The Mirror – Let’s face it

It’s no longer just weeks or months that this unsavoury alliance with The Wonderful You and Mr Incredible has been going on. It is now entering into years.

Living on the edge has been exciting and challenging for a little while, now it’s become a daily reality. Staying one step ahead of the game, playing detective, proving yourself, watching your own back (and front), being lied about, being lied to, being falsely accused, overlooking wrongs yet being blamed for everything, working really hard to please yet getting nowhere and never quite knowing where you stand in this game takes way more effort and energy than you originally calculated.
And the reason you miscalculated in the first place is because you had no living idea that you would ever actually be doing all these things to survive. You’re not even aware that you are doing them, you are too focused on Mr Incredible, his charm, his rewards, his ‘love’ and flattery and the ‘idea’ of a life that he is offering you. In fact THAT is what you’ve fallen for in this fibroid mass that one might call a relationship, you’ve fallen for an idea. It is the ‘idea’ of Mr Incredible that you fell for and not ‘Mr Incredible himself. For Mr Incredible is a cruel, tormenting and tormented soul, one who gives out punishment in private alongside a polished theatre performance of a loving, doting partner in public. Sometimes, if occasion calls for it, this theatre performance takes place in private too, solidifying the fact that Mr Incredible is definitely a quality person deep down inside, he just needs to be drawn out by the right person….and there it is again, the challenge for you to step up to. You can be the fixer, the healer, the wise, patient, loving rescuer… and there it is again… more glory for you, more love, more adoration for being the one, THAT one who fixes him. It’s a great ‘idea’.

But all of this is realised in hindsight of course, there’s no comprehension right now that you are participating in a game, a sick game. You don’t know yet that Mr Incredible is sick, incredibly sick.
For now, you’re just really really tired. Clarity of thought, strong conviction, clear vision, self-dignity and gut instinct are all clouded with a foggy confusion. These essential tools have been replaced with denial, fantasy, false-hope, self-blame and avoidance. When an injustice happens (as repeatedly they do), you know you’ve been wronged, you know it, yet your new worn-down soul questions itself and wonders how you can fix this problem and get on track again. And you know… find that Mr Incredible who presents himself so wonderfully on occasion and get the relationship back to good.
You can do it, you’ve got this! God knows, you’ve done it a thousand times before, you know how to fix it, you know the formula, you know the pattern. But you’re tired, you’re really really tired, (wait, did I say that already?).

When you look in the mirror, you can’t help but notice you don’t look good at all. Your skin looks grey and pasty. Your green eyes that once sparked with mischief and life now look dull and grey, the whites of your eyes look yellow. Even your hair hangs limp now and is lifeless, it used to be so shiny. Once you had boundless energy for any kind of activity, now going to the gym and even walking is a struggle, your legs burn with searing, abnormal pain. They burn when you are sitting still at work, and eventually they start burning at night and disturb your sleep. You wonder if the shaking has something to do with it. Oh, did I mention the shaking already? The shaking in your arms and hands for no apparent reason? Yeah, it’s not looking good for you. When you show any signs of defecting in the relationship, and Mr Incredible whispers to his/your friends that you might be crazy, well yeah, you don’t come up looking good. You’re going to come out looking like the crazy one, despite all your sincere whole-hearted efforts of relationship rescue. Should we call it relationship? I prefer to call it a fibroid mass, because that’s what it is, an unhealthy growth that keeps getting bigger and requires draining all your energies and resources to do so. And if that’s not enough, it then constantly bleeds you dry, taking your everything, leaving you with nothing.

So where were we before we got side tracked with fibroid masses? Oh yes, back to looking in the mirror, at someone you on longer recognise.
All the things that supposedly attracted Mr Incredible to you in the first place seem to be gone now. He loved your spontaneity, he loved your carefree attitude, your trust, your lack of worry, your joy, energy and vibrancy. And you know yourself the amount of enthusiasm you had for life, how much you loved people, places, experiences. You had the ability to make the most mundane tasks into a party. You derived so much joy from life’s most simple pleasures, such as painting and gardening. You saw things in 3-D, you got excited, you gasped at a mountain -view, a sunrise, the sound of racing horses coming in to the finish line gave you goose bumps. You knew this world was mean and awful and full of atrocities, but you knew that you had a world living inside of you. You carried joy everywhere you went, and a presence when you entered a room.

