I was used. This wasn’t the first time in my life, nor do I believe it will be the last time, but in this moment, it feels like the worst time. Someone I care about used me. Someone I truly believed cared about me lead me down the road of self-deprecation and now I’m sitting here feeling… used.
I’ve spent the last 48 hours trying to come up with the least painful explanation for the actions and decisions that took place just a few days ago, but in the end, I know the answer.
Whenever we’ve been used, we try so desperately to explain everything in a way that hurts the least. But in the end, it’s always the same result. Perhaps it’s the desire to see the best in people, or perhaps it’s the desire that people see the best in us. Either way, the steps always lead to the same destination.
Immediately after being used, perhaps still in a romance or alcohol induced haze, you’re delusional. There’s this big, beautiful ray of hope. The future looks bright and all the pain and heartache you’ve felt before seemingly disappear into oblivion. This is perhaps worsened if the person you find yourself with is someone you care about. This is the moment that seems to make it all worthwhile. It’s the moment they kiss you. Or the moment their hand grazes yours. Or the moment you catch their eye and smile.
If you’re lucky, you’ll move into the part I call, the discussion. This is where ambiguous things are said that in the moment, can lead you to believe in the light at the end of the tunnel, but in the future, upon reflection, are the big, red signs warning you of your impending fall into heartache and self-hatred. It could go along the lines of, “I don’t want to make things confusing”, or “I don’t want you to hate me”. Right now, in your state of mind, these are obvious indicators of someone preparing to take advantage of you, however, in your daze, these could mean a million other things, depending on your situation.
After the discussion, when both parties feel they have had their say and the lines of communication are open, the daze continues. Perhaps you’ll wander hand in hand. Perhaps you’ll embrace, kiss, or hold each other. Either way, these are all further delusions, leading you closer and closer to the moment where your insides crumble inside of you. But in the moment, they feel great.
Now comes the fun part. The deed is done. Whatever that deed may be. After this, things get tricky. Depending on how terrible the user is.
If they’re a true user, they will soon make their exit. This isn’t as awful as it sounds because the inevitable pain is quick, like the tearing off of a Band-Aid. You’ll know right away you were used and can begin the self-hatred and healing process immediately.
However, if they are a user masquerading as a decent human being, they will not leave. They will hold you. They will kiss you and tell you they like you and how incredible you are. Then, you will fall asleep in their embrace. You may even sleep the entire night in their arms; the light at the end of that tunnel glowing ever brighter by the minute.
In the morning, there will be moments where things seem normal and okay. You will feel like perhaps you evaded the crushing feeling this time. But then, you will feel it. Perhaps it will come as the tensing of a muscle; perhaps as the slow move away from the pile of blankets and cuddles you created over night. Either way, it comes and you know it is coming.
Maybe there will be a kiss, or a hug, or both. This only prolongs the pain, that light still trying it’s hardest to flicker bright in the distance. Then, the excuse and the escape. You’re left still glowing from your previous evening’s activities while a part of you is trying desperately to shove down the dark feeling that is slowly rising in your system.
From here, it only gets worse. You might not hear from them. Or even worse, you might, but it will only be their desperate attempt to appease their conscience. You will go over the events in your head until you’ve evaluated every minute of the evening a million times. You will try to convince yourself that you’re reading into things wrong. But you know.
In the end, the feeling is inevitable: You were used.
There’s only one thing left to do and that’s pick yourself up, tell yourself you’re worth it, and promise yourself you won’t let it happen again. I can’t guarantee that it won’t, but at least by telling yourself that it won’t, you’re showing yourself some self-respect. And that’s better than what you’re used to, right?