Kiss and Make Up Time

by Annie Kaszina on August 7, 2012

What happened after your emotionally abusive partner first shattered your trust?  It bears careful examination. 

The first fissure in your emotionally abusive relationship was like a nuclear explosion in your emotional world.  You felt as if your world had been blown apart. That explosion left you feeling devastated, and very, very frightened. 

Chances are, it also left you feeling very confused.  Yes, you may already have known that this guy was a bit of a Bad Boy, BUT… 

He’d told you that you were special – please, tell me he did that much at least? – and you’d believed him.  

“Special” meant so much to you.  It wasn’t so much a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, as a “Never Have To Set Foot In That Jail Again” card.  You’d spent your whole life wanting to be “special” to someone.  It wasn’t something you’d experienced terribly often.  It certainly wasn’t something you’d grown up with.  Or, perhaps, you’d been taught that you had to fulfil a series of conditions in order to deserve the label “special”.  

Most emotionally abused women were taught that they have to be selfless.  They were taught to be seen but not heard.  They learned, also, that they needed to be as easy on the eye as possible, also. 

They eventually learn – to their cost – that fulfilling all these conditions is NOT a a guarantee of specialness.  Although the opposite is certainly true: if they don’t fulfil those conditions – forever after – they’ll never earn that all important “Special” badge.

When you met your abusive partner, he made it very clear to you that he had the power to confer that badge on you, and he might even do that… if you treated him right. 

The first fissure in your relationship didn’t actually change that, did it? 

It shattered your trust.  It punched a big hole in your dreams.  It turned your world upside down.  That may sound a tad dramatic, but we both know it’s not.  That’s how it felt.  

When, after that first fissure, ‘normal’ – or semi-normal – lines of communication were restored, you had to talk about it with him, didn’t you?  You had to get him to see what had happened from your perspective, to hear what you had to say.  You needed a heartfelt apology.  You needed to be able to make sense of it together, and move on.  

Something had to be learned from that dreadful experience, didn’t it? 

Whether or not he said a pretty sorry, nothing actually changed for the better as a result of all that fall-out, did it? He carried on withholding that “Special” badge.  And other triggers appeared that led to a similar fall-out.  Your abusive partner showed the same behaviors again and gain.  In fact, he became better and better at making you feel worthless, and unlovable.  

Each time he did it, he hurt you so much it felt like you could hardly breathe.  It hurt so much you had to stop the pain.  

Pain has a curious way of narrowing your focus down to a single point.  That point was, always, him.  You had to be reconciled with him to stop the pain.  

That meant “Kiss and Make Up”, didn’t it?  It meant working even harder to earn that “Special Badge”.  It meant learning to step over the cracks in the relationship.  It meant pretending they weren’t there.  It meant spending your life trying to fill them – with good intentions, with love, with “understanding”. 

Have you ever seen the slopes of a volcano that’s still active?  The ones I know best are in Sicily.  As you climb towards the crater, the landscape becomes increasingly grey, harsh and barren.  It fills me, at least, with a primal anguish.  

Those barren slopes are rather like the emotional and psychological landscape of an abusive relationship.  Ugly, barren, harsh.  Nobody in their right mind lives too near the crater of an active volcano.   

An emotionally abusive man is an active psychological volcano.  He will submerge you, at regular intervals, in the molten lava of his fury.  He will incinerate your feelings and your self-worth with his eruptions. 

And you stay put.  

You kiss and make up because…  You tell yourself stories about your personal volcano being the best place in the world to be, really.  You tell yourself it’s special, because there’s nothing quite like living in such a dramatic place.  And when you kiss and make up, you tell yourself there’s something really special about the way you live, and the environment you live in.  

That’s the nearest you’re ever going to get to feeling special when you mix with an abuser.  And, of course, you tell yourself that’s the only way you’ll ever get to earn that “Special” badge. 

So, here’s the bottom line: your parents, programmers, and abusive partner were WRONG.  You CAN”T ever earn “special”.  You either claim it for yourself, or you don’t get it.  All that kissing and making up – which is really short for making up the fantasy again – has proved that to you.  Or it should have done. 

Which leaves you with just one choice: claim your own specialness.  Today.  While you think about it.  GO for it. 

Previous post:

Next post: