My Pseudolove Experience
I was in a pseudolove relationship for more than a decade. I didn’t know anything about pseudolove back then. It was my first time in a relationship. I thought I was in love and that he too was in love with me.
He also said it was his first time to be in a relationship. I believed him.
The start of pseudolove
We were studying in the same university, we were almost the same age. We even looked like each other that people thought we were related. Plus, his parents and my parents share the same wedding date – a fact so surreal I took it as a sign that we were meant to be. Also, the first time we met, I felt as if I already knew him somehow as his presence felt familiar.
At first, I wanted us to be friends. He disliked the idea. He wanted us to be boyfriend and girlfriend as fast as we possibly could.
I didn’t like being hurried but when he said he’d leave if we were not – and I didn’t want him to – I said yes to the relationship. I also didn’t want to feel lonely anymore.
I firmly believed that being in a relationship would get rid of my feelings of sadness and isolation. I also thought, “Why prolong the inevitable? I liked him too anyway.”
I thought the first two years of our relationship was heaven. He was caring, kind, respectful. I felt I could talk to him about anything and everything. It was as if we were so attuned to each other that I even called him an angel. I felt he was my savior.
My journal revealed otherwise.
When I re-read entries which I’ve written more than a decade ago, I was dumbfounded.
Pseudolove red flags
In the journal entry I wrote just a few days after we met, I saw red flags upon red flags come up one after another. But never in my notes did I consider them as red flags. I simply dismissed them as irrelevant. I also convinced myself that I was simply being over-analytical, over-sensitive and judgmental.
The most relevant red flag I should have paid attention to was when he asked me: “What would you do if your partner physically hurt you?”
My reply was a vehement: “I’d leave! No questions asked.” Yet when I was physically hurt by him, I didn’t leave. I actually stayed.
I stayed the first time he punched my leg incessantly.
Back then, I believed it was partly my fault as I pinched and twisted the skin off his arm first because he wasn’t reacting to anything I was saying. He also stoically claimed he wasn’t feeling a thing. When I did pinch him and asked, “Does that hurt?” He responded back by hitting my leg continuously and asking me back, “Does that hurt?”
I stayed again when he grabbed my right arm, squeezed my hand and – using his fingernails – chipped off a small portion of the skin off my right hand until it bled.
The abuse was prompted by a petty argument before we were supposed to watch a movie. He told me to watch the film by my self, which I then proceeded to. He then rushed to me and with his closed fist, hit my stomach. He then proceeded to grab my arm and made the skin on my hand bleed.
I again stayed when, during a lull in another petty argument, he violently threw a book at me hitting my chest. I screamed and looked at him with shock and pain. I waited for a recognition from him that he hurt me. All I saw were his eyes – they were cold and blank. Then, he stood up, grabbed my left arm and continuously punched it while saying, “I’m going to kill you!”
I stayed further when he explained the reason for his abuse: his parents beat him up that when friends and neighbors would see his bruises, he claimed his mother said he fell and hurt himself. I believed him.
I stayed on and decided to be with him when I asked him to go to a psychology professor / counselor whom I knew and whom I thought could help him deal with his anger and rage.
He did go for counseling, albeit only once. Yet that was enough to make me believe he has changed since he never laid a hand on me again.
It was only later on when I realized that his abuse morphed to something that left no physical bruises. I also discovered that abuse was just as hurtful and lethal when done insidiously and non-physically.
My fears, beliefs, denials
I also realized to my regret how deep I was in denial of my Self, of the dysfunctional relationship I was in, and the abuse I allowed myself to experience.
My desire to make the relationship work, my fear of being alone and not having someone to call my own trumped good old common sense and my own gut feelings.
Unfortunately, I had to allow myself to go through this experience to be able to undoubtedly know that decent, emotionally mature, mentally healthy people do not get abusive, do not batter, do not blame.
My ex’s inability to own up to his being abusive, his denial of responsibility for the hurts he inflicted, his pathological lies were extremely chronic that there was nothing I could have done to make the relationship work.
Yet, at that time, I believed otherwise. I also now realize I was codependent.
It was not only my codependence that caused me to stay in the relationship. During those years of me being physically / mentally / emotionally / psychologically abused, used, demeaned; I also felt taken cared of, understood, listened to, idealized, and my needs attended.
I also felt wanted, adored, flattered and relentlessly pursued.
All of these good feelings interspersed with the bad for the whole length of the relationship that I held on constantly hoping that his best self will take over his worse.
When he stopped being physically abusive, I decided to believe he had changed despite my nagging feeling that he would pull the rug from under me anytime. There was also something about him I couldn’t put my finger on and I wanted to find that out for my self.
I only found the strength to ultimately detach when I reached my threshold and realized that being alone was life-saving than staying in the relationship with him. At the same time, I also discovered the reason for his dysfunction. Similarly, the circumstances gave me the ultimatum.
