For Ethan, his friends’ happiness was his delight. He quickly sense the vibe of the people around – cheerful, subdued, or threatening. A comforter, he loved to listen to people.
He saw Naina, Anna Aunty’s daughter, at a friend’s wedding. She looked pretty in a cream coloured frock, long earrings caressing her cheeks. “She is out of my league”, he thought.
When Ethan and Naina had first met, Ethan had been doing well with his start-up. He had showered Naina with compliments and gestures of adoration. Naina, a successful investment banker, was smart, confident, decisive, and into Ethan. He adored her, like a fan would. Love-bombed Ethan just wanted to grab her and never let go of her, to anyone else.
He didn’t notice the transformation in her until that day when he was busy with clients and was unable to take Naina’s calls. He apologized, as soon as he got home, but Naina took it to another level. She acted mean and accused him of not caring for her.
“Why weren’t you answering my calls? The clients were more important to you than I am, of course.”
Ethan couldn’t believe his ears, “What’s with you Naina? You know how much I care for you and love you. All this, because I wasn’t able to answer your calls?”
“You messed it up Ethan. I had a presentation and wanted to speak to you before that. I was nervous and wanted to hear your voice, but….” Naina was in tears.
“I am so sorry Naina. I absolutely forgot about it and it didn’t strike me that you were calling for this. I am really sorry love.” Ethan cursed himself for putting Naina through this. Though stressed about his new clients and needing a break, he convinced himself that he needed to fix the situation for them.
Ethan empathetically swooped in with understanding and compassion to heal her wounds. He could never think of failing Naina and showered her with more love. He wanted her to be happy but things only worsened. They argued like brutal enemies.
Naina lacked compassion and blamed Ethan squarely. She criticized him for puny things like not washing the dishes after dinner. She wanted to win conversations and portrayed she was right always. Prodding Ethan over petty things, increased the conflict. Naina acted unremittingly cruelly under stress.
Ethan was at war with himself. Naina was playing Jekyll and Hyde. He turned silent and anxious. He was racked with self-doubt, loneliness and shame. He felt duped!
“How could I have not seen this? How did I trust, defend, and love Naina? Why did I let her abuse me and believe everything was perfect?”
He wanted to depart, when the drama was still not as intense.
He wanted to become what he was. He now wanted to love himself the most, if not forever but at least for a while. Ethan joined therapy sessions with the help of a friend.
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