so. i'm sticking with zeus. i've told a handful of people about what he's done, and i've been careful not to mention the shoving and smacking to most. and i've been told icily, "it doesn't have to be physical, emotional abuse is enough! you're not with him anymore, are you?"
but here's what's funny: almost everyone i know is in an abusive relationship, chronically abusive, or has just left one and doesn't even acknowledge the abuse. most of these people choose to remain in harmful relationships with friends, seeking approval from men and women who constantly berate, belittle and besmirch them. some aren't even blind to what's going on, merely stepping into a blind spot when they choose time and again to try again. i'm shocked at how many people have been beaten, nearly killed, raped--i mean, hell, a woman who constantly derides other women, even her own domestic violence clients, for not leaving their husbands or partners...has birthed three children after ripping up a $500 dissolution contract because $500 was too much to pay to leave a husband who had raped her in her sleep. if that's not messed up, neither is watching a man in his fifties plead for me to return to a friendship with his ex, who sent him to the hospital all busted up with a dislocated shoulder, and become cranky when i say that it'll never fucking happen.
and i've left all the abusive relationships i've been in far, far behind, every last one, except this one (disclaimer: i don't find it particularly abusive, and the elements i found truly disturbing are two years behind us). and i'm not blind to the fact that zeus relies on being able to quash my wants, needs and desires and force his rules upon me, and that the fact that they're ever-changing, sometimes from one day to the next, is an abuse tactic. it's one of the things i had to realize about quite a few of my fe/male partners and besties, one of the traits my therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists have warned me against: "leave any man who constantly changes the rules because it's designed to manipulate, confuse, torture and control you."
but geoff, one day, lecturing so passionately his face was red, glared at me such a stare that blared: "take heed, beth! you've got to learn: this is life, this is not therapy, therapy is only good for you to take a stand, not for lessons on romance! got it!?" that i got it: i've got to make allowances within a romance, within a marriage, within a life partnership for some form of abuse. because, as he and carver lay it out, therein lies the thrill. sometimes love isn't sweet, patient, understanding, and lain out in tender discussions rather than shouting matches or thrown dishes.
geoff was gesticulating, gyrating, spittle and laser-precision eyes. literally yelling: "therapy is all about coddling! therapy is fake! therapy is not real life! people do not have all-pure lives, they do not lead angelic and holy existences!" and i was thinking to myself, "geez, i kinda figured...marci's a little too peacenik for the real world! maybe a tiny bit of this and a whole lot of what she says, and that's a normal human being!" "your therapist tells you that nobody's supposed to hit, ever! be mean, ever! undercut you, ever! plot against you, ever! hurt you just to hurt you, ever! but if you take all those things away, you'll never have a relationship! you'll always be searching for someone who doesn't exist!"
List of Things to Listen To for Interpersonal Relationships: started.
the way my brothers and i fight with our significant others and friends is really quite mild. we just laugh, point things out, listen, and talk until a solution has been found...or can't be attained. we just don't flip out (unless i'm dealing with years of repressed silence. then i go all WTFARGHPISSY and "haha, so what's for dinner?"). the way zeus fights is very upsetting for me even though i understand it: usually he'll insult me, going for the jugular, make sarcastic remarks, twist my own words or their intensity right into my eyes, enjoy my pain, get angry when i freak out, then come back a day or four later sweet as molasses and ready to map out what was really said and why.
and that is certainly manipulation, because what he wants is to get his way after hurting me so i feel about as bad as he does. but is that really abnormal? is that really worth walking away from?
he doesn't hit me. he's never going to assault me. he apologizes, sometimes sincerely and sometimes knoewing that he's really hurt me and that it feels glorious to have me beg for the fight to stop. sometimes it's just annoying, but kind of fun, to have to play along.
i've hurt his feelings good and hard, so i figure i can pay the price, which is to have mine scrubbed on sandpaper and fantasize about beating him about the temples while he gloats, "oh, that wasn't the microfiber spa towel?" and cuts me a twinkle. ilene: "thoughts are thoughts; thoughts aren't actions. think any damn thing you please. hell, you don't think mean enough; you need it!" so i just think, and i decide that it's actually a lot more fun being with him than with most, and that he grows up in twitches and elbows.
and that shitstorm i'll always steel myself against and crawl through fearfully, because i know there's a great big lolly waiting for me, and a giggle, and the nicest sex i've ever had.