Heart stabbing

I have a theory about how a lot of us deal with relationships that we know aren’t working, or that won’t work, can’t work.

When we feel connected to someone, not even ‘in love’ (though love makes it worse), just… connected somehow, we hang on even when we know we shouldn’t.

Maybe it’s a long term relationship that is well past it’s expiration date. Maybe it’s the flare of a hopeless crush. Maybe it’s the joy of desire. Maybe it’s the reflection of someone else’s adoration. Maybe it’s the promise of ‘could be’. Maybe it’s the shadow of loneliness. Maybe it’s the comfort of the familiar. Maybe it’s fear.

Wherever it comes from, this desire to hang on, the result is the same: We are very reluctant to let it go even if we know we should.

And there is that moment where we know that we should end it, we know that’s the best, smart, sensible thing to do. One hundred percent. But still we don’t do it. Or we can’t.

At first it’s because there is still good in it: joy, intimacy, understanding, laughter, affection, sex, some or all of those things. Even if the foundation is shaky and it’s going to topple any minute. Those things are worth hanging on for, the good outweighs the bad, the sad, the painful. And that’s fair enough.

But then the balance starts to tip, and the good no longer outweighs the bad. It often happens in slow motion, might see-saw for a bit, but eventually it will tip. And still we hang on, full of hope and wishful thinking, even as the badness tips the scales over so far that we can barely keep a grip on them.

My theory is this:

We will not end it until we stab ourselves fully and irrevocably in the heart with a huge fuck-off knife.

Because in our daily lives, we will take the hits over and over to stay in the relationship. We will stab ourselves and the other person with various implements, lick our wounds, paper over the cracks, and carry on.

We do this to ourselves.

We stab ourselves with needles in the beginning, often they don’t even go into the heart at first. Fine and sharp. Small and constant and painful. Over and over again. They will get to the heart eventually, of course they will, the needles will get longer, thicker, more targetted. Pinpricks at first,turning into punctures, getting deeper each time. Then we will graduate to boning knives, thin and razor sharp, you hardly feel them go in, really.

Our brains are all ‘FFS, what is WRONG with you?!’ and our hearts go ‘But but…I’m okay, really I am!’

And we know it would be kinder and more loving to ourselves, to them, to just… move out of reach of that pain that is cycling up. But we don’t. We can’t. Because REASONS, and sometimes we can dodge and weave and avoid the pain for quite a while, pretend we don’t even feel it.

Until that one time where instead of a thin slash, we make a huge gaping wound.

The time when we’re holding a large broad serrated knife with a sharpened steel blade, and we take it and we shove it straight into our heart with all the force we can muster, slicing through skin, splintering bone, into the pumping muscle mass that continues to beat around the blade, gore and tissue matter leaking into our chest cavity, blood spurting out like some horror movie.

And it’s only THEN, with that terrifying self-inflicted wound, when we are on the floor bleeding out, that we can finally bring ourselves to splutter out the words ‘Okay I’m done here’ and mean it.

Loves: 13
Please wait…

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  1. Excuse the language here Ferns, but FUCK! That’s exactly how i feel right now, since last night, and to see you put it in these words… Yep. I did that.

  2. You worded it so perfectly, thank you! I don’t know if I’m finally ready to let go of my oldest friend, all I know is that I can’t keep feeling this way.

    1. It’s so hard, especially when it carries a lot of history and emotional and practical entanglements and memories. I hope you can figure it out without too much bloodshed.


  3. Great post Ferns. For some reason this made me think of storage units. ( I can be a bit odd at times. )

    We seem to be a society that has a hard time letting go of what once brought us pleasure but no longer serves our needs. So we store it away… keeping it within our reach… ‘just in case’.

    Hmmm.. I’m going to have to think on this one. About storage units in our hearts. I’m sure I have a few men up on shelves in mine.

    ~ Vista

      1. @Miss Dora: Thank you. It would kind of be great if people were going ‘nah, that’s rubbish, that doesn’t happen’, but I really appreciate the kinship in recognition.


  4. Is this any relation to “Terror-struck” and “I’d rather have the terror”? If so, I have this to say:

    I’m sure every day he struggles with the desire to beg for forgiveness and “just one more time, please” but you have no reason to trust that (or him) because all you have are his words. I’m assuming you can trust him in *some* ways but in others, there is too much chance at sting? So, maybe those things go outside of a bubble you create.

    Is there fence around the bubble? How in danger is it of being popped?