But who is this person? Where is she? When you look in the mirror you see cold, void eyes that don’t belong to you. You see a person numbed down, tired, lifeless. Your joyful, trusting nature has been replaced by paranoia, suspicion, anger. Once all-accepting and all-embracing of everyone, you’ve become distrusting and on high alert, even aggressive at times. You wonder, has there been a transference of spirits? Yep it sounds crazy, but how come the person you’re looking at in the mirror looks more like Mr Incredible than you? Your eyes look like his eyes, you react the way he reacts, you think the way he thinks. Is the legend of the vampire true? Does he want to suck the life out of you and take your very soul for himself, leaving you with nothing but his lifeless, feelingless form?
Is he like the cold-blooded reptile who wants to sit by your warm fire because he sees something in you that he doesn’t have and can’t obtain? Once again, this is all in hindsight and we’re jumping ahead.

Back to the mirror and what you’re really seeing right now, in this moment….
You’re not looking well, that’s been established. You’re not feeling well, that’s been established. You don’t know who you are, or where the old you went, yes point taken. You know you’ve been in this fibroid mass for a while now, years. You are now facing the fact that Mr Incredible’s behaviour is not going to change, you’ve gotten that far at least. You haven’t figured out why or who’s fault it is. None the less, you are looking yourself in those cold, void eyes, and you are accepting one truth, and that is this: This fibroid mass is not going to change, you can stay and accept it for what it is, or maybe, somehow, you can get out of it. Ooh, getting out of it sounds a little bit appealing, you are aware though, that when you move to get out of it, you will be reminded of all the things you can have if you stay… financial security, property, (several properties) the chance to to study and paint and not have to work, a dream home, PLUS a dream rural homestead, expensive vacations and so much more. What more could a girl want?

Still looking in the mirror…Well, lets face it, there’s a lot more a girl could want, lets go through some of the things you really want: To be loved irrevocably and unconditionally, to have complete trust, transparency and honesty in your relationship, to know your partner has your back 100 per cent of the time, all the time, anytime, anywhere… all the time. To be spoken to nicely and kindly (and not abused or called names), to be celebrated for who you are and all that you are (not what he wants you to be). For your own dreams and your own destiny to be supported. To be included, honoured, esteemed, and not left out, left behind, or lied to. To share values, morals and have a shared genuine interest in humanity and a regard for the general well-being of other humans. Whoa, you could go on, your list could get bigger and you know it. You’ve finally faced a massive truth, this person you’ve been pretending with, isn’t your type of person. This is only going to work if you are shallow and willing to be satisfied with superficial, material things as a pay off. Even if you are willing to be shallow, it will still be a nightmare, but anyway, you are not shallow. You’ve tried being shallow, oh how you’ve tried. Everyone who is shallow seems to fit in with Mr Incredible’s crew so easily. But you are no good at being fake, you’ve always been too deep and too complex for that. Oh, you’ve tried to fight it, fake, superficial people seem so much happier, but you can’t even fake being fake!

Still looking in the mirror…. yes it’s been painful, but you’ve covered some serious ground. You are finally recognising your life for what it truly is. You’ve wasted more than two years now, this could keep on going, yet it won’t change, the only thing guaranteed is that it will get worst. You can stay, but this is it. There will be no improvement, no change. You can have all those superficial things offered to you, and if you are a shallow person, this could be well appealing, but you are not a shallow person. You know there is more to this life than things, and you know there is more to this life than this life alone. And you also know, deep down in your Knowing Knower, that this person, Mr Incredible, (who you have been calling Lover, Partner, Friend), won’t let you get out of it that easily. (Ooh, is this why you’ve been putting it off for so long?). You know deep down inside that he won’t let you go without severe punishment, publicly and privately. After his attempts at vacuuming you back in with his charm and false promises fail, he will make it his aim to bring you down completely and thoroughly and without remedy. For Mr Incredible doesn’t want you to find out who you really are, he dreads this the most, because once you find out who you really are, his game is over and your life begins.

