Becoming a monster

Suspension of disbelief is the intentional avoidance of critical thinking or logic in examining something surreal in order to believe it for the sake of enjoyment.

I was the perfect emotional abuser. Can’t take pride in that, as it sickens me to even unbury fragments of the dark memories of my toxic relationship with my Norwegian ex-girlfriend, L. Though, in an unintentional yet fortunate turn of events, my abusive proficiency somewhat has worked as a miraculous story of ultimate reparation. Redemption too, if we push it.
“I know it’s selfish, but I’ve been carrying this guilt and pain for years. It won’t change what I did to her, but maybe it will make her feel better to know what I’ve become; how much I’ve changed. She must know that I understand, that I’m sorry… I’m not the monster she believes I am,” I managed to say, before my voice broke and my eyes began to water.
“No. She doesn’t need to know,” my therapist said and then continued, after a long sigh. “You know she still loves you, right?”
“What!?” I asked, in awe.
“This last message she sent you, the one you just read to me… She was clearly still in love with you. Angry, yes; but very much in love. And I don’t believe that have changed. Now the question is: do you still love her?”
I took a deep breath and replied what was pretty fucking obvious by then. “Yes,” I said, and sank my gaze in the floor. I was ashamed, felt stupid. Too many emotions running wild. “I don’t know if after everything I did I could be with her again. But yeah… I still love L.”
“Then leave her alone, Eduardo. Period.”
I looked up at my therapist, confused. “But… But… I’m different… I have really changed…”
“Yes, you are a good man now, but she doesn’t know that. In her head, you are still this ‘monster’ she last saw five years ago. That’s how she’s managed to move on. It’s easier to forget you if she can’t see anything good in you. Reaching out to her will destroy this coping mechanism… It’ll fuck her up,” she finished, cussing to make a point.
“So the only thing I can do to make amends is to disappear completely? Remaining a monster to her?”
My therapist looked at me with a motherly, compassionate smile. “Yes. That’s all you can do. I’m sorry, but you gotta let her go. For good.”
That therapy session was back at the end of September. Not only did I learn that my ex L loved me deeper than anyone has ever loved me, but also that, to somewhat repair the wounds I inflicted on her, none of the changes and self-improvement I’d done so far were enough. I had to keep my hurt and my remorse all to myself, suffering in silence, potentially for the rest of my life. Inaction, in this case, was the only way forward.
I had to become a monster. For her. For us.
I wish I had that clean cut with my ex C. Ironically, regardless of how harmful she ended up being to me, I don’t see her as a monster. Sometimes I wish I did, but I simply can’t. Maybe because she never told me the truth; unlike me, who was very blatant and “in your face” in my aggressive, abusive and destructive relationship towards L. I didn’t get the same “abusive perks,” if you may. (And how sad it is to get to this fucked up place, where one would have to choose between different forms of abuse.)
I don’t know. Would it help me to move on faster if I knew that she, indeed, cheated on me? I’ve come to a point where I’m 99% sure she did. All the signs were there, clear as day, and I’m coming to terms with it. Slowly. Painfully. Of course, every single person I know has been telling me that for a long time, pointing at all the evidence that was right in front of my eyes. How do you think I felt? Just as shit as you can imagine, and some more.
It got so bad, that at some point I almost cheated on her, driven mad by anger and frustration. And as I was leaving the apartment of this stunning older woman in a rush, unfucked and embarrassed, she angrily said “Why do you care so much? She fucking cheated on you!” I tried to explain, as I’ve done with everyone else, that it wasn’t like that. Although I now think I was just conditioned by C’s lies to think that way. Or I had convinced myself of this surreal charade, choosing to relish the infatuation of having the girlfriend I wanted to believe I had. Suspension of disbelief at its best.

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