It has finally happened … the switch has finally flipped in my brain and, despite the grief I will always carry, I feel ready to accept and bear the weight of my past.
I have fought every ugly reality of the last seven years but I admit defeat. I have stopped kicking and pushing, screaming and weeping – I stand defeated … and that’s a good thing. Sometimes, you have to throw in the towel to place yourself in the best position to fight back in the future. I can choose to lay down and die now, or live to fight another day after a time out to adjust my strategy.
During recent weeks, I have wrestled with my emotions to the point of exhaustion – an action which brought no comfort, resolution nor joy. This week, I have surrendered to my grief in a positive way – acknowledging the realities I wish to ignore and heeding the words of kind strangers.
My troubled history with The Forgiven One is usually confined to my blog; as with my mother’s Cancer battle, it is a private pain, too traumatic to verbalise to the few friends left in my life. Yet, somehow, I found the words to relay a brief overview to a stranger. I speak not of my therapist – I cannot bring myself to discuss my worthlessness in therapy either – but of a former work colleague who was going through a difficult time. I felt it would help her to know that I could relate to the agonies of insecurity, fear and sorrow.
Her immediate reaction was: “Why would you be upset to lose someone like that from your life? He is not worth your friendship. He’s not worth putting yourself down over. You’re not worthless and he’s not worth it.”
The girl has a point.
Once upon a time, The Forgiven One said we would visit New York together as I have never been and wanted to go since childhood. Last month, New York was the location in which he and his girlfriend chose to celebrate her birthday. She, of course, uploaded happy photos across social media – sharing her joy with the world much as I would have done in her position. When I saw the photos, I felt disgusted … not with them but with myself. I felt overwhelmingly stupid and overcome with regret for my choices in life, love and friendship.
The worthlessness The Forgiven One saw in my being has affected my life beyond imagination. I have so few bonds left with the world: my rightful place is in the afterlife. I have spent recent weeks trying to explore and understand my reactions and self-loathing since being backstabbed by The Forgiven One and most behaviour experts seem to make the same point: if someone loses your trust and doesn’t proactively endeavour to rebuild it, apologise through action or show you’re deserving of effort, feelings of worthlessness are not only likely but often inevitable. I concur.
In all honesty, it hurts like a stake through the heart to know I wasn’t worth any proactive effort. From an emotional viewpoint, it validates my fear that I am not worth loving, liking, appreciating, valuing nor respecting. That really stings and always will.
That said, I am ready to move forward. Let The Forgiven One be happy. He is in love, whether he admits it or not, and love is a privilege to be celebrated. I cannot resent his girlfriend for wanting to share her happiness with the world. She is in love; content and secure in the joy of being made to feel wanted, appreciated, valued and cherished. She is enjoying her life – and so is The Forgiven One. It is heartwarming to see that neither cares that she is an overweight woman posting bikini shots, or if he looks a bit short or stocky in comparison – physical flaws are somehow invisible when you’re in love. It’s such a special, unparalleled blessing to see only the beauty in one another and the world around you. The judgements of others do not matter when you’re united in love and content with how you are treated by your partner. I don’t know how that feels but I know I would be the same in their shoes – unashamedly happy.
I just wish I knew why I was so cruelly deceived and used. Why am I so worthless? What is it about my being that would make someone think that sleeping with me for five years while pretending to like me as a friend and person is treatment that I somehow deserve and should accept? What emotions did this man ever feel for me, if any? Surely he always hated me to be able to behave so terribly? Was he ever genuine? I will never know unless he finds the courage to be honest and explain his true feelings. If I could ask him one question for closure, it would be to find out why he believes it all went so wrong and we ended up here: estranged and unable to ever be friends. Would he blame my worthlessness? Would he acknowledge his own deceit? I would give almost anything to better understand his destructive behaviour.
I have made so many excuses for the past – taking all the blame when speaking to The Forgiven One about our history. I spent almost two years apologising for being worthless and, therefore, at fault. And he took my apologies and never once said: “you didn’t deserve what I did” or “I shouldn’t have lied” or “you deserved better”.
Instead, he kept a dossier of evidence to use against me: a catalogue of evidence that he claims depicts harrassment. It brings tears to my eyes to know that another human being has documented the demise of my mental health with such callousness and responded to what was obviously a severe breakdown caused by their own actions with a threat to reveal it to the authorities and, in turn, the world. At each point where I most needed help – the moments when I desperately needed intervention, love, support and honesty – I was being judged, vilified, ridiculed, gossiped about and condemned. My most personal, harrowing experiences have been dissected and ridiculed: my depression, my suicide attempts, my infertility, my health, my misery, and my pain.
I still have nightmares every night following the cruelty of The Forgiven One. My hair has thinned and greyed, and I have piled on 32 pounds during my grief. I tried to kill myself and still have suicidal thoughts. I have a strained relationship with my family and I have lost almost all my friends. I suffer regular anxiety attacks and O.C.D. is my primary coping mechanism.
I spent much of the past two years in prolonged unemployment because I couldn’t face the world without collapsing into tears and my depression has, on occasion, threatened the lives of my immediate family. I can’t have sex or a romantic relationship as the thought of being used again churns my stomach, and I also have trust issues others describe as “paranoia”. The hospital, doctors, my therapist and family all independently diagnosed “depression” and I have no self-esteem left.
In contrast, during the same time frame, The Forgiven One has made his relationship with his girlfriend official, paraded their joy on social media, has regular sex, enjoys numerous holidays abroad each year, is close to his family, keeps in touch with old friends, launched new websites and businesses, made new friends across the globe and regularly attends social events.
He has also said our situation has given him depression – for which I cried and wanted to die because I felt so sad, scared and guilty. You cannot imagine how frightened I was that he would die and it would be all my fault for coming into his life and being so worthless.
I accept defeat. I am a stupid, silly, worthless old fool. But at least I am honest; honest enough to admit, at last, that The Forgiven One played me like a banjo and I let him. It is all my fault. I am to blame because a true friend would have tried to help and save me, not stab me in the back and then leave me to die as The Forgiven One did. I should have had more worth but I failed because I lacked any value. If only he had told me; I wouldn’t have wasted the most important years of my life believing I was equal to others.
Still, I wish him no ill will and hope he has every success in the future. Good luck to him. I suspect he doesn’t need my well wishes; he’s happy and so is his life. He is blessed beyond measure and I pray he appreciates it because some of us have nothing. Not even happy memories on which to cling. I used to love him so much, no matter what he did or how low and ugly he would make me feel, yet now I don’t feel there is anything left. There is no thread of friendship remaining for which I can pray to protect – we are strangers and it seems we always were. This man didn’t once fight for me; not for my friendship, my love, my health and not even my life. He left me to die. I wouldn’t leave an animal to die yet he left me to perish without a second thought. He left me to die.
He left me to die.
That’s the truth. That’s why I accept defeat and that’s why I know I will always be worthless … only now I feel that it doesn’t matter. Being worthless is like being a fat girl in a bikini: beautiful and praiseworthy if you spend your time with those who love you for who you are and not for what you can give them. I will never allow myself to be used again, even if that means I have to die alone.