If only I knew then what I know now, how things would have been different. But I guess the lesson was worth the pain.

Flashback to six years ago, just an open-minded girl at the park with no worries in the world and not really looking for much. All she was concerned about at the time was how she was going to spend the next four years of high school and make the most out of them. Then at some point in late April, she met a boy through some mutual friends and it seemed like they clicked instantly.

He was older and she was swept off her feet by his lip ring and swished hair. There was no time to take it all in and give it some consideration as four days later they started dating. The world was spinning around her and there was no sign of slowing down. However, all good things must come to an end and this fairytale turned dark and continued to darken as the days, months and years rolled by.

For two and a half years this persisted. While she may have been young and stupid, she eventually recognized that name calling, humiliation and controlling and demonizing behavior are not characteristics of a healthy relationship. She realized that they were a warning to stop making excuses but instead leave. Here are five things I learned from being in an emotionally abusive relationship.

1. Always stand up for yourself

Your whole life people will try to drag you down and tell you can’t do something. All you need to do is not listen to them and simply brush them off. If you are in an argument, have the courage to speak up, voice your opinion, there is no harm is saying how you feel. People see you as weak when all you do is let people walk all over you and you should NEVER be seen as weak by anyone else because no one is better than you.

2. Keep a positive attitude.

If you don’t have a positive attitude towards yourself how do you expect anyone else to. I struggled with this for years after being beaten down by so many words and feelings. But you need to get up in the morning smile and remember it could always be worse. The grass only gets greener when YOU water it.

3. It’s okay to say no.

Saying yes to everything means you are always willing to do what others want you to do not what is going to make you happy. The second you start saying no you can find more times to do simple things whether it is to stay in and binge watch movies or hang out with your family other than friends. Before my high school relationship, I remember being a yes girl to everyone and that’s why I was so likable. Everyone could count on me because I always wanted to make everyone happy including my boyfriend at the time. Everything about you will change with this one simple word you will feel a lift off your shoulders. For every time you said yes think of all the things you could have done if you said no.

4. Just because you loved his family doesn’t mean you loved him.

After about a year of being single, I realized it was never really a love I had to him it was more like an obligation. If I left everyone would hate me including him, including his family, including his friends. If they do not see the reasons why you had to do it and what a good person you are on the inside then you shouldn’t pay any mind if the people choose to dislike you after the fact.

5. LOVE YOURSELF!

The most important one on the list is to love yourself, 'cause guess what? No one will ever love you as much as you can love yourself, and no one can ever love you (in the right ways) until you learn to love yourself. Every flaw they ever told you was wrong, ignore it. Every bad name they ever called you, ignore it. Loving yourself helps to better yourself. Gives you that smile in the morning. Gives you that positive attitude throughout the day and that power to stand up for yourself. Lastly loving yourself gives you the strength to move on to better days.

All these things help you to remember the past, but look at it in two different perspectives. The negative side is that yes, you do still relive those memories sometimes and it's hard to think about going through that ever again. The positive side of things is all that you learned can be applied to your everyday life to make you and all around better person and prevent that temporary crash in your world like that ever again.

Remember that at the end of the tunnel, there is always light.