A Woman Scorned

I hate liars. I hate being lied to and I hate being lied about. I have spent the last three months being lied to by a person I loved. A person I trusted has continually twisted the truth, even when asked point blank. Now she’s lying to my friends. Misrepresenting me and situations I’m in to my friends.

Now, of course, I wonder what else she has lied about. I dedicated a whole blog post to her story once and I wonder how much of it is true. I don’t know if she was an abuser. I just think she is and was an asshole.

You know, when you go through a break up, there’s always one person who feels they’re the victim, the one wronged, when in actuality it is always both who are the aggressor and the victim simultaneously. I’ve gone back over the last three and a half years and recounted all the things I did wrong. There’s a fair few of them. Mistakes, moments of anger, moments of hurt, all the while trying to deal with the horror of watching my mother die. Over the past year, though, while she was saying she was unhappy, I was throwing everything I had into her career. I put my stuff to the side as I became her manager, the director of her shows, her music editor, her publicist. I spent time, money, energy and love on her life whilst learning new things and discovering abilities I didn’t know I had. I put our marriage to the side because I thought we were strong enough for that. And I thought once it was all done, once she was on her way, we could reconnect and then it would be my turn. But no. Once it was all done, almost immediately in fact, she started an inappropriate relationship with an 18 year old girl. And she did this behind my back. And then she kissed this girl in the middle of a dance floor surrounded by our mutual friends. And lied to me about it. All of it. I had to confront her with the fact that this had been confirmed by someone else before she admitted it was true.

She was scared I was going to leave her. She made a lame, manipulative attempt at her own life because she was so scared. I was with her the whole time. I was still angry, hurt and betrayed, but I stayed with her because we were married and marriage means working through the shit.

We decided we would stay together. We both made the decision, but then she fucked up again. When I was sick in bed, she went out and got drunk three nights in a row. One of those nights she was with the 18 year old idiot. She says nothing happened. I believed her. Maybe I shouldn’t have.

Two days later she ambushed me at our therapy session saying she didn’t want to be in the marriage anymore and hadn’t for a long time. She said I had disappeared. She said I was always tired. She didn’t want to have sex with me because I was always complaining that I was fat. Well, so did she. All the time. But what’s good for the goose is apparently not good for the gander.

We separated. I took her word for it. She flip flopped back and forth between us going on a “break” and us divorcing. We agreed to a six month break. She told me, my family and my friends that she wanted to “find” herself so that we could reconnect in the future. She told my sister that she would fight for us.

She lied.

Two days later she told me our marriage wasn’t working because she couldn’t deal with my mental illness. She told me it was over and she was never coming back and I should have known that. I asked her what had changed. She said “I’m getting shit done.” I asked her if there was someone else. She said no. I asked her if she had fucked someone else. She said no.

She lied.

She said I could stay in the apartment until I found somewhere else to live even though I had just lost my job, had no money and my father had just left the country. She left to go to her sister’s. That apartment was toxic. I became unsafe.

I was placed on unofficial suicide watch from that day, a Monday. While she was away at her sister’s I moved all of my things out and went to stay somewhere else. My brother, my poor caught-in-the-middle brother who was waiting for the call to go back overseas for work had paid rent and stayed in the apartment. I didn’t speak to her for a week.

She had promised me, her best friend and her therapist that she would stay single. She told me she was scared of doing it alone, but she would try.

She lied.

I contacted her after a week. I asked if I could come see our cat, Orpheus. She told me the 18 year old was there. I was in a restaurant at the time. I had to be taken out the back where I collapsed. A friend was with me and was scared for my safety.

She tried calling me that night, but I had blocked her. The friend of mine had sent her a nasty message and she wanted to see me to talk about that and finances. She got hold of me the next day saying this was getting out of hand. Could we meet? I said no. She pushed and said I was telling lies about her and she was suffering, but she loved and respected me. I told her I was suicidal and didn’t want to see her. She pushed more. I agreed to meet.

We met. She told me she missed me, wanted me in her life, she still loved me and she told me that maybe we could be together again. She told me she was drinking all the time, not eating, and that the girl I suspected she was fucking was her “business partner”.

She lied.

She later told a mutual friend that she had never said that. She lied.

She kept asking me what we were going to do. I told her I didn’t know, I couldn’t answer that question for her. I said I was still in love with her but it was not healthy for me to see her as she couldn’t give me what I wanted. She insisted on staying in contact with me. I relented and we made plans to meet again in a week. We hugged. She told me to look after myself. Please. Losing me would tear her apart.

