If you have to claim him, is he yours?

I recently bumped into an ex with his latest girlfriend. I’ve met many of his procession over the years as we’ve remained friendly in our various stages of repeated break-ups. Only once he confessed to having a girlfriend, the rest I’d been told about – usually by his mother. It used to upset me, then I just found it strange. Why’d she tell me at all? We’d ultimately laugh about them as he’d prompt me to vent a scathing monologue – laughing at our sick sense of humour.

He’d once referred to me as vicious and sensitive. I knew the latter was the insult.

Part of the trauma bonding that comes from dating inconsistent men, narcissists and addicts is the need to get their attention. It’s not a nice bond to have and this recent interaction made me aware of how strongly I have it and also showed me part of where I got it from.

I’d heard about his latest one and then saw them out late at night. Usually I’d open with

Me: So lovely to see you? Paralytic yet?

Him: Wasted.

Me: Keep going, don’t stop now!

Him: I will!

We’d laugh and return to our respective people. My friends thought we were strange. I was used to the dynamic. This time, he was the one helping his girlfriend stumble out the club! Usually he’d be sleeping in the gutter after a 3 day binge – I hadn’t seen that version before!

So I reacted in the way I typically react to him. I said something nasty. I wanted attention. I wrote a 2 line bitchy sms about her state – how lovely she seemed and how I hoped he held her hair back before she vomited all over…

And like usual, I got the desired response.  He replied “No need to be nasty, she was embarrassed. My kind of girl 🙂 good seeing you, your looking very well”.

Ah, still the same vibe. He thought I was funny and oh look – he not only took me dissing his latest chick,  but went on to complement me. Typical behaviour. It reminded me why I was drawn to return and why I repeatedly left.

I remember looking at his messages one night and going bat shit crazy at what I saw. The dude flirted shamelessly with everyone! In text, in front of me – it used to kill me. He’d tell me how all his ex girlfriends were so in love with him and called him and texted him and I’d blow a fuse. Tell them about me, stand up for me! I’d beg. And he never did. Now here I was, being treated just like he used to treat them – with no respect for her. I bet he’d added me to the growing collection of women who ‘wanted him’. I used to believe it too. But I was no better – disrespecting the poor woman from the position I’d thankfully removed myself from.

Trauma bonding is such an addiction – you know you shouldn’t do something but you so want the fix. I know I shouldn’t judge and if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it and I mustn’t react to compulsive behaviour but I’m far from perfect. Perfuct is a description I like. I judge myself more harshly then I judge anyone else and often make mistakes – you can read many of them on this blog! Work in progress. “We’re all different degrees of messy” #HumanDoing – buy my book. We teach what we’ve learnt.

Cape Town is a small place. People try to maintain ‘good face’ and hope that everyone doesn’t know about the things they get up to. But we know. We’ve heard the stories directly from the men they’ve slept with, from the women they’ve got drunk with… it always comes out. I’ve been sitting next to my guy friends when their chicks call them; I’ve seen their pics; I’ve heard the secrets. Thats why we have to own our stuff and deal with it irrespective of who’s judging us. Rumours are one thing – first person eye witnesses form opinions. It’s nasty and natural behaviour. Bitchiness isn’t a lovely quality. It’s almost as bad as playing damsel in distress or victim. All we can do is get better with practise.

Here’s what happened. As so many women have done in the past – from those that are sleeping with the guy I’ve started to date, or those that are now dating my ex and sucking up to me (that’s just creepy AF) or spreading rumours to my friends about my exes – it’s not the first time women I don’t know have reached out to me. Here’s the thing. I don’t ‘know them’ but usually, I’ve heard all about them or in due course, I do. I guess people like telling me things. This one sent me a long Facebook message scolding me for being ‘nasty’ and I must not spread negative energy and she had an allergic reaction (at 1.30am, in a club…mmm) and she and ex are completely in love and her only wish is for me to respect that. So many ‘to do’s’. Bad naughty Lauren. Poor, innocent victim.

Yo. I felt bad and sad for her. Either she’s also learnt to check his phone (I’d keep doing that babe) or he told her. To make her laugh? To hurt her? She wanted to defend herself to me, on what, his behalf for not doing it for her? After my own embarrassment wore off that I’d been nasty about someone for being white girl wasted – when haven’t we all, I felt flooded with a deep sense of relief. That I’m no longer in her position. That I no longer feel the need to claim a man as mine. To defend our connection and love when he couldn’t be bothered to do the same.

When you’re secure in your relationship, you don’t need to justify it.

Every time I have in the past, its been because of my insecurities. It’s like the people who always tell you what “a good place they’re in now” or  “how happy they are” – when, isn’t that the usual? I mention when I’ve been depressed or stressed because thats unusual for me. Or “to be honest” because what, you aren’t usually?

The need to defend your position reveals how threatened you feel.

I’m not any one’s ‘other woman’. When I’ve wanted someone, I’ve usually got them. I only take what’s mine to take. There’s nothing to fear about me, than the fear it self. The fear:  our own self judgement. Thankfully, we all judge differently which has an upside:

One woman’s trash is another’s treasure.