Emotional Damage is psychological or emotional trauma, damage, or injury to the psyche after living through an extremely frightening or distressing event and may result in challenges in functioning or coping normally after the event. We experience emotional distress in all sorts of ways—as sadness, anxiety, addictions, or unproductive obsessions. It comes and goes in waves and can be expressed in several ways.
I never pictured myself to be the emotional type—you knew that when you met me. I was a sarcastic, witty, hard-headed, strong girl. It’s always been clear that I won’t take anything from anyone. I’d defend myself or express myself even if it got me in trouble. My mouth is never shut; my emotions usually never get the best of me. That is, until you broke my heart.
I fell for you in the most unpredictable ways possible, and it destroyed me. When we met, we were idealistic, open-hearted, trusting teenagers. Four years later, we were both addicts, self-harming in our own ways, and both in the habit of using words like weapons against each other. We were at war—with each other and with ourselves. Together, we had become the worst versions of ourselves.
I turned into someone I wasn’t for you. I let you walk on me and destroy me, and here I am a year later with nothing but damage. I wasn’t myself for months—I got into habits that would change me as a person because you had become a part of my identity. Who was I without you? I wanted to change because my body and mind were scarred from you. I felt like I was walking through hell, but in slow motion. Every moment was torture knowing that I did my best for you and you decided to be unfaithful instead. The girl you told me not to worry about, the girl you work with, the girl you barely knew online, the girl whose boyfriend hated you and I couldn’t figure out why, and the girl I called my best friend. I thought I got over it. I thought I was grateful for you, the ex who made me realize my worth. But I’m not.
It wasn’t until today that I realized I could never go through that again. Creeping up on me every night was a feeling I’d never experienced before. I can’t describe it, the dread, guilt, overwhelming emotions that my body shakes with when I close my eyes at night. Replaying in my head are the terrible words whispered to me about your unfaithfulness, your manipulation, the lies you spit about me that both of us know aren’t true. I was killing myself on my bedroom floor, and you were out with all the girls I thought I shouldn’t worry about.
Funny how the cheater finds love again before the broken one does. I can’t let myself feel for anyone because what if they are just like you? A controlling, insecure, manipulative con artist. Does driving around in your fancy car and blaring your music drown out the thoughts of just how terrible of a person you are? Does denying the allegations make you sleep at night? Does talking down about me make you feel like a bigger person? Was I crazy, or did you just drive me crazy?
I learned that trauma symptoms typically last from a few days to a few months, gradually fading as you process the unsettling event. But even when you’re feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions, especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or something that reminds you of the trauma. So when your best friend told me to “get mental health help”, he wasn’t wrong. I needed help because of the things you did to me. The psychological evaluation I took proved him right, but that doesn’t mean you have any right to paint me out as the crazy one or the bad person, because you are the bad person.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same, if in three years I’ll find someone new and have to tell them the reason behind my insecurities, my bad habits, and my mental health are all because of a boy who made me feel worthless. A boy who lied to me, who cheated on me, who made me feel like I was doing something wrong when it was you who did something wrong. You twisted my emotions into me consoling you and feeling bad about the way I felt; you were gaslighting me. You are the boy who destroyed me. But that’s all you are—a boy. Not a man, not a good person, not a smart guy or respectful guy, just a boy who caused a lot of pain.
I keep pushing away people that care about me—the slightest bit of affection scares me away. I’ve had multiple opportunities for a new relationship and I keep ruining them all. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to talk to anyone. Sometimes it all feels fake—doing anything happy feels unnatural. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate. Sometimes depression manifests as irritability or anger. Sometimes the negative thoughts that are a part of depression make me feel unworthy of being around others or doubt that others care about me or want to be with me or make me feel like I’m a burden to talk to. I have mental scars from you, and I don’t know if they are ever going to go away.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to open myself up again. I learned that to be happy, you don’t need to be in a relationship. I know my worth. I love my beautiful, crazy life, and being single is without a doubt the best thing to ever happen to me because I got away from you. But occasionally, I can feel you creeping up on me. Like prickles on my skin, or a dark shadow in the corner, your damaging ways seem to haunt me. I’m not sure if they will ever go away. I pray that the next girl to fall in love with you won’t be manipulated the way I was.