Trigger warning: Abusive relationships
I hate you.
For years, I had myself convinced that I did not hate you. I tried so hard to believe that I had moved on from our relationship and your abuse. I convinced myself that if I hated you, I was in the wrong. I thought that hating you meant that I hadn’t let go yet. I thought that if I hated you, I was still not over it.
I don’t know why I ever thought I had to be “over it.”
The psychological pain that you caused me is something that I will live with forever. We have not spoken in over five years, and yet you still haunt me every day. Whether I am listening to music or reading a book or just fucking breathing, there is always some small part of my mind that goes back to you. The horrible words that you said to me wrap themselves around me so tightly that some days I feel like I am suffocating. Some days, I feel like you were right. Maybe I am just as bad as you told me I was. Maybe I really am as horrible as you always made me feel.
I see you in the men I pass by on the street. Alarms blare in my mind every time I see someone who looks even the slightest bit like you. Sometimes, I look at myself and all I see is you. I see myself through your eyes and I am sick. Though you are no longer present in my life to continue your psychological torture, you will always be with me.
Some days, it feels like the day I met you was the last day I was ever truly myself. I often wonder who I could have been if I had never met you. Where would I be right now if you never would have destroyed me? Would I be happier? Would I be more successful? Would I be in love?
I will never know the answers to those questions, and ultimately, I know that I am not meant to. I did not know the chaos I unleashed the day I welcomed you into my life, and I am trying so hard to forgive myself for ever letting you in. It is amazing how much I blame myself for every bad thing that ever happened between us. I tell myself that if I wasn’t so anxious, you wouldn’t have gotten so mad at me all of the time. I tell myself that if I had just gone along with everything you wanted, I never would have suffered your abuse. I tell myself that if I would have just stopped fighting it all, we could have been happy. If I wasn’t myself, then none of this would have happened.
And then there are the moments when blaming myself is not enough, so I move on to blaming the alcohol. I try to convince myself that if you hadn’t started drinking again, none of this would have ever happened. I tell myself that we could have been so happy if alcohol wasn’t always a part of our relationship. I wish I could say that alcohol was the third wheel in our relationship, but deep down, I know that it was me. There was no room for me in your life when alcohol was there, and I should have left the first time I realized that fact. But I held on every time you drunkenly berated me and broke up with me. I kept holding on and reassuring myself that things would get better. But what I did not understand for a very long time was that things can only get better if someone is willing to put the work in. You chose the alcohol and the adventure over me every single time. And though I know your alcoholism played a significant part in the way you often treated me, I also know that you had your moments when you were in full control of your words and actions and you still chose to belittle me. Alcohol didn’t break up with me and tell me I was a burden, you did. Alcohol didn’t ignore me for weeks, you consciously chose to do that. And alcohol did not coerce me into sexual situations, you did. I think the alcohol brought out your true intentions and feelings, and just as I need to stop blaming myself for all of our problems, I need to stop blaming your drinking as well.
Because at the end of the day, you knew exactly what you were doing. You carried on with your abuse for so long, even when you were sober. I am done pretending like I was the root of all of our problems. I am done blaming alcohol for the person you were 99% of the time. I am finally ready to place the blame on you. There were two people in our relationship, and though I know that I was not perfect, I know that all of this is not on me.
Though I am working my way through the trauma you inflicted upon me, I am far from being okay. It is so difficult to see you living your successful, happy life with someone else. You were able to go to grad school, travel, and fall in love, while the best I can manage most days is to just not fall apart. I hate to admit that I am jealous of the life you seem to be leading now, but I know that I am. It is difficult to accept that what you did to me will most likely haunt me for the rest of my life, while you are able to carry on as if we never even happened.
I truly hope that you do not treat her the same way you treated me. I hope that you used our relationship as a lesson on how not to treat someone you supposedly love. And though I do hope that you are happy, I refuse to pretend any longer that I am okay with what occurred between us. I refuse to spend one more day pretending like I am doing fine and that I have healed when I am so far from either of those things. I am not okay, and I know that it is not my fault for feeling this way.
I may be broken, but I did not break myself alone. Yes, I am responsible for taking care of my mental health, but I am not responsible for the way you destroyed me. I used to think that healing meant being at peace with the pain you had been through. But what I am starting to realize is that healing does not mean erasing the abuse. Healing does not mean that one day you will wake up and forget the bad things that have happened to you. I tried for so long to erase everything that happened between us, but all I did was destroy myself even more.
Pretending you are okay will not actually make you okay. In the same way that putting a bandage over a cut that needs stitches will not actually heal your wound, covering up your pain with toxic positivity will not make anything better. Some days, I wonder if healing is even a tangible goal. I wonder if I should be focusing less on healing and more on growth and change. I have spent the last five years desperately trying to put myself back together when now I am seeing that maybe I was never meant to go back to how I used to be. Maybe what I need now is to stop trying to patch up the holes and to start learning how to use them to my advantage. I need to start seeing my broken pieces as opportunities to become rather than problems I need to solve.
I need to start focusing more on being honest with myself, rather than playing up the healed facade I have tried to put on for all of these years. The first step to changing is admitting that you have something that needs to change. Every second that I sit here pretending that I am fine is just another second I am stagnant. I am not okay with the way you treated me. I have not moved on from it, and I know that I never fully will. You are a part of me now, whether or not you will ever acknowledge that fact. I know one day I will stop feeling like I am drowning in the hurt you caused me, but that does not mean that I will pretend that the hurt never happened. We cannot change what happened between us. I can take you out of my life, but I will never be able to remove you from my being. I do not like you, and I am finally realizing that it’s okay that I don’t. You don’t have to love the people who have hurt you; it is okay to acknowledge that their treatment of you was wrong. Moving on does not mean forgetting, it just means learning how to live again.
Maybe one day I will not hate you, but for now, in this moment, I feel so free finally being able to admit that I do.