Loving Me To Death: The Danger Of Confusing Passion With Possession

Trigger warning: this article contains sensitive content involving physical and emotional abuse.
A couple is seen holding hands through tall grasses, with the Pittsburgh skyline in the background
Jen Palmer / Unsplash

When I was 19, my boyfriend checked my phone because he was scared to lose me. Soon after, he checked my phone records and called unfamiliar numbers to make sure that I was being faithful. He justified his behavior by explaining that he had been hurt by women before and so I must pay for their transgressions.

Because he loved me.

He would comment on how odd it was that I matched my bra and panties if no one was going to be seeing them. He was also unnerved that I put on makeup and wondered who the presentation was for. He was often angry when I replied that it was for myself.

Because he loved me.

When I was 20, he followed me to make sure that I was shopping with my friend.

Because he loved me.

When I was 27, my boyfriend asked me why I was out so late because dinner with a friend does not take that long. He began speculating and accusing me of being unfaithful because he did not want to lose me. He became angry when I insisted that I was telling the truth.

Because he loved me.

Not long after, he came home drunk at 3:00 a.m. calling me a “whore” for having been with others long before him. I threw his things into the hallway and he grabbed me by my throat and lifted me off of my feet. He was displeased when I fought back because he felt he was losing the control he believed he had over me.

Because he loved me.

When I was 28, my boyfriend became angry on the drive home after finding out that I had dated someone a decade before but had not mentioned it. He was convinced that I was hiding more from him. He strangled me as I drove and struck me in the face. He told me I was a liar. He told me I was a “disgusting whore.” And then he grabbed the wheel and crashed us into a cement wall. Afterward, he cried and begged for forgiveness; he insisted that he was simply not himself.

Because he loved me.

When I was young, I believed that if he did not fear losing me, he did not really want to keep me. I believed that jealousy and fear were healthy projections of another’s love for me because that is what I was taught. In truth, extreme jealousy and fear are the building blocks of abuse. Many of my relationships were not rooted in love but rather in control.

Women need to hear this, young girls need to consider it gospel: Jealousy and possession are toxic and do not come from a place of love.

Jealousy is not a measure of love. Love allows each person to be themselves within the relationship without restraint- without the constant struggle between power and control. If you fear being yourself within your relationship, you must get out before you lose yourself entirely. The fear and dread that one is subjected to in controlling relationships is detrimental to every aspect of one’s life. If you love someone that makes you feel that there are consequences to being yourself, please find your voice. Love should always feel free. If it doesn’t, it’s shit. TC mark

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