The Twilight Saga

Is Bella to Blame for Edward Leaving?

Is Bella to Blame for Edward Leaving?

Background

Since this question came out of a different discussion that took place a while back, I believe some background would be helpful.

I started this by saying that I really didn't have any simpathy for the pain Edward endured because of Bella and Jacob's relationship, because all of it would have been avoided if him had simply never left Bella in the first place.

There were some that felt that I was being way too hard on Edward, and someone suggested that Bella played a key role in driving Edward away.

My Intial Response

The jury is still out on whether I feel that Bella is partly to blame. At this point I have no opinion and am open to discussion on either side. This is an area I haven't explored and would be happy to look into.

If we look at Bella and Edward's love languages, I can see a disconnect. Typically you don't see a real problem if the couple has at least one love language in common. It looks to me like Bella and Edward both share the love language of physical touch. Edward's other dialect is gifts. Bella's other dialect is acts of service. I can see where they would be thwarted in their attempts to love each other in these ways because Bella doesn't like expensive gifts and what can she possibly do for Edward?

So I can see a crack where a wedge could have pushed them apart and there may have been some behavior on Bella's part they may have prevented Edward from realizing the full extent of her devotion to him. So I am totally open to discussion on this topic.

Patricia Van der Mispel's response

Both have very low selfesteem, both doubt the other loves him/her as much as they do. Both are scared that the other will come to their senses and call it quits.
When they talk of love, neither believes the other’s love is as big as theirs, so they need ways to show it.
Trotter is right that they share ‘love language’ but that their ‘dialect’ is moving them in different directions.
Edward has allways been a wealthy boy, even the Masen family was well off. ( He inherited a lot of such ‘baubles’ from Elisabeth Masen and gave some to Alice and Esme before he gave the diamond heart to Bella.) Where would he have learned that some presents are just too expensive? Giving presents is his way to express his love, the way Edward Masen did with Elisabeth and Carlisle does with Esme. (Isle Esme!)
Bella comes from a family that has an income below the average. Schoolteacher mum, chief of police dad in a very small town. Their way of giving presents is more subdued: the acts of service. The snowchaines are a true act of love for Bella and to her better than the most expensive present. But neither of them ever explain that to one another.
Edward is so used to be able to read everybody’s mind, he has no clue whatsoever how to interpret the thought behind what Bella does tell him. He can only read her expressions and on that subject she sends lots of different signals. Bella is very fluent in reading peolple’s expressions. We see through her eyes every expression that comes to Edward’s face. ‘First confusion then hurt touching his eyes’, ‘his liquid topaz eyes were suddenly shining with exitement’, ‘he was glowing, his angel’s face briljant with joy and victory’, ‘his expression twisted in response to something I said’.
Bella is pretty good in keeping her emotion from touching her face, mostly to prevent hurting Edward. ‘I banished that thought before he could read it in my face’, ‘I kept my expression firmly under control,expecting the swift flash of his eyes to judge my reaction, my face gave nothing away.’ Yet she doesn’t see that Edward is doing that exact same thing when ‘his face is all wrong’. She believes him when he says he doesn’t love her anymore, because that is what she expected to happen the whole time. She never really believed he loved her.
He kept telling her, he kept trying to prove it, but she was never convinced, she never let him convince her.
I think the fact she let him go so easily must have hurt Edward more than anything because it looked like she didn’t really love him either. ‘well, that changes things’, I was surprised by how calm and reasonable my voice sounded.
She does plead with him but lets him off way too easy, controlling her emotions, out of love for him, no doubt. He had explained he would leave her for her own good before, she should have put her foot down and not let him get away with it. She should have made him stay. She had the power to do that, but since she doubted his love, she didn’t. Edward admids as much when he tells her afterward: ‘how could you believe me? After all the thousands times I told you I love you, how could you let one word break your faith in me? I could see it in your eyes that you honestly believed that I didn’t love you anymore.’
Edward ’s choice of leaving was totaly out of love; he knew he would be in agony for the rest of his life over this decision, but he left so bella would have a chance to a better, less dangerous life. He thought she would be better of with another human, lead an normal life, have children, grow old…die! All the things he would love to have, the things his whole family would love to have. (exept maybe Emmet). He doubted her love as well, thinking it would be easier for her to get over him, after all, he’d been reading teenager’s minds for allmost a century and nobody changes their minds more often than teens. One day they love this, the next day something completely different has their attention. (no offence, teenagers, I have been there as well you know!)
She still doubts him when they finally get back together. And gives him reason after reason to believe she does not really want to be with him. When she realises the Volturi’s human secretary wants to become a vampire, Bella felt her blood leaving her face: ‘she wants to be one of them? How can she want that!’ He nodded once, his eyes sharp on my face, watching my reaction. And: ‘You look thirsty, I could sit with Alice.’ Or: ‘crap, I’m dead, right? I did drown!’ ‘you’re not dead!’ ‘Then why don’t I wake up?’ ‘I can see why you would confuse me with a nightmare’ His short-lived smile was grim.
She is still hurting him, pushing him away, she still doesn’t believe he loves her even after he explains how he felt after he left her: ‘I wanted to believe him. But this was my life without him that he was describing, not the other way around.’
So you see why I believe Bella is as much to blame for Edward leaving her as he is. When you love you have to at least trust one another. Edward did not need to suffer that much, neither did Bella, if only they had trusted each other. But I’m not saying it was all in vain, they did learn that they could not exist without the other.

