Games People Play
I’ve always been attracted to older men. Maybe it was because they seemed more traveled and have had more life experiences. They seemed to have their life together. And that was exactly one of the reasons I began to fall for Jim. But how dangerous is an open heart?
Within a few months, Jim and I had gotten closer and I could sense his deepened feelings and dependency on me. I felt I finally had someone in my life that really cared about me and then WHAM! He took a giant emotional step backwards. He stopped calling as often and when he did, he sounded aloof and distant. When I couldn’t even get a hold of him at times, I would rationalize why he didn’t call back; maybe he didn’t get my messages, lost my number, or was hit by a truck and is lying in the hospital unable to move his fractured finger to call.
I had no idea what had shifted. I soon realized he had mastered the art of playing Push-Me-Pull-You The Deluxe Edition.
My tactic was to try to hold onto him even tighter. I began to call him all the time and would drop by his work and his house to bring him gifts or to see if he wanted to do something. I began to feel my sanity escape me. The more I tried to hold on, the more he pushed me away. True, there was a chance that he was just disinterested in the relationship, but more than likely was that he was backing away because of the one flaw that all men have — they’re stupid.
When I would try to take myself out of the “game,” he would become engrossed with me again. He would open up and divulge intimate details from his life and get extremely emotional; making me believe that he wanted to be with me. And just like that, I’d put my chips back on the table.
And just like that, things would go back to normal. So what, I thought, if he happens to make fun of me a little when we’re out together? Or likes to point out when I say something grammatically incorrect or when I get a piece of information wrong. He loved to disagree with me and talk down to me in public and make a big deal about me not knowing as much as him about current affairs.
Jim was so duplicitous, witty, poised and confident that I put on my blinders to the harsh fact that he was also condescending and controlling. He had so much baggage from past relationships with family, friends and lovers that I was meant to feel guilty if I were to break up with him. I felt that I would be yet another person who let him down, by giving up.
I realized that I was falling into one of those trite categories of which almost every psychology book I’ve read teaches you not to be; “the caretaker.” I was stroking his ego and bowing to his views in order to pick him up. In return, this is supposed to make you feel better about yourself. In reality, I was being dissident with myself.
Thankfully, distance and my own survival instinct told me that it was no longer my problem. Actually, it had NEVER been my problem. Of course, according to him, it turned out to be my fault we broke up.
Erik Fact: Life is hard enough as it is without choosing someone difficult to share it with.