I’m Not As Bulletproof As I Thought…But I’m Closer

I feel like I got shot in the brain with an emotional bullet. I thought I knew how to fight this off. How to dodge, duck and weave effectively. I thought I was strong. Bulletproof.

Yet, here I stand. Emotionally mind fucked (pardon my french), one more time. The trigger was pulled and before I even knew it was headed straight for me, it blasted its way right through my head and my heart.

It causes a literal ache in my brain and body. Packed into that bullet was every single emotion I’ve ever felt. All my love, all my hope, all my strength, all my pain. I gave him all his ammo, and just as he always did, he used it to level me.

And I thought I could handle it. I thought there were no chinks in my armor this time. I thought the walls around my heart were strong enough to not be shaken by his words and his tears.

But they weren’t. At least not entirely.

My brain is strong enough to hide behind the walls I’ve built. But my heart… My heart sneaks out through the cracks without me knowing and before I even see it, it gets shattered again.

No matter how many times he’s broken my heart, it somehow never hardens completely. It hardens enough to carry on behind a brave facade, but it stays tender enough to be bruised again. Even in the face of deception. Even on the heals of disappointment. Even wrapped in evidence of betrayal. This heart still wants to believe the impossible.

The pain of losing this love is nothing compared to the pain of knowing the promise of it can never be fulfilled. Because I’m fighting for something I never had. The ache in my chest and the wound in my brain do not come from the loss of a marriage. They come from the careful and constant balance of hearing all the right things while seeing all the wrong ones. But only occasionally. Only when he’s desperate to find solace for his own pain. Only when it suits his needs and satisfies his selfish desire in that moment.

This pain comes from watching the man I gave my all to hold my heart in one hand and a loaded emotional gun in the other as he slowly pulls the trigger. One. More. Time.

Its cruel. A special form of abuse.. A highly refined skill of manipulation. A sneaky mind game and an emotional ploy.

Genuine love doesn’t just disappear, even when it should. But when a faithful heart finds its way into the hands of someone who not only has no idea how to hold it, but also no desire, the damage is almost irreparable.

I spent nearly 5 years willing a man to become who I believed he could be. I dug in with all I had, and he dug out with all we both had. After I was broken beyond repair, I gathered myself and all the gumption I had left and walked away against every fiber of my being knowing I had no other choice. After realizing that no matter how much I wanted him to be something different, he was who he was, I reached the point of finally meaning enough to myself to release him into the life he claimed he wanted, while letting go of the one I wanted.

Now, when it’s too late, with no action to back it up, he says all the things I wanted him to say years ago. And it’s still filled with emptiness. His desire to change is contingent on my willingness to risk my heart again, knowing he isn’t capable nor willing to do the work it takes to shelter it.

This mental contort and subsequent wreckage happens every once in a while. Even after recovering from the wounds and believing that that last time, was the very last time. But I’ve learned this tender heart isn’t ready just because the damage has been mended on the outside. Its not safe to take it out from behind that wall of protection because, waiting behind the corner, every single time, is the emotional gun loaded with all its own contents.

I pack the bullet. And he pulls the trigger. Every time.

I thought I’d healed enough to stand in the face of that gun. I thought I learned how, if nothing else, to dodge when the bullet was released. But after one more round of narcissistic whiplash, I stand here just as dizzy. My heart is bleeding, once again. And my head is having to work over time to drag my busted heart back home.

The difference this time is that my head is strong enough to bare the weight. It hurts. And it’s hard. But I now know I can do hard things.

This time, it doesn’t take as long to pull my heart back to safety. It doesn’t stay broken and bleeding for the same length of time. My heart aches, and it struggles. But it knows where it belongs and it finds its way home much faster now.

The moments in between are still just as intensely brutal as they always were, but my pain tolerance has increased and my head strength far outweighs my heart strength.

And so I survive.

I give it up. Again. I fall to my knees. Again. And I ask God to peel open my clenched fingers and take this thing from me that I so easily pick back up, not because I’m so desperate for love but because I so desperately want him to get it. I claw my way back home and I sit in this pain until it subsides.

I get back up. I hold my chin high because I’m strong enough to do it, and I keep walking. With each stride, I am one step closer to freedom. One more pace away from the scene of the crime, with one more experience to draw from the next time I find myself across from that gun.

I may have packed the bullets, but I’m taking back the gun. Because I may not actually be as bulletproof as I thought.

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