"...By the time you figure it out, by the time the vitriol has been turned on you,
it is often too late. You have kids. Or aging parents. Three quarters of a college degree.
shared livelihood. Whatever. You are in a compromised position
where his entire social network overwhelms yours because he has slowly
but very systematically cut you off from your friends, family,
co-workers and replaced them with... him.
Maybe you believe that he will change. He did promise...."
But that's not all.
There's the "shame." You that wonder if it's your fault, especially when you have someone telling you it's your fault, and so there is the anvil of failure just hanging there, over your head, waiting for you to lose your grip on the rope.
You think you're too far in. You have been part of a pair, and never mind you're the stronger half of a broken, limping, barely breathing pair, there is the part of you that wonders how you will do it all by yourself. Where will you live, how will you pay the bills? (Yes, you know they aren't being paid now, but that's going to change any minute now. It WILL, this time.)
How will you extricate yourself from his family, his remaining friend, your joint checking account?
What about the dog?
The emotional toll of just thinking about it is costly.
Then there's the paperwork.
You can't afford a lawyer.
Hell, you can't afford either of your mortgages or your electric payment,
how do you expect to pay for legal representation?
There is the part of you that wonders if you will be that one case in a hundred where the court sides with your awful ex.
Not so farfetched a theory as One. Might. Think...
You don't want to go crawling back.
To your friends.
Let's face it, you've treated them badly.
Yeah, you've done it out of cowardice with a touch of altruism.
You know you can't keep a rein on his mouth, you know how he is, and you don't want to subject people you like to that.
You don't want to have to be apologetic on his behalf later, so you don't go anywhere with him,
and God knows you can't go anywhere without him.
So you just stop seeing people you care about, with a lot of excuses and little explanation.
Sooner or later they stop calling.
Then there's your family...
Your "normal" family.
And by normal I mean your dad.
Mr. Calm, Cool and Collected, even when you wreck the car. Okay, not so much when he's fixing the toilet, but no one's perfect.
Your mom. The sweetest woman you know. She loves British humor and introduced you to Billy Joel. She is nice to everyone and will offer you tea and sandwiches Until. You. Crack.
Your sister. Even though you tried to kill each other on a fairly regular basis during your childhood, she's okay now. You share a love of heavy sarcasm and Joss Whedon and chocolate. She's got good kids. Your brother-in-law is not too bad, either. He makes a mean sausage-gravy-and-biscuit breakfast.
Your "little" brother. You used to smack him on the head and how he's a foot taller than you, but instead of getting revenge he talks to you about nerd stuff. Batman is the tie that binds.
You don't want them to worry. You don't want them to interfere. You don't want your ex to drag them down to his level. That's his specialty, but you won't let him turn your family into a pack of snarling, howling, revenge-bent werewolves.
You have enough to deal with without having to sneak them handcuff keys in their prison birthday cupcakes.
You bide your time.
You have to.