Hey, it’s me, your ex-girlfriend. I know, you may not recognize me since the smile on my face is genuine and the look of defeat and hopelessness has vanished from my eyes. But I can assure you, it’s me; the same girl you left in a mess from the damage you caused just a short year ago.
I look different when I’m not trying to gasp for air as you watch me slowly drown, don’t I? I sound different when I’m not screaming over your voice as it rains every defeating and hurtful phrase that pours off your tongue, right? I’m almost unrecognizable now that I’m not walking on the eggshells you threw in my path when I was simply trying to be close to you. I stand a little taller now that I’m not cowering underneath your shadow in the corner you pinned me in so you could intimidate me.
The girl you left screaming and crying in the wreckage you walked away from is no longer with me anymore. The girl who sought constant reassurance, exuded relentless insecurities, and had zero ability to call you out on your wrong-doings, the weak girl you absolutely adored, is a foreigner to me now.
The girl who would search hours through your phone through text messages, emails, and social media sites because of her inability to trust you has been replaced by someone else. The girl who would find evidence of infidelity or lying, yet let you weasel your way out of it all after spilling one bullshit excuse after another, is now simply a haunting memory.
Do you remember when the tables began to turn, just a few shorts months before you decided to throw in the towel? When your words didn’t sting me as much as before. When you couldn’t control each argument by taking my phone or keys. When I started recognizing the manipulation I was being put through for years. When I let you treat me like absolute garbage as you dismissed all of my legitimate emotions by blaming my mental health. Do you remember? Because I do.
You didn’t like the new me that began to emerge. You grew hatred toward the confidence I fought hard to obtain. You grew angrier when I wouldn’t allow you to blame me for situations when you were at fault.
I would refuse to allow your psychological abuse to threaten me.
Because I stopped allowing it. I refused to buy into your twisted stories that turned everything you were doing into my fault. I stopped giving you reasons to use that would give you any kind of justification for your actions. I no longer picked up your phone to look through it; I no longer made you feel guilty for leaving me alone as you went out with friends; I started to give you the space you begged for during the first two years of our relationship. And it left you with nothing to fall back on. No one to put the blame on but yourself. So you stopped trying to shift blame on me when you would act in an inexcusable way because to you “it was pointless”, when really, you were out of material to manipulate me for your own gain.
When those tables turned and you began losing your ability to control the relationship to best suit you, you humorously began doing all of the things you would use against me that seemingly were the cause of all of our problems. Like when you started looking through my phone, waking me up trying to overanalyze a simple text message because you suddenly were the insecure one. Or when you began consistently seeking my validation because you felt I didn’t love you enough or that I no longer wanted to be with you. You started to get angry and upset when I would choose to do things alone with my friends because I no longer tried to guilt you about when you spent time with yours.
All of the shit you hated, you started to become.
I know exactly when those tables turned. And maybe if I would have remained as insecure as I once was, I would have saved both of us a few months of torture. Because if I never changed, I would have continued to dig through your privacy and I would have found the moment when you began cultivating a connection with the girl you are still with now. The one you started dating publicly not even a month after leaving our three year relationship. The one you moved in with not long after. The one you met more than two months before you decided we should no longer be together.
Your actions stemmed from the obvious guilt you were harboring over the feelings you were growing for another person. That guilt made you feel insecure in ways I was learning to steer away from. The only difference is… my insecurities were stemmed from years of mental health issues I dealt with from a child that left me feeling inadequate and incapable of being loved by another human.
The mental health issues I fought tirelessly to overcome through countless therapy sessions. The mental health issues you hated so much yet loved and felt no shame using against me to deflect any fault of your own. While, on the other hand, your insecurities were solely from the strength I was building on my own, and the relationship you fought to keep secret from me.
You see, a lot of people have this delusion you’re an honorable, kind, generous, and trustworthy person. But what they fail to see is how you’re just a master at manipulation and the selfish nature you truly possess. But I stopped being fooled. And while I was far from perfect, I never stooped as low as you and that gives me the ability to hold two middle fingers up sternly in the faces of those who believe all the shit you accused me of.
The day before you packed your things and left, I sat across from you as we ate breakfast and in a calm, even voice asked you if you truly wanted to be with me or if you loved me enough to try to settle the turmoil between us. I told you I would not yell or berate you if you decided to tell me you no longer wanted to continue our relationship. And you did what you do best—lied to my face and said you were certain you wanted to stay and try.
So when you didn’t even wait for me to get out of the car, that had both my sister and her boyfriend in it, as I pulled up to our house to tell me you were leaving THE VERY NEXT DAY, any strength I had to be level headed and understanding had gone up in flames because you were too much of a coward to tell me how you felt just the day before.
But, honestly, ex-boyfriend, I want to say thank you. While you repeatedly kicked me as I was down, I am so much stronger and wiser because of all you put me through.
You left me with a few good memories and experiences I am forever grateful for, but I will never be more gracious for anything than I am for your inability to be all you talk yourself up to be.
Because it showed me that actions will always mean more than words. It taught me to not believe the wonderfully pressed resume each new guy hands me of his best qualities he more than likely exaggerated in order to appeal to what I’m looking for. I learned that when a person shows you their true colors over and over again, it’s not a mistake or something they’ll work on… but who they are and will always be.
You showed me how to recognize manipulation in the subtlest of forms. You left me in pieces countless times and because of that I learned how to put myself back together. You gave me an eye for red flags I didn’t even know existed. You gave me the ability to see the difference between confidence and arrogance, between flattery and commitment.
So, yeah, I know I’m a little bit unrecognizable right now. I’m not the girl you constantly left filled with tears and shame. I am a fucking masterpiece and the most beautiful I have ever been.
You set me free that day about a year ago and I have flourished in ways your presence would have never allowed me to. The girl I am now would never for a second flatter someone like you. Because the girl I am now would be able to smell the narcissism you exude before you could even try to win me over.
Your voice may never fully leave my mind, but now instead when I hear it, it’s telling me to run the hell away from guys like you.