It’s become such a permanent fixture to conversations about exes, it’s possible we’re too close to see it. But when we talk about our exes as if they were things that didn’t accessorize our lives properly, we are dehumanizing and devaluing a person.
With all the obsessive pontificating we do about our own psychology, we should give a more little energy to unraveling what might have taken place in the hearts of our exes. And I’m not talking about, “He had peter pan syndrome,” “She wasn’t happy,” or “He was looking for someone more submissive.” I’m talking about, “There’s something comfortable about a relationship even if it’s the wrong one. I understand how she unintentionally led me on.” Or even something more mild like, “He had his issues, and I certainly had mine.”
A few months ago I was “talking” (that’s my code word for listening intently as others express world views that stir up sadness and bewilderment inside of me) with some women who were discussing the pitfalls of their past relationships. But what I found suspicious is that everyone was a victim. Not once did they call into question their own character, integrity or behavior. Not once did a “I treated him horribly,” even come close to being muttered. Seemingly, not one person in this group of four had been the source of toxic seepage in a relationship. That I was the only one with a wake of romantic destruction behind me that I either co-lead or spearheaded entirely. This was not an honest discussion. This was a blinded session of people gladly enumerating the character issues of others.
Women, shake yourselves. We have not always been the victims. We have injured hearts and altered the romantic landscapes of men’s lives with our cruelty, selfishness and disrespect. We have been the antagonists.
I certainly was.
I was toxic.
I provoked him.
I brought out the crazy in him.
I was a liar.
I was a swindler.
I was a user.
I was abusive.
I pushed him to the edge.
I was a con artist.
I didn’t protect the hearts of people I claimed I loved.
I lied about being in love.
I cared more about being right than being kind.
I was a manipulator.
I went in knowing they were wrong for me and then held that against them.
I was the source of toxic seepage.