One of our central aims when we have targeted you is to bind you to us. During our seduction we create this magical place and invite you and only you to inhabit it with us. We build a fantastic place and place you on a pedestal in the centre of this artifice. It is very difficult for you to realise this is a fallacy and even harder to do something about it. Every day, every hour that you remain close to our influence allows us to create more ties, more connections and increase the extent that you are bound to us. We make you feel fabulous, worshipped and loved. The dizzying, whirlwind nature of our passion is unlike anything else you have known and you readily accept it. It is of course not informed consent. You have no idea what we are, but nevertheless you accept all of this wonderful treatment. You allow us to permeate every aspect of your life. We draw you into ours and make you feel special and privileged for being allowed to do so. Consider how we penetrated your every network so everywhere you turned we were there.
We knew all your friends, we ingratiated ourselves with your family and got to meet your colleagues. We knew all the places you liked to go to and introduced you to some additional ones. We made sure we knew every favourite thing of yours, from books to plays to food. Your wine rack became stocked with the types of wine you preferred, your wear the jewellery that was bought for you after careful solicitation of what you deem pretty and I occasionally arrive bearing a new book from the stable of authors that you enjoy to read. Bit by bit I invade your life and as our relationship progresses at light speed, the gradual, creeping advance of my influence has actually gained more than a toehold. It has spread across your territory like some formidable weed that cannot be held back, covering and smothering. My clothes hang in the wardrobe, I have my favourite chair at your house, you now buy the cereal that I prefer to eat in the morning even though you think it is just a mouthful of sugar. You now wash my socks, my songs populate the iTunes playlist and the bathroom is testament to my occupation with the bottles, razors and accoutrements mingled amongst yours. You cannot fail to see my influence all around you, but you welcome this and from it you gain a great happiness. From dating, to staying over, to co-habiting and on to marriage, this inexorable march of sudden and frantic seduction, although this is only ever apparent with hindsight as at the time it was the right thing to do, results in our lives entwining as I wrap my tendrils around your life and drag you tight against me. So many links, connections, lines and ties between you and I.
These ties keep you in place despite the abuse that is to come. It is sudden and bewildering but you will not give up easily. Not only did you say those vows, you meant every word and we know this. You will not let what we have built up crumble to dust. Admirable as your fortitude may be, you may as well stand on a beach and command the tide to halt its own unceasing advance for all the good you will do. This will not stop you trying though. We know this. The ties are many and they are tight so you will not run for cover at the first administration of a silent treatment. You will not down tools and walk away when the shouting continues long into the night. You do not pack a bag and leave it in the hallway, sitting on the stairs as you wait for us to return, late at night, from whatever tryst we have been engaged in. You keep going, bound to the hope that everything will be good once more, that the golden period will return. You hang in there, you battle, you demonstrate misguided resolve as we lash out time and time again, drawing the negative fuel from your distress, dismay and disarray. You will not let go. The connections are too many. Our behaviour is reprehensible as we open up front after front after front against you, leaving you confused and crushed. We twist, blame, push and pull yet you will not waiver. No matter how many times we knock you to the floor you keep coming back for more, dragged back onto your feet by the ties that bind you to us.
Then one day you remove yourself from our toxic influence or in some instances you are removed. Those ties remain but there is an elasticity which allows you to escape us. To be taken away from the acidic words and viscious schemes. The insults, the violent rages, the isolation and the denigration may have been halted. You may no longer be subjected to being spat at, your hair pulled, your money withheld, your social interactions curtailed and your self-esteem trampled underfoot. You may have escaped the daily devaluations which came at you in so many different and unedifying ways but your ordeal is far from over.
You may not have our furious face shouting into yours anymore. You may not be sat cowering behind a locked bathroom door as we pound on it demanding you come out. You may not lie crying in a bed made to feel empty by our absence. You may not stand outside the study seeing the glow of the monitor within, under the door and wonder who we are engaging with online, that knotted sensation in your stomach inducing sickness. You may have escaped many of these manipulations but the ties that bind remain.
The bond we have created with you is so strong, so deep and so far-reaching that every day you will feel a vast void at being parted from us. You will excuse the abuse as you hanker for those golden days. You will feel like something has been ripped from you by our absence. Even though you know how terrible we have acted towards you, you will still suffer that sense of illogical loss. Every day feels empty. You wonder what we are doing, who we are with and whether we are thinking about you. You see our presence all around you still, people still ask about us, you collapse on to your bed burying your face in that t-shirt we kept under our pillow and you still smell us on it. You drink deep of the scent, hoping the nagging pain will recede, that somehow you will be magically restored to where we once both were, when we were happy. Your run your fingers over the tub of hair wax which we left and you remember watching us as we carefully applied it. You cannot bring yourself to discard it, clinging on to these reminders of the joy that once abounded in these walls. You pass the bookcase, touching the spines of the volumes we bought for you, the words and letters all further reminders of our presence here in this house. You miss us you miss us so much, you shouldn’t do, not after what we have done. Not after the vile treatments you have suffered. It makes no sense that you should feel this way but you do. You ache for us, the ties that remain are still being pulled and yanked, even though we are not there with you. The searing pain rises as another reminder appears, the tie still strong. Unlike an umbilical cord which provides life, your cord to us continues to pain you. When will this end? When will this agony recede and be replaced by something else? Would it now not even be better to feel nothing? To be numbed and anaesthetised so you do not have to endure this ongoing pain.
The bond we create with you is so powerful, so deep and so long lasting that it is often the aftermath of the ties that bind that hurts more than the abuse itself. That is how dangerous we are.