Relationships and the Power of Standing Your Ground

Something like love and respect.


According to my ex-boyfriend, 99% of women are ungrateful and I am one of them. Uh-oh. Looks like we might have a woman-hater on the loose. Someone call the United Nations Gender Equality hotline. I’ve flushed out a real-life, undercover misogynist. He’s all yours.

Yep, I have been analyzed, categorized and classified ungrateful by a man I haven’t seen in about twelve years. Although, considering I was up against such a warped conception stating that 99% of women are ungrateful, I never really had a chance at success.

So, what did I do to constitute such a radical characterization?

I no longer possess the desire to engage with him. That’s it in a nutshell.

Twelve years have passed and still, he seeks me out despite the fact that I have since married another man and have unduly expressed my disinterest in him.

Over the years I have had to block him on social media and email, but every now and then I click that unblock button because I have an internal battle about blocking people that have meant something in my life. The act of blocking can feel hostile and contentious toward the blocked. It is not unlike balancing an invisible sword over their heads which in turn affects our own karma. But some people leave us no choice.

Sometimes, people can’t let go of the past.

During a recent unblock phase, it didn’t take him long to figure out he was carrying an “Out of Jail” card. His name blinked with an incoming message on Messenger within a matter of days. How he manages to score this information so fast is beyond me. Some folks have way too much time on their hands.

Speaking of time, it is of the essence. We are all aware that there are only so many days to speak our truth to the people that matter in our lives.

He wasted no time in declaring his truths to me. He thought about me and my children all the time. He couldn’t forget me. Mistakes were made and he’d give anything to ease the discordant feelings still lingering deep inside. Twelve years and he is still trying for a past that will never come again. A filtered past that looks strikingly different through my eyes.

The past has a way of glamorizing the truth. The years roll by and it gets easier to peer through rose-tinted glasses existing to make everything seem beautiful by distorting the real facts. As a woman who has experienced domestic abuse for over a decade at the hands of her first husband, rose-tinted specs and the ability to romanticize the truth does not always work for me.

Truth: Some people show up in our lives to reinforce what we don’t want.

I am not suggesting these people are any less important than the ones that stick around. They are just as significant because it through these interactions and relationships that we are pushed to assert ourselves;to believe in ourselves enough to stand our ground.

Life presents us with options; forks in the road that lead to alternative destinations and different realities.

Thirteen years ago, and divorced, the option for me looked something this:

Would you like another serve of asshole? Or would you prefer to experience real love and respect now?

Naturally, I was opting for the latter. But, before I got to the love and respect part, I had to sit down to one more turbulent meal of asshole. In the form of Mr 99% guy. I found myself on repeat. Almost.

He waltzed into my home and wanted control from the get-go. The earliest sign was when I cooked for him for the first time, presenting a meal that was instantly met with a grimace and a rude remark. My heart dropped. His mother didn’t cook that way. Turned out, his mother did everything better than me. Do I look like your fucking mother?

I should hope not. Especially when wearing black lacy lingerie, strappy stilettos and clutching a bottle of edible body oil. Vanilla flavoured. There are benefits to divorce. You get every other weekend kid-free to swing from the proverbial chandeliers. We swung hard. His mother stayed out of it. Thank goodness.

My friends became his enemies.

Not really. But if I dared smiled when greeting one of my friends, I was accused of deception.

“You haven’t smiled that wide all day!”

“Umm … what the?”

Can you image how he coped with my male friends? He loathed every one of them and didn’t bother to conceal the fact.

My children became his enemies.

Not really. But exerting dominance over children has a way of making narcissists feel empowered. He actually kicked my three-year-old daughter because it bothered him that she wanted to cuddle up with me on the lounge.

Red flag blazing.

I became his enemy.

Not really. But I stood up for myself and my children with a fire I could not deny. A fire kindled from years of living on my nerves with an abusive husband and a promise I had made to myself — No longer would I accept ill-treatment from a man.

With each and every one of his attempts to coerce me into submission, I responded with a strength I never knew I had. Even when he physically hurt me in the most sadistic ways.

His pain was inflicted with malicious intent. Whereas, my ex-husband was an outright hothead. This guy did stuff to offend my delicate parts; like pinching my nipples till they bruised or tearing my anus so that I bled for a week. He would strike when I’d least expect it — during a hug or a play-rumble.

Yeah.

Truth: Some people show up in our lives to remind us of who we don’t want to be.

Playing the victim gets old. So does the stress that comes from continually being on guard. Sometimes, people put us in a position where we have no choice but to stand by our convictions regardless of the outcome. Even if it makes us feel horrible on the inside. These are the moments that shape our lives. The forks in the road where we face a choice to either change it up or continue choosing similar experiences.

We always have a choice. Always.

Life whispered:

Are you done with mistreatment, Kim? Would you like to raise the bar and attract better experiences into your life? Are you ready for love; real love?

Yes please.

He was the catalyst in choosing to break the cycle. The final straw at the end of a long and dark road littered with abuse, tears and heartbreak. Thankfully, the experience was fleeting in the grand scheme of things, lasting about six months. Although, the relationship was profound nonetheless — just in a different context to how he views it through those distorted rose-tinted glasses.

It was through that relationship, I learned how we choose for ourselves is largely based on self-perception — the manner in which we view our own worth; what we’re prepared to settle for and what we will fight for.

I fought for respect.

I chose to be alone rather than face another long-term bout of pain and dysfunction. I chose myself and I chose my children. If that makes me ungrateful, then so be it because I’d choose it again in a heartbeat.

Sometimes, it makes sense to remove the rose-tinted glasses and see the past for what it is. If we can’t do that, the lessons go unlearned and we might find ourselves on repeat while faintly hearing life whisper truths through our soul. Something like respect. Something like real love.


Also published on P.S. I Love You on Medium