Kealyn's Comments

First of all. Very, very well written! .. You expressed yourself so much better then I did. And thank you for posting this. I hope Trotter is gonna read this as well! This is totally what I meant as well. Bella pushes him away constantly. And although this is mostly about Bella, you describe Edward's hidden pain so well. The quotes you use, so fit!
You litterly put the words out of my mouth, my actions :). Maybe you should post it in the topic as well. Because the discussion was mostly between me and Trotter. And it is important that other people discuss it with us as well. Because just like here, you totally put a feeling of mine, and put it in the right words. It'll help me and Trotter A LOT!
I totally agree with you. And you couldn't have written it any better :).
My thanks to you. And I admire you for writing this!

And one thing about Emmet. All the Cullens would want to have a normal and happy life. I think Emmet as well. But Emmet is the one who feels most comfortable as a vampire. He loves his strength. He loves it that all his senses are improved, he loves to fight. He just enjoys being a vampire. I think he accepted it a lot better then all the others. I think he would follow the others into a human life is that were possible, but he sure would miss being a vampire!

So I agree with you, just expanded my answer a bit!

Conclusion

I concede that Bella is not the best communicator.

I concede that there were things that Bella could have done and said that would have expressed her true feeling more completely.

I deny that this would have made any difference.

Edward did not leave because he did not believe Bella loved him enough. He knew that Bella loved him way more than he felt he deserved. He was well away and expressed multiple time how absurdly Bella loved him. All of these things endeared Bella to him more and more. He marveled at how warm, trusting, and loving she was. All of these things made him more and more bound and determined to protect and preserve her. He felt that she was truly "good". He felt that she had a pure soul. And he couldn't bare to taint that "pure" soul. He felt that she deserved an eternity in Heaven, and he couldn't bring himself to jepordize that.

I have heard some people blame that author. Certainly Stephenie Meyer's is not guiltless in this matter, but this was not done to further the story. In truth, this is a major detour aways from where the story was orginally suppose to go. This was done because it would be in consistent with Edward's character for it to be any other way.

From Stephenie Meyer's Official Web Site:

The biggest non-YA thing I'd done with Forever Dawn was this: I'd pretty much passed over the rest of Bella's high school experience entirely, skipping ahead to a time in her life with more mature themes. So, as I began to sketch out New Moon, I went back to Bella's senior year of high school and asked my little cast of characters, "What happened?"
I swiftly regretted asking them for the story. Because they gave me a story I wasn't expecting. More specifically, Edward told me something I didn't want to hear.

I should probably mention here that I am not crazy (that I know of), it's just that I am a character writer. I write my stories because of my characters; they are the motivation and the reward. The difficulty with strong, defined characters, though, is that you can't make them do something that is out of character. They have to be who they are and, as a writer, they're often out of your control.

As I started plotting New Moon (untitled at that point), it became clear that Edward was Edward, and he would have to behave as only Edward would. And, because of that, Edward was leaving.

NO! I didn't want Edward to leave. I pitched a fit every bit as violent and tearful as those I've seen in New Moon discussion forums. I tried to talk him out of it. I presented him with other plot options. I begged. Edward remained unmoved.

Edward did not leave because Bella didn't express her love completely enough. Edward left because Edward is Edward. Nothing Bella could have said or done could possibly change the fact that Edward is Edward. It is an axiom that you can't change someone else. Real lasting change must come from inside, and can not come from outside. Edward did change, but Bella did not change him. He changed himself for Bella shortly after he met her. Carlilse noticed the change as he interacted after Edward saved Bella from the men in Port Angeles. Edward changed again while they were apart and again shortly after the were together again, but Bella did not change him.

Let's look at the events that took place to reconcile Edward to Bella becoming a vampire:

