Contempt

All his exes were psycho bitches. He once told me, after he had his first argument with his ex-fiancée, that she brought the police home to protect her while she collected her belongings. For no reason, you understand. I believed him: psycho bitch. When he told me the next one was a psycho bitch stalker, I believed him, too. When he told me his ex-wife was a psycho bitch narcissist, I was only too happy to add her to his absurd history of victimisation by every one of his exes. It was only a matter of time before I’d become one of them. I knew it then. I just didn’t want to believe it.

That is why I fear him: not for his temper, but for the strength of his delusions.

(Continued below) 

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His tales of his exes seemed unhealthy because he told them daily, but I tucked them away along with all the other red flags he was throwing up. In those days, the entire world was populated by nice people. Everyone I’d ever known, except my rapist, was nice. How pretty and light the world was in those days—just like a musical.

Now I know, when looking for the true abuser in amongst the crossfire of truth-telling and lies, to follow the contempt. Contempt is what gives them away. Victims and survivors rarely talk about others, even their abusers, with vitriol like that. Anger, certainly, but contempt is its own species. Derision and entitlement are the creatures that give birth to abuse. Victims, even when angry, speak respectfully of the people who destroyed them.

Once you’ve had that level of vitriol directed at you, you never forget it. You can smell it out anywhere. Before I met him, I didn’t know there was worse than rage.

Contempt is not even anger’s relative. It’s more closely related to disrespect. When I’d never been exposed to it, I believed it was nothing beyond fury, or maybe hatred. It really isn’t. A person who feels contempt dehumanises others utterly. We are not people to them. We are objects to be shifted here or there, to be stamped on and used as convenient.

I’m wrong. We are less than objects. We are nothing.

When he was throwing all his charm and sexual chemistry my way, when I was swimming in enough idealisation to get drunk on, when he was telling me he loved me more than any other woman he’d met, he already saw me with contempt. I just didn’t know how to recognise it until I saw it come out from what he referred to as his evil side.

Now I’ve been added to his list of psycho bitch exes. It seems I’m in excellent company.

As for me, I still have a lot of anger. It’s been seven months since he left, and I still have not found a way to feel at peace with the world or with men. I will, though. I will.

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7 thoughts on “Contempt

  1. I became friends with my ex-husband’s ex-wife. We’re still friends. It helped me a lot to hear her stories. Of course she’s nothing like his descriptions. I’ve wondered what stories he tells about me, to whoever he’s charming and grooming now, but I don’t really care. It’s funny, I still hope for him that he gets his head straight and builds a peaceful life for himself, and one in a blue moon I have moments of weakness where I believe the things he wanted to put in my head, but now they’re only fleeting, like a flash of a nightmare. You always make me think. Thank you again for sharing pieces of yourself. You’re one of my battle-scarred heroines. 💜✌️

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    • ❤ I can so relate to all of that. Every detail. Sometimes I still believe things he said, even things he said after we broke up. Sometimes I don't care. Sometimes, rarely, I wish the best for him. Not often. Mostly, I wish he would see all the damage he's done to all of us. I've heard bits and pieces of what he's said about me to others. All but three of those who've told me what he's said have seen through it without my help, sometimes before even meeting me. I guess that's enough.

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  2. This is so familiar. I join with you as the discarded exes….I can really relate to hearing stories of how cold and heartless the exes were, and trying so hard to make sure my husband felt loved by me (not like those mean exes). I am now one of them. I am actually friends with one of the others…we found we had a lot in common;-)

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  3. I used to take people at their word and assume their perspective was 100% authentic. Now, being much older (although, not much wiser), experi3nce has taught me that there are always two sides to every story and if someone can not see their own involvement in a conflict, it makes me nervous.

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  4. I am so sorry you went through this. You are very strong for leaving and for being able to see him for what he really is. I dated a man who sounds very much like your ex. It’s been almost 9 months since we broke up and like you, I can’t make peace with the world or men. I just still can’t accept that he will get away with it. Thank you for sharing your story. It always helps to know that I’m not alone. much love – speak766

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