    I hope that it doesn’t seem that I’m taking sides, simply offering my interpretation of your situation. I’ve made a list of “maybes” that you can think on and see if there’s anything to it. Yes, you will notice that they are mainly “maybes” from his side, but, I don’t presume to know your mind in this matter, therefore, I feel it best to put myself into his shoes, but, of course, can’t presume to know his heart, but, I think he must think from it often when it comes to you. Is that a fair statement?


    His desperate need of reconciliation doesn’t come from fear of loss or want of gain, maybe it comes from his foolish heart that has never felt this intensity toward another human, it comes from love. Love for you. Deep, aching, killing, life bringing love that only you are the target of or will ever be the target of?

    Picking out lingerie, he probably doesn’t want you to buy any of it. The thrill of him seeing you in it is over-clouded by the realization that he won’t be the only one to see you that way. Goddess-like, divine, beautiful.

    Maybe you sometimes want to say, “okay, bring it on. I care for you, I want this.” But you don’t because you know that you mean it and because you know you don’t at the same time. So confusing and conflicting. I’m sorry that is this way for you. (Obviously, if I’m correct).

    Maybe you think, “what if this was it? My once in a decade love?” Then you say, “it wouldn’t be this hard” which is a fair statement or feeling.

    Maybe your kindness tears at his heart.

    Maybe his “loveliness” makes you ache.

    Maybe he will wait for you. Just to be around if/when you need/want him.

    Maybe you should let him? Maybe that is how he can process this? But, maybe, that seems cruel to you? But, is it cruel if you aren’t offering anything or asking him to do it? Maybe you love the idea of his waiting for you and always available- maybe that’s comforting and hits your ego that someone would be willing to do that for you. Not even for you, really. The PROBABILITY of you. But, feeling that way makes you feel badly.. maybe?

    Maybe he wants to say, “I love you so much and I always will. Nothing you can do will or can change that. For as long as I’m breathing, I will love you. And after I’m gone, I will haunt you and watch over you. Keep you safe and love you, love you, love you. I will always be your lovely and you will always be my Goddess.”

    I assume he views you as such, because, duh, you obviously are. :)

    I hope this finds you well and thank you so much for your time. You are a wonderfully gracious hostess.

    Always with love,
    The “Maybe” Guy: GFV

    1. Thank you for the maybes, the sweetness. I appreciate the thought that went into them. And maybe they are true things. Or close to the truth. Maybe even all of them.

      But maybe there is a foundation that is so broken that you have to tear the whole place down and rebuild, and maybe you will find that even the ground beneath it is quicksand.

      ‘Maybes’ are the stories we tell to keep us from stabbing ourselves in the heart. They serve that purpose well. They keep us warm, are seductively enticing, our hearts will reach for them and hold them close even as our brains are chastising us.

      And there is the dilemma.


    1. YES! Oh my god. In hindsight it’s nearly always like that: WHY did I wait for the fucking stabbing when I knew it was coming?!! FFS past-me!

      But there are always reasons. It’s just… hard.


  5. Yes to this. In my long term relationship, I wished for the finishing thrust – the event or whatever that was enough to finish it. None of the pin pricks felt enough to end it for

    1. Exactly this.

      I think many of us wait for the terribleness of the final thrust. And wait and wait and wait. And then months or years of pin pricks and boning knife punctures and soul destroying unhappiness go past. And still it’s not enough.


  6. I’m reading this at Starbucks not ten minutes after essentially breaking up with a friend.

    It’s nice to be reminded that other human beings a needy, clingy bunch too.

  7. You’ve basically described my relationship with The Neighbor. Tiny needles all the way to a goddamned machete.

    Perfectly described.

    I think we do it because reality is hard to accept. We just don’t want it to be true, you know??

    1. Yes, I know exactly what you mean. It’s always a big mess of hope and wishes and denial and love and all of that.

      I think we often need a catalyst, and the difficulty is that sometimes (often?) the catalyst ends up coming from some hit of terribleness that never had to happen, that wouldn’t have happened if we’d done what we know we should have when we should have done it.

      But yeh, if it was that easy, we would all just do it.


  8. Ferns my dear – I missed your link to this when I wrote about Tony… but you are so right. I can so relate to this post and I’m sorry you’re going through something similar.


  9. Oh, god – this. Every single word of this is something we can all identity with; the heart holds on to what we know is bad for us long after that thing stops giving us pleasure. Thank you for writing about these complicated feelings and situations so brilliantly.

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