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Betrayal vs Rejection





Someone on Facebook turned me on to the HBO series, The Newsroom. For the past week I've watched the first season. Okay, I lied. Have yet to finish the first season because it takes me so long to understand what they have to say. Let me tell you, the main character played by Jeff Daniels is so damn verbose I have to stop for a moment, pause and start again to catch all the words due to my neurological deafness.

The romantic angle centers on the relationship the main character (I can't remember the name, sorry!) had with a woman in the newsroom. Mackenzie cheated on him with her ex-boyfriend. That's when she realized she was in love with the main character and told him about cheating on him. He broke up with her because she cheated on him and told him. That was four years ago and he still is obsessed with Mackenzie.

In one scene, he meets with his shrink and please forgive me for paraphrasing the conversation:

Main Character: I've tried to forgive her and I can't.

Therapist: You weren't part of the equation.

Main Character: What do you mean?

Therapist: Mackenzie got dumped by Brian {her boyfriend}. She got rejected. People react to that in different ways. When Brian started calling her again, she saw the chance to get unrejected. And she took it. You weren't even part of the equation. But when she got unrejected, she realized she was never in love with Brian in the first place, but she was in love with you. She confessed the whole thing.

Main Character: Not right away.

Therapist: Who cares about not right away? When she thought you were going to propose to her, she confessed. The trick was to forgive Mackenzie.

Main Character: I actually know that. Intellectually in my brain. I understand what's going on, but why can't I forgive her?

Therapist: Because you weren't rejected. You were betrayed.

I felt hit on the head with an anvil. It's been three months since the last time I communicated with my ex-boyfriend. The first month I foamed at the mouth ranting and raging, full of pain and hurt that he wasn't the man I thought he was. I blogged like a lunatic about who he really is, hurt beyond belief he shattered the illusion that we would sail into the sunset, happy as two peas in a pod.

The second month I felt depressed. I missed the persona of who he pretended to be. I recognized that he systematically rejected me for two weeks until I pulled the plug. All this triggered a lot of issues and I felt eviscerated.

The third month, I have regret, disgust, revulsion and shame I ever considered him an equal partner, considering he's active in the BDSM world for 17 years. We're talking hard core shit like marrying a Dominatrix, operating a dungeon and participating in bondage porn where they do everything to him as well as conventional porn. I no longer summon any pain or anger although it's good for blogging and tweeting.

It's funny that in the third month, this man I thought so vital to me, so integral to my life is such a nameless faceless character. I rarely think of him until such a dialogue takes place on a tv show and I get that Eureka moment. While writing this post, the only image I can summon is a face as bland as silly putty, part of the way I identify him: as a clay man with no real emotions outside of anger, rage, denial and glee through retaliation.

One thing, though, became very clear: Like the main character, I will never forgive him for perpetrating this scheme on me by never telling me who he really was from the very beginning. He didn't really reject me: he took away my choice and only chose to tell me when he felt I was sufficiently emotionally hooked, intentionally wounding me in the process.

Now that is betrayal.


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