Listening to lies

It never really occurred to me that I was being manipulated. I always felt something... odd... in the pit of my stomach, but I ignored it. When you love (even if it’s teenage love) someone, you trust that person more than yourself. Instead of listening to your gut, you choose to listen to their words. I wouldn’t necessarily call them empty words, they’re full of intention-- just not the intention you may think.

I remember hearing the rumors of him cheating, particularly freshman year. Friends would frequently ask me if he was dating this one girl (who is now surprisingly my best friend). I was always afraid to ask him the truth. It wasn’t until after the break-up, two years later, that she told me the rumors were true. Even though my heart had moved on, it was crushing. I felt like I wasn’t valuable.

Illustration by Hana Ghazi

Not only did he make me question my self-worth, but he made me feel like I was a bad person (and therefore unlovable). At the beginning of our relationship, he would tell me his parents were abusive to him, but I later learned that he was telling all his friends the same thing about me. I’ll admit, never have I been perfect. I have my flaws and can be a grand jerk.

I’m blunt, temperamental and can be emotionally immature. At the time, before a lengthy process of reflection, I became concerned that somehow, maybe I was abusive.

Eventually, I realized I needed to end it. I felt like we were burdening one another. I felt guilty and simultaneously resentful that he would feel that way about me. I remember painting my room and receiving a text which read “I’m going to kill myself so you know your actions have consequences.” I recall texting his mom and her replying he was just fine and was playing video games with his friends. It became clear to me that he had no intention to harm himself and was only attempting drive me back to him.

Subsequently, after the break- up, he began issuing threats to legally charge me for being abusive. However, after my father reached out to his parents, these threats were quickly debunked. Before that, I had trouble letting go. But at this point, I knew I had to cut all contact.

To this day, I’m scared to enter into a relationship. Not only am I scared of how guys may treat me, but I’m also worried about who I am and what unhealthy habits I may have falsely learned to be normal and healthy. I try to be a caring and compassionate person, but I’m still haunted to this day by how I began to view myself.

Photo credit by Walt Campbell

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