“Use the stones thrown at you to build a firm foundation.”
It surely seemed as if everyone was against me at this point in my life. They all had a stone to hurl, and it was becoming more and more difficult to evade the projectiles coming from all directions. I understood that my actions had provoked the “throwing of stones”, but was I really and truly expected to live a life married to someone like hubby just to make everyone else happy?
Maybe I should have talked more. Stood in the midst of the town square, on my soapbox, regaling all with story after humiliating story of my married life. Would that have generated more empathy or would I have looked as much like an idiot to everyone else as I felt that I was?
The current events of my life were too painful to talk about. I swallowed them, hoping they would go away. It was difficult enough to admit to myself what I had gotten myself into, let alone admit it to others.
Looking back, with hindsight…
I can see that I had plopped myself right smack dab in the center of an emotionally abusive relationship:
(From Psychology Today)
In an emotionally abusive relationship, one party systematically controls the other by:
- Undermining his or her confidence, worthiness, growth, or trust
- “Gaslighting” – making him/her feel crazy or unstable
- Manipulating him/her with fear or shame.
In fact, not only was Hubby emotionally controlling me, I believe that Jane was too. They both knew who they wanted me to be and the role that they wanted me to play in their lives. Not that they wanted “me” specifically, I had just dumbly fallen into the script that they had written, unwittingly agreeing to be the supporting actor to their star billing. I personally did not matter. It was all about them, and they were forcing me to fit into the mold. And both of them were using fear and manipulation to keep me there.
Unfortunately for them…
I do not like being told what to do. My parents learned this about me early on. They were always there for me, to guide me, and help me out when I asked, but when I was told what to do they realized that it caused me to do the opposite, repeatedly rebelling. I had to figure things out on my own, no matter the consequences. (Being great parents I am sure that it pained them to watch me deal with the results of my stubbornness, but they were always there, in the wings, making sure that I did not fall too far or too hard.)
Hubby and Jane were both “telling” me what to do, with their words and actions. Pairing up to systematically gain control over my entire being. The incessant emotional threats made me dependent, I feared losing my relationships with them. They were all that I had, I would be all alone without them.
But the time had come…
For me to take the stones thrown at me, to use them as a foundation, to build a new life. I did not even recognize the person that I had become. I allowed myself to be backed into a corner, cocooned in the rabbit hole. I had begun to believe Jane and Hubby. I was worthless without them. But the time had come to rebel. To stand up for myself.
It was amazing that Larry saw me as I could be, not as the incompetent imbecile I saw myself. In his eyes I saw the reflection of a strong young woman who enjoyed life, who lived life. And I wanted to be that woman.
Jane and Hubby continued to use what had worked for them in the past-threats, isolation, humiliation, temper-seeking to continue their control over me.
Jane had taken it to the next level, attempting to use Hubby to extricate Larry from my life, and in the end-from her life. She knew that Hubby would explode when she informed him about my friendship with Larry, if she could not force me to end the association she would use whatever tool she could to achieve the outcome that she desired.
“A backfire or back burn is a fire that is set deliberately in the path of an oncoming fire. As it burns, it consumes fuel, thereby depriving the primary fire of tinder when it reaches the site. When the technique is executed correctly, it stops a wildfire in its tracks, or confines it, making it much easier to control.”
“When the decision to set a backfire is made, it is an acknowledgment that the primary fire is getting out of control, and that it needs to be arrested before it becomes significantly larger.” (wiseGEEK)
As she watched my relationship with Larry grow, watched me becoming the woman that Larry knew I could be, she attempted to force me into ending that friendship by shaming him. It did not work, I was not falling for her victim status. Then she tried to force me to pick sides, I refused. So she set a backfire, using Hubby to put out the flame. She knew that I was scared of Hubby, and was counting on my fear and shame to control my decisions.
But she went too far. She pushed me over the edge, back into sanity. The elaborate plan she had concocted was now blowing up in her face. Although the fears were still there, in the back of my mind, the will to live my own life were stronger. Instead of being coerced back into my supporting role, I rebelled.
Jane had hoped to crush me, to place me back underneath her thumb. But she was actually a catalyst.
Catalyst definition: an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action.
Although I was opposed to the techniques that Jane used, I decided to run with the results. Hubby knew about Larry, he knew that my future did not include our marriage. He was set to inform both our families of my infidelity, to place a scarlet letter on my chest. Jane set in motion a plan to ruin me, instead it forced me to build a new life with the stones laying at my feet.