Love-bombed & lonely

I love you” he sobbed.

I was shocked. The tornado of abuse and cruel words had spiraled around me for the last two hours, was I now in the eye of the storm?

My confusion transformed into compassion. This man was hurting, and he was my man. This was a cry for help. Wasn’t it? I was overcome with a desire to help him and tell him it was OK.

I forgave him.

I drove home confused. I wished he hadn’t told me he loved me that evening.

Rewind a few hours earlier and I had been working late into the evening. I told him I would drive him home after my shift. An hour before I was due to finish he had called me, everything was fine. Thirty minutes later, he called me again, screaming down the phone “where are you and who are you with”? My voice started to shake as I explained I was at work and I’d meet him soon.

His eyes. It was like the light had gone out. Black, cold, nothing. Drunk.

I felt afraid but safe. Something told me there was a storm raging inside, but I was out of reach. I took him home and we walked inside together.

Walking into the bathroom he locked the door, smashing everything and tearing down the shower curtain. His anger knew no bounds. I tried to soothe him from outside the door, I tried to calm him down, “has something happened? What do you need?

I love you”.

Shaking I sat down. Alarm bells were ringing, why would he say that? Why would he be like this? This wasn’t the person I knew, everything had been wonderful up until now. It had been three weeks.

The relationship felt full of potential and promise. OK, it felt like it was getting serious quickly, but who minds that when everything feels so easy?

The first bomb had been dropped. And from that day on I became a woman of two halves.

“I love you”

I was touched by his declaration. I was embarrassed.

“I love you”

I wanted to soothe him. I wanted to run away.

“I love you”

I wanted to tell my best friend what had happened. I felt too ashamed to tell anyone.

“I love you”

I wanted to heal him with my love. I wanted to take my love back and leave.

“I love you”

I love you. I hate you.

I felt trapped. Leaving him would feel like abandonment when he really needed me. Didn’t he really need me? After all, this relationship felt like the real deal, this was just a blip. Right?

Love bombs aren’t nuclear, it’s a blitz. And as the bombs continued to fall, the shrapnel tore me deeper. Never enough to flatten us completely, instead I weakened, I began to crumble, I tried to re-build “us”.

I was losing my mind trying to understand his.

Friends would ask “where’s Hannah gone, where is she?” I couldn’t tell them anything, I was too ashamed. I knew what was happening, but I couldn’t tell anyone. I was afraid they would tell me to leave him, but I knew in my heart I wasn’t ready.

I was so lonely.

Love-bombs fly you high on impact, but the fall out creates a bruise that leaves you tender and vulnerable. I would beg him, bargain with him to let me see friends. Having to think of a way to ‘make it up to him’, having to constantly find the right words to make sure I was granted permission left me feeling completely exhausted.

Constantly apologising for asking to fulfill my own needs, made me believe this was my fault. I began to feel guilty. He hurt me, because I made him feel bad. It was always my fault. In the end, I learned that carrying the blame was easier than trying to get him to say sorry.

I couldn’t tell anyone. How could I explain what I had become, what I had committed to. I should have been showing myself compassion and love, instead the assumed judgement of others played out in my mind, keeping me small, making me hide.

In the end, he abandoned me. Snarling at me in public, he continued his night in another bar. Walking down a dark street to a taxi in the middle of the night made me realise he didn’t care about me. When he arrived home at 6.30am I had already started to pack my bags to go home for Christmas. I knew in my heart I wouldn’t be coming back to him.

He was still snarling at me, abusing me. In that moment I saw him for what he was. No matter how much I loved him, it would never be enough.

I was done. It was over. I left him.