An Open Letter To The Man Who Broke Me But Couldn’t Destroy Me

Woman in a dress standing in a field with her arm outstretched
Hannah Busing / Unsplash

Dear You,

I wonder what it feels like to know that you have completely broken someone. I wonder what it feels like to know the hot tears on someone’s cheeks every night are because of you. I wonder what it feels like to know that you have torn someone apart and left them simply with the sentiment that that’s just how life goes and they’ll have to get over it, because there’s nothing you’re willing to do to try and fix it.

I’ve never done to someone what you did to me, so I have no idea whether or not you think about it on a daily basis, or even just sparingly. Does guilt seep in at all when you think about what you’ve done? Does it matter at all that you’ve shattered someone? Is it something you think about on your way to or from work, knowing that they have probably cried the entire way on their own travels? When you’re sitting at your desk, do you wonder if they’re sitting at theirs too and trying to fight back the aching need to cry? Do you pray for them as vehemently as they pray for some otherworldly being to somehow take their pain away?

Have you convinced yourself that what you did was the best thing that could have happened, even though it’s left them so entirely fractured that they can barely manage to get through their day without wanting to flee back home, curl up in a ball, and just sleep until it all feels better?

You see, I can’t be you. I can’t do what you have done. And so I don’t have the answers. 

I suppose if I had “won”, then I don’t know if I’d think about the other person either. If I still got to run off to a happily ever after, would I really care about the collateral damage I left behind? I’d like to think that I would. I would like to think that my happy ending would be stained for as long as they were in misery. I guess that’s why I’ve never done what you have done, because I’m not sure I could live with myself.  Everything to me would taste like the ash of the bridge I had just burned.  But I’m not most people, and I suppose most people don’t really worry about the disposable paws in their life who they traded in for something better.

“Oh well” right?

I guess in the end if there’s a silver lining to be found in any of this, it’s that I have been reminded once again what it’s like to feel like this. I know how painful it is to try and get through the day and remain cool, calm, and collected even though inside you’re going through every emotion under the sun within a five-minute time period.  Sadness. Anger.  Hatred.  Grief. Mourning. Desperation. Repeat. This is a feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and now I know what a person has to do to inflict someone with this soul-consuming anguish. I know what not to do.

You taught me what not to do.

I can only hope that I’m never in the position where I have to wonder if what I’m doing will ever put someone else through this. And if I am? I hope that I can handle it a lot more gracefully than you did. I hope I can be selfless enough to try and curb their pain as much as I can; I hope I don’t abide by the all-too-easy idea that “it’s not my problem”. I hope that you haven’t tainted me and I don’t come out on the other side of this as cruel and misgiving and hateful. This pain is nearly unbearable, but in the end I hope I remember these days so that I know how imperative it is I don’t curse someone else with something similar. 

Do you feel good? Has this helped your ego? Is it nice to know that no matter what you had chosen to do, you would end up coming out on top? I wonder what that feels like to sacrifice someone else’s feelings in order to ensure you don’t feel an ounce of pain.  I could never do it.  And I wish I’d been more careful about who I let in my life, as I never thought I’d be foolish enough to let someone in who was capable of such monstrous and hurtful actions.

I have no one to talk to, you know. Not really. When I say that you’ve left me alone, I mean that you have left me completely and utterly alone in this. I’m not a weak woman; I know I’ll muddle through this. The point is that no one should have to. No one should have to feel like this. And so if how I’m acting now is a little “crazy”, please hear me when I say that a weaker woman wouldn’t have lasted this long, nor would she be handling this with nearly so gracefully as I have. You don’t understand my anger, and that’s fine. Perhaps, though, you should refocus your line of thought and simply be glad my anger is not hatred and vengeance. Perhaps you should just give me a little bit of a break and try to see things from my side.

At least I hope I’ll be able to if I’m ever in your position. 

You’re a terrible, mean, and selfish person and I wish you nothing good in this world. All I wish is for me, and what I wish for myself is that in knowing you, I will never, ever turn out like you.

You are everything that I loathe. Whether or not you feel an ounce of pain or regret is really irrelevant in the end, I suppose. You’re still the epitome of everything I hope to never be. 

And when time has healed me, I hope it doesn’t completely eradicate my memories of how I felt. I hope in the end I’m left with a scar or a sliver of pain so that I’ll remember not to infect anyone with this near-debilitating sense of heartbreak.

However, I do hope that you’re forever faded into obscurity on the outskirts of my life, out of my vision and out of my mind. Which is right where you should have been. All along. 

Love. And hate [for now],

Me. TC mark

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