Based on the daily writing prompts on Twitter, I write very short stories (#vss365) about the Captain, First Mate and Deckhand in every-day situations.
Bored, the First Mate peered at the Captain’s notes.
“Xanthippe, huh? Sounds exotic. Let’s go there!”
“It’s not a place. It’s a person.”
“Oh. Well, let’s go meet them!”
The Captain’s eyes widened. “No, absolutely not. You still bear scars of last time.”
I admit I had to look up today’s prompt, but once I saw the synonyms for “Xanthippe”, I immediately thought of how this unusual word shows up in almost everyone’s life:
Our emotional, social First Mate is eager to see good in people, even when those people are not good for you.
“They didn’t mean it like that. They know I love them.”
“That was one time. I’m sure they won’t do it again, right?”
But the First Mate’s limited horizon causes them to forget previous incidences where you got hurt. Only when it happens again do they recall it happening before. But they soon forget that, too, and are drawn back to the person who hurt them.
This pattern is especially strong when the person who hurts you is your partner, family member (esp. a parent!) or a close friend. You keep forgiving their missteps, at an increasingly dire cost to yourself.
This changes only when your First Mate has had enough, but because of that short horizon, you may never reach that point.
The alternative way out is your Captain and Deckhand teaming up to physically remove the Ship – you – from that person’s sphere of influence. And even then you may need outside help and support to make that decision and see it through.
Recognising that you are in a toxic relationship is extremely difficult under the best of circumstances. Getting out is even harder, both emotionally and practically. Reach out to trusted friends or organisations active where you live to help you.