Quite recently, rapper Mac Miller passed away, dead from an overdose. He'd struggled with sobriety for much of his life, as many celebrities seem to, and his death has been utterly heartbreaking for many of his fans. Many celebrities have given him and his family their prayers and condolences, and Ariana Grande, his ex-girlfriend, posted a photo seemingly in memoriam. However, she had to disable comments on the photo. Why, you ask?
People have been blaming her for Mac's passing. This issue is not new for Ariana - when she broke up with Mac originally, she was made out to be a villain who caused many of his issues that happened shortly after the breakup. At that point, she did defend herself, saying that she was not obligated to stay in a toxic situation and that it was not her job to keep a boyfriend's life together. However, now, that defense does not seem to be enough. Due to Mac's fans blaming their breakup in May for his spiral into addiction, she's had to avoid social media, disable comments. That harassment is something no one should have to go through, because it can be truly damaging.
And trust me, I know. I learned firsthand.
About four or five years ago, the days quite honestly blur together, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. The person I was with had done myriad things that I will likely never be the same after. I had never intended to be in a relationship, but it had turned that way due to the pressure put on me, subtle guilt, manipulation. This person gave me the love I desperately wanted but knew I did not deserve, they treated me like a queen for a short time.
As with many stories of abuse, this positivity came to an end. They began to slowly mold me how they wanted, telling me I looked gross if I wore too much makeup, giving me the most affection when I wore things that were sexually pleasing to them. They pressured me into sexual conversations I wasn't comfortable with after I attempted to come out as asexual - they said I must not really be ace, and that I only said that because I didn't really love them.
So much more happened, but I could write a book about it all, and I'm sure none of you want all the details. Quite frankly, I don't think I could handle typing them out. But, long story short, the biggest way they kept me there was threats of suicide. They told me that I was all that kept them happy, that if I left they'd kill themselves. It was a regular piece of blackmail--if I stood up for myself or said something that made them angry, it all turned to suicide. They said they'd shoot themselves, so there was no point in me calling 911, leaving me paralyzed. And I stayed. Why?
I knew that his death would be my fault, much like some people believe that Mac Miller's death is Ariana Grande's.
After I managed to leave, after nearly a year and a half of hell, they took up drinking, and texted me blaming me for it. I blocked their number, they emailed. I blocked their email, they got new numbers. All of this to tell me it was my fault. They even made an attempt on their life that they blamed me for. Ultimately, now they are still alive, but the process of healing has forced me to come to a realization.
If they did die, it would not have been my fault.
It would have been the fault of depression, the fault of the various mental illnesses plaguing them, potentially the fault of the alcohol. It would have been the fault of the stigma around mental illness for keeping them from getting help. But it would not have been my fault. I deserve to leave an abusive situation. I deserve to take steps to ensure my happiness. And so does Ariana Grande. She has the right to leave a person she believes is toxic without being shamed for his death. The cause of Mac Miller's death was an addiction, not an ex.
Blaming her for Mac Miller's death teaches girls in a situation like I was that their partner's happiness is more important than theirs. It teaches them that it is their job to ensure the well being of a partner that will not do the same for them. It teaches them that ultimately, they are worth less than those around them. And, on top of that, it teaches them that if they try and seek help to handle the heartbreak of leaving abuse and then having a partner they cared deeply for kill themselves or pass away, they will be blamed, since it is ultimately their fault.
If you blame Ariana Grande for Mac Miller's death, you are perpetuating a culture of abuse and subserviency. You are part of the reason why I have remained silent about my abuse. You are the reason why women like me are afraid to leave situations with a self-destructive partner determined to take their partners down with them.
And that is something that I absolutely cannot tolerate.