A friend of mine recently got out of a relationship that can only be described as a catastrophically bad idea. It was one of those unions that you hear about over wine, shake your head and say “Nooooo Waaaay!” Both parties had previously dated each other’s close friends, he was the notorious ‘Mean Boy’ and she was famously Naïve. Needless to say, approval ratings for this couple were lower than those for Channel TEN’s ‘Being Lara Bingle.’
As time went on public outings become harder and harder. They were greeted with nothing but looks of dismay and disappointment. She was smothered with warnings from those who had gone before her. He developed tactics to try and win/buy back the hearts of the common people. All of which fell short and involved many a fake laugh. Before long, their relationship became a string of nights around take-out boxes. They disappeared. So we don’t really know what they did. As I said. This happened to a friend of mine. Not to me.
Something must have broken them though, because one night, after months of not hearing from her, another friend of ours received a text.
“You were right. I was stupid.”
Before long it all came spilling out. He had left. She was a mess. She felt like he was the only one could love her. That everyone else found her hideous. That he was trying to fix her. That she needed him. That without him she was nothing. Yadi-yadi yada, all the things you expect to hear from an emotionally dependent, damaged little pile of need.
We all tried to be the best support we could. We listened as she flipped like a fish between hatred and utter adoration. We listened as she tried to defend his actions.
“You don’t understand. He only said I needed to lose weight for my own good.”
“You don’t understand. He only said I needed to change my entire wardrobe for my own good.”
“You don’t understand. He only said I could be so much better for my own good.”
We rolled our eyes and thought the D-bag could go eat a-bag-of D’s-for all we cared.
Jump forward a few chapters and here we are today. My friend is back from a working holiday. Back to her old self. We had a few drinks the other night and I asked her if she ever heard from the Ex-Man. She said no, they didn’t keep in contact but she heard he was happy. She also said she thought the whole thing was quite funny. In my personal opinion nothing about the cyclonic coupling was funny in the slightest. It was all tears and anxiety, threats and anger. 4 of my 6 least favourite things. (The other two are racists and coriander…)
I asked what she thought was possibly humorous.
“Because everything he wanted me to be. I am now. I kind of get it. But I guess you just have to grow up on your own terms.”
She went on to talk about a new flame and a prospective new house near the water but I couldn’t get that thought out of my head. When someone tells you over and over that you aren’t good enough, that you can be better, when they push and push and insult and attack, we call it Abuse. We call them all sorts of names. But when we do it to ourselves, we call it Progress. We think ourselves Triumphant.
I watched the recent Oprah interview with Rihanna. She spoke affectionately of her old (sparring) partner Mr. Christopher Brown. She said the rest of the world could hate him all they wanted, but she didn’t.
I asked my friend what she thought. She replied:
“All is fair in love and war. Some just come with crazy artillery.”