“It began as the love of my life; it ended up with a restraining order.”
Celeste was trying hard to keep it all together. “He was so loving and attentive. I thought I had hit the jackpot. How could a girl ask for anything more?”
When you’re young, naïve and have a low opinion of yourself, nothing says I love you like “I want to be with you every moment of the day. We were meant for each other. We will always be together as one.” Are these Hallmark sentiments, or control masquerading as love?
Celeste was swept off her feet by his passion. Nobody had ever paid much attention to her. Now there was this good-looking guy who was so into her. Yes, she knew he was a bit of a scoundrel. At least that’s what other people said. But to her, he was intense, exciting, even electrifying. He had ideas. He wanted to take her along on his journey. And she was more than willing to go.
It was perfect at the beginning. Yes, maybe a bit too perfect. But she was always willing to please. And she worked hard at knowing what he wanted so that she could please him.
Their lives together revolved around him. That didn’t bother her, however; she was too timid to know her own mind. If he was happy, she was happy. Yet, there were the times when he was not so happy. And those times were becoming ever more frequent.
“The first time he slapped me, I was in shock. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do. He must have seen the shock on my face. He said, ‘Honey, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I only did it because I love you.’
“Then he held me close, stroking me gently. He was upset that I had come home late and hadn’t called him. He was just worried about me, I told myself. He’s a good man. I didn’t recognize at the time how strong his need was to control me, to always know where I was, to be jealous of any other relationship I had.”
They had their loving moments. But those abusive moments began occurring with increasing frequency and intensity. She wanted to talk about them. He’d shut her down. Tell her to get over it. Stop making such a big deal over nothing. We love each other. That’s all that matters.
What eventually happened to this trainwreck of a relationship?
He bellowed; she squeaked. He demanded; she acquiesced. He felt entitled; she felt guilty. He became omnipresent; she disappeared into a fog.
- She recognized that she was married to a small man who had cast a big black shadow over her life.
- She recognized that she was tethered to the hope of love, yet was receiving only the crumbs of love.
- She recognized that her need to be loved had her accepting behavior that wasn’t even remotely loving.
- She developed the courage to know her own mind and act in her own interests.
Heart in chains photo available from Shutterstock