Micro-living

There was a time in my life when I was living with my then-boyfriend. We had lived together for almost three years.

During that time we were together, our relationship sort of evolved in a very strange way. In the beginning, we were fine. We had fun, and we got along very well.

Then, I went to visit a friend of mine – and time slipped away – and I realized I had spent a couple of hours there. So, I came back and wanted to talk about everything with him, and instead, he snapped. He lost all trust in me, and felt that I was lying to him about what happened.

It’s a very strange position when you’re telling the absolute truth and the person across from you doesn’t believe it. There’s really nothing you can do to really prove that it was a simple hang out. Because (of course) the person  you hung out with would lie as well.

So, basically I was caught in this ‘circle of lies’ when, in reality, nothing ever happened. It was a simple meeting.

From then on, the relationship sort of evolved into one where I was pretty much being micro-managed with my life. If I was going out somewhere, I had to tell him where I was going, what I was doing, and when I would be back. If he disapproved, he would start a fight with me, and I felt like I would be guilted into staying, and he would turn it back around and say – no, you go, because this person means more to you than I do. So, I was constantly stuck between a rock and a hard place. I was damned if I went, and damned if I stayed.

If I told him I was going to Sheetz for gas, and then come back – that’s what he would expect. However, while I was there, I saw a candy bar that I wanted so I bought it and ate it on the way home. I would just say that I went out for gas (which I did) and came right back (which I did). I wouldn’t tell him about the candy bar, because I didn’t want to get yelled at for buying one. He would have gone into a rage and say, “Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you think to call and get me one?” So, I wanted to avoid that argument. Luck was never on my side, because if he ever found evidence (which he mostly did), I would be faced with the argument anyway. If he went to take out the trash, and saw my candy bar wrapper, he would come in and accusing me of lying.

When I would explain that I knew this would happen either way, his retort was always, “How do you know how I would have reacted? I would have been fine with it had you told me. But now, you’ve gone and lied. If I can’t trust you with the little things, how can I trust you with the big things?”

Round and round we would go.

I know that some of you are reading this and thinking, “Why the hell did you stay three years with this guy? I wouldn’t have spent three minutes with him.”

Here’s your explanation. He would call me a liar, and we would fight and I would say that I lost my freedom, and his response was: “Adults make compromises, Jess. It can’t always be your way. So start acting like an adult.”

This was his answer for most arguments when I rebelled. I was ‘never acting like an adult.’

Eventually, the relationship finally did come to an end. But, I walked away a changed person. I wasn’t the same woman I was when I entered the relationship, because I was put into this life of micro-living. He would know every single thing I’ve ever done. He would check my emails, my blogs, my messages, etc. I always had to stay in line. For me, I just gave up. If he wasn’t going to believe me when I was telling the truth – then I might as well have done it and at least lived a little. I was going to be punished either way.

********

My mannerisms had completely changed. When I first met my current fiancee, he noticed that I was being rather…submissive. I wouldn’t say anything at all about how I felt on certain topics because, I was ‘trying to be an adult’. I would basically let him make all the decisions on everything, because that’s what I thought was supposed to be done. I was supposed to just support him 100% and my life would be blessed just by having him in it.

Throughout the months, he and I had a lot of discussions on what was really going on with me. When he asked me to move in with him, I threw up a wall. It was about the size of the Great Wall of China. I was in panic mode for a really long time. The last time I lived with someone, I was micro-managed, and I didn’t want to go through it all over again.

John has amazing patience. He has worked so hard with me on communication, and wants me to voice how I really feel about things. He doesn’t punish me for anything I have done.

I am so thankful, and I appreciate it 100%. I mean, I’m marrying him for it.

But, there are times when I still freak out. I don’t tell him about it, because I don’t want to make him angry and be punished. If I’m out, and I stop to buy a coffee, I will drink it and throw it away (in an outside trashcan) so that he wouldn’t know about it, and I could avoid punishment. There was a time I went to Walmart, and it was after Christmas, so they had 150 earrings for $5. I bought them, because for 150 pairs, that’s really freaking awesome.

Did I tell him about it?

No.

There was a day he went to my jewelry box to look for something, and my heart stopped. I thought, “Oh no, he’ll find the earrings and I’m going to get yelled at!” I froze instantly and waited.

I don’t think he noticed them, or maybe he never saw them, because he walked away without saying anything. I was in such a panic mode that it took me awhile to get out of it. There are moments when something happens, and I immediately start saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” because I think a negative reaction is coming. I think I’m going to get screamed at for what I did. I make sure to get everything he requests from the grocery store or errands, because I don’t want to be punished for not finding it for him. There’s even a certain way I wash the dishes (by hand), because that’s the way my ex made me do it. It had to be done a certain way.

I know that doing the dishes, and picking out the right flavors doesn’t really sound like much to someone. But, again, I was micro-managed. I had my every action recorded, and pre-determined. I couldn’t ever stray from that plan.

And it’s sad to think that I still do a lot of the same things, even over a year later. It’s no longer because I ‘have to’ but it’s merely out of habit. I just do certain things in a certain way to avoid punishment.

It’s a damn shame to think that even though he’s not here micro-managing me… he’s still in my head doing it.

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