I never thought I'd change my opinion again
But you moved me in a way that I've never known

Gwen swore she would never fall in love again. She had been hurt so many times before. Then Saul came along. She fell in love. He was so unlike any guy she had ever met. He talked about things no one else had ever said to her. He made her feel things she had never felt anything like before he came into her life. He taught her things about herself.

But straight away you just moved into position again
You've abused me in a way that I've never known

Too bad her intense love clouded her judgment. If it hadn’t she would have seen he wasn’t so different from her last boyfriend. Right from the start he used her. He used his own mental illness as a way of exploiting her. Gwen, having struggled with many psychological symptoms for as long as she could remember, had much compassion for Saul and his diagnosis of schizophrenic. She felt proud of him for his accomplishments. The longer she knew him the more she appreciated his self-employment. He seemed to be working constantly. He did something with video on computers but she was a self-described “Computer-duh” so she smiled and nodded as he described his work. His use of marijuana and other “recreational” drugs always bothered her but he insisted that these drugs helped alleviate his symptoms. He would run out of money and have no food. When she’d ask if he’d eaten he would tell her he had eaten about three days ago. So she bought him a pizza. Her one time offer ended up costing her over a hundred dollars in a two week period when he got stoned out of his mind for several days at a time and ordered outrageous amounts of food from the pizza place with her credit card. He even tried to use her card for other online services. She shrugged it off. All her friends told her to get away from him, that he was only using her. Just as she would start to think they were right he’d do something to make her heart melt, like making a website for her, or sending the neatest card. Other times he would keep her from leaving with the “I can’t live without you” speeches.

So break me shake me hate me take me over
When the madness stops then you will be alone
Just break me shake me hate me take me over
When the madness stops then you will be alone

Her friends all tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen. She was blind to the lies. She was blinded by love. She wanted so desperately to be in love and have someone be in love with her that she let it take over her completely. She let him break her heart. She let him shake her up in so many ways. He hated her for her mistakes. She hated him for throwing every tiny mistake she ever made in her face over and over. Yet, she let him take over her life. Everything began to center around him. She wanted to take care of him, wanted to make him happy. Yet, when she woke up she was alone. And so was he. Eventually she began to see how crazy some of his stories were. Gwen started realizing that despite all the time they had spent together, she still knew nothing about Saul, because the truths were buried so deep in his stories and lies.

So your the kind that deals with the games in the mind
Well you confuse me in a way that I've never known
You confuse me in a way that I've never known

Gwen’s friends all tried to tell her to be careful with him. They saw through his lies. Yet, she didn’t listen. She had to learn this lesson on her own. She let him shake her up and break her heart. She let the hate consume them.

Finally, she snapped. She refused to take anymore of his crazy lies and round about stories. She left him. He was finally alone with his lies once again. Gwen cried and cried. She had sworn she would never abandon anyone, yet here she was, running and hiding from a man she told “I love you” everyday. It’s not something she felt to be a choice as much as a necessity for her own mental health. She couldn’t let Saul break her heart anymore. He had turned the world as she knew it upside down and spun it around until she didn’t know which way was up.

Saul knew what he had been doing to Gwen. He knew how much he confused her. It was a game to him. He enjoyed it. He knew how it would end, though. Early on in their relationship Saul and Gwen had promised each other to always be friends, and more. They each promised the other never to abandon them. He had told her what she wanted to hear. He had then gone on to tell her in his I’m-so-pitiful-way how everyone he had ever known had abandoned him. Now, looking back, Gwen sees why. Why wouldn’t people run from him? His mind games are too much. So many lies. Saul has never seemed to tell the same story twice. So many hours they spent talking, all night long. Yet, Gwen sits in her room now, months later, crying into her teddy bear as she realizes that after all those conversations she still knew nothing about the real Saul. The true Saul was buried deep in the lies.