Two days later I went to the apartment to pick up my brother. I saw her and the 18 year old idiot walking up the path to the apartment I had left less than a week before. I had an anxiety attack. A bad one. A mutual friend left work to come get me. My brother sat in the car with his arm around me as I sobbed. My friend went upstairs to tell her to give me some space, to leave me alone. As I was in the car, she came downstairs. My friend was angry. She stood by the car and stared at me saying little. I railed at her. She accused my brother of spying on her. She lied. She accused me of abusing her during our relationship. She lied. She told me again that she loved me. She lied. She told my friend that she was dealing with this break up on her own.

She lied and lied and lied.

I was taken to the hospital. At the hospital, waiting to be assessed, I forced my brother to tell me what he knew. He had heard them. He had heard her fucking the 18 year old in our apartment – sorry, her apartment less than a month after we separated and less than a week after I moved out. I lost my shit. I thought I was going insane. I sent her the foulest message I have ever sent anyone in my life. I wanted to destroy her. I wanted to put my death on her. It was a shitty thing to do. I couldn’t control the pain.

I wanted to die and she kept lying and lying and lying.

Now today, she told me she’s happy. That it was all worth it, all the pain, the cruelty, all the disrespect she showed me. She’s extremely happy – and bloated from all the drink, pimpled, broke, and still fucking the teenager. She has no shame. But, you know, at least she’s happy.

I would like to wake up now. I would like to wake up and six months have passed, and I have my own home, my cats are with me, I’m acting again, and I no longer hurt. To say this all feels like a surreal dream is a predictable cliché, but there you have it. Clichés become clichés because they’re rooted in truth.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. It’s such a childish, naïve thing to say, but again it’s rooted in truth. I got married to prevent this from happening, because marriage means staying together and working through it when things get tough. If it doesn’t work, you make it work because you got married. You made vows. You signed a legal document. It’s like a legal promise to not give up when shit gets hard. That’s also called being an adult. Some of us are better than others at that.

I’m here, living now. I no longer want to die. The voices in my head telling me that her treatment of me proves that I’m worthless are being drowned out by anger. Fury. Rage. She is denying that I paid back a loan I got from my boss to pay for the first term of her dance school. She is denying that she ever told me she wanted to possibly work towards being together in the future. She is using the treatment she received from her ex as a way to silence me from publicly reacting to her utter arseholery. Fuck that.

I mentioned above that I have gone through all the mistakes I made in our relationship. Let me tell you, there is nothing – nothing that I have done to deserve this. Nothing.

I have done nothing except be too good for her. I have done nothing but love her despite her immaturity and selfishness. I have done nothing but provide a home and support and encouragement. I have done nothing but ask for the same in return.

She does not deserve me. Not now. Maybe not ever. The measure of a person is weighed by how they take responsibility for their own shit. She has been found wanting. And she will crash and burn and be left in exactly the position she is fighting so hard not to be in:

Alone.

I, on the other hand, will rise up and shine like I have always shone. I will blind her and everyone around her with my dazzling power. I hit rock bottom. But I’m a fucking goddess, and I will smite anyone who tries to dim my light.

I am better than all of this.

🖕

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Anatomy of an Arsehat

I think we human beings have a big problem. We spend millions of dollars every year in search of this problem, it is taught to us as children by our parents, by our religion, by our politicians, and it causes more psychological and emotional grief than any of us realise. It is the pursuit of perfection. For some reason, there is an unnamed paragon of virtue that exists somewhere in the world that we are supposed to live up to at every moment of the day, every day of the year for as long as we live. Some people call this paragon Christ, which is cool, except he was a human being just like the rest of us. Others call this person Gandhi, or Mother Teresa or some other such public figure that is held up to be superhuman in their goodliness. That’s the thing. We are supposed to be “good” all of the time, and one slip into not-goodness means we are crap human beings who should be forever vilified and tarred and feathered and left out to rot and be fodder for vultures and hyenas.

I’m sorry, but that doesn’t make sense. In fact, it’s a bunch of bullshit. We are not Prometheus tied to a rock. Our livers are not to be consumed on a daily basis by a Chianti-and-fava-bean-loving eagle because Zeus said so. I defy anyone to put their hand up and declare that they have never in their lives snapped at someone they love, or lied a little, or pushed in front of someone in a queue, or not let that car in that’s been waiting to pull out into traffic for 20 minutes, or any number of little not-good things. Okay, let’s raise the stakes a little. Who can say that they haven’t cheated on a partner, or treated a family member badly, or embellished a sickness for attention, or called someone names, or behaved cruelly or like a brat or like an immature douche bag? Seriously peeps, look deep inside yourselves. Every single one of us has done something – usually to someone else – that we feel bad about. If we allow ourselves to look back on that act, we feel a sick, prickly sensation behind our sternum, blood rushes to our face, we feel hot and twitchy. If you don’t feel these things, you’ve either come to terms with your humanness and therefore deserve some sort of delicious biscuit, or you’re a sociopath and don’t care. No judgement there. Good for you.

