Guest Post: Table Manners by Alienora

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*It is with great privilege that I present to you a post by the lovely, charming Alienora, who gave me the honor of hosting her words today. This is a touching story, often romanticised, often neglected, often passed on through silence and I would love it if you read it and felt free to talk to both Alienora and me.

Table Manners

‘Can you tell when Ali is frightened?’

The soothing voice floats across the one foot infinity between us.

‘Not unless she tells me,’ the angry face spits.

Substitute any subtle emotion, any feeling which is – in his eyes – pastel rather than bright, and the answer would be identical.

What I don’t know – and never have – is whether this is emotional blindness or a manipulative technique so clever and ingrained that it passes for truth.

I think it possible, even likely, that some people are simply born without the ability to read others.

But I also think it just as likely that some people lack the curiosity concerning another’s mental processes, fears and joys – and that such a person is looking for results, in the material, sexual or overt sense, rather than a sharing of mind and spirit.

My suspicion, as far as the person above is concerned, is that ‘reading’ only the surface layers, responding only to the BIG flamboyant bodily leanings (lust, anger ), is a subconscious attempt at dominating the circle of experience, and, more crucially, of attaining the desired end result from any given communicative ‘bout’: Winning, to put it another way.

Some human beings only seem able to engage with the loose change in another’s soul when those coins can be used to benefit him/her – and when the monetary value is high enough to merit notice. Thus, in the metaphorical sense, all one and two pound coins are grabbed enthusiastically and put in a special pot; fifty pence coins, still useful, are dropped a little more grudgingly; anything less than this gets thrown into another receptacle altogether and ignored.

Going back to my theory: I further suspect that some individuals are just not interested in the way another is feeling: Their own preoccupations, concerns and desires are so overwhelming that all weak shades which do not support their bright canvas are pushed to one side, ignored, not recognised.

In such cases, the other person comes to feel that he/she is not worth any of the currency of thought, feeling or spiritual leanings because only the practical is truly valued: You prove yourself by what you do, often between the sheets…

Let me give you a very specific and concrete example. This scene has been enacted countless times – and is now so woven into my fear shawl that I cringe whenever that oppressive meal time silence descends.

I shall write it in the present tense, as if it were happening:

We sit at the table. I am tense in the honey of a silence designed, I feel, to lure me. I eat slowly. You gallop through food. You give me THE LOOK: the Charm Offensive, the winsome eyes, the down-curved smile.

I know what you want. But there has been no lead up, no way in but this cessation of talk – the same tense gap which is a prelude to furious words and seething hours of being ignored.

I take tiny bites of food, willing it to last forever. My whole body is stiff with fear. I do not look at you because, to catch your eye, to smile, is to give tacit consent – and I want to say a clear, ‘No, not right now…’

I KNOW that my usually expressive face is frozen – but I also KNOW that the fear shows in my eyes, in the strain of facial muscles; I KNOW that anyone could read me clearly – and I suspect that you can too, but that you CHOOSE not to because my terror is part of the erotic charge – or you think I am playing hard to get, and this gets you going too.

You grab my hand – and the seductive techniques increase in strength.

There is nothing sacred in this; it is a battle of wills for something YOU want and I do not.

It is not, I feel, about LOVE; it is about you getting your own way.

In the end, you say those words, ‘Shall we go upstairs and have some adult fun?’

And I want to weep. You cannot, or will not, see the way fear has corroded my love, my lust, my ability to say what I want to do – or not do.

You are not violent, but you are an emotional blackmailer, though you deny this trait.

Eventually, one sad sad day, I reach the end of my tether with regard to one of our ‘scenes’ and call a halt. Not to the whole drama, you understand. But the rage is the same as if I had. Sullen anger, though, and SPITE – though you deny this too, claiming that the question you asked was simply hypothetical.

‘In that case,’ you say, ‘would you mind if I had sex with other women?’

Am I your mistress?

Am I a girlfriend to be tossed aside the moment I fail to please, to indulge your whims?

No. I am your wife of many years.

And you claim you genuinely cannot see why the above question would hurt me.

You claim that I am making, in so many words, a fuss about nothing: that it is all about me getting what I want.

This is how you control me.

By failing to see the feelings writ large and bold upon my face – feelings everybody else who knows me can read without glasses – you are able to continue this sick and horrible games of domination.

***

– “I am quite sure I am not alone in this kind of scenario – and, apart from the need to express what has happened, I am hoping that being this honest will allow others to feel that they are not alone.

 Emotional manipulation can be just as destructive as physical violence.” ,  Alienora.
To get in touch with Alienora go visit her blog!She is a fantastic lady!
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~ by Oloriel on February 16, 2014.

2 Responses to “Guest Post: Table Manners by Alienora”

  1. I can’t find a link to her blog is there one? This was amazing

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