This marriage has been like the story of the person walking up a mountain who comes upon a dying snake. The snake says “Please help me! I am freezing to death. If you put me in your coat I will warm up and you will save my life.” So she pities the snake and puts him in her jacket. The snake warms up as they go up the mountain. When they reach the top, the snake bites her and as she dies she asks why the snake did this after she saved his life. The snake says “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”
When I was twenty-two and falling in love, I did not know he would turn into a snake. I later realized he was self-absorbed and self-centered, but I believed he would take care of me. When the bites started coming, I did not really notice them at first. I would make excuses for them – defend them even. If you really love someone, you put up with the bites, right? You stick it out hoping that someday they will miraculously stop being a snake. Only the snake keeps growing because you are feeding it. You are feeding it your hopes and dreams and your soul. Your soul starts to bleed out until you don’t remember that you ever had one. All the while the snake is rejecting you and making you feel ugly and unwanted. ”Who would want me? I’m covered in snake bites.”
You and the snake have a child. You hope the snake will live up to the way you thought he was when you met him. You think the snake surely would not treat their child the way they have treated you. You were wrong. The snake wants the child to be exactly what he wants him to be, and you are not supposed to ask a snake to be an involved parent. He is a cold-blooded reptile after all, so what did you expect?
You begin to stand up for the child in a way you never did for yourself. Snakes don’t like that. They cannot understand that “my way or the highway” is not a good parenting style. Their parents were snakes, so that is all they know. You begin to think you are tired of being bitten. The snake is baffled. How dare you refuse to feed him?! The snake blames you for everything that is wrong in his life and he searches for a new victim. What he doesn’t realize is that the new person is also a snake and is using him as food. What goes around, comes around.
©Leigh Martin 2018