Something I hear from a lot of friends is this notion of “deserving” things. I don’t like this idea of a rewarding Universe/God/whatever, as if ticking all these boxes of good deeds will earn us the spiritual equivalent of a free toaster oven. The Universe gives us what we ask for. Period. It doesn’t care if we’re “good” or “bad” or indifferent because the Universe has no ego and neither will it get a free gift if it recruits more souls. Our behaviour is our responsibility, no one else’s. Whether we are “good” or “bad” is entirely our choice, and our accountability for that choice is what means something. As I’ve said to my partner, my friends, and anyone who cares to listen to me pontificate, I don’t actually care what you’ve done as long as you own it. And because we all have the capacity to be an arsehat for various reasons we all know the feeling of embarrassment and shame in the admitting of it. I have moments of looking back at my behaviour towards past partners and cringing at my assholery. The fact that I was very sick at the time holds no water as I still feel responsible for my actions – as I should. But bashing myself in the head because of past behaviours that I have admitted to and apologised for (when given the chance) serves no purpose except for ensuring I feel shit for longer and giving myself a headache.

Of course, there are people who actively abuse others. This is something completely different from people just being arseholes. Abuse happens more than it should and if it’s emotional abuse it’s difficult to prove. There is no excuse for abuse and those who abuse others for whatever reason, in my opinion, are people who desperately need help themselves. The definition of abuse is thus: to treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly; to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign; to commit sexual assault upon. As someone who has experienced all of these things, I can tell you that abuse has the propensity to seriously affect and/or destroy lives.

However, there is a trend at the moment on some social media sites (tumblr, I’m looking at you) in which arsey behaviour from a partner, workmate or family member is being labelled as abuse, specifically a form of abuse called Gaslighting. Gaslighting is a term used for a form of emotional abuse. As a fellow blogger Alfred MacDonald states: “There are several definitions of this term, but in a nutshell it refers to the act of trying to deceive someone into a false reality by discrediting their emotions. Like most mental health terms, it describes something serious; also like most mental health terms, it is ubiquitously misused.” I’m not going to go into this too much as it’s a detailed and complex issue, but accusing someone of abuse when their behaviour is not abusive is as much of an arsehole act as anything else. Having said that, the accusation in itself is a cry for help, so like everything arsey that we do there should be a measure of understanding in how this behaviour is dealt with.

To recap: being an arsehole is not being an abuser. Being an abuser is waaaaay more serious than being an arsehole. Learning the difference between the two is advantageous for happy life-living.

Back to the issue at hand. In my little world view, if you are sorry for hurting someone, if you acknowledge your accountability in a toxic relationship, if you can raise your hand and say “yep, it was me, I fucked up”, then no one should use your behaviour as evidence that you are a horrible person. Because no one is infallible. No one really has the right to point the finger at any one else and make a judgement on their character because, let’s face it, everyone’s an arsehat at some stage of their life. Everyone. We’re supposed to be because we’re not perfect. And truthfully, as much as we’re all connected and have this shared knowledge of emotional responses, no one really knows what anyone else has experienced. We’re all equipped with different tools for dealing with these experiences, and some are better at dealing with this shit than others.

Of course, this knowledge by no means should be used as an all-access pass to the arsewipe expo. Running around being a dick on purpose and then saying “oh, I’m sorry. I’m just being human” is not cool. The point is, try not to be a dick. If you are a dick despite all your best efforts, own it, accept the consequences of it, fucking apologise, and move on. Here endeth the lesson.

 

Love Isn’t Enough

Trigger warning: contains references to drug use, violence, abuse and rape.

I remember the first time it happened. We were in St Kilda East, opposite the cemetery. Stupid idea for two energetically sensitive people to live opposite a massive cemetery, but there you go. We were breaking up for the second time. I had confronted her about her return to drug use, and by confront I mean scream “fucking junkie” in her face. She punched me in the mouth, held me down on the bed and raised her fist to punch me again. She called me a dumb fuck, ugly bitch. I muttered for her to get out of my house. She did. I cried. I went in to work at the parlour the next night, my lip swollen and a blood blister forming. The girls took care of me, but all I wanted was her.

I begged her to come back. She did eight months later. By this time I had spent a few months living in a factory cultivating an amphetamine habit that I didn’t have to pay for, I had worked in Sydney for the first time and been anally raped by a client whilst there, and had been homeless for a while, bouncing from couch to couch. I had finally found a little flat to call home in St Kilda, and she came back. And then she left. And then she came back. Even when she was with someone else, she came back. This was to be the final two years of our relationship, this push me/pull you bullshit.

