Saturday, February 15, 2020

I hurt. Now what?

I spent my long-ago 20s with a bad man. He was handsome, charming and good in bed. He was also impulsive, manipulative and violent. Everything was my fault. If I were more sensitive to his needs, we wouldn't fight and he wouldn't have to "act out." If I were more attractive, he wouldn't have to cheat. If I wasn't always trying to belittle him, he wouldn't have to drink so much. So I spent my every waking hour -- and many dreams -- trying to figure out how to bolster him, how to make him feel more secure.

I almost married him. It wasn't until we were in California -- he was trying to get into San Jose State and I was going to get a job to support us -- that I said to myself, "What am I doing?" I looked at my bruises in the motel shower stall and had an awakening. While he was at the college, I packed and took a cab to the airport. I went to the TWA counter with my paper ticket, told them I was sick (not exactly a lie) and changed my flight. I went back home. I never actually saw him again, though we had some unsavory exchanges over money and belongings.

I spent years of couch time discussing him, trying to get over him. I was also blessed with very supportive friends. My oldest friend was especially helpful. She swore to me that if she ever again heard me say of a man who hurt me, "Oh, he didn't mean it," she would kick my ass.

Last week, she kicked my ass.

Henry hurt me. He can't help it, of course. He is recovering from a brain injury. Hyper sensitivity and paranoia are not uncommon. I understand this intellectually, but I'm still in great pain because my dear friend was needlessly mean to me and is not remotely sorry.

I have a tendency to think it's my Christian duty to forgive, to accept people as they are, to love them as they are. But my best friend pointed out that I don't deserve to be hurt.

I get it. I see the pattern.

I know Henry is not totally responsible for his actions. I also know that I shouldn't let it hurt me so. Yet it does.

I think it may be time for a tune up. Perhaps I need to look for a new shrink. Isn't this what insurance is for, to help us when we hurt?


  1. The insights offered by a therapist might be helpful. I'm curious how the patterns repeat.

  2. This touches me. You were brave three times in this post. First, you got the hell out. Second you got the help you needed. Third, being aware of when Henry is out of line. I disagree that he's not totally responsible. I can't forgive him regardless of his mental illness. You never hurt someone. (Man, I'm glad I don't know him. He'd be in a world of hurt.)

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