But I know you, and I know you’re going to do it. You’re going to face this and do whatever it takes to get out and move forward. It won’t be easy, you’re going to waver at times. You are going to feel all kinds of emotions and all types of everything. You’re going to want to die and give up hope. You’re going to want to relent and turn back to stop the turmoil and the pain. But you won’t, you’ll go through it all head on, because that’s what you’re made of. Your Little Secret Self won’t be quiet and suffer any longer with her Shadow Self in the lead, because that’s not who she is. She’s going to make the break, she’s going to move forward. She’s going to grow, she’s going to change and she’s going to transform. And …. eventually…. she’s going to find herself a new name, her real name, her true name and who she was born to be.

I Knock You Down, So That I Can Help You Up…

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Staring peacefully out of the passenger seat window, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the warmth of the winter sun on your face, you find yourself reminiscing on the car rides that you and Mr Incredible  took together in the early days.  You think back to the exhilarating speed and risky sharp  turns, you remember Mr Incredible ignoring  all the road signs and breaking all the rules.  The excitement of it had your heart racing, you were sure you were riding in the best and fastest car on the road, with such an experienced driver, so skilled and so in control.  You remember the times when you smiled all day and laughed so loud,  the air thick with opportunity and promise. Those were the days when your skin glowed and your eyes sparkled, because you got to spend all of your time with Mr Incredible, who showered the Wonderful You with all of his affections and attention.  You find your mind often wandering back to the thrill of those exhilarating car rides, the ones that  Mr Incredible took you on in the very beginning.

Today, you’re just so happy to be out of the cold house, (where the fire needs to be kept constantly burning), enjoying the gentle heat of the suns rays pouring down upon you. While staring out the window, you think about how much these car trips have changed.  Nowadays, you don’t feel as confident in your driver as you once did,  you’re always  uncertain of which way he might suddenly maneuver the vehicle, and you never know what’s around the next corner.  This may have seemed like fun once, but not anymore,  more often than not, you feel unnerved inside , you are completely unsure of what he keeps in the boot of the car, or hidden on the back seat.  The air around you that was once filled with promise and hope, now seems clouded with a strange vagueness and uncertainty. It’s not really a wonder that you’re enjoying the view of the landscape out the window so much, along with pleasant thoughts of car rides once had, they seem like easier places to be in, rather than the reality of the present.

It’s not long before you are snapped back into reality,  Mr Incredible and the Wonderful You begin a discussion, one which takes only minutes to become heated.  It’s about the lie that he told you, when he said he couldn’t drive you to Sydney (a seven hour round trip) because he had something else to do, failing to mention at the time, he’d already organised to take that same  day off, to drive his secretary to Sydney and help her pick up her new car. With desperate intensity  in his voice, he’s trying to explain why he had to lie to you;  he knew you would overreact if he told you the truth; he was just trying to help someone out; it’s normal to hang out alone with other girls where he comes from; a happy employee is a good employee; it was to benefit the company (he is the company), the list goes on, but you’re not buying it, you want to know why he lied.  If it was all so normal, and he was just helping someone out, why would he would keep it  a secret?  “I’m just trying to do the best I can!” He was yelling now, his voice urgent and panicky, “I’m trying to keep everybody happy… I’m trying to please you, I’m trying to please her!” You feel as though you are being grouped together with this person, and you wonder why he is trying to please her, you remind him that she works for him, and he doesn’t need to please her. “Well, not please her,” he says, correcting himself, “I’m trying to keep her happy.”  Again, you ask, “Why are you trying to keep her happy?” His words make it sound as though he has such a heavy burden to bare, an innocent bystander could easily be convinced that he’s in such a hard predicament. If it’s a battle you’re engaged in, then Mr Incredible is clearly losing, trying to make you out to be the crazy, jealous one isn’t working for him in this instance, seeing as he’s the secret-keeper.  His body language is fidgety, he looks both confused and frustrated, he shifts around in his seat in an agitated manner, trying to get comfortable. Abruptly, and out of nowhere, he changes direction, as he slams on the brakes, your body is thrown forward, then to the side, and then backwards.  After spinning the vehicle around in a complete U-turn, he takes off again, there is no discussion,  the outing is boycotted, and you are heading back in the direction from which you came.

