Ugh. Appropriately enough, I feel like a fool today.
There have to be a lot of ways to describe healthy relationships but I like the bank account analogy. You make deposits and withdrawals into an account you share, both striving to keep the account balanced. When one or both partners are drawing more energy out of the relationship than they are putting in, the relationship is unbalanced, overdrawn, unhealthy. But some people thrive in this position, drawing the major balance of energy while offering just enough juice to keep the deposits flowing in.
Those people see relationships in a very different way. To them, people are batteries. You find one, drain it dry then pitch it and move on. It’s kind of fascinating to watch these relationship predators in action because they really do see themselves as the victims in their own tales. They are betrayed or disrespected or violated in some way when their victim says, “No more”. When the demands for equality become too loud to ignore they are wounded by the insinuation that they haven’t been giving us everything they have to give, even when they give us so little it’s laughable.
On the macrocosmic level, you can use this pattern to track all kinds of “relationships”. Black Lives Matter, for example, could be seen as black communities demanding respect from a public safety institution that treats them like a disposable resource instead of people that deserve equality. The history-making collapse of the two-party political system in the US is another. Who is asking for long-overdue equality and who is complaining that they are working for us so we should just be quiet?
I have a long and ugly history of letting people use me like a battery. It’s how I was raised, and once you’re groomed, you tend to stay groomed. When you figure out the tricks of your former abuser and finally send him packing, a new one (with totally new tricks) sniffs you out and the whole damn thing starts again. I fear that I let Faerin get caught in the trap of at least one user and I didn’t know how to get her out. I never learned how to get myself out. I just didn’t have those skills.
It’s April now. It was this month last year that my little girl who loved and hated some very unhealthy people, bought the shotgun that would ultimately end her life. In her honor, I’m doing my best to get healthy and overcome my grooming and my pain and stand up for myself. I can only hope that the people who were so important in Faerin’s life are wise enough to do the same.