Friday, June 30, 2006

The little voice

I couldn't help but replay my experience in my mind after I learned about Rick's behavior throughout our relationship. I replayed the period of time I reported to Rick in early 1995, I replayed how our romantic relationship began, I replayed everything that happened during our 'marriage' and I replayed the dark days after Rick left me. Each time I replayed the experience, I saw new things that I didn't see the first time or the second time. It's just like seeing the same movie two or three times - you see things the second time you didn't see the first time. Eventually I reached a point where I was trying to determine if I heard the little voice inside my head that usually tells me when things aren't right. You often hear people say 'trust your instincts'. That's the little voice. It's the funny feeling you get when you meet someone and you immediately feel that you can't trust him or her, that's the little voice.

Rick was very attentive to me when I reported to him in 1995. It was flattering to be given so much responsibility as a new manager and flattering to know that Rick trusted me. He rewarded me financially for all my hard work. I never heard a little voice say that maybe he was too attentive and that he was giving me to much responsibility. When Rick and I had lunch at Palio D'Asti and he started to ask personal questions, there was no little voice telling me to be careful about responding to personal questions. I trusted Rick and answered his questions. He told me that day that he was surprised that a successful and attractive woman like me had never been married. I simply told him that the right man had never come along and I wasn't willing to settle. When he asked about my family, I told him about my sister and brothers and all my nieces and nephews. Sometimes it's amazing what you remember when you replay an experience in your mind!

I have to admit, I did hear the little voice when I saw the white stretch limo that was waiting outside the office the evening I was going to dinner with Rick and another new manager at the company. It wasn't very loud but it was there. I turned off the little voice because I trusted Rick. I got into the limo and off we went for an evening of celebration. When I awoke the next morning in a hotel room by myself, the little voice was screaming. I couldn't remember the events of the previous evening and the little voice was telling me to run like hell. I raced home to shower and get into the office to complete my letter of resignation. I was listening to my little voice. I was shaking as Rick appeared in the doorway of my office. He convinced me to meet him for lunch that day so he could explain what happened the previous evening. My little voice said said NO but I didn't listen. Rick said that nothing really happened and that there was no need to resign from my position. It was as if he could turn down the volume of my little voice. It happened so often during my experience with Rick. At times, it went further than just turning down the volume - there were times when it just wasn't there but should have been.

My little voice was screaming at me the evening that Rick told me about his first marriage and about the woman he had an affair with while his first wife was out of town for the summer. It was telling me to run like hell but Rick was able to turn it off - again. It was the way he could explaiin things and make everything sound so plausible. When Rick flew across the country just two weeks later to meet my family, there was no little voice telling me that things were moving too fast and just maybe, this relationship was too good to be true. My mother's little voice was telling her that but mine wasn't. We became engaged just weeks later and purchased a new home together just weeks after that - no little voice. Even his daughter's pain when she would visit us in San Francisco didn't trigger my little voice. I accepted what Rick had told me about his daughter's mother and how she had contributed to the problems he had with his relationship with his daughter. No little voice to tell me that maybe there was another side to the story - that I should check out his story.

I always had an uneasy feeling when Rick brought up the name of the HR Executive who had hired him at the company where we worked together. When the same man offered Rick an opportunity in Atlanta after we were married, I had the same uneasy feeling. It happened again when the same HR Executive recruited Rick for a job in Raleigh, I expressed my concern to Rick each time and each time Rick offered the same response - that his Human Resources buddy was 'a good guy'. I moved to Atlanta and than on to Raleigh even though I had misgivings about the people who recruiited Rick.

More on the little voice later!