Abuse. I still get uncomfortable when I use that word to describe something I’ve been through. You see, I don’t feel like I deserve to use the word because a hand was never raised, bruises never bloomed and blood was never shed. The word abuse usually brings forth a picture of something physical in our minds, but what we sometimes forget is that emotional abuse exists and it’s real. This is something I can unfortunately attest to.
“Who’s that guy in the picture with you?”
“Oh, him? He’s the homie.”
“Has he ever tried anything with you? Did you guys date? Have you guys slept together?”
“No! He’s just a friend.”
“Who are you out with?”
“A friend from class.”
“Girl. Her name is X. Why are you asking me who I’m out with?”
“Because I’m trying to make sure you’re not out with some guy.”
“But I wouldn’t do that to you.”
“I don’t know that.”
Jealousy. Signs of this were slight at first. A few questions sprinkled here, a few more sprinkled there. When it first began, my reaction was, “How cute. He’s jealous. This is natural. It’s nothing to be worried about. He’s just really into me and wants to make sure I’m his.” But when the questioning continued I began omitting who I hung out with. Heck, I just straight up started lying. Male friends? Who has those? Michael and Sam would have become Michelle and Samantha real quick. Sometimes a male name would accidently escape from my lips and I knew an interrogation would follow.
“I only ask all these questions because I care. If I didn’t care about you at all, I wouldn’t even take the time to ask.”
“I’m not comfortable with you having guy friends. If you’re my girl you don’t need to be talking to other guys. If you have anything you want to talk about why can’t you just talk to me? I’m right here. Like why do guys need to even talk to you? They can just get their own girl and leave mine alone.”
Control. The feeling of freedom grew smaller and smaller. Physical chains would have been easier to break than these. The thing that sucks is that no one understands. It feels as though where emotion and manipulation exist, logic cannot. Hope chained my hands while emotions chained my feet. I’d try to explain the situation to others and most of what I heard was, “just leave”, “you’re being stupid”, “don’t say I didn’t warn you”. If it were that easy, do you think I’d still be here? I felt like I couldn’t change anything anyways. How could I? Everything had been up to him. When we were done. When he decided we could meet. When he decided to stop talking about a certain topic and shut out my opinions with his shouts. I’d try to say that my mind was going in the right direction while my emotions ultimately led me back to him. Regardless of what he did or said each time. I want to leave, but hope grows heavier in my hands weighing me down when I see a glimmer of the perfect man he can be.
“I’ve got two more weeks left with my fast from alcohol.”
“It seems like it’s always something with you.”
“What? I just wanted to take a break from drinking for a while for my health.”
“It seems like you never want to drink with me. I don’t want to hear that.”
“I just don’t understand how a personal thing I’m doing for my health affects you.”
“How many times do I have to say it? I took it personally! I took it personally! I took it personally! I don’t care what you do with others but this is me. It’s my time. It’s all about me. Everything you’re telling me is bulls***. I don’t give a f*** about your personal goal. I don’t support that. It’s my time.”
“I don’t know how I can explain it to you in any other way. I’ve broken it down to its simplest parts. You should be able to understand this. You’re in grad school. You got straight A’s this semester. If you don’t understand this, then I guess your classes must have been easy.”
“You don’t have to talk to me like I’m a dumba**.”
“If you don’t get it I don’t know any other way to talk to you.”
“I don’t really think you understood my question.”
“It’s not that I don’t understand your question. I have a degree in X and I’m pursuing a master’s. If you look at my qualifications, they’ll tell you I understand. You’re not understanding me. Do I need to explain it again?”
“No. I understand.”
Disrespect. I could go on about this for days. Why did I tolerate it? I don’t know. At this point, I truly believe I’m dumb because who else stays for this? People were right. I must be stupid. It was easier to let it happen then to bring it up and let his smooth talk convince me I misinterpreted what he said. I hate confrontation and perpetual confusion. He knows this and he’s always ready to argue. I don’t want to upset him. He tells me he has triggers. What are they? I have no idea. I discover a new one every other day. He swears I’m doing it to piss him off.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Nothing. Just laughing at what you said.”
“Why? I didn’t think it was funny. Tell me why you were laughing.”
“You’re sitting over there having an inside joke with yourself.”
“I just laughed.”
“Do you think I was born yesterday? I swear you just want to piss me off.”
“But why? I just laughed.”
“This is what I hate. You’re being cryptic and suspicious. You’re just trying to put doubt in my mind.”
