Chapter 23

“You’re disgusting. You are a horrific husband and poor excuse of a man. You fucking piece of shit. You fucking cunt. Fuck you, you shameful disgusting excuse of a man. I am and forever will be so unbelievably grateful that you are not the father of my children. Fuck you. You can go fuck yourself. You deserve to be miserable because you are unworthy of love.”

These are not the words of a person who loves the person they’re speaking to. Nobody who truly loves someone could speak so cruelly, with such vicious intent, such naked hostility. It perhaps makes more sense to consider that such words could be a manifestation of a person’s personal traumas, but nonetheless it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. There are limits to what another person can tolerate, even when they’re in love. And such words, they’re not simply blunt honesty shared with good intentions. They’re skilfully wielded weapons used to hurt and provoke.

Love aside, they’re not the words of someone who respects the person their words are directed at. I realise that now. So, I need to protect myself. For the sake of my mental well being. For the sake of maintaining a modicum of integrity. For the sake of carving my own path instead of reacting to other people’s grievances.

It’s ironic, how often she told me that words matter. That the way I say things matters, that I can be cruel even when trying to be kind by the way I say things. That I need to be careful with how I choose my words because they have the power to destroy. Yet she considered it acceptable for herself to speak as viciously as she felt like, and if I found it hurtful or upsetting, or even if I simply disagreed with the assertions being made, that was on me. That shows me to be weak, because I can’t handle “opinions and emotions”.

She continually wanted to know if I’m weak. If I’m a weak man. Yes, I was weak. I was weak for opening myself up. For revealing my private pain. But I’ve learned my lesson. Weakness gets punished. It isn’t going to happen again. Nobody else will get to know my demons and then unleash them on me. Nobody will ever again have that power over me.

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