we can keep trying, but

People who are abusive wait for bad things to happen to you so they can swoop in and save the day; that’s how they gain control. They want you to trust them, they want you to be vulnerable, they want you to lean on them so that, when you need them the most, they can pull the rug right from under you.

It’s a terrible lens – being wary of the “helpers,” coming to believe that anyone who is helpful is probably manipulating you, probably abusing you. That’s not usually the case; there are other red flags, plenty of other red flags. But it’s the helpfulness that’s the most immediate. It’s the helpfulness that makes me cautious.

We all need help. And when abusive people make you wary of helpfulness, what they’re doing is isolating you – making you afraid of the good helpers while getting close to you, learning what you want and need, and selling it to you. They’re helping you and they’re isolating you and they’re making you dependent all at once, so that when they pull out, you’re fucked.

I wasn’t confused this time, just angry at myself for letting it happen to me again. But I am grateful that I have an amazing support network now, and they were there to help. To truly help.

She worked me for a full year. A full year. I knew better than to trust her again. I kept her at arm’s length. But a full year had passed without an incident, and over time, I kept letting her in, she kept inching her way in, guilting me, helping me, guilting me, helping me, making me believe I needed her, making me believe Max needed her; and this Thanksgiving, she showed me that I made a mistake. Again. The same mistake I always make.

Forgiveness is not the same as giving someone the power to hurt you again. Forgiveness is not the same as giving someone the power to hurt you again.

Every time I go back, I’m so convinced – I so want to believe – that this time will be different, and it’s never different. I’m just always surprised by all the inventive ways she’s found to hurt me.

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me 893549685493869x over the course of 26 years, and what the fuck am I doing?


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