Jarah, like the widow spider is a voracious predator who mates and then devours her victims.
You told me I was “your one”, to quote from that sentimental book that you gave me as an afterthought for Christmas, the book that you said was “stained with my tears, from crying alone in the bath”. You led me to believe that our relationship was truly special, “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.” The irony of giving me a book that revolves around a woman choosing to stay in a loveless marriage, who meets but can never stay with the love of her life, was not wasted on me. Prophetic or pathetic?
If our relationship contributed in some small way to you finally gaining the self-esteem to end your abusive marriage and get divorced then at least you gained something durable from us being together. I was left betrayed, humiliated and violated by you. I tried on many occasions to get you to talk to me about why you initiated our relationship, what you were running away from, running to and what we represented. You evaded, deflected, dissociated and ran away like a child to avoid telling the truth.
I fell in love with you knowing that you are scarred, deeply damaged, but I saw a rare and fragile beauty in you beyond your self-loathing. I didn’t place you on a pedestal, I was aware of your flaws, we all have them and I certainly never thought that I could “fix you up”. That requires you to seek professional help from a psychotherapist and to want to change and grow emotionally rather than perpetuate the destructive behaviors and survival skills that you developed as a neglected and abused child. You disarmed me with what I took to be your sincerity to get me to open up and confide in you. You worked overtime to seduce me, imploring me to stay with you.
How then to make some sense of your lies and deception? The best that you offered to me was “I got scared”, but you never said what you were scared of. You did once acknowledge that you “hurt me” and yet none of this accounts for your over night transformation from declaring your undying love for me to freezing me out, attacking me, undermining me and damaging me in a bitter betrayal of our intimacy. I was looking for and offered you a true partnership of equals. In a healthy, loving relationship you nurture and sustain each other, you grow together based on trust, respect and genuine love. Sadly you don’t know how to trust. As you said “kids are good judges of character”. I really enjoyed those occasions when I collected Kennedy and Khloe for you from Daycare. They were so excited, running up and hugging me, chattering away about their day. I miss their very genuine love and affection they are delightful little people, who deserve better. Observing loving, caring interactions between grown-ups is one of the greatest gifts you can bestow on a child. I do hope Jarah that you acquire the emotional honesty, depth and maturity to provide Kennedy and Khloe with a more positive relationship model for them to learn from, such that they will look forward to having these pleasurable experiences in adulthood and know how to create them for themselves.
I first experienced the full depth of your darker and malicious side when you called me when I was in Asia to tell me that you had got into a fight with Ryan, you said he had punched you in the nose and thrown you into a dresser. You turned to me for comfort and reassurance. I was distraught with worry for your safety as you were alone with the girls and I was unable to come and help you. I called every day to hear how you were doing, but I heard nothing and feared the very worst for you. I got back home to read a perfunctory email in which you dumped me without grace or explanation. You followed this by refusing to talk to me and freezing me out, as if our relationship had never existed. Yours were the actions of a coward and a narcissist. If you had a shred of empathy you could have handled it differently, helping us both to a softer landing. I would still have been very hurt but it could have had very different consequences for both of us. You turned into a vindictive and hate-filled nightmare, narrowing your eyes with malice you appeared driven to attack me, to undermine me, to destroy my reputation in a psychotic fury. You deflected responsibility for your dissociated actions accusing me of jealousy, because you never own up to the consequences of your destructive behavior. Losing you was bewildering, a hit-and-run accident with you speeding away to leave a scene of carnage behind you.
So why did you get involved with me? Were you craving attention and looking to gratify your ego because your self-esteem had been battered in your destructive marriage? For you perhaps the seduction was everything, you were an aggressive sexual predator with no boundaries, whose pursuit of casual, and for you, meaningless sex, was a distraction from the essential emptiness and loneliness at the heart of your existence. Perhaps it was all just a malicious hoax, that in your words you were “just stringing me along all the time”. Then again, you did say that your mother would describe you as a “gold digger”, after all the oldest profession has been faking it for money for centuries. During your seduction you were obsessed with my status and how it reflected on you as you said, ” I can’t believe that I am finally in bed with you”. Was blackmail your endgame?