The decisive moment came at our 165th month of being `together.’ During that time, we have technically broken up as I didn’t see him changing for the better – despite his insistence that he has – since his patterns of being emotionally manipulative, wanting to get the upper hand and constantly provoking guilt was still there.
Yet we were still seeing each other.
Every time he initiated contact – either by phone / text / email or meeting up with me wherever I may be – I allowed him in my space and in my life, physically and emotionally. There were also moments when I would be the one initiating contact.
He was also still actively pursuing me. He even declared that if we didn’t get married, he wanted us to have kids – which he later denied he said. He also requested that if ever I do find someone else, the right thing to do was for me to tell him. I agreed and said that he too should do the same. He similarly agreed.
But one night when, for some reason, I blurted out a what-if scenario of me changing my mind and deciding to marry him, he responded that he couldn’t since he is to be married in 6 months.
I felt psychically sucker-punched. I also felt like a wound. I didn’t feel wounded, I didn’t feel like a person. I felt like a walking, living, breathing wound.
It took me two weeks to get myself out of the daze of being betrayed, lied to, manipulated. After which, the emotional onslaught of anger, pain, regret, despair, sadness, confusion and self-hate took its toll. I would cry while doing the groceries. I would have no energy for work. I would feel tremendous fear.
Bizarrely, despite his revelation, he was still initiating contact with me. More bizarre was the fact that I went back to him and did so for more than a month as I wanted to receive an apology and explanation for all his lies and manipulation.
I didn’t receive any.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
I was so confused I googled my confusion away and was lead to posts and information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
I was stunned to learn that everything I experienced with him could literally be placed alongside sentences and words on what people with NPDs think, say and do.
It was an eye-opener.
I realized he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder!
Only then did I have the strength to finally stop answering his calls, texts, emails and his requests to meet-up. I initiated No Contact when I was finally able to put a finger on the reason for my “confusion.”
When he realized he couldn’t get a hold of me, he coursed his messages through my nieces and a common friend who told me that my ex was `regretfully sorry for everything’ and that all I needed to do was to “stop him (from marrying someone else), he’ll then marry me and that things will change.”
My ex also communicated with my mother informing her that his decision to marry someone else was due to my desire to discontinue the relationship.
It was bafflingly insane.
I had to work though healing my pain, anger, self-anger, sadness, feelings of unworthiness, betrayal and any lingering bitter memories or longings for the what-if’s, could-have’s and should-have’s.
I also had to finally realize that, other than the fact that he never loved me, I similarly didn’t love myself because I allowed him to hurt and abuse me.
I similarly recognized that if I didn’t know how to love myself, how could I even love him? It registered to me that my ex was in pseudolove with me as much as I was with him.
Freedom from pseudolove
Now that I am free from the spell of blind hope and the pull of my dependence towards him, I could objectively see that my pseudolover’s “goodness,” specifically his `acts of goodness’ were exactly `acts’. It was all a performance designed to extract my attention and affection.
Healing requires truth
I also had to know: “Why me?;” “What did I do to deserve this?;” “How could he do this to me when I gave him everything?;” “How did I allow someone like him in my life?;” “How do I not make the same mistake again?;” “How could I heal?!”
Answering these questions were just as harrowing because I had to face my fears, my own personal beliefs, my own patterns, my own denials as well as the lies I told my self.
The process of healing was not easy. For me, it was scary. But I had no choice. I wanted to free myself from the pain. I wanted to free myself from him. I wanted to stop hating myself for “loving” him. I also wanted to authentically love myself.
Though the tools I used seemed to make the healing process simple, the impetus had to start from my own intent. The tools helped me do the work but I still needed to do the heavy lifting, clearing, cleaning and acknowledging specific aspects of myself that has not served my best interest.
Acknowledging that I needed healing was a good start.
Wanting to heal started the ball rolling.
Admitting my hand in the situation was difficult and extremely upsetting, if not disturbing.
My need for revenge was also strong that it made the process of letting go hellish as I wanted my ex to be accountable / sorry / remorseful / guilty for everything he did (and didn’t do).
The healing process I went through dissolved my vindictiveness and my need for him to be accountable. I stopped clinging to the pain and the idea that I was a victim.
I also realized that I need not wait for someone else to tell me, “I love you” before I can love myself.
I also had to find out if there was a place inside me that was untouched by hurt, sadness, hate. I wanted to know if that place is there, if it had always been there I just didn’t bother to look.
Eventually, when I felt I had no where else to go, I had to face that part of me which I never cared for.
I realized, being in a pseudolove relationship did not make me less of a person, it was actually a way to wake myself up from my illusions so I can live a life of authenticity.
If you feel you are in a pseudo-love relationship, know that the only way to be free from it is to acknowledge your reason for being in that relationship. Is it out of need? Is it out of fear? Is it to avoid a feeling of lack?
My fundamental intention is to help you be aware of your Authentic Self because it leads to you living an Authentic Life and allows you to experience Authentic Love.