I offer what has surprised me in my pain: that life is not fair, but unending in its capacity to change us; that compassion is fair and feeling is just; and that we are not responsible for all the befalls us, only for how we receive it and for how we hold each other up along the way.
The Book of Awakening
This is part two of a two-part story on my Perspective on C. Click here to read Part One.
Five plus months. I’ve stopped counting days. Mostly.
That is how long it has been since C asked me to leave and sent me to North Dakota. It was the last time I talked with her.
From the beginning, I’ve been willing to talk with her at counseling, at the location of her choice, or on the phone. I’ve offered to meet her with my doctor. I’ve been willing to meet under any terms and conditions. C isn’t interested, leaving me questions lacking answers. The trolls have provided information and only C can provide the knowledge.
In reality, all C provides is silence. I’ll never know her truth. There are lots of possible explanations for the silence.
However, the simple fact is the relationship is over. I understand that. The reason it is over is my betrayal, secret-keeping and escalating series of lies is unacceptable. This I understand.
It is everything else I’m still confused about. To help me with understanding what she has done, I made a list of possible reasons based on my limited knowledge.
Diagnosis De Jour: Narcissism
The most obvious is C considers me a malignant narcissist and has adopted the zero contact approach to deal with me. If the opinion of the trolls in any way reflects C’s opinion of me she has taken the clickbait approach to dealing with narcissism: don’t feed the monster.
If this were true, and I was a narcissist, then she believes I think this is one big game and any interaction just feeds my ego and power craving…or whatever feeds narcissists.
Or, as a friend that knows both of us, and has been following this situation, stated that everything C has done from the moment she discovered my betrayal, secret-keeping and escalating series of lies has been about revenge and punishment. “C and her trolls think they are better than you,” says my friend, “so they treat you as such.”
“Revenge,” says Ester Perel, “is a lazy form of grieving.” C knows how to hurt me most and used it to her advantage. She cut off her heart, sent me away, isolated me from friends, weaponized my deception, and tried to break my link to the community.
Dolly Allen, and a number of other betrayed women have repeatedly reminded me the betrayed often say and do horrible things following the reveal of the betrayal. Dolly has encouraged me not to emotionally overinvest in the things C might or might not have meant.
She is right of course (as usual). If this is the reality, I don’t like it but I would work with C to move forward. After all, I’m asking her to accept my ugly, I will accept hers too.
Another friend added, “C has done nothing but take from you from the beginning of the relationship. Now that she has taken everything from you, you’ve served your purpose.”
My friend encouraged me to step back and be honest about what C has done since K’s phone call. “You have tried to do everything she asked and when you stand up for yourself she tells people you are ‘harassing her’. She is more than happy to use other people as foils to her feelings.”
Of course, “your former friends were more than happy to leverage it to their advantage and put the band back together, call you names, and help spread rumors.”
And what has she done?
She weaponized my shame to humiliate me further. She printed off emails I sent to K and went around town and showed them to friends and influential people. She cherry-picked my issues to create the most damage with those I was closest to including S, D, A, and M. She messaged, texted and emailed other people truth, half-truths, innuendo and ghost stories. She approached friends and family of my friends and offered dire warnings of caution to pass along to others. I’m sure there is a word to describe that behavior.
When I did stand up for myself and push back on issues of money and property she would accuse me of not taking responsibility, manipulating, or punishing her further using my guilt and love for her against me.
While I was fighting for the relationship C found a new boyfriend. She did this knowing I was committed to a conversation and I was living out of my van.
She told me one thing while she was doing something else including taking money from me, spreading rumors and innuendo about me, and turning a blind eye to the harassment and trolling from her posse.
Meanwhile, she was telling me she was hurting, broken, codependent, and damaged and couldn’t see me yet. Five days before her boyfriend wrote me she told me getting together “wouldn’t be a good idea.”
She lied to get what she wanted for as long as she could get it. She has spun a narrative that no matter what I do or say I will appear to be something I am not: narcissistic, sick, and dangerous. Hence the childish threats and attempts at intimidation from the all-male Troll Patrol. Which is ironic, because I’m never said, written, or texted any demands, threats, or attempts at intimidation towards her. I always said the same thing to C: I’m here when you are ready.
Not one time since this began has she sent me a kind word. Not once asking me how I’m doing, if I need anything, or even if I am okay.
Who does that after seven years? From a sycophants perspective, “I’m getting what I deserve.”
