, you're my princess - I didn't mean to hurt you. I can't believe I did that - I won't ever do it again...." The Emotional Terrorist will look for all of your sensitive spots - and just poke them, gently at first... and then sooner or later stabbing you with a figurative 12 inch blade over and over... and over again. You must walk on eggshells - all the time. I used to spend all of my energy and time trying to help my Emotional Terrorist be secure with himself, with me, with us, with life, with his friends/family. Freakingly exhausting. I used to cover up all the blemishes and did everything I could to show the world that this hell of a relationship I was in, was... perfect.
Rollercoaster. He'll pick you up for a minute, a few days, a week... and then throw you down again. Rollercoaster. With crazy unexpecting turns that take the rug from underneath you. Things may seemingly be going smoothly. It may feel like things are finally settling down and it's time to relax. Nope. Down hill steep 90 degree angle to the ground. Screaming. Eyes blind and stinging from the flood of salty tears. .... and then suddenly, the ride will suddenly slow down, he'll be by your side gently caressing you seducing you with promises of forever and deep love. Your breathe calms as you crave some sort of human connection, to be soothed and protected. The emotional ups and downs are so insanely intense - it's like being addicted to crack, I'd imagine, never having done crack. When you're down, you'll look to anything or anyone (even the Emotional Terrorist) to help you back up. He had a way of taking me from those lows and with his sweet talk, helping me find that "high" again. I rationally knew this relationship was dead, that it was just crazy insane - but I kept going back for more thinking that if I am more kind and patient, he'd get better. It was kind of addicting - the "savior mentality" that happens. One day, he scared me SO MUCH, I snapped out of it. I walked away with only some bruises. Some people are not as lucky.
False Hurdles. Because this person is not a whole person, they'll set up hurdles for you to prove your worthiness to them. Get a job and hold it. Look prettier - more like that girl/guy over there. Dress sexier. Read more books to show you're smart. Show off what a great person you are by hosting dinner parties. Not enough time has been met before I can commit to you. ... One after another, each hurdle that you thought you had passed will break you down until you are no longer a whole person, just like the Emotional Terrorist. I guess, if you were/are a strong secure person, you wouldn't bother with trying to prove to the Emotional Terrorist that you are worthy... but really, how many of us are really that strong and secure? This is the part that really gets and breaks a person down - when I finally broke away from my Emotional Terrorist, I no longer knew who I was. It took me a long time to find myself again... and really like who I am.
I think now, having been through and seen some crazy and some good relationships firsthand and via my friends/family - I can say, the best way to avoid becoming an Emotional Terrorist or becoming the victim of one is: 1) be true to yourself, 2) if you don't know yourself, go find yourself, and 3) and if you don't like yourself, find a way to like yourself. Forget "saving face" so much and focus on "saving [your] soul" --- making life count and meaningful, not a farce.