Why I Was Sobbing in the Shower This Morning

I sobbed in the shower this morning. And then I sobbed some more as I washed my face, and while I dried my hair. It was about Donald Trump.

This election is very triggering for me, I’m realizing.

I was in an abusive relationship for six years — he never hit me with his fists, only his words. And I took it. He made promises that sounded so satisfying, so perfect, that I made excuses for his lack of humanity. When I finally left, I swore that I’d never be in that situation again.

But, somehow, in some indirect way, as part of a collective experience, here I am again. I find myself, as a citizen of this country, facing the possibility that I will, again, be under the influence of a madman.

Like most people, I didn’t take the “campaign” seriously at first. I assumed that everyone saw through him. I suspect that most of the people in my life assumed the same when I started dating Wayne. I was always a smart girl — straight A’s, great college, solid job. I seemed strong and capable. So I’m sure everyone around me thought that I’d see through his bullshit. And truth be told, I did. There is a part of me, that smart part, that did notice his narcissism, his deep dysfunction, his manipulation, his skill at twisting the truth, his targeted, shaming digs, his relentless need to control everyone and everything around him. But there was another part of me that was bigger than that smart part — it was need: The need for everything to be Okay, the need for life to be Safe, the need to be loved without risk. He recognized the depth, and the intensity, of my need like no one else ever had, and he leveraged it with amazing skill. He knew just the words to say to convince me that he, and only he, could give me all those things I longed for. He was quite a bullshit artist. What he was selling me is a fantasy. In reality, all of that stuff I longed for does not actually exist this side of heaven.

But the bullshit artist will tell you what you want to hear — even if it’s ridiculous. He’ll fill your ears so full of what you want to hear, what you want so desperately to believe, that you’ll ignore all of the other stuff he’s saying. You’ll ignore all the ugly stuff that shows who he truly is.

You’ll ignore his blatant racism. You’ll ignore his temper. You’ll ignore his hatred of women. You’ll ignore his staggering ignorance. You’ll ignore his poor judgment. You’ll ignore his lack of qualifications and experience.

You’ll ignore his complete and utter lack of humanity.

You will hear it. You will see it. But you will ignore it.

You’ll ignore it because you think that the things he promises are worth a tantrum here or there. And you’ll make excuses for the hateful things that come out of his mouth.

“He doesn’t really mean it, he just…” (I know that phrase well.)

But one day, after he’s failed again and again to make good on his promises, you’ll run out of excuses for his abusive behavior. Oh, you’ll go looking for an excuse, just as you always have, but there just won’t be any left. No more excuses. Just the very sad realization that you compromised everything you thought you were, and even your common damn sense, for an illusion.

You will realize that he was never actually capable of delivering on any of the promises he had fed you. Like you, he loved the sound of those promises as they came out of his mouth — and maybe he really believed them as he said them. He himself probably bought into the fantasy that he sold you. But at the end of the day, that’s all it was — a fantasy. And the only thing you’re left with then is the bullshit you’ve been excusing this whole time. Because, in reality, that is all there is, that’s all there has ever been.

And sadly, by turning a blind eye to his hate for all that time, by making excuses for his bullying and abuse, you gave away parts of yourself that you’ll never get back. And you walked away with wounds that you’ll never quite fully understand — wounds that can resurface unexpectedly years later and leave you sobbing on your bathroom floor . . . about a presidential election, of all things.

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