But this wasn’t to be the end of it,  Mr Incredible breaks the silence by striking from out of nowhere, “You be careful what you say about her” he said, “she’s good at what she does, you weren’t that good”  (Yes, you worked for him once) and then,  “that’s why I do what I do.”  You turn your head and look at him in complete astonishment,  as your jaw slowly drops open, he shoots from left field again, “and I’m not sure what your parents did to you either, but they’ve fucked you over, in a really good way, you are so fucked up!”   Ahh, and there it is,  the wounding arrow, the lie that has been carefully formed out of some kind of truth.

And then, ever so swiftly, your positions are swapped back again and you return to your prospective posts, you are cut back down to size, and put back in your place, back to where you belong, and he is elevated back to his self-appointed throne.

Looking out the window once more, your head remains turned away from him as far it possibly can for the remainder of the trip. You can’t see much now, everything is blurry due to the tears that fill your eyes. Occasionally one rolls down your cheek, but you don’t move your hand to wipe it away, because you don’t want him to see that he’s made you cry.  You wonder to yourself why he’s just accused you of saying something about her when you didn’t say anything at all, and you wonder why he was so defensive of her anyway.   You wonder why he brought up your parents out of the blue like that, you wonder why he thinks you are so fucked up. You wonder why he chose to take her to Sydney that same day that you needed someone to take you, you wonder why he kept it a secret, you wonder if there have been any other secret trips you don’t know about.  You wonder what makes her better than you, you wonder what makes her so deserving, and you so undeserving, she must be really good, maybe you’re not good enough.

Your worst fear has come to the light, if you didn’t already doubt yourself, then that’s all nicely sorted out for you now, if you hadn’t already accepted his offer to play the game called ‘Prove yourself,’  then here it is, being offered to you once more, beckoning you to step up to the plate and accept it’s challenge.  These seeds germinate and take root down in your brain, just the way Mr Incredible has purposed them to, it was even Mr Incredible himself, who accidentally told you of his own lie, creating a drama out of nowhere. The seeds are firmly planted, it won’t take much continued watering and attention on Mr Incredible’s behalf, to cause them to grow.

You can hear a faint, small voice trying to speak to you, but you can’t make out the words… Mr Incredible is just too loud. Your Little Secret Self is gentle and not overbearing like him, always giving room for other people to be themselves, maybe sometimes too much room, but this is her none the less. She’s probably trying to say something like, “This is not normal, something’s not right… it’s not you, it’s him… you don’t deserve to be yelled at, you are indeed good enough, you are MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH, YOU ARE GREAT, and you were fantastic at that job, think back to how you had to resign because he wouldn’t stop his abuse, throwing things, shoving things in your face, and calling you names, he is crazy, get the f#%^ out!” Whatever she’s saying, you can’t hear her for all the white noise and confusion that’s screaming and spinning around in your head.  Your Little Secret Self is, after all, (as Mr Incredible so unkindly pointed out)  damaged, what hope does she have of ever being heard or making any sense to anyone? It seems that doubting herself is the only thing she’s any good at after all these years.

Finally, the car trip comes to an end, still in shock, you exit the vehicle in silence.  Your body feels so frozen that you’re hardly able to move, you wonder if you’ll be able to walk once your feet hit the ground. The pain is almost physical, it feels as though someone has stuck a knife through your stomach and twisted it around on the inside of you.  Who is going to be there to help you heal these wounds, who is going to comfort you and what are you going to do now? As you walk away, Mr Incredible calls out to you, you ignore him, but he persists and catches up with you. Grabbing your shoulders firmly, he turns you around to look at him, but you fail to meet his eye, “I’m sorry” he says sincerely,  your body doesn’t respond, and your arms fall limp by your sides as he pulls you close to hug you.  For the smallest second, you allow your head to rest on his shoulder, never in your life have you needed to hear these words as much as you need to hear them right now, in this moment.  And this this is the day it begins, the abusive cycle of wounding and healing, knocking you down to help you up, hurting you to heal you,  creating unease, and then offering you comfort.  Oh, the insidious of it all.

The days following this car trip are riddled with torment and pain,  all of your worst fears run wild in your head, like caged animals suddenly released.  You spend hours questioning yourself and your performance as Mr Incredible’s one time employee. You start out on the disastrous trail of comparison and competition, even though, in the depths of your own soul you know the truth and you know the answers.  But there is a problem, and it is this…… you don’t yet  know the depths of your own  soul, you are not properly acquainted with your Little Secret Self at all, and that is precisely why Mr Incredible targeted you in the first place.