*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My boyfriend wanted me to pay attention to him one-hundred percent of the time. I tried my best. Unfortunately, whenever I tried to eat, he'd get upset that I was diverting my attention from him to my food. Then one day, he took away my plate of food while I was mid-bite. "Hey," I said. "I brought that food with me from home."
"You aren't paying enough attention to me," he replied.
It wasn't true. I was paying plenty of attention to him, but a girl's gotta eat, as they say,
He had the audacity to move the food where I couldn't reach it. Then he told me he wasn't ready to eat yet, which was fine. No one asked him to eat. That didn't mean I couldn't eat.
I could smell the aroma of the food I'd brought to his house for lunch. I could see it sitting on a bookshelf halfway across the room. I could almost feel it growing cold while my boyfriend lectured me on something: I've forgotten what.
But I do remember the feeling of feeling hungry, out of control, and helpless. I hated the feeling of being told what to do almost as much as being told not to do it.
I wasn't starving. It wasn't like I needed to eat at that very moment, or in the next five minutes, or in the next hour. That's not the point. The point is that a grown woman should get to decide when to eat her lunch, especially when she's provided it for herself.
At that moment, it became crystal clear: my boyfriend was trying to control me. He wanted to be in charge and he wanted me to stay dependent on him for everything, even food. He loved being in control; he craved it. He tried to control everything I did from when I ate to where I went and whom I called my friends.
No matter how hard I tried, I could never meet his needs or expectations.
My boyfriend taught me a valuable lesson that day: you can't give someone your attention when they're not respecting yours. From then on, I made sure to set boundaries and make sure my needs were met before considering anyone else's.
In the end, it didn't work out. Big surprise. I broke up with him, and he pursued me for years. Fortunately, I was smart enough not to give him another chance. I'm proud of that decision.
What would you do if someone took your food away from you when you were in the middle of eating? Comments are welcome.
Why would you want to Buy Me a Coffee? I am a full-time writer and a full-time unpaid caregiver to my 82-year-old father, who lives with Parkinson's. Your tip or donation allows me to provide for his care and comfort around the clock while working from home. Thank you.
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