You did disclose a lot about your past that perhaps helps to make some sense of the stories that you told me and provides some clues as to why you acted subsequently with such hatred towards me. You claimed that you were “neglected” by your mother, that your parents fought, they “got high” a lot of the time, that your dad was never “good enough” for your mother, that he was passive and would try to play “peacemaker”. You said that your earliest memories were of being in the back of the car as on many occasions your mother drove around to meet “her boyfriends”. You told me and other witnesses, that you and your sister, had been sexually molested as children by some boys in the neighborhood. You maintained that only Melina was sent for therapy as you were “too young”. While we were together in Dublin, Ryan called your parents to tell them that not just Melina but you had also been molested. You were incensed with his betrayal as it should have been your choice to tell them and he should have respected your wishes not to talk about it. In hindsight this may have been a belated cry for help for Ryan and for you Jarah. You told me that you left home when you were seventeen as it was a “battleground”. You told me that you were “different” to your sister Melina who “had never been able to hold down a job”, “had worked as a dancer”,”took drugs”, “picked up men in bars”, “got involved with unsuitable men in physically and emotionally abusive relationships”,”loved daily drama”. I asked you why she remained married, you told me “they only stayed together for the children” and that Melina left home frequently to “freeload off you” or to meet up with “her latest boyfriends”. Perhaps there is a recurring familial pattern here.
You said that you had pursued Ryan, that he blamed you for having to sell his business and felt “emasculated”. You told me that he was jealous and resentful of your growing career, disliked you studying in business school. Your embittered descriptions of Ryan were black and white, you fixated on him controlling you, demeaning you, undermining you for being “too skinny” and above all blaming you for being away from home too often and leaving him to bring up Kennedy & Khloe. You told me that you “fought all the time”, that he routinely went through your phone to track who you had contacted. When I asked you why you stayed with him you said “so what if I get slapped about once in a while”. What you said was always starkly black or white, frequently contradictory, Jarah the wronged victim, the paranoid person always looking over her shoulder with people either with her or against her. You described a trail of broken relationships that you had left behind you. You behaved like a child who would dissolve into hysterical sobbing or sudden outbursts of rage.
Your behaviors bear all of the hallmarks of the arrested emotional development of a person with an anti-social personality disorder, located on the borderline personality disorder spectrum, at times higher functioning, at other times near to psychosis. You will need a professional to properly diagnose you and more importantly, to help you to heal. Your seduction of me was straight from the borderline’s playbook, initiating rapid, intense involvement, in this case this entailed immediate and frequent sex, premature conversations about living together, getting married, having children, selecting names. You had me terrified but completely enthralled, classic entrapment tactics. Your patterns of relating are highly unstable, hot to cold, black to white, lover to enemy. You said that you liked “who you are when you are with me” and could find “periods of calm when we were together”. In reality I think that you are addicted to chaos and disorder, it is order that brings on your “anxiety”.
You are obsessed with your body image, a little paradoxical for someone who rails against sexism while at the same time seeking out cosmetic surgery to counteract your body dysmorphia, a distorted self-image leaves you desperate for approval and attention, but phobic about commitment. Just one of many contradictions, you are a registered supporter of a political party whose candidate brags about his sexual assaults. You deflect confrontation by crying, raging or projecting it away from you, there is denial of your childish behavior, never accepting responsibility, refusing to apologize. In times of stress you were checked out, dissociated, shut down and withdrawn emotionally. In your background are eating disorders (keep whitening your teeth to mask the damage) alcohol and drug abuse. Early on you wanted to tell me about the most dangerous thing that had happened to you so that you could share with me your addiction to thrill-seeking. You related a story of how you and Melina had got into trouble with some drug dealers who kidnapped you when you were younger, you said that you were bundled into the trunk of a car, taken to a motel, where you were tied up in a mattress and that you were held hostage over night before you could escape. Your behavior is remarkable for your hyper-sexuality, indeed you use your sexuality in every setting as a means of winning attention or seeking approval. You described yourself as “dancing like a stripper”. You are always inappropriately flirtatious in public settings, particularly in work. You indulge in making people feel guilty and shaming them. You exhibit manipulative and controlling behaviors. You have frequent infantile temper tantrums. Infidelity defines you. You have an inflated sense of self. You completely lack remorse or empathy. You practice lying and deceitfulness, and you are self-contradicting.
I have to hand it to you, you are a consummate actress, who can make you doubt the evidence of your own eyes, such are your powers of deception. You have extremely poor impulse control, you know no boundaries and look for instant gratification. Superficially you seem confident but you suffer from low self-esteem, poor self-worth, even self-loathing. You project your flaws onto others. Your behavior is perplexing and paradoxical, the more you are loved the less you love in return, the closer someone gets the more you retreat through fear of rejection and commitment. You are sexually predatory, using sex as a weapon of mass deception. At the heart of your paradox is the splitting of your personalities, as you oscillate in relationships between idealizing and devaluing, love you or hate you. You have simplistic black or white perceptions, “all women are jealous of you”. You use the word love with casual disregard and lack the first clue about what it truly means. You have an impulsivity that leads you into personal and professional trouble.
