'' It isn’t as bad as it sounds, I swear…''
'' He isn’t like that, I promise. ''
'' It was my fault…''
'' It was just a one time thing. ''
Here I was, sitting in my therapist’s office, excusing it all away.
In my heart of hearts, I knew that something wasn’t right. But before I could muster the courage to fully admit it to myself, the force of denial pulled my rainbow tinted glasses aggressively back onto my eyes. Here I was again, blinded by the twisted magic of euphoric recall.
I had lost my sense of self. My self-esteem was completely shattered. I could no longer do life with you. But I couldn’t do it without you either. You destroyed the reminder of my identity, yet here I was begging for you not to leave me. Sleepless nights, tremors, significant weight loss, bathroom issues, my body was shutting down on me – doing the impossible to warn me that this emotional abuse was going to be the death of me.
One happy memory was all it took for me to get mentally sucked back into this hell. I couldn’t think my way out of euphoric recall. Worse, I didn’t even want to. Reality only made sense to me when I saw it through the distorted lens of trauma bonding. I had become a master at turning viciousness into kindness. At mistaking love for torture. Love is supposed to hurt anyway, I’d tell myself. Might as well get used to the threats, the manipulation and the humiliation.
Euphoric recall made me zoom in on the good times – and zoom out on the shitload of red flags. The truth can’t hurt you if you don’t know it, here I was yet again seeking refuge in the reassuring presence of denial – my all-time favorite coping mechanism. Patience and endurance became my best of friends. I’d ignore all the abuse away while patiently waiting for the next love crumb to come my way.