This is the one perspective on C I keep sticking my head in the sand about. I just do not want to accept that these are the things C is capable of doing. However, if I look at her behavior over the last 5 months this kicks everything about our relationship into a realm of unhealthiness I was blind too.
However, I don’t know if that is true. I still cannot believe she is that kind of a person and what this would mean about her and everything that has happened over the last seven years.
Or, despite her words to the contrary, she just wasn’t that into me and was looking for an out. The reveal of my betrayal just gave her the excuse she needed to show me the door.
Weaponizing my betrayal allowed her to play the victim so other people would carry her water. It also allowed her to get rid of me and not have to face any questions about her decisions. If people around her remind her how dangerous I am then she doesn’t have to struggle with the good feelings.
As a direct result men (and a few women) have flocked to her and took care of her house, acted as a foil to keep me off balance, supposedly held a fundraiser, helped promote her art, visited her all winter keeping her warm, and treated her like a fragile flower.
To the point that even one troll while demeaning me has referred to C as “our C” and objectified her as a Barbie-esque sex object. These all allowed C to get what she wants without having to do any of the hard emotional and vulnerable work.
In which case, she is just using my failure to do what she wanted to do anyway but lacked the integrity to say it out loud to me.
Others have reminded me that if the relationship were actually important C would have had at least one or two conversations. If she cared for me as a human being she might even have attempted closure. They are also right.
In this situation, she has no shame or remorse about her behavior because she lacks the ability to see her own dishonesty. Whereas I lied to cover my shame and fears, she lied to get what she could take from me. At least I knew what I was doing wasn’t okay.
In this scenario, a group of friends showed up to help C and hijacked the narrative. In her pain and anguish, she showed friends what I did and talked about her anger and fears. The interlopers ended up projecting their pain and opinions on the narrative in order to make C feel better and ended up introducing ghost stories. To soothe her pain she accepted this narrative.
For their own ego gratification, the trolls continue to fuel a Drama Triangle.
I really dislike this possibility.
Essentially, C, allowed a group of people to convince her every good feeling, event, and activity was a manipulative lie perpetrated on her by a charlatan. In this event, her friends convince her if it was good it was bad and if it was bad it was malicious.
They gaslit her reality to make themselves feel more important. I have a hard to time believing she would let people do something like this. She’s too smart but pain drives people to believe anything to avoid it.
She had her own side piece waiting in the wings. This would explain the initial trolling by her new love, his childish tough guy threats, and his attempts at intimidating. I know as a fact C had been in contact with Patsy most of the summer and all fall.
It also explains C decisions to blame me for her decision, hide her social media from me, and weaponize my betrayal.
This is also consistent with her pattern of ending relationships. The way her ex-husband found out about me was, she left the computer on so he could find our emails.
I hate this option, but it make the most sense to me.
There are some in-between possibilities too. Again, I don’t really know as I’ve tried to respect her space and not intrude. There may be more to the story. I don’t know.
However, the hard truth is, despite my betrayal, the relationship means more to me than to C. That is a brutal truth too.
So be it.
In the few times, I’ve asked C directly about her thinking and feeling, based on what I’ve heard, she spins the conversation, lashes out at me, and deflects away from what she feels and thinks, needs and wants. I’ve resigned myself to never actually knowing. I could spend an eternity guessing and never know. Guessing doesn’t impact her in the least and continues to give away my power.
The more I think about this, and the bullshit and intimidation tactics from the trolls, the more disappointed I am with C’s whole, “I’m a victim” act and the way she allowed others to weaponize my betrayal and divide us. As I’ve said, she has her own ugly and betrayals too.
Like me, she too has her pride.
I don’t know what is and isn’t true about C’s feelings or thoughts. All I have are third-party conversations. What I do know is I still care about C’s well-being and I still hurt. I also know the loss and loneliness will pass with intention. I will always care about her and cherish our life together.
If you love someone you do not simply unlove them or toss them aside when it is inconvenient. The heart does not come with an on-off switch. At least mine doesn’t.
My relationship was never an act for me. The benefit of all this writing, sharing, and learning, of course, is that confronted with the possible reasons for C’s silence makes much aware that if any of these things are even partially true, the relationship was never going to work. It was never going to work regardless of what she said to the contrary.
As a friend said today, “If it can be destroyed by the truth, let it be heard.” I did my part to hide the truth. I’m only responsible for my part. She’s responsible for hers.
All I can do is learn and lean into the future and love her from a distance.
Let the pain have a purpose.