Blame. It’s always my fault…even when it’s not. A laugh causes doubt. A comment is considered suspicious or cryptic. Telling the truth he didn’t agree with is disrespectful. His anger is always justified. If I had just (insert blank here), he wouldn’t have to act like this. Apparently, I’m always trying to make him mad. We can never get along because of me. Even though he started every argument over the smallest thing. Even though he got mad to the point where he would just shut me out for days. Even though he was the one to say hurtful things and throw things I told him in confidence back in my face. I took it all and apologized. Why? Because apparently I was to blame.
“I have the ability to detach just like that. Sometimes it scares me. Once I’m done with someone I just don’t care anymore.”
“I miss you”
Detachment. Never knowing when I’ll be in his good graces or when I’ll be scrambling to figure out what I did wrong and what I can do to fix it. I just need to fix it. I need to fix it. Even if it’s not my fault. Even if there’s no logical reason to apologize. I just can’t look at another blank stare. I can’t deal with the silence. I can’t be forgotten by the one I want the most.
“I know that you have the capacity to be manipulative and conniving. That’s why I don’t trust as easily. I’m protecting myself.”
“Do you trust me?”
“No. Why should I?”
“I haven’t given you any reason not to.”
“What have you done for me? Do you think you just deserve it? You just want me to trust you and then you do something to me? I’m supposed to just wait for something to happen?”
Distrust. It sucks to be in a situation where every word you hear sounds fake. I wait for the exclamations of his feelings to prove false. It’s not like he hasn’t lied to me before to get what he wants from me. I walk on eggshells because what feels perfect now can shatter will shatter has shattered just like that. What makes it worse is knowing he doesn’t trust me at all because he believes I have the ability to be conniving and manipulative. Even when I’ve never been. I’m constantly being told I’m untrustworthy because of my past mistakes even though he proudly flaunts his. But like he’s told me before, he’s a guy. That statement alone means he can treat me poorly because of my past, but I can’t say anything about his.
“Come on, I want to see it.”
“No. I really don’t want to. I’m uncomfortable.”
“Uncomfortable? Why? There’s nothing between us.”
“I just really don’t want to.”
“You’re a grown a** woman. What’s there to be uncomfortable about?”
“I just don’t want to. It’s my body and I’m not comfortable doing it. Not everyone’s comfortable with their bodies all the time.”
“Not from my experience and I’ve been around. You never do anything just because I want you to. You’re so used to telling guys no and just having that be it. I’m not like those other guys out there who hope something happens. I ask for what I want.”
“So you’re calling me selfish?”
“You can’t just get what you want, when you want, how you want. So I’m not allowed to say no to you?”
“So I decided to be nice enough to call you and tell you I’m done. Your temper tantrums are getting ridiculous.”
texts “F*** off, b****.”
Done. I’m fed up and tired. It doesn’t matter how sweet and caring he can be at times. None of that overshadows how he truly is. I can start to see that he’s getting more comfortable with me seeing his anger. Which is a piece of him I don’t want. I thought that if I gave more of myself each time he’d begin to open up and be who I thought he could be. To him, opening up meant showcasing his anger. Watching his face contort from an eerie calm to anger in a matter of seconds was scary. And to have a conversation where every sentence was peppered with the word babe but quickly have it switch to b**** showed what I truly meant to him.
Being told I can’t say no to someone is enough to make me fear the very person I wanted so badly to be with. The one who told me that “he’s the only one that could make me feel this way”. Sometimes I believe that statement, but other times I remember that he pretty much just made me feel insecure and crappy. Not exactly how I want to feel all the time. I just can’t do it anymore. I’m not willing to see what will happen next. Sure, I care for him deeply (unfortunately), but he’s not worth it and I don’t deserve to be treated this way. I’m not willing to do a round four with this “relationship”. Why? Because in this case third time’s the charm. I broke it off and I’m not going back. I’m taking control this time.
As I mentioned before, emotional abuse is real. It took a while for me to even realize that what I was going through even counted as such. I had to Google what is was and I’ve included a few of the articles that helped me see my toxic relationship for what it was.
I just want anyone going through this to know that:
- You are NOT crazy, stupid, weak, dumb
- The situation is NOT going to get better
- Get out NOW! Waiting will change nothing. That just gives the situation time to get worse
- You are strong enough to leave. It hurts now but your life and mental health mean so much more than a man or woman