Sorry for being MIA, it has been one hell of a week. Ironically, I was dealing with a lot of major Knight of Cups reversed.
Picking up where I left off at the beginning of the week, today I am going to continue exploring the effect the emotional manipulation has had on my life.
There was some degree of emotional manipulation in every romantic relationship that I was in after Lee. I feel that I even started to become a bit emotionally manipulative myself to the men who actually treated me well. It was like I didn’t know how to be in a relationship that wasn’t emotionally toxic, and if the man didn’t bring the toxicity into the relationship then I would. It is hard to remember specific moments, but I know that I wasn’t happy.
When I truly started becoming emotionally manipulative to others was when I found out Ross had cheated on me for the first time. Of course there was a lot of emotional manipulation and abuse in my relationship/marriage with Ross. He would stay out all night drinking with his friends while I was at home with the baby, and then make me feel like a nag and a crazy person for being upset about it. When I found out that he had cheated on me for the first time, I decided that I would start cheating on him too. However, somewhere deep down I knew that I wasn’t cheating to find someone to leave Ross for, I was doing to make myself feel better. To feel something. Often the men I would cheat with would develop feelings for me, and I played into that to keep them around. It was all part of the drama to me. I was dying for attention and was doing anything that I could to get Ross’s attention. I would cheat until Ross started to get suspicious, and then I would leave the guys without caring if they were hurt or not. It is hard for me to be honest about who I was during that time of my life, but this is how I was. I didn’t mean to be this way, but I know that this does not make it okay. Just because I was hurt did not give me the right to go around hurting other people.
The last time I cheated on Ross was a bit different than the other times. I was still being manipulative, but this time I thought that I would actually leave him. I had found a place to live and was planning to go when one of my “friends” spilled the beans to him. She really had a thing for him, so she pretended to be my friend to get information from me and then told him everything I said…even some things that I did. After he found out about this, he blew up (understandably). My first reaction was to try to fix things and stop the conflict. In the end, we decided to try to work things out. Because all three people in this situation got so hurt this time around, I swore to myself that I would never cheat on anyone again, and I haven’t. However, during the year following this even I had to deal with a lot of emotional abuse from Ross. Some days I would come home from work and he would be totally normal. Other days I would come home and he was in the process if throwing all of my stuff out on the driveway. Sometime he would tell me how much he loved me, and other days he was calling me a bitch and a whore to my face in front of other people. He told all of his friends and family some personal sensitive details about what had happened between us. Even though I know that he needed to talk about it to someone, it made it hard for me to be around people. I felt so alone during this time and felt like everyone around me hated me. I felt like I couldn’t reach out to my friends for support because Ross would just accuse me of cheating.
After I got pregnant with Gail, the emotional abuse died down. This was a good period in our relationship where we were focused on being more honest with each other and Ross was working to break his addiction to pain pills. However, things slowly got bad again as of last year when he started using hard drugs. I have talked about it quite a bit, but he lies to me and makes me feel like a bitch and a nag for asking him questions about his activities and drug use. I will go into this in another post but recently he even resorted to calling me names and demeaning me during an argument because he overheard me talking to a friend about how I was thinking about leaving. When he gets angry, he emotionally intimidates and manipulates me with name calling and by using a loud aggressive tone. He may not be doing it intentionally, but either way, it still has the same effect. It makes me cower and strive to calm him by complying with what he wants, which I think in this case was for me not to leave him.
This is what I have been dealing with this past week. Things have blown over now I think, but there were some really hard days where I just felt so overwhelmed and exhausted from all of the emotional manipulation, be it intentional or not, and emotional whiplash. I’m just so tiered, and I don’t know how to get through it or open our relationship up to communication so it can be different.
I am starting to learn that because I have been emotionally manipulated by men so much, I no longer feel comfortable in healthy relationships. Healthy people feel…itchy…to me. They make me feel suffocated. I want a healthy relationship, but when a healthy person comes into my life I don’t feel like I can trust them. Something HAS to be wrong that they aren’t showing me. I usually make them go way out of their way to prove themselves to me and even then I don’t believe them. Also, when I find myself with a healthy person, I tent to take on the characteristics of my emotional abusers. If I can’t be the victim, I become the perpetrator and disguise my mistreatment with good intentions until I run the person off. I don’t want to be like this anymore. I don’t want to become what has hurt me. I feel that my past with emotional manipulation has strongly contributed to the anxious avoidant attachment style I have developed. I want love but I am scared that I can’t trust people and that if I put myself out there I will just get hurt in the end. To avoid this, I push good people away and choose to remain in emotionally abusive relationships where I know what to expect. Even though the cycles in these relationships are toxic, there is something comforting in the predictability of them.
As I try to get better with recognizing emotional abuse an manipulation in myself and others, I am shocked at how even though I can see emotional abuse and realize that it is wrong, I still have a physical biological reaction to it. Instead of having the urge to fight against it, I actually feel this pull within me that tells me that it is my job to fix it and make it better by giving in. This pull compels me to go against my own logic and truth for the sake of calming the confrontation. No matter how much my heart tells me that I am in the right and am being manipulated through scare tactics and emotional abuse, I feel the pull. It triggers so much anxiety that I just give in to it so I can feel normal again.
I don’t think I am emotionally manipulative anymore, my negative experiences taught me how to find my way out of those behaviors. Thankfully, mirroring my abusers is no longer my gut reaction to healthy people and relationships. However, I know that I am still being manipulated by others and that my fear of this causes me to push away good people and embrace those who hurt me. I plan to start looking into ways to work of this, and to heal the wounds that came from previous instances of emotional manipulation and abuse that I have experienced.
These shadow work posts are truly intended for my own self discovery and development, but I thank those of you who took the time to read this. I will continue to explore my shadow aspects relating to the Knight of Cups reversed until I feel that it is time to move onto something new.
Love Always, AnxiouslyM