The worst part of all for Gwen is the uncertainty. On this night she is sitting in the corner of her bedroom, clutching a stuffed teddy bear, her face pressed into the back of the bear’s head to muffle her sobs. Part of her still loves Saul. Part of her still wants to spend her life with him. The thought of never speaking to him again sends her into a stronger fit of tears. She catches herself staring at the phone, daring herself to dial his number, just to hear his voice once more. A part of her wishing and praying that phone will ring and when she picks it up Saul will be on the other end of the line, telling her how much he loves her and how sorry he is, and then will joke and make her laugh. Yet there’s another part of Gwen. This part wants to call Saul an asshole and a prick. Ah, to scream, “LIAR” at him and hit him over the head with a lamp. Yet another part, a logical part, of Gwen, knows that Saul is mentally ill and needs help. A lot of help. And she wants to help him, but knows she cannot. She has too many problems of her own right now. She needs help herself. Them being together would be the blind leading the blind. They would lead each other right into a ditch.

God don't you know I live with a ton of regret?
'Cause I used to move you in a way that you've never known
But then I accused you in a way that you've never known
But you hurt me in a way that I've never known...

She couldn’t bring herself to forget Saul. She couldn’t run completely. He had her so lost within all those guilt trips. She sat there whispering to him, knowing he could not hear her, “If I leave you, you’ll hurt yourself. If I stay, I get hurt. If I go, I’m alone, and I’m hurting. If I say the wrong thing, or say something the wrong way, I upset you and then have to worry about you being punished by the voices you hear. Do I love you? Or is it pity? Do you love me? Or is it a game?”

So many things had been said during their relationship. Many, many things that were regretted. Some were regretted the moment they left her mouth because she knew what his reaction would be. They used to excite each other in so many ways. They used to truly make the day worth facing.

It wasn’t all perfect though. He was always accusing Gwen of sleeping with other guys. Saul always asked exactly what had she been doing since last time they’d spoken, sure that she had been off “talking” with other guys. This hurt her, but there was some justification for his mistrust. Once, while manic, she had had a sexually explicit conversation with a male friend of hers. It had hurt him, but he had found out by hacking into her computer. She would have told him, but was waiting for the right time, was planning how to tell him in a way that wouldn’t hurt him so terribly. From then on she was always worried about him going through her things while she wasn’t looking, and he was always sure she was cheating on him.

Listen, baby

So it was time. She had to tell him. She wrote him a letter, explaining why she was so upset with him. She had tried talking to him but he always made her feel so guilty when she tried to tell him he was hurting her. So she wrote it in a letter, so she could say it all without any interruption. Gwen cried so hard while she wrote it. The tears rolled down her cheeks. By the time she’d finished the five page letter she was thinking such things “I’m ending the only thing I had to live for so I should end the living.” Gwen just didn’t know what to do now without Saul.

Break me shake me hate me take me over
When the madness stops then you will be alone

Now the time had come. They were both broken hearted. The were both shook to the core. They both felt hated, and hated everything and everyone around them. The pain had taken over their lives. Each was alone and it would have to stay this way. This is the way their lives were meant to be. Separate.

You'll be, you'll be alone

Gwen sat in her bedroom, alone. Her only company was her trusted teddy bear. She squeezed it tight as she sobbed quietly into its soft fur. She realized she had no choice. She had to be. She had to exist. There were other things in life. Life goes on. There was a time before Saul, and now there will be the time after Saul. She must go on living, even though she will do it alone.

No matter what, she will not let any one person ruin her life. They can try, but she will persevere. There’s always another day. Perhaps some day she’ll find true love, perhaps she never will. That doesn’t really matter much now. She is scarred, as is everyone. Someday, maybe, just maybe, those scars will fade enough to allow her to forget the pain, even for a moment. For now she will go on existing. Living one moment at a time.

Break me shake me hate me take me make me
Fake me break me shake me hate me take me
Break me

Lyrics from “Break Me Shake Me”
Written by Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones,
as it appears on the album Savage Garden.

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