You have an inability to sustain interpersonal relationships due to a core lack of trust. You said to me in relation to how I trusted you, “nobody makes themselves that vulnerable”. Well when you finally grow up emotionally you may learn to trust and not to betray your partner for fear of rejection. In my case your lack of boundaries fooled me into believing that you were being honest and candid. I opened up to you, gave you the metaphorical access all areas pass to me and dared to believe that we shared a dream about a future together. When we first got together you enjoyed me reading poetry to you in bed, in one poem I showed you how I shared my dreams with you “I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” You smashed those dreams apart in a wanton act of vandalism and those shattered pieces will never come together again. You said that we “shared great memories together” unfortunately you know a thing or two about false memories.
Unlike Ryan you never turned me into your co-dependent, although I risked everything to be with you. In the end you were right about you “not being worth it” being “not good enough for me”, you said that you “would not drag anybody else down with you.” Regrettably I am sure that is another promise that you will not keep. Jarah you are like a tornado that ripped through my world, turning it upside down, causing chaos and destruction. To the hordes treading the well-worn path to Jarah: beware you could lose your family, your job, your reputation, your health.
You “moved on” so rapidly, it confirmed for me that you are capable of infatuation but incapable of love. I told you that I did not want you in a rebound relationship after Ryan. After your seduction and entrapment of me you brushed me off like I was an irrelevant piece of collateral damage dismissed by an emotional vampire. You “moved on” with such speed that it showed me that you were only ever interested in your own narcissistic supply needs. I realize now that virtually anybody could become your next object of interest and your bed will never grow cold.
Part of your paradox is that you will probably continue to be attracted to fellow narcissists who are abusive towards you until you learn to grow up and move on from your childhood self-loathing or shame and blame-based relationships. You have the emotional maturity of a three year old who is ruled by libidinous urges that you have never learned to regulate, you seek out instant gratification. Ultimately nobody can please you Jarah, you are a bottomless pit of neediness and unresolved rage from your childhood.
True love is sustainable, you are only capable of experiencing emotions on a transient basis. You have been dissociating and running away from difficult emotions all of your life. I experienced you as a broken soul whose self-esteem was shot to pieces despite your external bravado. No matter how much I might have tried to get you to see your intelligence, your beauty that I saw through your flaws, I could never change your core belief that you are unworthy of love. Your stunted emotional growth lies at the very heart of your non-feeling emptiness. You apparently have learned to survive with a nihilistic world view, blocking out pain, always anticipating disaster, as you said “after all what’s the worst that could happen, death?” Being the one to initiate pain rather than to be the recipient of it, gives you your only semblance of control. You are terrified of what you need and what you want emotionally for fear of rejection. That perceived cycle of abandonment is like an emotional spin cycle for you with failed relationships, just rinse and repeat.
I truly want you to heal but you have got to seek professional help to do so and put in the really hard yards to grow emotionally and embrace personal change. Maybe one day you will talk truthfully about your feelings, your needs, your insecurities, by learning to trust and not betray the trust that is given to you. That way you may begin to feel difficult emotions, not run away from them and you will finally quit acting out with them. You could then start to express your hurt, disappointment and your anger to your parents; you once told me “anger only masks another feeling”. I hope that through professional support you can conquer your shame and build self-worth, to stop harming yourself and others. Accept your flaws, your shortcomings, take responsibility for your actions and your mistakes. I hope one day that you are able to seek out and give a genuine, heartfelt, sincere apology to every person that you have ever hurt and keep a promise to yourself that you will never inflict those injuries again. I do hope that you are able to learn to heal and mature into a complete adult and start to treat sex as a beautiful gift that you can share with someone who reciprocates genuine love for you, rather than use sex as a weapon to control and manipulate others. You cheapen and degrade your sexuality with your current lack of self-worth. Just stop lying and build a reputation for being trustworthy. Be the person that you want Kennedy and Khloe to become in the future, they too are learning every day from your example.
I genuinely hope that you are able to find happiness despite the damage that you have inflicted on me and many other people. I for one regret my contributory role in causing pain to Ryan.
You are better than the thin-skinned narcissist, whose impulsivity leads to train wrecks and a string of business failures, the bare-faced liar whose statements do not withstand fact-checking and whose promises are worthless (that bears an uncanny resemblance to a candidate for public office). That person is worthy of contempt. There is a Jarah who is better than that. I hope you discover her and learn to love her before it is too late for you to ever change.