Punch and Judy

I have been trying to figure out a way to tell him that your compassion can be used against you. That sometimes we go into our early relationships thinking, I love you, and I see the best in you, and I know you’re struggling. I can help. And later it will seem painfully Luke Skywalker: I feel the good in you. But we don’t know that yet. Right now we see someone suffering, and that person tells us we can help, and we genuinely want to, and we believe they want us to. We believe. And we know we are difficult, flawed, less, and we know that we want to be better. We try to be better. We suppose this is true of everyone.

Our best intentions will overlook the fact that she deletes the names of every girl on our contact list. That she throws us out weekends. That she demands we work, and demands we stay home and care for her, and demands that we be different. Always different. Sometimes she’s kind. Sometimes she cries and is sorry. We let the kindness outweigh the rest of it. She never means to hurt us. And so we stay and struggle because we don’t want to be those people who bail. Those people who say, This is too hard.

I have heard myself rationalize even the punches. I have heard too many of us rationalize the punches. It was just once. It was just the one time. She was drunk. She was high. I woke her from a bad dream. Nothing like that ever happened again. She only broke stuff, she never actually hit me. She followed me from room to room screaming, but when she pushed me it wasn’t that hard.

We know we are not perfect, and we love them anyway.

But they do not love us like we love them. They love meanly. They love roughly. They love and belittle. They love and hit. They love and control. Their love is a sharp and broken thing. And it is not our responsibility to carry it. To fix it. To nurture and accept it. My love won’t cut you. My love will never cut you. I want to explain but I don’t understand it myself. Why I stayed. Why I excused and forgave. Why I let them. I loved them more than I loved myself. I thought that was why we were here. My compassion bled inside me.

It’s your heart you’re eating. I want to tell him. I want to spare him. I want. I want.

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