When my first real relationship crumbled, I was lost. I was head over heels for a dirtbag, we'll call him ZJ. He was about nine months older than me, one grade ahead. We did everything together. His friends would drive me home, his parents would pick me up, it was amazing at first. He opened doors, held my hand, was nice to my mom, the whole shebang. But about six months into our relationship I stopped seeing a therapist. Once I stopped seeing the therapist it was game on for ZJ.
I was slowly isolating myself because of ZJ. My best friends, (changed names) Ford and Momica, hated who Zj was making me. I was gaining weight, I was less active, I would spend days on end only talking to him. Flash forward about six months into our relationship and I had basically no friends. Everyday was spent with that asshat. He took my phone and blocked every single guy (including my uncle's) that was in my contacts list. He even went as far as blocking Ford and Momica. He was constantly putting me down; nothing I ever did was good enough, and basically I didn't matter to him anymore but I was his property so I couldn't leave.
He sucks. Flash forward three months.
This brings us to Halloween 2012. He pushed me for the first time. We were in a back room at a party and he was pressuring me for sex. I refused. He told me to leave the party and not talk to him because I was being "a mega-bitch." So I guess what happens next wasn't a surprise—he cheated on me. With one of his guy friends and another girl. Being a 16 year old I did what every idiot does, and I stayed and tried to fight the girl (real mature, I know). This led to major trust issues, but a big change in ZJ. He was back to being the "man" I "loved." He would even go on to support my friendships with Ford and Momica again. Granted that whole support system he was providing was a LIE, it was nice while it lasted. Basically everything fell through again when my friend came to visit from VA. ZJ got extremely jealous of (we'll call him) Kdawg. He had already blocked me from talking to Kdawg for about four or five months at this point. So when they met it was a recipe for disaster. Kdawg never oversteps his boundaries and never shows an interest in me romantically, yet ZJ still throws the mother of all tantrums and well, my visit with Kdawg was cut short.
This is when I knew my fairy tale was over. One night ZJ and I were arguing with each other and he crossed the line; he struck me. Well, I'm not the type of person to sit there and take it. I got him back. I made his mom bring me home and I didn't talk to ZJ for two days. He tracked me down in school and well, here we are continuing this shitty rom-com. Our fights became more often. There was a lot of shoving. Some hitting. Mostly venomous words, but still the occasional fist fight. We were nothing but toxic to each other.
Flash forward to junior prom! We looked awesome. I had this dope pink dress. He wore all white. But we were fighting like usual. But something happened that night that I didn't expect, he proposed. And my dumbass said yes. I refused to let him tell anyone besides our closest friends. I didn't want people to know I was engaged. I had grown to hate him, but never had the courage to leave. I was afraid of what he would do to himself or me. So I thought I was stuck with him forever.
The engagement made things worse. There was pressure to live together and do anything we possibly could to spend time together. We even worked at the same place, with the same schedule, constantly paired together. It was a nightmare honestly. Being trapped to the person you hate more than anything and having no escape really sucks. I felt like a prisoner in my own house (which he frequented more often than not). He was everywhere. He was in literally all up in my business 24/7. If I wasn't with him then that must mean I didn't love him. He thought the more time we spent together the happier we'd be. Well he was wrong. He had gotten another job so I was finally getting my freedom back. I used that to my full advantage and would party with my friends, flirt with other guys, and concoct a plan to leave ZJ. It was our senior year (he stayed back) and we were at our worst with each other. I wore the hideous engagement ring, told everyone it was a promise ring. I did what he told me and how he told me. Stopped wearing makeup. Didn't wear anything provocative or flattering. I was miserable. Poor Ford, our senior supper she had to watch him and I have one of our blowouts and watch us chuck our rings at each other. She thinks its funny now, so there's some humor to our situation. But anyway.
Six months of bullshit and fighting. Flash forward.
It's now about the time for senior prom. We went through the year weaker than ever and I was planning to break it off with him after graduation. We went on our senior trip and spoke to each other twice during the weekend. It was awesome, he left me alone! The week before prom ZJ dropped a bomb on me, he was dropping out and moving to Florida. Do you know how happy that made me? I was scared AF to be alone, but I was so excited to be free of him. The plan was to wait for him to get settled, give it about two weeks, then break up. Perfect right? Wrong. ZJ came back the weekend before my graduation. Fantastic. I had to wait until high school was over to free myself of him because I thought I couldn't survive high school without him.
Graduation comes and goes, he tried ruining the night and making it about him but Momica did not let him. My sister, mom, and Momica made it the best night ever. Thank you guys for that. It's now summer time. Things are getting worse and worse between me and ZJ. Finally, the fight to end all fights. ZJ hit me and kicked me out of the car. I called my mom. She picked me up and banned him from my house until I was 18. I thought I could finally get rid of him.
ZJ and I spoke again once I was 18. I broke the engagement. We were just existing in the same place at that point. We hardly spoke to each other, and when we did we argued. He finally left my house once I started college. And then bam, one night he pushed me too far and I did it! I broke free of my abuser. I kicked him and his bullshit to the curb and never looked back. (Serious thank you to the friends that were there that night.)
So my fairytale was over. I didn't have a knight in shining armor, I didn't get to ride off into the sunset, all I did get was a lot of emotional damage and some bruises. Sure, I admit I hit him back and even hit him first once. But I was not the one to tear down his emotional wellbeing for my own enjoyment. I never thought I would have had the anger in me to raise a hand to someone I loved, but then I did and I felt horrible. Things don't get better. Becoming the abuser doesn't justify taking abuse. Being smacked around once or twice is not OK, nor is screaming in the street at each other at all hours of the night. I am 110 percent better off not having contact with ZJ. I firmly believe the world would be better off without ZJ and I ever seeing each other again.
If your fairy tale doesn't have a happy ending then it's time to look for a new story line. You must not accept the abuse and disguise it as love. Love doesn't hurt you. Love is the key to peace. Love yourself enough to know what you deserve. Nobody deserves to be hurt. So please, if this you're still reading this and thinking, "Wow, that's like my relationship," get out of it. Get away from whoever is hurting you. You do not need to keep toxic people in your life solely because you feel obligated too. Walk away. Run. Don't look back. Do what you need to for yourself. Love yourself.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing and abusive relationship and need help, Text "Go" to 741741.