Today is a beautiful warm day, like summer. I took out my bikini and with it came a waft of Costa Rica, left over from the trip I went on with narc in December. It has triggered so many flashbacks and I am struck with this almost desperate feeling that I wish I could go back and do things over. All of those times my gut was telling me to walk away, I wish I had. The times I wanted to scream at him to just f*** off, I wish I had.
Before we went to Costa Rica, I had lined up a few friends that would stay in contact over email. I called it my emotional safety plan. How sad that I knew I’d need one.
On our second night on the trip, he made me cry. I was amazed it had taken that long, that we’d made it through a day of no conflict. But on the second night, I sat in a restaurant while he berated me in a seemingly neverending stream of harsh words. I remember feeling so ashamed, knowing the couple at the table next to us was sitting there wondering why I was putting up with it, pitying the girl who was being abused. I wished they would say something, but I was also grateful that they didn’t. I asked him to stop, but he kept going until he finally said the thing that hit bulls eye and I ran to the bathroom sobbing, broken.
By the end of dinner we’d finally made peace and went to sit on the beach under the moonlight. I don’t even remember what I did to make him mad then, but he stormed off leaving me alone in the night. I’m actually not even sure if it’s that I don’t remember what I did, or if it’s that I never knew. He had such a way of getting angry at me so unexpectedly, I ultimately learned to just stay quiet and go with whatever he was doing, and certainly never asked questions. When you don’t know where the electric fence is, you’d rather just stay put where you are.
In the middle of the trip, I got sick – fever, loss of appetite, extremely weak. The first day he said it was just sunstroke. We were sitting in the lounge when it started to hit me. Since he was sitting there listening to his earbuds ignoring me anyway, I went back to the room to try to get some rest. He crashed in a few hours later, obviously a few drinks in, threw on the lights and started a dance party. He didn’t hide the fact that he was terrifically annoyed with me for not wanting to party with him, but eventually he offered to draw a bath for me to try to make me feel better. That is literally the only nice thing he did for me while I was sick, and boy did I hear about it over and over again. Yes, you filled a tub with water for me. You’re my hero.
What did I not hear about over and over again? When he condescendingly said to me: “You’re not really sick. You don’t even know what you’re feeling.” Huh?? Um, yes I do, I’m feeling really really sick.
I didn’t hear about how he yelled at me in the car because the GPS sent us on a treacherous drive, and how in the height of his anger he called me his ex-girlfriend’s name (because apparently I just made him so mad like she used to).
In the airport coming home we had a delay of several hours. We decided to go into town and walk around, get some dinner. I was still really sick but I knew I’d better not get in the way of his good time so instead I seized the opportunity to stop into a pharmacy to buy some medication and kleenex. When we finally made it back to the airport, I was so thankful to finally be able to lie down but he wasn’t done partying and pestered me to go to the bar with him. I looked at him with desperate eyes and said, “I’m really sick, I just really really need to lie down.” He left his things with me and off to the bar he went on his own.
As we were boarding the airplane later, he looked at me and asked, “Why do you hate me so much?” I don’t even remember what I said. I just remember my brain was screaming out at me to break up with him, but I kept thinking ‘don’t do it now, you still have the whole flight home, and your car is at his house. Wait til tomorrow.’ And then tomorrow became the next day, and the next day, for another month and a half.
It’s surreal to think back on all our shared moments. That was me? Why didn’t I speak up? Why did I let him get away with that? I know why, but I guess in the strength and safety that starts to come with healing I just feel so angry that I let it come to that, that I let him push me around, that I didn’t scream back at him and tell him he was NOT good enough to be in my life. If you can’t be caring when I’m sick, get out. If you can’t be loving when I’m sad, get out. If you can’t speak with kindness, GET THE F* OUT!!
I hope this experience with him has taught me to trust my gut. I hope it has taught me that my boundaries are valuable and essential and not to be compromised. I hope I do better next time.