In some ways, these topics are already covered as part of the larger story arc – but, let’s stop and take a closer look at the for a moment.
If you haven’t already, be sure to head over and read part 1 of this series of posts (this is part 10), in particular the Introduction section that puts this into a bit of a larger context, and gives a couple of disclaimers (like, for instance, assuming that I’m talking about a specific person or persons in these posts.) Even if you don’t read the rest of that post, read the Introduction. This isn’t just about a single person in my life, and it’s not about men or women. While it happened to a guy, and it’s being told by a guy, you can change “he” and “she” to any gender you like, and it still fits.
Just Tacking More On
Sometimes, it’s the big things that do you in, sometimes it’s the little things. In my case, the big things became an amplifier for all the little things that happened, and continued to be so for years to afterwards (I think the next post will finally begin the “wind down” of this, where I’ll explain that statement further.) See, all that stuff – the yelling, screaming, bending my brain, etc. meant that everything else just piled on with the rest, pushing me further and further. Sure, as I’ll explain later, it all got stuffed in a compartment of my mind with the rest of it, but you can only shove so much in there. Eventually, it’s going to break. It’s all got to be dealt with.
I’m a horrible liar. And, by that, I mean I can’t lie with a crap, so I never bother. People that know this use it against me in funny ways – and I do mean funny as in haha, not odd. I also don’t have much of a poker face. What I’m thinking is usually plastered right on my face, for everyone to see.
Here’s the thing: I like it that way. Being deeply honest means I never have to deal with the backlash of lies. I never have to keep track of what I’ve told each person. I don’t have to keep a separate set of realities in my head. And, I’m that way about everything. When someone asks me for something, I give them the most honest – to my knowledge – answer I can. Now, I have been known to exclude things from that answer, though most people see when I do that, too. Current example: I owe a friend some money. He called about it, and I could have lied and said “Yeah, I’ll have it for you tomorrow,” then dodged him until I had the money. Instead, I was blunt and said “It’s probably going to be next week – I’m rushing to try and make it happen.”
Though, I will say there is the “social nicety” lie that happens, though that’s more of a script thing. People ask “How you doing?” and I say “Fine, and you?” People don’t like it when I actually answer this. They look really confused when I saw what all is going on.
And even the lack of poker face thing is nice. With minor exclusions, if I smile at someone, they know it’s genuine. Anything I show is MOSTLY what I’m feeling – there are times I mask it as well as I can. Another example: Someone messaged me while sitting around with friend (phone was on vibrate), looked at it, and someone asked “What was that?” “Just a message.” Two people, at the same time blurted out the a name. They knew who was messaging me just by the look on my face.
It’s handy, because it means, in theory, I don’t get to hide much. My friends end up being mirrors (what, you didn’t think all this blathering tied together somehow? Oh, how wrong you are…) There will be another story about this later, as we get to the part where the cracks begin appearing.
Now, I do know plenty of people who lie. I’ve got a couple of friends who are consummate liars, and my senses are pretty good for when someone blatantly lies to me. I don’t understand the fascination – they’ll lie about fairly innocent things, in my opinion. Or lie when “Sorry, I’m not telling you about that.” would have sufficed.
My general rule is to treat everyone as if they we honest, and evaluate as I go. For a while that got a little… out of whack… but that’s been my general mode of operation.
Now, here’s the thing: I treat my significant other as if they kept the same honestly level as myself. Even when I know they’re lying, I’ll let it go – I assume there’s a reason for the lie. They simply get the benefit of the doubt in all situations, even if I see it on their face. That causes some long term problems if you have someone lying to you in your life. You’ll accept what they say, but eventually the lies are going to get bigger.
Oh, and I suppose I should point out I eventually became an expert liar – to myself.
I’ve encountered some really weird manipulations over the years. I’ll give to really specific examples that are so completely strange. The first one was in a relationship that was getting rocky. She, had anger issues, but had no interest in seeing anyone about that. But, one day she starts telling me that what we should go see a couples counselor. Honestly, I saw that one coming a mile away: by going into counseling together, it gave her a third party to utilize against me. If she wanted to have improved the situation, she would have started by looking for counseling on her deep seated anger issues that she very frequently turned against me.
Very similar, I had a relationship where my partner decided we should go see a couples counselor. She had tossed that idea out there, and at first I resisted it. Then, a couple months later, I told her “Let’s do it – let’s go see a counselor.” I was honest and earnest about it – if that’s what she felt would help smooth things, then it’s probably a good idea. So, after the relationship was over, she told me she didn’t actually want to see a counselor: “You called my bluff. I didn’t expect that.” That’s not a bluff: it’s both a lie and a manipulation, a way of trying to strike fear of the situation into me.
I was often manipulated with fear. I heard many times in one relationship how if we didn’t resolve things to her satisfaction, it was going to end. Not resolve things between us – I learned that part was a lie, actually. What she meant was “do what I want, or I’ll leave.” Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t, but she twisted that knife so often, eventually it was the undoing of the relationship.
In the end, it’s all about control. All of this stuff – gaslighting, lying, cheating, manipulations, screaming, yelling, threats. All of it is just vying for control of a relationship.
While going through and reading up on a lot of abuse stuff, one of the things that stuck out was control of decisions, and control of money.
Now, control of decisions is weird. See, I run my own business – I make all the decisions, because if I don’t make decisions, no one else will. I own it, run it, and am the sole employee. No problems there. When it comes to a significant other, I expect our decisions about us to be mutual. We discuss it, we kick it around a bit, and we decide what we think fits for both of us. I own part of a second business that is a partnership. We both have roles to play (I’m tech, he’s fundraising, we do strategy together), and we make decisions as a team. We discuss them, we figure out what’s going on, and we make our decision together based on as much information as possible.
So, in my business, I make decisions based on the input I see, and go from there. I got chewed out more than once because I was “making choices that affect both of us.” Except, I was making choices in my business. At that point, what she was really wanting was control of not just the decisions I made, but part of the business. I’d tell her what was going on, and what I was planning on doing: I didn’t hide things. But, she felt the need to control it.
Then, there’s money. That one gets weird. I’ve had two relationships where I’ve handed control of the money over to someone else. I really don’t much care – as far as I’m concerned, it’s just another job that needs to be done. In one of those, the person told me “well, I don’t have time to do this, and it’s too stressful.” Fine, so I took over it, and ran it the way I do. Two months later, she took control of it back – I didn’t do it the way she liked (IE, the way she did it.) I kinda threw up my hands on that one, and walked away from the money thing. Control of money is sone of those things I’ve seen come up more than once in pages about abuse in relationships. Was that part of the abuse? I have no idea – I tend to just think it was something that needed done, and I didn’t care how it got done. But, I also acknowledge that it’s possible my thinking was compromised.
Here’s the big thing: I never control of those relationships. I’d much rather have a partnership, talk things out, and us – US – make decisions based on them.