I’m so alone
‘Do you still love me?’
‘Do you miss me?’
‘I just wanted to check on how you’re doing?’
‘Did you have a good day today?’
‘Did you remember it’s our wedding anniversary?’
I know why abuse survivors go back to their abusers. It isn’t weakness or stupidity. It’s because you live inside a cage, desperate to escape, dreaming of the day you’ll be free. But when you finally get out, the world isn’t the way you remembered.
You find yourself in a featureless desert; nothing as far as the eye can see. No joy, no peace, no comfort. You feel disconnected from everyone and everything. The world is as empty as you feel inside.
And then the siren song begins. The text messages; the phone calls; the little tugs at your heart. Your hopes and dreams were so bound up with this person for so long, you want to believe them. You’re desperate to believe them.
You can just make out an oasis in the distance; lush and green and tranquil. You could rest in the shade of its trees; you could drink of its cool waters; you could find solace for a time.
If I went back, I wouldn’t be so alone. I’d get to see my kids every day. Maybe this time, it’ll be different. Maybe this time, my dreams will all come true.
And anyway, being a victim is all I know.
Worst of all, you still love them. Despite everything they did to you, despite all the pain they caused you, you still love them. The only person who can make you feel better is the one who made you suffer; the only one who can heal your wounds is the person who caused them.
‘Do you miss me? I miss you.’
Don’t answer the call. Don’t reply to the text. They just want to know they’ve still got you dangling on a line; that they can still get to you and play with your emotions. They want to know they still have power over you.
Love isn’t enough. Love without respect is worthless. Love bound up with fear isn’t love. As hard as it is in this wasteland, this desert, that oasis is nothing more than a mirage. It is the illusion of safety. It is where dreams go to die.
It’s time to dream new dreams.