Before I start, I just want to say that there is no hatred in my heart, only love and forgiveness.
This is the first and probably last time I will openly speak about this. Some of these things may only be known by close friends, some by none at all. This is a way for me to release all these kept feelings and experiences I've had for so long.
When someone thinks of abuse in a relationship, the first thing that comes to mind is the physical kind. There are no scars on the outside from the emotional kind. I had no bruises on my eyes that I had to hide behind large shaded sunglasses or lacerations around my neck tucked away by scarves.
So what is it like to be in an emotionally abusive relationship?
It's putting on a smile to do your day-to-day activities, like grocery shopping or going to class, so that everyone else doesn't get suspicious of what's really going on.
It's questioning every move you make. Whether it's making plans with a friend you haven't seen in a long time, or sending a text to an old relative, it's the fear that he may see you smile at your phone and automatically assume you're doing something you shouldn't be.
It's shuddering in gym class when you learn 15 signs of an abusive partner in gym class and he matches 13 of them.
It's feeling like you always have to be available. Sitting around at home, staring at the wall or your phone just waiting for the text that he wants to see you.
It's staying up late fighting. When he texts you reminding you how worthless you are and how much better he could do, and you crying and begging for him to stay.
It's distancing yourself from those who love and care about you. They only want what's best, but he's convinced you that they're trying to break us apart.
It's going back-and-forth between him hurting you and you hurting yourself for not being good enough for him.
It's clinging onto the good parts of your relationship, like when he bought you flowers just because or told you that you looked nice that one day. You justify his actions for every other day, saying that he isn't always like this.
It's worrying for his safety when you do get a little spark of courage and try to break it off. He threatens to hurt himself, or even other people.
It's fearing. Maybe he'll hate you one day. Maybe he will hit you, but that day never comes. If you show your emotions too much, he'll call you sensitive and get angry.
It's becoming beyond upset when he leaves you, when what you should feel is relief.
It's looking him in the face after he threw you away and having to pretend like you were doing alright.
It's trying to get back what was taken from you. Many months, even years will pass until you can rebuild the trust that you have for people and to let yourself believe that you are worth everything he told you that you weren't.
It's apologizing profusely for every little mistake you make, even though everyone else is much more understanding.
It's understanding that words can hurt deeply and that you deserve to be spoken to in a way that makes you feel good about yourself.
It destroys you.
But, in the end, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. You take what you have learned and you face the world with open eyes. You learn to love and respect yourself, slowly, and keep in mind that one day, everything will be alright.