The Endless Trap is mine and the Boy’s home. The unguilded cage. The dark, cold and trying place where the Narcissist lives. This is his domain. Don’t stay here long, you won’t like it.
It is hard living here.
Struggles for my sense of self are a daily battle. Some battles are irrevocably lost but always to better aid the greater prize which is to win the war, and it is a war, of that there is no doubt.
There are so many small battles lost that I feel my strength dissipate like melting snow when exposed to bright sunlight. They weaken my resolve, they steal my determination and they lay me low for a while. This place, this so-called home is always surrounded by winter regardless of the seasons change outside.
It is cold living here.
Still more than that there are those small battles that regardless of his efforts, manage to survive and flourish like thin weeds and they take root in my psyche.
These tiny weeds will peek out through the smallest of cracks in the frozen soil and they will flourish against all odds to become tall and leggy, producing something of an ugly beauty but with such tenacity, they bring a sense of begrudging acknowledgment even from him. A minor triumph and I will punch the air in a victory salute, always defiant.
These are the struggles of which I am most proud because they allow me to remain in this most trying of places. These little pieces of gold give me the strength to retain the smallest amount of my sense of self.
Such a small thing, choice of actions, when taken for granted. Accepted as a basic right by many I would argue they don’t know how lucky they are. The magnitude of these small victories grows in direct proportion to his determination to still the movement, to steal the moment and enforce his will over mine.
“You know I know what is best for you!” He says. I close in on myself to provide necessary protection for my choices. I am defiant and willful, “What do you know about my needs?” He dislikes this in me more than all my other faults, either real or imagined and he is frustrated by this wall of insolent defiance. His flat hand connects and my head snaps back, ‘I don’t have to know your needs, but you will know mine!’
But still I stand unbroken before him.
He will leave me alone with a blank stare and an unspoken threat that this is not yet over because he has not yet won this battle of wills.
I breathe deeply and slowly, the metallic taste of blood in my mouth but still defiant in the face of fear, he does not know what is best for me nor does he understand my needs, in enforcing the opinion that he alone has the right to choose my actions he enforces the opinion deep within me that this battle above all others should be fought forever in order that I remain essentially me.
My defiance is a real entity in the room driving me forward, supporting my weakened spirit and filling me with the need to fight. I decide what I shall do with my time. My actions are my own either by accident or design and will remain mine alone! Not his, never his! This will become my mantra in the long dark days ahead. I slowly release painfully clenched fists and relax my arms held rigidly by my sides. One day I will retaliate and he will know fear, but not today.
He has taken everything and put his oppressive mark upon its surface, creating a flat empty place on what was once a wonderful mess of hills and plains, valleys and mountains, now it is cleared for what he sees as his construction. He is trying to build the model wife, just like his model planes and his model garden. Plasticised and flat, an uninteresting two-dimensional personality that will not clash with his beige one. People will listen to his voice then he thinks, I will be silent and he will shine.
It will never happen.
I will not be cowed by him and he lives in a state of infuriated flux. Anger runs through him at my refusal to change my chaotic ways. I should become ordered, neat, everything in one place so it is easily managed. Above all, I am never quiet, even when I do not speak! He is convinced he can hear my thoughts they are so loud and he knows, he just knows, I am laughing at him. His anger peaks. He thinks he will break through my defences one day and then everything will be as it should be. Calm and ordered just the way he likes it. He thinks I will see then that this is the better way, his way, after all, we are twenty years together now and this is where he will remain for the rest of his life and it will not take that long to bring me here to this place with him of that he will make sure, he thinks.
It will never happen.
I say to him, ‘Twenty years and still you have not understood you are trying to capture a free spirit. It is shameful the way you ignore what attracted you in the first instance.’
He says ‘ignore it I must!’ if he is to mould me and make me the perfect wife for him. I do not need all that gregarious nature, he does not require it from me, therefore, it is superfluous. I do not need all of that passion, he finds it tiresome when I start a new quest. It removes me from his presence far too often. What is he supposed to do with his time while I am off rescuing the world? Why should he put up with that level of neglect on a regular basis? I am his wife! He has rights and he will enforce them if he has to. It would be so much easier if I just changed my ways and came to heel. A good wife would, a pleasant wife would. He laments the trouble I cause him. He resents how much of his time he has to spend fighting my willfulness in order that he can remain in control.
Ill-fitted and uncomfortable as this relationship is there is one other to consider that prevents the flight of the free bird from this cage. He is my heart, my reason for smiling, and my reason for my continued defiance. To teach him to be a better man than the example he has before him, I must not allow my spirit to break. He is the reason I wake in the morning and climb with haste from my cold marriage bed. No concerns of that man waking, he will not rise till beyond noon. This suits me I can spend much needed time with my son.
Occasionally I play with the idea of running, escaping, leaving this behind forever and starting fresh in a different better warmer place and then I look at the circumstances that hold me here and I sigh deeply and with some sorrow because I am aware that I have no choice but to remain in this most trying of places until the day comes when my son can rise and escape with me. It will happen one day and that day is not so far away anymore. Time ticks slowly the minutes that trap my son as a child and turn to the minute in time when he will become a man who is less trapped in his disabilities and then we can leave when he is able.
My frustration ebbs because I know that one day I will be free of these chains and chattels that bind me to this oppression.
A bitter laugh escapes me as my thoughts flit to recent conversations with friends. They tell me how lucky I am to have such a good marriage!
He is a consummate actor and I deserve an Oscar for my performances when our friends come to call.
But they leave and the coldness returns instantly and with the force of a slamming door. I am bereft, I cannot continue in this torturous state of flux. I consider my options for a while, he is not a bad man, I reason. He can be kind, but it always comes with a price attached. My cynical thought weaves its way through my rationalization of his personality and our ever-growing marital problems.
He has no real understanding of what it is he does wrong. How can I say to him, ‘It is because you are you that this happens?’ Am I demanding a change in him that he cannot make? Am I becoming an equal monster in this Halloween party that never ends?
We are at an impasse. We are once again at that stage where the only thing left to do is a compromise. Where is all this leading? I ask myself once again.
I think this is the precursor to the end. I have come so near to the end of these trials and struggles so often and gained a frantic kind of peace from that state but it never lasts and with despair, I know without a doubt that I will revisit this tiresome state once more.
I am fast running out of places to hide my personality, those traits at least that he despises and would have me shed like so much snakeskin so I can be glossy and plastic and easy to maintain.
I feel rage rise in me like bile. Frustration, despair anger and grief will be my constant companions if I allow them free reign. There is nothing left here that I want, I will take my precious son and we will escape and hide and be free of this oppression once and for all and to hell, with the consequences and hardships we will face. That is preferable to this endless trap.
He shouts! Oh lord, but does he shout! I will have to leave my silent ranting and dance attendance on his unreasonable needs. There is no point in saying, ‘I am busy.’ I know it will serve no purpose other than to irritate him to a greater level of unreasonableness.
He wants, he needs, he demands! He gives no quarter in his tirade of neediness. It is all consuming and I am the consumed.
Will this be the final time when I snap and shout ‘I am myself I will not change!’ Creating the circumstance that will carry a more volatile solution to my present situation? I don’t know, not for sure, but I know I am closer to that volatile feeling than I am any kind of peace.
Something breaks within me and I accept the compromise once again as mine to make. I am not quite ready yet to break the chains and chattels.
But one day soon it will change and that change will be the final battle that ends this bitter war. He should hope it will be divorce and nothing more.
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