So, it’s December. After Christmas. I’m in the process of downloading a cold: headachy, post-nasaly, cranky. I’m just an inhale away from sneezy and runny’s arrival. Cootie is compliments of one of two possible cootie-hosts: someone in the can we flew back to DC in, or Joanna, who cared for my furries for 9 days while I holiday frolicked in Seattle. I do believe it was probably Joanna, who called in sick the day after I arrived home. It’s a good thing I like that kid.
Christmas. It was pretty hard. Don’t get me wrong. I was happy to be with my cute family, to include Libby this time. Just the 4 of us. It should have felt magical, I mean, it was even snowing Christmas morning (photo credit is all me). But it still hurt, despite all the love and support surrounding me. JO and I went out one night. I told him everything. Evvverythaaaaang. And he still loves me! I just felt like I was surrounded by a faint fog. Not anxiety this time. I didn’t need one xanax the entire trip (!), including the air travel part. This cloud was a pervasive sadness. Every first is hard. I’m glad I was always honest with my folks about everything, as much as I know I freaked them out with my very adult story. We talked about it, but not all the time. When we did talk, they were reassuring and settled me down, the way Daddy did when a big thunderstorm would roll through at night as a child.
8 months. 8 months alone, doing the hard work; the sort of work she’s never done, and I’m thinking, she never will. That’s not because she’s special. That’s because she’s manipulative and sneaky. She’s a love bomb. And only she gets to decide when it’s over.
Love Bomb: Where the abuser showers the victim with love if the victim acts how they want (reinforcement). If they don’t, the “devaluation” stage follows, where they withdraw all their kindness and instead punish the victim with whatever they feel is appropriate, whether that’s shouting, the ‘silent’ treatment, or even physical abuse.
Devaluation: When love bombing turns into devaluation, it can be traumatizing and heartbreaking for the victim. Everything they do from that moment on may be to try to bring back the wonderful person they thought they knew. In reality, this person never existed. All the gifts and affection were “transactional” because they were always thinking about what they can get out of the situation. The fog may eventually lift, and it will be come apparent that all of the actions were empty promises.
All of that jargon is compliments of the Business Insider.com: Manipulative people hook their victims with a tactic called ‘love-bombing’ – here are the signs you’ve been a target”. You’re welcome.
So what does all that mean to me? Is it “fake news”? For what it’s worth, it speaks to me, and I suppose I don’t need to justify it here if I don’t want to. SO, what it means to me is that … I was so stuck. I thought I was stuck. I felt stuck. I tried to leave. I tried realllllly hard to leave, not long into what ended as nearly 19 years of my life – half my life! I told her multiple times that I wasn’t sure I was even gay, that I wasn’t in love, that I needed to find myself – and culminated the conversation with a drive to Seattle. Surely, she’d let me go; I was only 24.
But she didn’t let me go. She hounded me. She harassed me. She called me every morning. She called me every night. She insisted on speaking at least once, usually more, every day. This was before cell phones without roaming charges, or cell phones in every joe-shmo’s pocket, for that matter. We paid for that shit! I had to get my own line to the basement because my mother was having a rightful fit about the phone ringing at 10pm, 11pm, midnight… for 9 months. I went to a shitty psychiatrist. But I also worked a fun job (for a 24 year old) at a pet supply store and was making friends. 9 months, and I could’t fight her anymore – couldn’t fight her persistence and dedication … or that’s how I explained it at the time. She was “there for me” when I was difficult – she deserved some sort of award, right? I caved. I gave up. I let her take a one-way flight and come and get me. I doubted myself the whole drive back – over the Cascades, through the desert, and over the Rockies we drove; ugh, the Dakotas, less the Blacklands (they were cool), and then through Chicagoooo! No, really, I don’t remember the route past the Dakotas.
It’s like I just vomited a blog, and imma gon need to come on back to this tomorrow.
Preview: She didn’t let me leave. It wasn’t up to me, even 2,000 miles away. She had plenty of opportunity to leave over 18+ years, for legitimate reasons, and she didn’t. Not until she had someone else to fill her heart, first. Never to hurt this hurt. It hurts too much.