So this one is going to be a little on the personal side of things, and it’s going to be a long one. But hey, blog post number 4, might as well go big or go home right? This week I’ve had to deal with a ghost. Someone I wish would just stay in the past, but I can’t seem to keep him there.
I don’t consider myself a weak girl. I am strong willed, strong minded, I believe in things so fully and am unwavering in my morals and values. I am also guarded, skeptical, stubborn, and terrified of putting myself in a situation where I am vulnerable.
J and I started dating in January 2008. I was 18 years old. I had met him 6 months prior through my best friend Des. She sent me his picture, and gave him my phone number and he started texting me. At the time they went to a Pentecostal church. I wasn’t raised in a religious home. My dad came from a Catholic family and my mother’s parents were Free Will Baptists. We never attended church. So this guy was three years older than me. I ended things with my high school boyfriend a couple weeks earlier and had just graduated from high school. When J told me he only dated girls in CGC all I could think of was, challenge accepted. For months we hung out off and on. I started attending church multiple times a week. I went to services, a learned a lot. I adopted the ways of the church, I became separated because it was what was expected of me. I changed everything about who I was. I didn’t go into it thinking that I was doing all of this for the attention of a guy. I truly thought that while doing this I was being honest and open with god. Hindsight is 20/20. Fast forward to January, J finally broke up with a girl he had been dating but wasn’t really into him, so we started hanging out. Within a week of hanging out I made a decision that set a pretense for the entire relationship going forward.
J was a manipulative and hypocritical man. He is someone who no matter what the situation is he plays the victim. Doesn’t matter if he causes things to happen to him, it’s always someone else’s fault, someone did him wrong. I knew these things, maybe I was blinded by the fact that I finally got the guy I wanted, or maybe I just didn’t care. If he wanted to do something that didn’t go with the things our church stood for, smoking, drinking, pre-marital sex, well it wasn’t a big deal because he knew better. (I know, it doesn’t make sense) However if I wanted to trim my hair, wear pants, go to a movie or do any of the things listed previously, I needed to go to my prayer closet and repent. Where was I in my relationship with god if I had these struggles? I have never been one who can sit down and study the bible for hours. I can read the same scripture for hours. I can memorize scripture and love and accept it for being the holy word of God. That being said, I feel like I’m more of a spirit seed. I feel closer to god through praise and worship. I can listen to a song and feel the words and the spirit so much that I intercede for hours. In his eyes that was wrong. Something was wrong with me and my relationship with god. He was always trying to fix me.
It wasn’t all bad. The man is charming, he can make you smile and can make you laugh. He could be adventurous, and he has an incredible family. He provided for me. I worked, a lot, but he paid the main bills, mine was always just spending money. He would play the guitar and piano, we would go hiking. Three years with someone can’t be all bad. Sadly, in this case the good doesn’t outweigh the bad. I wasn’t allowed to see my family except holidays. I changed from a vibrant young woman to the shell of someone who was never going to be enough. Abuse isn’t always physical. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually I was taken advantage of, for that I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive myself.
Fast forward three years. J went to youth convention for a week or so a state away. I couldn’t go because I had to work, and because, well I didn’t want to go. I had started skipping services here and there. Bailing on events because I was exhausted. I was tired of trying to be perfect for him, and for the pastors of the church, with whom I was never enough. I was constantly compared to two other girls in the church who were no better off than I was, but I didn’t go out of my way to kiss ass, so I was the one on the outs. I skipped church that Sunday night that they came home. J got in after 11:30. He came into the bedroom and told me he was going to sleep on the couch tonight. He just came back from youth convention, makes sense he didn’t want to sleep with his girlfriend. I tried to give him a kiss and he cheeked me. He looked like a zombie, and I knew something was up. I had to work at 5:30 in the morning, so I just went back to bed. I go to work and I feel off all day. I can’t explain it, but when I was driving home I thought, “watch all my stuff be packed up by the door, something isn’t right, he’s going to end it today.” I walk up the steps, unlock the door and next to the door is all my stuff piled up. He sat on the couch stoic as I surveyed the room. All I could choke out was “are you kidding me”. He just sat there silent and finally said I’m sorry. He then told me that he felt like god was telling him to end things with me because my relationship with God wasn’t where it should be and he was supposed to be with a woman of god. I. Wasn’t. Godly. Enough. For. Him.
