You have the power to dominate my emotions.
It’s problematic to liken a complex, nuanced human being to a life-destroying substance. I get that. Honestly, to some extent, this is no longer about how toxic you are, but more about my inability to keep my Crazy under wraps when you’re around and my completely illogical desire to keep burning myself in the fire.
A compulsion to revisit something so monumentally terrible for me is an illness regardless of the vice; in my case, the drug of choice just happens to be you.
For someone whose presence was absolute garbage for my well-being, I sure do miss a lot of stuff about you that I know I shouldn’t. To cite another gal who struggled with addictive demons, Whitney Houston said it best: “I remember the way that we touched. I wish I didn’t like it so much.” Man, I feel her.
I miss the electricity between us when our eyes met in those rare, real moments, and the intoxicating way you seemed to know how to manipulate me just through gentle contact. Yes, a lot of it was carnal and animalistic and primitive and way below my mental capabilities, but oh my god it was fantastic. Even the way you wormed into my psyche and found facets of myself I wasn’t prepared to face felt like a sort of adventure.
Let’s face it: the excitement of danger is fun. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have let this whole mess between us destroy my sense of self so many times.
I hear myself, by the way.
I know I sound like every junkie who is struggling to stay clean, and honestly, I feel like abstaining from you is my own version of sobriety. I honestly count the days since we last spoke like Twelve Steppers collect chips for sober time earned.
Whenever I consider tapping into my infatuation and doing something innocuous like reaching out or stalking your social media, I have to consciously take a minute to compare the life I had when you were a part of it to my life now and remind myself how much better things are when you’re not a factor, exactly like anyone in recovery from a toxic substance.
Similarly, I have friends I lean on in my weakest moments who remind me why I needed to detox from you in the first place. And perhaps the most indicative of my addiction: I always, always hate myself for continuing to entertain thoughts of returning to something that is so god-awful for me, and yet sometimes I crave it so hard that falling off the wagon feels inevitable, no matter the toll it takes on my self-worth or this life I’ve built away from all that drama.
I never mean for our interactions to turn into weird downward spirals, but anyone in recovery knows that insanity is doing the same things repeatedly and expecting different results. I always assume that I can just dip back in, catch up, and move on, but any moment of vulnerability and I’m suddenly on a bender I cannot tear myself away from.
Things have to hit rock-bottom with you in order for me to walk away — a lesson I have learned at least a dozen times.
This is a concept I still struggle to fully accept and it’s one of the signs you’re addicted to him, just like I am. Yeah, despite repeatedly surveying the piles of evidence that prove being around you stokes the fires of my Crazy, I still catch myself attempting to mentally finesse some way to justify the horrible decision to connect with you again.
It’s nothing short of f*cking ridiculousness, and yet, here I am, still feeding myself the same bullsh*t about how we’re both different people now so maybe we can do this in a healthy way for a change. Maybe this time I’ll have self-control. Maybe this time we won’t be walking through an emotional minefield again.
It’s better for me to be the one setting the hard boundaries, though, because I know myself well enough by now to accept that I’ll respond to literally any move you make. Just one innocent “Hope you’re well!” from you and I succumb to my obsession.
At the risk of showing my hand, you have the power to dominate all my emotions just by popping back up into my periphery and no matter how many times I rehearse my cold indifference, I don’t trust myself around you enough to risk keeping a door open.
And listen, at this point, I’ve fully accepted that it’s not even you who causes these issues; this garden variety Crazy is all me and keeping my sh*t together is my responsibility.
I do my best to keep you out of sight because God knows you’re not ever going to be out of mind. Damnit.
Images via tumblr.com.
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Liz is a writer, mental health advocate/activist, and sometimes-model, based in North Carolina. She overshares about her bizarre journey through mental illness, recovery, parenting, and surviving Southern suburbia pretty much all over the internet.