Yesterday, the Orphan and I had the ever-dwindling opportunity to eat Super Burritos (one of our shared favorites) together at the hole in the wall next to Big Lots; it was nice because it’s been a while…(by a while, I mean like 2 weeks or something). Yeah yeah yeah, we live together – but you might know how that goes with two broken people under one roof: lots of time alone, in separate rooms, being broken for our own separate reasons…
He’s suddenly looking better everyday when I see him , as if there has been some kind of boulder lifted from his shoulder blades at a gradual pace. He is just like any other broken man that I know: proud and tough as nails – unable to resign even for a moment – unable to accept defeat (even when it’s shoving a brick down his throat) – working out the trauma he has just come through in abstract ways that personally soothe him best – he knows what he needs and wants, and he’s ready to get up and go out looking to find it.
Two weeks ago, he told me that he’d be going abroad for the Holidays – going “home” to his native country to be with his parents and childhood friends for he holidays. I will admit that part of me (being the Abandonment Issue Queen that I am) was crushed at this news; but the bigger, more humanitarian part of me was thrilled to hear that he misses them and desires a closeness to them at all. I settled on the agreement of helping him get his clothes folded and packed and smelling clean for the hugs he’ll be giving to his mom and dad and sister. This specimen of the Male Persuasion (the Orphan) is truly a rare creature; and it’s not often that I say this, but he has my 110% faith, trust and support in all he does. Since he technically began living with me, there are things that I haven’t been able to peg in regard to his overall personality; for example:
It has always stricken as very odd that someone like the Orphan, who is so logical, practical, fair, calm, non-confrontational, and most notably – well-educated; somehow found himself tied in with a creature who was the epitome of a man-eater – an extremely narcissistic/sociopathic female who has ended up being the one in his own experience to have “turned him cold” in regard to his willingness to LOVE.
When we first “met”, it was due to the healing process in which he is still enduring, resultant of the above described relationship. He reached out to me because he was desperate for answers, for the much needed closure that he already sensed he would never get; he was in despair and feeling without hope to push on. I instantly loved him, the little fucker; he is a human being…he is a good human being.
Since our initial online emails volleys (that sometimes became so obnoxiously long in the thread, it was disturbing lol), things have evolved quite a bit in the context of his hopelessness and my helplessness in the context of our everyday lives – separately and together. After his first visit (one that was kind of a spontaneous form of support on my part and a total leap of faith on his), he decided that this place felt more like “home” than any of his other options (and for the record, this guy has handfuls and handfuls of choices, worldwide); or, better described, he chose here to be his beginning point for the rest of life. Where his life might take him, who knows? But the point here is that he was intuitive enough to recognize a safe haven when he saw one – and jump on the opportunity to take some time to heal himself.
Back to the point of post:
Over Super Burritos, we were discussing things about our similarly terrifyingly sociopathic exes (a topic that we haven’t touch on for months because I think we both got tired of talking about so much ugliness nonstop), and he began to describe things that lead to a complete epiphany for me in regard to the recovering men (and there are sad numbers of this type of Survivor, unfortunately) who have been intimately involved with (and in turn, DESTROYED BY) a sociopathic/psychologically terroristic woman. This can even be his mother or another female relative or teacher, etc.
“Oh My fuck!!!”, I bellowed out of my chip-filled Sailor’s mouth, in my typical impulsive manner.
His eyes do this funny bulge/roll movement that’s all tucked into one motion whenever I behave like an obnoxiously drunken lion-tamer in his public company;
“Sorry…but you just totally made me realize something…I’m having a moment here…” I tucked both hands into my lap and asked him from across the table:
“Were you afraid of her, somehow?”
His eyes lock cleanly into mine as I finish the sentence; I’ve never seen the look that overtakes his charmingly boyish face;
“…because from ALL of the many things you’ve shared with me of your relationship with her, it sure seems as though the same exact process was there – with some minor tweaks and twists, yea…but there all the same…”
His head is nodding vigorously; a smile washes off that unfamiliar look of what?…recognition?…relief?… and he pokes his long index finger into the table in front of his plate.
“You know, so-and-so (a psychiatrist friend of his from grade school) says that we (by “we”, he means himself and every other man who has suffered the traumas of a destructive and narcissistic female) have the same affected state as that of domestic violence victims…”
My dumbfounded shock must be glaringly apparent, because he adds, “The constant fear and manipulation, the isolation from “normal” people in our lives who would speak up and say how abnormal things are…”
I catch myself with my mouth hanging open, nearly frozen by the seemingly obvious, in retrospect. I have no words to say that might even come close to acknowledging so many discussions he and I have had about the ways that he felt “trapped”, “obligated”, “guilty” by the slightest thoughts of leaving her and getting away from her unhealthiness.
This handsome little devil is a veteran of some seriously traumatic warfare – numerous war experiences – and I’m talking VALIDATED and VERIFIED horror…living Hell…he’s no sissy; he doesn’t shy away from ANY kind of challenge by nature (like me), and he was not raised in an unhealthy environment. The slap to the back of my head came hardest when I recalled how many people have said things along the lines of: “You don’t seem at all like the type of woman to become a battered wife…”, or “I can’t even imagine you being married to that type of man and in a situation like you were in – it’s NOT like YOU…” over the years of my ongoing recovery from my own traumatic marriage; and then put those recollections in context with the times that I have said very similar things to him. What an ass…I am still sort of processing the common threads and mechanisms between the two of us – based solely on the experience with traumatic marriage and the associated effects that we share in common from them. But I felt like it was worth writing down because it was a light bulb moment for me in terms of decoding the Orphan and his current needs and state of being. I have long recognized his “Shell Shock”, and try to treat it accordingly how and when I can; but now – – – well, now I have a more clear appreciation for the absolute Hell that he has survived through much more recently than I came through mine. Now, he has become that much more endearing to me because I see a healing process quite differently in everything he is doing.
All in all, it was a very eye-opening discussion that ended up trailing back home after lunch and continuing until almost dinnertime…yesterday was a very therapeutic day for us both I think. Good.