there is no small enough

Reposted with permission from fetlife guest blogger: _pavlov_  See original post here!

Over time, I learned to dampen my interactions with him when she was in the room. Talk less enthusiastically, touch less, be less happy. I learned to wait until she wouldn’t be around for a while to tell him funny stories, or talk about our common interests that she didn’t share.

But it was more than that.
Because he loved me.

He loved her, too.
But there was something about his love for me that made her angry.

So I had to be small, to pull into myself as far as I could. Because if I looked big, if I looked happy, that made him feel happy. And if he looked happy because of me, there would be trouble. So it was better for everyone, myself included, if I was muted when he was around.

She loved me, she really did.
It’s not that she wanted me to be sad. She wanted me to happy.
It’s not that she didn’t want me to have the things he gave me, or did for me.

She just that she didn’t want those things to come from him.

Every moment he spent with me was a moment he wasn’t spending with her.
Any thought he extended to my well being meant he was ignoring her well being.

But it was even more than that, because he and I just clicked.
We thought about things the same way. We found the same things interesting and amusing, things she found boring and tedious.

When I said something, he understood what I meant.
And the way he understood me only emphasized the way he didn’t understand her.

And you see, my love for him was also hard for her.

The time I spent with him was time I wasn’t spending with her.
Any appreciation I expressed for what he did for me was appreciation I wasn’t expressing for what she did for me.
The way I understood him only emphasized the way I didn’t understand her.

The problem was … no, not “the,” there were many, but a problem was she always had ways of punishing me for his love, for our connection. If she felt insecure about his love for her, or jealous of the way we just got each other, it became impossible for me to do anything right. Literally impossible. I could do everything exactly the way she said, only to find out that I should have known she didn’t mean what she said. That I should have known she instead meant something else.

If she thought he and I were spending too much time together, I suddenly had more to do that kept me busy.
If he spent a dollar on me, he had better spend two on her, and of course I’d hear about why her thing was better than mine.
If she thought he should be doing more for her, it made her feel better for me to have less, and my things would go missing.

I learned to do without.
Better not to have things at all than to enjoy them and have them taken away.
I learned to make myself small.
Better to just be small than be made small by her belittling, criticisms, spotlights on my flaws.

I learned to point out to her all the things he did for her, the ways he showed he loved her.
I learned to feed him information. Tell him things that would make her really happy, or suggestions about how to phrase things so that she’d better feel loved.

I learned to never, ever mention anything he did or said to me, or talk about the times we spent together.
I learned to pretend he didn’t love me.

Because I wanted her to love me.
Because I wanted them to be happy together.
Because I never questioned his love for me. I could always see it on his face, what need did I have for all the evidence she seemed to need?

She does love me, you know.
But I can never make myself small enough for him not to love me.

My mother really does love her daughter.
It’s just her husband’s daughter she hates.

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