A Survivor Story
*TRIGGER WARNING: ONGOING ABUSE*
They say that love is blind, and that all relationships require sacrifice. They say that love is the strongest force in the universe, unbreakable. Love conquers all.
But how can that be true when it was love that shattered me, broke me right down to the core and left me in pieces? No, I would argue fear is conquering; not that it is stronger, but its equal in a sense. Both are strong and intense and can light a fire in you heart or put it out. How could they not be mistaken for each other?
I wish I would have seen the signs. I wish I would have had a better warning...
I remember the day I first met you; I was instantly drawn to you, captivated by your energy. You were so full of energy, and life, and I had spent my whole life knowing only darkness. I had never seen anything like that in anyone before. I found you fascinating, beautiful.
I wish I could have seen the signs. They were always there, painted right before my eyes like a beautifully terrifying masterpiece, but also like the innocent, naive fool I was. I couldn't see them—I wouldn't see them. I didn't want to.
I remember when you told me I was sexually attractive; I told you I was ace and you said you could never date anyone who wouldn't have sex with you. I suppose I should have known something was off when you kept telling me about how you kept wondering what it would be like to have sex with me, but I didn't pay attention to it. All I saw was someone who was never really there. Someone who told me I mattered.
Did I ever really matter?
I remember the first time you asked me to spend the night with you. We had stayed up too late talking and not doing homework. You said you didn't want me to walk home that late. You wanted to share the bed with me. I knew you were disappointed, but I took the couch instead. I thought you were just trying to be nice. I should have know when you asked every time it got too late. I remember when I told you I was trans. You told me it was fine. We were wanderinging around in the cold December night, watching the snow fall. That was the first time I realized I liked you. We talked and talked and you told me you would never date another trans person. It's too complicated you said.
I remember the first time you talked me into sharing a bed with you. It was 4am and snowing. I said no three times, but you kept persisting. I'm not sure if it was the fact that i was half asleep or that I liked you, but something made me agree. The next thing I knew is you got aroused in your sleep and you blamed me for it. I believed you.
I remember the first time you kissed me. It was the day after I shared a bed with you. I came to apologize and I told you that I liked you. Suddenly I could feel your lips on mine. They were warm and soft and totally unwelcome. I tried to pull away and I felt you pushing me further onto the couch and slip your tongue into my mouth. I’d never been kissed before. I'm not sure if it was shock or fear, but I knew that a single kiss meant we were together. I’d never dated anyone before I told myself to be happy, to enjoy it, and for a little while . . . I was. The next thing I knew is that you were cripplingly sick and within a week of dating we were living together so I could take care of you, and I got my first job to provide for you.
I never should have taken care of you.
It should have been clear that you were a mistake. You told me I went against all of your dating deal breakers and gave me three months to have sex with you or you would end things. I didn't want to lose you. You made it a point to tell me you never would have dated me had I been born a real man, all because you don't do penises. How lucky was I to have been born in the wrong body, and deal with daily dysphoria, all so you didn't have to date an asexual person with a penis. I knew it was wrong; I knew I shouldn't have. I didn't want to, but this was love, right? I didn’t want to want to lose you, so I gave you what you wanted after dating for a week.
It didn't take long for it to become regular, me always giving, never receiving. I don't want you to touch me; you don't want to touch me either. You always talked about how your exes never met your needs, were very selfish and restrictive of your sex life. You always told me you just wanted sexual freedom. It was my job as your partner to fulfill you, and if I didn't, you would leave me.
How could I truly love you if I didn't go all the way? Was me taking care of you and providing for you not enough? I didn't want to make you angry—you were already always angry. I lost track of how many times I let you use me. I know it was every day—several times a day—and every time you would always say you love me. Sometimes I had to skip class just to fulfill you. I stopped paying attention. It was just another responsibility, another thing to mark of my daily checklist. Wake up, please you, feed you, dress you, take you to class, go to class, go to work, take care of your dog, take care of you, feed you, bathe you, do homework, get 2 hours of sleep . . . repeat. You made that my life for three months before you were suddenly better and left me to go to London for 2 weeks.
I remember you used to tell me how my depression made me abusive. How you needed to fix me before I kept hurting you. You used to pick apart every one of my fears and throw it back at me. I believed you; how could I not? You were the only person I ever saw, ever talked to. You told me all the time how I was the reason for all of our problems, how it was my communication problems, my anxiety, my depression.
You told me i never remembered anything, and what I did remember was always off. You told me I never had time for you, but I never had time for myself either. You talked about how much you missed your ex a lot. Was I not good enough? No matter what I tried to fix, tried to change for you, it wasn't enough. I always hurt you, made you scream at me and cry. How could I hurt something so beautiful? What was wrong with me? Why was I so broken? Why was I so blessed that she would stay with a monster like me? I tried to tell her to leave, but she always said we would make it through this.
I believed her.
I remember both times I tried to leave you and the third time that I did. I remember all of the crying and screaming you did. I remember being afraid to go home after work because you lived a floor below me, and would watch and wait for me to come back. I remember how hard it was to get my keys back and push you away from my life. I remember every time you you saw me you would hug me and kiss my neck or face no matter how much I made it clear it wasn't welcome. I remember how many times i had to tell you it was over, how many boundaries you broke over and over again on account of not being able to remember them. I remember every time you tried to pull me back into a relationship, how many time you talked me into spending time with you. I remember having to tell you own family we were no long dating, let alone engaged. I remember sitting late up at night trying to talk myself into blocking your number, but never being able to. I remember you getting angry every time you asked me for money or told me how much I owed you, despite the thousands of dollars I gave you that I will never see again, but still feeling guilty every time I said no. I keep finding myself saying that you were right all along and I should have listened. I don't trust my own thoughts, feelings, or memory anymore. How can I, without you to guilt me?
It's been exactly 40 days since I left you. I honestly sometimes don't know if maybe I was wrong and it really was me all along, but I've had many people come back into my life, mainly ones you hate, and they all say it was you.
A part of me wants you back, but a bigger part of me never wants to see you again. I wish I would have seen the signs and we would have just stayed friends. Would that even have been possible? Sometimes I can't help but wish I could just drink all of my problems away, but I still can't even really consider it. All the times you tried to talk me into trying alcohol for the first time so I could drink with you made me too scared to even try even a drop, for fear of what you might do to me if I had had too much. In the year and a half we were together, I never let you touch me, and you still never wanted to. I wasn't going to lose that last bit of innocence I had left be taken because of you and a few drinks. You tried to get me to swear too.
How am I supposed to carry on without you? Why did I ever have to meet you? Maybe you were right; maybe I was the abusive one. But maybe that was another one of your twisted mind games. Another way to get me to question my own reality. No matter how hard I tried to change, tried to be better, nothing ever did. You always had another reason as for why everything was my fault.
I'm not sure how to survive without you, but I know that just maybe, I will live without you.
I now know the signs, and I will be damned if I ever let it happen again. I hope you find peace and healing, and I hope you never do what you did to me again. And well, all I really have left to say to you is . . .