The second time it happened was at the flat. I had found needles and poorly written love notes from another woman. I confronted her again, this time adding “whore” to the well-versed “fucking junkie” routine. I slapped her because she called me stupid. She doesn’t remember this, but I do because she fractured my nose in retaliation. She slept in my bed that night, while I lay on the couch, sobbing. She was gone in the morning.

I punched the wall next to her head once because she stole my entire $700 pay packet to score some heroin. Then I took her to a Buddhist temple to be cleansed. She thought I was taking her somewhere to kill her. I guess she didn’t know how much I loved her, that regardless of how many fantasies I had of beating her up and throwing her off the balcony, I could never harm her. Love does that.

The last time was the last time anyone ever laid a hand on me again. I forget now what the argument was about. Probably drugs, again. I goaded her, that I remember. I pushed her hard with my words until she snapped. She held a knife to my throat and tried to smash my head through the kitchen window. Fuck, she was strong. I have strength, yes, but she was propelled by something more forceful. I couldn’t push her away. She suddenly let me go, grabbed her things, and stumbled out the door. I didn’t see her again for years.

I grieved for her for a long time. I thought she was The One for me because I felt so strongly for her. I didn’t realise until years later that the physical stuff was not the only abuse we heaped on each other. She lied to me constantly, about stuff that she didn’t even have to lie about. I called her names to hurt her because I couldn’t touch her. She stole money and jewellery from me. I read her private phone messages. She took drugs and worked at the parlour one New Year’s Eve instead of spending it with me, so I cheated on her with another woman – I was free to sleep with whatever man I wanted to, but I broke our one rule in spite. She shot up anything she could get her hands on. I cut myself. She’d proposition men for drugs. I laid on my back for her habit. We played stupid games with each other, her using, me enabling until we burnt ourselves out. We were like a supernova that imploded into a black hole.

The funny thing is, we loved each other fiercely. That’s probably why we lasted for five years all up. She still says that I was the perfect girlfriend. I beg to differ, but I loved her, there was no doubt about that. Sometimes, though, love isn’t enough. We were bad for each other. She lost herself in drugs and I lost myself in her. While we were together, terrible things happened to us and we weren’t in the frame of mind to get help. Our network was sex workers, brothel managers and drug addicts – people who had their own stories and horrors to contend with. We removed ourselves from our respective families because toxic relationships tend to make their inhabitants do that. Oh, there was love. In retrospect though, looking back years later, it is so clear that it wasn’t enough.

Ten years later, we’ve reconnected and we’re friends. Good friends. Some people raise their eyebrows at this. I guess I wanted her friendship because I refused to be the victim and I refused to make her the perpetrator. I’ve told very few people the particulars of this story because I still refuse to be the victim in this. I spent a lot of my life victimising myself because of the things that happened to me at the hands of others. I needed to, and identifying as a victim of abuse is very important for the healing process to begin. But by the time she and I were finished I was done with it, I was done with being the person bad things happened to. Therefore, I think, I was able to forgive. She and I have talked and talked and cried and talked about that time. She has apologised again and again, still does, to such an extent where I have to tell her to stop because she doesn’t need to anymore. I can see by simply spending time with her that she’s a completely different person now, as am I. I said my sorries to her too, as one thing this relationship taught me is that things are rarely one-sided.

I’ve suffered abuse. At the hands of my mother, at the hands of a child molester, at the hands of a few rapists, and at the hands of a lover. It does not define me, but I know more of this subject than I care to. No one can tell me otherwise.

If you know more of abuse than you’d care to, please get help. Talk to someone. Recovery is not about being angry at the person who hurt you (although that helps for a short time), it’s about finding a way to move on with love for yourself. Talk therapy helped me immensely. Maybe it can help you too.

This post is dedicated to this year’s Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, whose strength, resilience and bravery is an inspiration to many.

CASA
Support for victims of rape and sexual assault

http://www.casa.org.au

Family Drug Support
For families and loved ones of those with addictions

http://www.fds.org.au

ASCA
For adults surviving child abuse

http://www.asca.org.au

Victim Support Australia
Help for victims of crime

http://www.victimsupport.org.au

Child Wise
Help for victims of child sexual abuse

http://www.childwise.org.au

Domestic Violence Resource Centre
A very helpful site for those experiencing domestic violence, also caters to LGBTIQ

http://www.dvrcv.org.au/support-services/national-services

1800RESPECT
https://www.1800respect.org.au

Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association
Although there is no over-reaching national association, this page has links to other organisations that offer support and help to current and ex-sex workers. (Based in NSW)

http://www.scarletalliance.org.au