Ok, I guess I didn’t make it without another one.
Someone mentioned to me something about AJ the other day, and it made me angry and resentful again. It is not something I dwell on 100% of the time anymore – more like 70% of the time. Possibly even 60%. It is usually a passing thought, but when this person mentioned AJ, I got really angry. At first I thought I was angry because he seems to be having some success in life – I have absolutely no idea if that is true or in what way it might be true, it was literally a fleeting statement that AJ had to “travel to film something”. That came up because I am still missing AJ’s cats and I am still assuming (and probably correctly) that he leaves them alone often. I said to this person that I have that fear of the cats being left alone a lot. THAT came up because I recently read a post on a pet website that said you absolutely should not leave your cats alone for more than 24 hours because something can happen that, if someone was there, could be fixed, but if the cat is alone for more than a day, could kill them. Like, they can get a blockage which you can catch and fix, but if they go 48 hours without someone noticing it (or without someone there to see it) it could cause them to die a slow and painful death. So I was worried about AJ’s cats because my assumption (and again, I am probably correct) is that he is finding ladies and staying at their apartment/house for as long as he dates them. Or even just spending a few nights with them. Either way, I think it is safe to assume his cats are alone for extended periods of time.
NONE of that is the point. I THOUGHT I was mad that he might be having success, but I am not mad, I don’t wish for anything bad to happen to him at all, and it would be fine with me if he were happy and successful. I wouldn’t say “he deserves it” because he doesn’t, but he has gone most of his life being unhappy and not having personal success at anything, so I would not be opposed to that happening for him. It took me a long time to figure it out, but I am angry because I still expect him to be remorseful for what he did, and I know he isn’t at all. He doesn’t have a conscience, he doesn’t have the ability to feel remorseful. He knows to say he’s sorry and that he feels terrible, but that doesn’t mean anything to him. I want him to feel the depth of what he’s done and feel remorse. THAT is why I got angry.
If I significantly messed up someone’s life for a long period of time and literally changed their core personality by my actions, I could not live with myself for the guilt. I would spend the rest of my life trying to make it up to them. But then, I am not the type to mess up someone’s life. I guess if you are the type to do that, you are NOT the type to feel horrible about it. I just logicked myself out of something.
Anyway…in my rage and anger, I did not want to post a blog or on FB about it because people have been hearing a lot about it. So I started looking at the Post Secret community message boards. I thought, hey, anonymous posting and maybe someone will say something to make me feel better. In part of my post I said that there is “obviously” something about me that “allowed” all this to happen. This is the response someone posted, and I think it is so insightful and well written that I am stealing it and posting it here. I don’t know who posted it because it is an anonymous community, but here is what they wrote:
it’s called grooming.
and what you first noticed wasn’t him being a full-blown sociopath, what you first noticed was small, just a little social flaw that everyone can have. So you can shrug it off, or maybe you even bring it up. You talk to them about whats ok and not and boundaries and respect. And everything is fine. And then something else happens, something small. Now you have been together for a while longer, so bringing it up feels awkward, you had such a good talk last time and you know he isn’t usually like that, and besides, who would love you like him? Then it starts being more commonplace, every other day might find you with an unwelcome surprise, but you hardly notice the small flaw that you first reacted to. And he says hes sorry, and he kisses you and shows you he loves you and why shouldn’t you believe in that?
and then one day you wake up and realize he lies about everything, and you are ashamed. Ashamed for being fooled, ashamed that you have been so led astray, ashamed that you could fall for such a class act. And it hurts and you are also ashamed that you didn’t see all this before now and still as the shame burns you your heart betrays you.
but it is an unequal equation. YOU are reacting as a human being, HE is not.
That is such an accurate way of saying it (and in far fewer words than I use!).
About the “grooming”. Here is the definition of grooming in terms of abusive relationships:
Grooming is the predatory act of maneuvering another individual into a position that makes them more isolated, dependent, likely to trust, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.
When AJ was going to sex offender classes, even though he is NOT a sex offender (part of his probation was that he had to go), part of the class was learning about “grooming”. He had to come up with what he did to groom his victim (the 15 year old girl he had an extended relationship with). The problem was, his victim was a willing participant who actually made the first moves and advances, he didn’t even need to do any grooming. I was involved in a lot of the grooming discussions because it was so hard to apply it to his situation. At the time, this was still early enough in our relationship that I thought this one cheating offense was a one time thing, I did not even recognize the “grooming” of me. It never occurred to me that it applied to me. It totally did, I was absolutely groomed, but I didn’t even recognize it while it was staring me in the face. And that is sort of the point of “grooming”, the victim doesn’t know it is happening…apparently even if they are helping a groomer to look for signs of grooming.
So my new realization is that I do not hate AJ, I do not want bad things to happen to him, I just want him to truly feel remorse for what he did and like, become a priest devoted to God and serving the poor to make up for his actions. Something utterly unselfish to say “I am a new person and I want to make up for my selfishness”. And yet again, one of the major themes through our relationship is that he would always tell me how awful he felt when he did something, and how he’ll never do it again and how great I am and how he loves me and wants me to stay in his life….but his actions never once matched his words. I will have to put away that vision of him becoming a priest.