I ran out the door got to my car and called my dad. I managed to choke out that I needed to borrow his truck to move my stuff into his house. By the time I got back to J’s apartment I wasn’t in shock, but I was pissed. I spent the last three years of my life being bossed around, waiting on this man, being told I wasn’t enough. I flipped. I started moving my stuff out, I threw some pictures, shattered some glass, yelled at the top of my lungs, I had a full out crazy moment. I left and went home and didn’t leave my room for 3 days. When I did leave my room I went to a salon and cut my hair off. I worked with J at a nursing home, so I knew he would see my new hair. I knew it was going to be hell. It was.
I left the church. I couldn’t bare seeing him, proud and walking around unaffected. My pastors didn’t even acknowledge that I was going through anything, until of course I cut my hair. Instead of being met with compassion and empathy, instead of praying with me or trying to help me I faced, ‘how could you do this? I am so disappointed in you”. I found comfort in my family and music.
For the next year I spent most of my time trying to lose weight and trying to pick up the pieces. That’s rough when you see that person 5 days a week at work. Not to mention he still wanted to have a hold on me. Telling me the next man I dated he had to approve because he still “had love for me” and that no one was going to love me like he did. He would call and text me daily, maybe because he missed me, maybe because he’s just that much of a jackass. Enough was enough. I moved two hours south west of my hometown to get away from this man. I never looked back.
The first year or two I didn’t hear from him much. I dated a few guys here or there, never really able to let my guard down enough for anything to happen. J started slipping back into my life little by little. A phone call here, a how you doing text there. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I started dealing with him on a regular basis.
A year after we broke up J knocked up some girl and had a child with her. Has been through multiple failed relationships, left the church, found a new church, left that church, hasn’t been able to get his life together and is now 30 and living with his mom and step dad. (nothing wrong with that if you have to, but he just doesn’t want to work any harder because he’s lazy) I have been called multiple times by a drunken or high J telling me how much he misses me, how leaving me was the biggest mistake of his life and he just wants another chance. I’ve been on the other end of the phone while he’s driving, drunk, with him screaming at me telling me if I hang up on him and he dies it will be my fault. Obviously, I know that’s not true, but part of me still feels this sense of responsibility for him.
This week he has tried contacted me 5 days in a row. I don’t always answer, but he keeps calling. I don’t want to block him because he will find another way to contact me. Or maybe deep down I like knowing that while I’m living my life, things are going well, he is suffering. Maybe I still feel responsible for him for some stupid reason. He tells me he’s lonely, that he doesn’t have anyone to talk to. He tells me that I’m the only person that is kind to him. He sounds so incredibly pathetic and sad and alone. I sit here and read what I’m writing and I’m annoyed with myself. This man, five years later is still manipulating me and I let him. I let him do this to me. I let him make me feel this way. I know everytime I see his name how I’m going to feel afterwards. Used and stupid. Why is my heart so hard to every other person trying to get in but he knows just the right way to push me to get back in.
I would never take him back. I don’t want to be with him, that much I know is true. I can’t fix him ( I shouldn’t want to), I’ve tried forgiving him, but I cant forget and I can’t trust him. Yet here I am still picking up the pieces after every contact, trying to be strong and seem unaffected every time he decides to come crashing back into my life. What does that say about me? Why am I so weak when it comes to him? I’m trying to navigate being an empathetic person, and doing what’s best for me, somehow I don’t think at any point with this man that those two things can go hand in hand.
I don’t know what it’s going to take for me to close this chapter. It’s spanning almost a decade at this point. Maybe I don’t want to let it go? Maybe I’m always just going to be damaged.
Now that I’ve taken a stroll down memory lane and laid my emotions out in a blog, a glass of wine is calling my name and I’ll listen to Better Man by Little Big Down on repeat for a while.
“I know I’m probably better off on my own than lovin’ a man who didn’t know what he had when he had it. And I see the permanent damage you did to me, never again, I just wish I could forget when it was magic. I wish it wasn’t four am, standing in the mirror saying to myself, you know you had to do it I know. The bravest thing I ever did was run”
“I hold onto this pride because these days it’s all I have. And I gave you my best and we both know you can’t say that. I wish you were a better man; I wonder what we would’ve become if you were a better man.”
Thanks for sticking with me tonight, it’s been rough.
I wish you enough.