He Abuses Me Because I’m Not Him: Unforgivable Mistakes

He's charged me with being the perfect version of HIMSELF he wishes to reflect to the world because he knows he cannot live up to his expectations himself.I dare say that I’ve attempted to live on the tightrope between everything and nothing for years. As you can imagine, I’ve put myself in an extremely stressful place.

Perhaps you are thinking that there is a wide figurative space between “everything” and “nothing,” and that the space between the two is more like a “playing field” than a tightrope. Perhaps you are right. In reality, the “playing field” is where we all live, all the time.

Healthy people use this entire playing field as it suits them. From this space, they control their lives while knowing that sometimes life will sometimes flick them toward one extreme. It becomes their job to moderate themselves back the other way to a comfort point on the field. In other words, although they cannot control every event, they can control their reactions to it.

In addition, healthy people “allow” themselves “flicked” to extremes without thinking that they’ll never ever in a million years be able to recover some sort of control. Although under duress, the healthy person somehow knows, deep inside, that all will right itself (with and without their direct influence).

And healthy people are cool with this.

Unfortunately, I am not one of these healthy people. Instead of seeing myself on a playing field where there are degrees of comfort and a wide forgiving space to play, I see myself on a tightrope between two atrocious extremes.

There is no room for error. There is no wiggle room. I must keep myself on point all the time. I must balance on the tightrope and I haven’t bothered to grab one of those long balancing poles for support.

Why? I believe that living with abuse has slowly caused me to limit my playing field. Will’s abusive anger explodes with unforeseeable cause and alarm. A healthy person in love with another healthy person has leeway to “be” and to “become” with the understanding that they can make mistakes, and then they can rectify them.

However, in my abusive relationship, I am not given the freedom to “be” or to “become” myself. He expects me  to BE him and aspire to BECOME more like him. My mistakes are not ones that he will forgive because my true mistake is NOT BEING HIM. His anger erupts at the slightest hint of my divergence from who he is and what he wants.

Couple this with the fact that Will wants to be BOTH extremes all the time, and you’ll see the danger of my situation. Will wants to have his cake and eat it too, and then becomes angry when he’s eaten his own cake because he should “have” it all the time. 9 times out of 10, after he’s eaten his cake, he gets angry at me for letting him eat it.

I’ve been trained to walk the tightrope Will wishes he could walk. He cannot walk it himself, but he expects me to walk without falling. When I do fall, he is there to harass me with explosive anger and condescension. He sees my failings (or personal achievements) as provocative and mean-spirited attacks on his way of thinking, doing and being.

He often says that he’s put me on a pedestal, expecting more from me than anyone else. In reality, he’s put my on a tightrope, expecting me to be exactly what he thinks he “should” be so that he doesn’t have to walk the tightrope.

I’m his proxy. What I do and say reflects more of him to the world than what he does and says. He’s charged me with being the perfect version of HIM he wishes to show to the world because he knows he cannot live up to his expectations himself.

He gives himself the freedom to run about on the playing field. He seems to expect me to be like a healthy person who allows for mistakes, forgive unconditionally, and kisses his damn boo-boos. But how can I be that person when my one goal in life (assigned to me by Will) is to be the perfect version of him high above the playing field on a friggin’ tightrope?!

He can’t have it both ways, but I’ve sure given 17 years effort to giving it all to him.

With great effort, I’m slowly inching down off the tightrope. I want my playing field back; I’m not willing to let him play on it any longer. He can go get his own life.

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About Kellie Jo Holly

Kellie Jo Holly passionately advocates against domestic violence through her writing and mentoring service. She loves helping women cope with abuse while in the relationship and supporting them as they leave the relationship and begin to heal. You can also find Kellie on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You can buy her books from Amazon.


  1. Of course I can not keep my mouth shut! I am really ‘proud” of you – but that sounds patronizing. I admire you for getting there. I really do. It is so hard to express to someone who is healthy, what that tightrope means and how you got there and how hard it is to get off.
    It makes no sense to them.
    So it can only make sense to yourself.
    Once it starts making sense to yourself the whole thing becomes a land slide.
    He will try to stop you – you might even try to stop yourself a time or two. But like a land slide you will just keep right on rolling and gathering steam.

  2. keepsmiling says:

    your destiny lies within your hands, you can be free from this, you can fly like a bird, noone owns anyone you belong to yourself, i think you have lived this life so long you cant see out of the box, the box being your life as it is, now just imagine yourself living as a single person after all these years of abuse it would be scarey at first, like a child taking its first steps, imagine this place and think about the things you would do in this new place the friends you would make, every day a new adventure a different life with peace and happyness the end goal.

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