Primadonna Girl

The holidays hurt now. The threat of Christmas hangs over me like a specter. I wonder how many years of memories I'll have to form to forget you. I throw out little things every day to make more space to replace you.

As the year closes (in a month and a half), I realize that I've learned a lot.

I have learned that a clock gaslighting you can still tell you the right time of day at it's whim. Scott was manipulative. I was engaged in a much worse relationship than I realized for a very long time. I was told that I was being ridiculous when I was suspicious. That my lack of trust was going to drive him to cheat like it did with Chrysta. This is a weird existence to contend with- one where someone makes you doubt yourself constantly. I was told I should give up on art, on school, and settle into places that I hated. I was told that I was a negative force in the world. I was told I was the problem. I'm still the problem. I'm still the one that needed to be pushed away. I'm the source of everything that went wrong. But a gaslighting abuser will still tell you you're pretty. They'll still get you cats. They'll let you borrow money (and hold that against you, but still), they'll share a phone bill, they'll buy you thoughtful gifts. They'll be very bashful and genuine around your friends, their coworkers, strangers and combined with the moments of kindness you'll start to believe you really were wrong. Then years later you'll realize that he only called you while you were out of town to remind himself when he needed to have his mistress out. A person can be inherently selfish but on occasion very helpful.

I have also learned that if a guy tells you he has a history of predatory sexual behavior and used to groom female friends to sleep with them, he is probably grooming you to sleep with him. Any subsequent freak-outs on his part are his problem and should not be taken personally. You shouldn't feel like you can't let your guard down and his reinforcement of that feeling is unforgivable.

It was strange to learn that life changing illnesses do not need to be personality changing illnesses. A person can get cancer and still tell you you're fat at the drop of a hat. It actually can make guilting more effective. How can you reasonable fight back against a loved one you almost lost? After you've seen someone covered in tubes, feebly being wheeled around on a gurney how do you tell them to back the fuck off? When you've helped you mother to the bathroom after surgery how do you refuse to listen to her grievances? Some days it feels like there has been a change, but I think it's just strengthened her arsenal. I can't blame her.

I've realized that true friendship is very valuable, and not everyone can be that for you. Which is not to say that a lack of connection with another person makes them bad. I think life has proven this year that what seems like a very solid connection can be deceit. Then you have a best friend who can tell you that an eight year span was your rock bottom, and you know that they'll hold it down. Best friend is a tier, but a fairly exclusive one.

Finally, I've come to terms with the idea that I am not toxic. Flawed? Entirely! Needy? Quite. However, after years of being told I am a hateful bitch with a chip on my shoulder by my mother and my significant other, I have decided I am not. According to Psychology Today, which I'm sure is authentic and peer reviewed, a toxic person is: manipulative, judgmental, shirks responsibility, doesn't apologize, is inconsistent, demands loyalty, makes you defend yourself, and is generally not interested in you. (Huffington Post has a list that reads slightly more like me, so I'll ignore that one) To address the concerns, which I have been obsessed with for most of the year, I'll start at the top. I'm definitely not manipulative. I know this mostly because I spent a long time in a relationship with someone openly manipulative. I saw Scott manipulate people. I was regaled with tales of how he plotted to manipulate people. I have been manipulated by at least 4 different people this year, and I have no idea how they do it so easily. Sometimes it seems effortless. They figure out what motivates someone, pretend to be interested in them, or use their position in that persons life and just roll with it. Stassney was pretty obvious about it, but the other three weren't. I feel I should insert a disclaimer, which is that I cannot help but feel responsible for allowing myself to be manipulated. Even in Stassney's case, where it was so coarse and vulgarly blatant, I let it get to me. So I don't blame any of them for the fallout of their behavior, I can only acknowledge I'm lacking the skill to duplicate it. I'm definitely judgmental, but I honestly don't know a single person that isn't. I typically try not to be judgmental at someone, though, and I think that's what they mean by someone toxicly judgmental. Outwardly toxic, anyway. I know being judgmental is generally internally toxic, as all comparative behaviors are, but I try not to let that leak out. I try to be accountable, and in that vein I do often apologize immediately. Sometimes I know that doesn't matter. Sometime you Louis C.K. things and are beyond the point of apologies. Still, I feel slightly better that he did, and slightly better when I do. I am heavily inconsistent. I don't know how to stop that. I did at one point demand loyalty. I have since realized this is a really childish way to live and I can stand to be cordial toward people I know don't like me. I do pay a lot of attention to the tone and word choice of others, but I can't think of a time I've made a friend defend themselves. I do this often with my mother, but she told me to buy a mirror to see all the damage I've done to myself over the years- so fuck it, she can stand to defend comments sometimes. Finally, I am genuinely interested in you. I wish I understood you better. I do try. I wish you opened up more. Maybe I don't seem like I'm listening as hard as I am, but I want to understand you. I've come to understand so many dreary things and in you I see a light.

Still, being toxic might be one of those things like being dramatic. A person who loudly exclaims, "I HATE DRAMA" is likely to be the instigator of it. They probably ask to speak to manager all the time. So, maybe I'm hella toxic. It's definitely something I'll hold inside me and let eat at me for the rest of my life.

Finally- I realized game nights can be fun.

Happy holidays, internet. Thanks for listening to me over a particularly difficult year and a half. I think we may finally be on track.


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