#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou is a hashtag meant to show stories of emotional abuse. This is my story.
He never hit me; he was never even my boyfriend, so when I finally gained the courage two years later to tell a therapist what happened to me, I was shocked to hear the word "abuse" come out of her mouth. This kind of stuff didn't happen; he was my best friend, not my boyfriend. Best friends didn't abuse each other. When I looked back on some of the things he said, it made sense:
"I'm not in the mood to deal with you right now."
“Going in a tanning bed a few times a week won’t kill you. Your skin is so pasty.”
“I had a dream about you last night. You asked me to hang out and I said no; you started crying, and I laughed.”
“You’d be nothing without me.”
And the absolute worst of them all, “I can’t wait to see you pregnant. You’re just so skinny, I hope you have triplets and get fat as a whale, which would be hilarious.”
The worst part of the last one is that when he originally said it, I took it as a compliment that he wanted to be in my life for that long. I laughed the cruel comment off.
I looked back on the things he said, and it really hit me when I realized how much those words had an effect on me and how he used my insecurities to manipulate me. He started off with the classic roller coaster technique, his perfectly kind and sweet self one day and incredibly cruel the next. The cycle continued for months, and he never apologized for his cruelty. Even at the worst, I still saw the incredible person who was my best friend and I had fallen for when I looked into his eyes. I lived for the days when he was nice and hoped they would never end.
I began to see myself as ugly, needy and unwanted. I began believing everything he said. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism shortly after my 17th birthday. He made fun of it and dubbed it as the "disease I made up for attention." He mocked me when I needed him the most; he kicked me (metaphorically) when I was down.
This continued for several months until one day everything went downhill and the friendship ended. I was heartbroken. I was so blinded from being manipulated for so long that I didn't even acknowledge how miserable he made me.
When the world "abuse" came out of my therapist's mouth, everything made sense. Taking extra long showers so nobody would hear me cry; locking myself in my room and listening to Taylor Swift and crying for hours, it made sense. I wasn't just an overdramatic teenager making a big deal over her crush not liking her back; I was dealing with emotional abuse.
Luckily, I have the best friends and family in the world who helped me stay strong and get through this. I haven't seen him in four years since high school graduation, and he rarely crosses my mind. Unfortunately, I can trace back almost every insecurity I have today to this particular event. I have improved greatly, especially this past year, and can say for the first time in a while that I genuinely love myself, and am finally ready for someone else to love me.
When I saw this hashtag trending, I knew I had to tell my story. I know I am not the only one who has experienced something like this, and I am well aware much more have experienced much worse. I would like others to read my story and realize abuse isn't just someone who hits you; it is much more. Nobody has the right to make you feel completely worthless. Check out this article from loveisrespect.org that perfectly explains emotional abuse. It doesn't matter who someone is in your life; emotional abuse is never OK. I hope someone can read my story, see the signs and get out of this vicious cycle.
Lastly (and mainly), I would like others to see my story as an example of finding the light at the end of the tunnel, because I survived this, and I'm OK and happier than ever.