This was a really hard story for me to write, but it needs to be shared.
"The sweetest coating won't matter if there's poison inside"- Chris McGeown
He instantly swept me off my feet. He told me all of the things I wanted to hear. Things like "You're so beautiful" and "I'm here to stay." What girl doesn't want to hear all of those things? He would always shower me with gifts, send me long paragraphs, and text me every morning. I thought I could get used to this.
He would always walk me to class, and would always stay by my side. He was a little jealous, and protective like any typical boy would be.
It was around Halloween whenever we had our first big fight. I was at my friend's house spending the night, and we were video chatting. He always had to be talking to me, knowing what I was doing, even when I was supposed to be spending time with my friend.
I was supposed to be going to my other friend's house on Halloween for a get-together, the girls only. When I told him that, he immediately demanded that I invite him. However, when I asked my friend who was in charge, she shot down the idea before I could even finish asking.
Still, on video chat, he started to tell me that if I didn't go with him on Halloween, he would get super drunk. I felt awful for picking my friend's over him, and he made sure that I knew it.
That was our first real fight.
He was super apologetic and said that it would never happen again. I thought, "all couples fight, right?"
It started with him just isolating me from my friends. As that first month came to a close, I hardly saw any of them. It's like he was my only friend.
He was attached to my hip wherever we went. At first, it was cute, but then it got to be scary.
He was walking me to math one day when he stopped in front of my classroom. I tried to tell him bye, and that I needed to go in, but he wouldn't let me go. I tried to go around him, but he blocked me. He demanded that I kiss him. I didn't want to, but he wouldn't move until I did.
I noticed one of my friends getting a drink from the drinking fountain behind us. We made eye contact, and I gave him a pleading look. He came over, called my boyfriend's name, and as he turned around, gave me my chance to escape.
That wasn't the only incident that happened in school.
It was before the end of the first semester, and the first bell was about to ring. We were talking with my group of friends, and I started to walk away from him.
He didn't like that very much, so he latched onto my wrists. I told him he was hurting me, and after I tried to break free, he let go.
People were asking me what happened to my wrist in math.
My friends told me that I needed to break it off. They brought up the events that happened at school, how I'm never around. They told me it was just going to get worse.
I didn't believe them.
I didn't believe them until "as a joke" he pushed me up against a locker at school. I didn't believe them until he would call and tell me all of the things I was doing wrong as a girlfriend, leaving me in tears. When he asked me to tell him what he was doing wrong, I was a "liar" and I "just had an attitude."
I didn't believe them until after we started to take things to the next level, he thought it was OK to force me to do things I didn't want to do. I didn't believe them until he wouldn't listen to the words "no" and "stop."
By the time I did believe them, it was too late.
They wanted nothing to do with me. All I talked about was what I went through, and they didn't want to hear about that.
They didn't want to hear about the depression or anxiety I was developing. They didn't want to hear about how anxious I was to now walk to class because I was scared to pass him. They didn't want to hear about how I had to go to therapy now. They didn't want to hear about thoughts of self-harm, or worse.
I honestly do not blame them.
I didn't even know how to deal with it, how should they? I was only 14 almost 15, my biggest problem should have been making the basketball team, not how to recover from such a toxic relationship.
I couldn't overcome this on my own. I had to have help, professional help. I went to three different therapists until I found a helpful one.
I felt like a freak like I was so beyond being helped.
I thought that if I dated another guy, that I would forget all about what had happened to me. I pursued the guy who had been there for me throughout all of this, and he also just happened to be my best friend.
It was a huge mistake, but at that moment, I thought that's what I needed to do to get over this.
As my second semester of freshmen year went on, I started to find out more things that went on behind my back.
A girl on my track team told me that he had tried to cheat on me with her. I should've let him. I also figured out that he had feelings for my best friend while he was dating me. He should've picked her instead of me. As those things were shared with me, it set me back. I felt like I was at square one all over again.
My therapist suggested to my parents that I should move to another school. It would be easier for me, my anxiety would decrease, and maybe I would finally be okay again.
We thought about it, and I was strongly considering it. My dad was fine either way, but my mom had something that she wanted me to hear, and honestly, I needed to hear it.
"Why should you let him win?" was how she began. I didn't know what she meant by that at first, but as she went on, it all started to click.
Why should I let him dictate what school I go to? That school was just as much mine as it was his, and I wasn't going to let him run me out. That's exactly what he wanted, and why should I give him that satisfaction?
Word got around fast at school about what happened, and that's another reason why I wanted to leave. I was getting sick and tired of hearing all of the derogatory things that were being said about me. "She's just making that up for attention" and "why didn't she just leave?"
I understood why they were saying stuff like that, they weren't educated on toxic relationships, and they don't realize that it's easier said than done leaving one.
However, after four months, I did leave. My mom found out what was going on, and without her, I would be in a way worse position than writing this.
But I am writing this. I finally worked up enough courage to come forward and share the traumatic experience that I had. I'm finally taking my power back.
I could almost say I should thank him for what he put me through. I can now educate people on what a healthy relationship is and what's not. I now know how a guy should treat me and what red flags to look for.
Finally, I can assure people who are going through or have gone through this, that they will be able to laugh again. They will be able to trust again. They will be able to love again.
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