I recently got out of an extremely volatile, toxic, unhealthy relationship with my ex-boyfriend of ten months. Throughout this relationship, I was controlled without realising I was being controlled such as one situation whereby I posted a photograph of myself on social media—in this case, Snapchat, wearing shorts and a t-shirt as the weather was gorgeous outside, and he almost bullied me into taking it down by calling me misogynistic and detrimental names such as slag or slut, and generally bring me down for photographs of myself by calling me hurtful names and this occurred on several occasions, bringing me to my next point of also being ridiculed, taunted, belittled, and degraded within the duration of my relationship in which he would tell me no other boy would want to be with me, find me remotely attractive in any way, tell me only certain types of boys would go for me and just to use me, he would tell me I was too skinny as I am of slim build and would use this against me by calling me 'anorexic' etc., say I looked disgusting without any makeup on, convince me that I really was unattractive by lying to me and telling me his friends thought the exact same thing as he did, and he would just generally verbally abuse me in this way until I found it difficult to look in the mirror without hating what I saw.
Although I am quite a shy and introverted individual in the sense that I do lack a lot of confidence and self-esteem, he definitely brought me down a lot more and made me feel even worse about my appearance. As well as this, he would emotionally abuse and blackmail me by attempting to mess with my head such as situations in which he would tell me he loved me but the next say he never loved me etc., which made me question if anybody did or will ever actually love me. This was his goal and what he was trying to achieve, even if he did it subconsciously as these types of people think they are perfect and can do no harm to anybody. Not only did he abuse me in these ways, he also abused me physically whereby I had bedroom objects thrown at me (one example scenario is when a console controller was launched at me from across the room and it hit my hand with incredible force and left an under-the-skin purple bruise), he would rip out my hair until I was screaming for him to stop, punch and hit me in the face several times until marks such as black eyes were left, punch and hit me in other places until bruises were left such as my arms, legs, stomach, and waist. He would also frequently slap me across the face and one example scenario of this is when he found out I had previously thought another boy was physically attractive and so thought it was acceptable to slap me across the face.
Other times when emotional manipulation was involved, he would threaten to harm himself or commit suicide if I didn't do something he wanted or something he told me to do. This is one of the strongest and most damaging forms of emotional abuse as somebody else's life is involved, thus making it incredibly difficult to get out of. Additionally, he cheated on me multiple times with several different girls; however, attempted to pity party his way out of it on two occasions in which I forgave him for, and then when he cheated on me the third time I had decided enough was enough and that is what ultimately broke us up however looking back on the relationship now I know I should have ended things on the third month because I was getting physically, emotionally, and mentally abused—and deep down I knew it, however did not want to accept it as I felt like I could not possibly live without him and I needed him to be happy and to laugh and to enjoy my time, wherever I was.
Of course I cannot describe every single detail of abuse that I had to experience throughout my relationship, and it is a lot worse than I have discussed above; however, it took a great impact on myself mentally and physically to the point where I was afraid of what he was going to do next, and so I was constantly unhappy within myself, my relationship, and my life, and felt like the only way out was often to self-harm by cutting my hands or thighs and I would cry myself to sleep almost every night because of something he had said or done.
The day after we broke up, he told everybody I had a sexually transmitted infection which I did not, and attempted to spread nasty rumours about me. This instantly sums up the type of person he is as I did not even go around telling people he cheated on me (although many people knew anyway) but instead kept my head down and minded my own business, whereas he who was the one who treated me in such horrendous ways acted as if I had done something wrong by spreading rumours about me.
I have been out of my relationship with him for over a month, nearly two months. I genuinely thought I would collapse without him and I would never be able to get out of bed or apply makeup without crying it all off or enjoy myself or laugh or smile or even do the most basic tasks such as eat or brush my hair. At first it was difficult as he was my first proper relationship and I loved him with everything I had even though he treated me so badly. Over time it has gotten easier and of course there are days where I have my downfalls and I miss him, however it is not painful anymore. My heart no longer yearns for him like it used to. That is something I believed I would never be able to say or feel, and I can assure you that it is the greatest feeling in the universe.
I am only 16 years old. At the young age of 16, I should be enjoying myself, spending quality time with my family and friends and getting to know the world and what is surrounding me, not what I have experienced over the past ten months of my life. Notwithstanding this, I do not regret the relationship as it was definitely a learning curve for me, and although no 16-year-old or anybody of any age should have to go through that, it has made me a stronger, kinder, and overall better individual.
I can now wear what I want, post what I want, and not be manipulated into otherwise. I do not have to walk on eggshells anymore regarding anything I say or do, and I can love myself again. I did not love myself before him, I definitely did not love myself when I was with him, but I certainly love myself after him. My body worked hard to heal the bruises he had created and stitch up the cuts I had made when I could no longer see a way out. My body did this again and again and again and never failed. I never thanked my body until I left that relationship behind, and I felt my skin breathe again. I felt myself breathe again.
I am no longer controlled in regards to where I am going, what I am doing or who I am with. I am able to go out with my friends when ever I want and that is something I had been missing all along as he and my relationship entirely consumed me. I thought that that was a good thing but that is not what love is. Love is the happiness you create in moments and sharing the happiness with another person.
I am no longer abused, physically, mentally or emotionally. I am no longer under lock and key twenty four hours of the day. I am free. Freedom is a feeling I had never felt. Love is supposed to make you feel free. Love is patient, kind, understanding, supportive, caring, and although love argues, love makes mistakes, love is not perfect. Love is not pain, and love knows this. Love is the sunshine that pours in through the curtains of a warm Saturday morning. Love is nothing less than that. Love does not make you feel anything less than that.
Now I go out with my friends and I laugh. I laugh so much and so hard that my ribs hurt at the end of the day. I take photographs of myself and with confidence I post them on social media. Although I do not need a male in my life to feel validated, I am moving on, and he was so very wrong about nobody else wanting me. I do not sit on the cold bathroom floor in the dark, early hours of the morning wondering why I am not good enough, but instead dance in the shower to my favourite song. I sing at the top of my lungs and I feel happy—completely, totally, and incessantly happy.
He told me I would be nothing without him.
So here I am, being everything without him instead.