Say when you were married to your emotional abuser, he’d refuse to wear a wedding ring. (Or lose one/multiples on purpose.) It was an attempt to hurt you, a mind game played to minimize a thing important to you, and disrespect your union. Now fast forward.
You’re divorced from your abuser, and he’s remarried. Know what he does, trying to play a new version of that old game? He wears his wedding ring each time he’s in your presence (and probably only then), often overtly placing his left hand just inches from your line of vision, so neither of you can ignore what he’s up to. What he wants is for you to feel a fresh kind of hurt, to believe his current wife is worth more to him than you were, that he regards this marriage more. That suddenly the symbolism of a wedding ring is one he honors.
Thing is, you’ve got him figured out now, and none of that’s true. He didn’t grow a heart. A romantic, sentimental leaf hasn’t been turned over. And he certainly didn’t magically become a perfect, loving, non-abusive husband.
The game won’t work this side of your abuse. Why? Because you can identify his inherent characteristics, and you know frontwards and backwards his arsenal of abusive behaviors—those manipulative tools he employs and always will, especially in an attempt to retain leverage over you. But you’re up on his game. It’s nothing but immature, superficial child’s play.
Give yourself credit. Trust your intuition. If you sense a game, you’re likely right that one’s in play. And no matter how still-attached or distant you are from your abuser, no matter what stage of healing you’re in, YOU are positioned to know him better than anyone else. Remember that all those years he used his knowledge of you to hurt you. But now? YOU can use all your knowledge about HIM to elevate yourself above his lame, habitual efforts.
Once you find yourself here, when you recognize his mind games and trickery from a distance, when you’ve outsmarted him, he can’t hurt you ever again.