  • Edward thought that Bella had become depressed enough by Edward's leaving that she threw herself off a cliff. When Rosalie told him, he was certain that it was true. He called Charlie's house and when Jacob told him that Charlie was at a funeral he knew that it was Bella's. This leads me to believe that he really did know how much Bella loved him; otherwise, he wouldn't have believed that she killed herself so readily.
  • Edward learned that he really didn't have it in him to leave Bella. His pain was unbarable, and it was getting worse and not better. He was on his way back to Forks it was only a matter of time.
  • Edward learned the utter agony of believing that Bella was gone forever. He stated that living for twenty four hours believing Bella was dead was a very educational experience. Now his entire being shys away from any course of action that could inspire that kind of pain.
  • Edward learned the impact his leaving had on Bella. I am sure that Alice gave him every gory detail of the pain that she had learned from Charlie. I sure she shared Bella's utter glee and desperate pleas that Alice not leave her. Bella was a mess when Alice found her, and she probably didn't look that much better when Edward first saw her. She still couldn't sleep. She still wasn't eating the way she should. When Edward got a good look at her, he would have seen that she was too skinny and had dark circles under her eyes. He would have known that his leaving had done this to her and that he was still hurting her over six months after he left.
  • Edward learned that two different vampires had tried to kill Bella while he was gone and that her best friend was a werewolf. He also learned that Victoria was still trying to kill her. He had thought that she would be safe if he left her, but he discovered that she was living in constant mortal danger.
  • Edward learned that she was risking her life just to her his voice.
  • Edward learned that Alice saw Bella becoming a vampire. In the movie, Alice saw vampire Bella, and Edward running together in the forest. This sure looked like a scene from "First Hunt" in Breaking Dawn (BD). Vampire Bella looked like she was having the time of her life, and if this was a scene from BD, she was enjoying herself. One of Edward's abiding fears is that Bella will regret being a vampire. This scene could have relieved some of those fears.
  • Edward knows that if she doesn't become a vampire, the Volturi will kill them all.
  • Edward learned that Alice is willing to change her even if he isn't, and she is willing to do it over his objection. He also learned that there is a good chance that Alice would kill her in the process. I don't really think that Alice would kill her, because I don't think that she would risk it until she stopped seeing Bella dead if she tried. I believe that Alice saw her dead at the dining room table and that is was set Edward off.
  • Edward learned that his family was willing to accept Bella as a vampire even if he isn't. Carlisle understands that changing Bella is the only way to keep Edward alive. Edward's attitude changed when he learned that Carlisle would change her over his objection. He could read his family's thoughts, and when he knew that they would change Bella to keep him, he knew that it wasn't if Bella became a vampire, but when Bella became a vampire.

These are the things that changed to allow Edward to become reconciled to Bella becoming a vampire. Also, Edward was reconciled but not happy that Bella would become a vampire. He was working hard to delay the change and give Bella a chance to rethink her decision. He discovered that she would prefer that he change her himself, and made marriage a condition. Partly to delay her transformation and partly to make her completely examine her choice. He really only became committed to her transformation when he knew it was transform Bella or loose her forever. If Bella could have survived Renesmee's birth human, Edward would have been looking for ways to prolong her human life again. It was only when Edward became convinced that Bella couldn't live as a human that he could live with making her a vampire.

I don't see how anything Bella could have said or done would have made any difference in the long run. She may have been able to push Edward's leaving to some furture time, but Edward's leaving was inevitable. Because Edward is who Edward is, he was going to leave. It was never a question of if, but when. He would not have been able to stay until after he learned what he learned by leaving. Since most of what he learned was about himself and very little of what he learned was about Bella, there is no way that Bella could have told him what he need to know. The more certain that he was that Bella loved him, the more determined that he would have been to leave.
In light of this evidence, I conclude that Bella bares no fault in Edward leaving because there was absolutely nothing that she could have done to make him stay for the long run.

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Tags: Bella, Blame, Edward, Leaving, insecurity, languages, love

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Comment by Trotter on April 16, 2010 at 8:49pm
The essay takes the position that there is nothing that Bella could have done that would have made any difference. I have come to believe that this isn't exactly true.

If saving Bella's soul was the prime motivator for him leaving her, then she could have prevented him from leaving if she could have convinced him that his soul and her soul were completely safe.

This means that instead of being impossible for Bella to do anything that prevent Edward from leaving to it being highly improbably.

We can now link Edward's leaving to two failing on Bella's part. These are failings of omission and not comission. In other words, I still don't think that Bella did anything to actively push Edward away, but it is possible that she could have done something to pull him closer.

First. Bella had to see the danger. Bella specifically decided to only address eventualities that she could live through. She should have addressed those eventualities that she knew that she couldn't live through. If she asked what is the worse thing that can happen that I can't live through, then Edward leaving would have come to the top of the list. Edward has already threatened to leave her on multiple occassions. Now if she is planning for Edward to leave, she has to ask why, and she already discussed Edward's fear for her soul with Carlisle. So it is conceivable that Bella could have figured out that Edward would leave her because he was afraid that becoming a vampire would steal her soul. Knowing that, it isn't a big jump to understanding that proving that Edward's soul and her by extension are perfectly safe would allow Edward to stay.

Second. The problem is that Bella has three days to do this, and doesn't know a tenth of what she needs to know to even know where to begin. Edward is stuborn and believes that he knows it all. I am sure Carlise has already argued these points with Edward. This means that Bella's argument would have to passionate and substantial. It means that she would have to get help. She could have gone to Angela, and I am sure that Angela could have helped, but she would have had to tell her way too much. I can't think of way that Bella could have asked for the information that she needed without compromising Edward's secret.

In short there is something that Bella could have done, but she would have had to be a theologian to do it.

My conclusion is the same. It isn't Bella's fault, because there isn't anything realistically that Bella could have done differently to have made a difference.

I actually lead a discussion on the question of Edward's soul. The answer it that is depends on your particular soteriology, or salvation theory. We did get pretty deep; however, we didn't have proponets for each of the different schools of soteriologic thought; so that, the conclusions were not of sufficient quality for me to turn them into a blog entry.

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