Why do fools fall in love?

By Paul Macquarie

I grew up with an abusive mother and no father. My mother was under a lot of stress and couldn't handle things. She was overprotective and controlling. I felt a lot of hurt as a child and grew up to be very submissive and dominated by other people. I had no self-esteem or self confidence and people took advantage of this.

I was obsessed about having a girlfriend but I felt despised and rejected by women.

I met this girl when I was 27 years old. I hadn't ever really been in love before and I was used to bad and abusive relationships. Looking back I can see that I was conditioned by abuse and manipulation. I remember she was everything I dreamed of - Penthouse Pet looks, blonde - and importantly she said she loved me.

I fell deeply for Sarah. I just wanted to be with her and I would do just about anything for her. I thought I was in heaven my first night out with her. It was a beautiful, romantic, wonderful night. We just got caught up in the romance. On Valentine's day I put an ad in the paper and bought her gifts. I thought I had found what I was looking for and life had meaning again.

She had two children. In the beginning we could go out on Friday nights and these were usually great times.

There was no sign of what lay ahead for us.

On a couple of occasions when we had gone out Sarah had become verbally abusive and sarcastic but I didn't think much about it. I suppose I wanted to overlook it because I loved her and wanted to be with her. She was moving out from her parents' place and we talked about finding a place and living together. I think we were two lonely people hungry for love, but looking back I don't think we loved ourselves. We were both immature in relationships and in lots of other ways. Before we moved in together we rushed into an engagement.

For the first six months everything seemed great, although Sarah's mother constantly interfered and tried to control our lives. Her mother had a lot of influence over her.

As the honeymoon stage disappeared Sarah became more controlling, manipulative and verbally abusive. I found myself forever trying to please her, doing whatever it would take to make her happy. Her aggression and threats kept me under control. I wanted to do anything to stop her from being angry and for us to be happy again like it was in the beginning. I was bossed around, put down and abused constantly around the house. But I was still trying to please her until one day I decided I had had enough.

I decided I had had enough of being abused and put down and I started standing up for myself and stating what I thought was wrong and what I was feeling. She retaliated with more abuse and guilt trips. I was always to blame and she would not admit her faults.

There were several occasions when I had had enough and left, but we would ring each other up and we would decide to try again. We both didn't want to be on our own, but it always ended up in arguments and fights.

Sarah would throw my engagement ring into the middle of the road our out the window of our home.

When shop assistants smiled at me she would go off her brain. She found out that there was a blonde girl where I worked and she got really jealous. She came to pick me up one day and the blonde walked out before me. When I came out Sarah told me to "catch the bus with the slut" and drove off.

She would tell me that she was interested in other guys and then later admit she had made it up to make me jealous and make me stay.

I always did what she and her kids wanted. When we went out I always paid for us. I helped with the rent and gave a lot, but when I was unemployed and out of money she separated our finances and if I had no food it was my bad luck.

She wouldn't let me visit my friends. Sometimes friends would phone and she would hang up on them or pull the phone out while I was talking to them.

I was led around like a puppy dog which I suppose is my fault because I loved her too much and didn't want to lose her. She dominated me and I was foolish and desperate enough to let her do it to me. I was too blind to see what this was doing to me.

I put up with Sarah's humiliation and emotional blackmail too long. She had become physically abusive as well. She ripped shirts off me and scratched me. She pulled a knife on me and elbowed me in the face. I just put up with it until eventually I struck her back and that was the end of the relationship.

Even after we separated I still missed her, loved her and grieved for her. I felt destroyed and became dependent on alcohol and gambling which compounded my problems. I was empty without Sarah. I had built my life around her and it showed me how empty I was without her.

Now I am still learning I don't need anyone to fill the void but to learn to love and respect myself.

I will never put up with any abuse again from someone who is supposed to love me. Love is shown in actions and words. I don't remember seeing much love in Sarah's actions and words.

Thanks to therapy and support from patient and wonderful friends I am getting over my experience and know I will never allow myself to go through it again. Now I see guys in similar relationships and see how foolish I was to put up with it.

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