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I always daydreamed of finding the perfect boyfriend and falling in love growing up. I wanted my Prince Charming and to have that perfect fairy tale ending. I would soon learn that real-life relationships are not all rainbows and sunshine.
I have been dealing with the aftermath of my toxic four-year relationship for a little more than a year now. I feel the need to share because I know just how easy it is to suffer in silence and pretend like everything is fine. I kept myself closed off for almost four years because I did not want people to know the emotional abuse I was getting from my ex.
I thought it was embarrassing that I was allowing someone to mistreat me so badly and thought I could somehow fix it. Make him better. Make him respect me. Fix the relationship. I know now sometimes you really just have to cut your losses and let go but I was young when we first started dating.
I had the usual 17-year old girl dreams of marrying him and living together happily ever after and that was a very hard fantasy for me to let go of. Maybe that is why I stayed in a shitty relationship for so long.
I am still traumatized by the words he threw at me and the hate he poured into me. He called me every name you could think of when he was angry (which was a lot). He spat in my face, threw around “bitch” and “cunt” a countless number of times but being called a “ni**er” by the person who was supposed to love me truly hurt the most.
I have no idea how that man could be so venomous towards me one second and then turn around and pretend like he cared about me the next.
I should have broken up with him the very first time he ever called me out of my name. I still feel stupid for letting myself get constantly disrespected but looking back I was literally living like an emotional zombie. I had emotionally numbed myself so the words he threw at me would not hurt as much. I learned not to be surprised when he lashed out at me and just blocked out any hurt I felt.
I am mad that I wasted all four years of my college experience with him. I refer to my college years as my Dark Age. I was consistently sad, upset and lonely. I essentially socially isolated myself in college because I spent all my time with him instead of building relationships with any of the amazing students on my campus. A side effect of that was I really had no girlfriends to vent to about my ex or any outside voices to tell me that my relationship was not normal.
It was my first and only relationship so I thought that fighting was a part of any relationship. But it is not normal to feel so distraught, emotionally drained and scared in a healthy relationship. He would blow up on me all the time to the point I would have anxiety about when it would happen next.
I became something I never thought I would be…a liar. I would tell him what he wanted to hear in attempts to avoid fights which would ultimately backfire and end up in a fight.
We would break up and makeup almost every other week. It was exhausting. It was depressing. It was low.
Yet I stayed and just coped with all the bad. Why you ask? Lol I ask myself the same thing. I didn’t think I would find anyone else. I was scared of being alone after having a boyfriend for so long.
My self-confidence was lower than it ever had been in my life. That was to be expected when you have someone often telling you that you are stupid, worthless and won’t amount to anything.
I told myself that I was strong to be able to put up with someone so mean and that I could teach him how to treat me. But seriously that was never going to happen. A person has to want to change.
Even with all the bad times, we did have good times and I considered him to be my closest friend. I was just so attached to him and I did not want to leave the relationship even though I knew in my heart that I really needed to.
It took a combination of two things to finally get me to see the light. One was the escalation from just verbal abuse to physical abuse. We went on a trip to Europe together and one night in our hotel room he angrily got in my face. I can’t even remember why he was mad but I remember how he made feel in the moment.
Red in the face and eyes wild, he warned me that I better sleep with one eye open because he wanted to hurt me. I had never actually been terrified to sleep next to him but I did not sleep at all that night.
A couple of days later he got violent with me in public. He shoved me up against a brick wall and called me a ni**er once again. He squeezed my arms so tightly that they throbbed for hours after he let go. I cried through the streets of Venice that day.
He never showed remorse for his behavior and only blamed me for making him act that way. To this very moment, I am still angry that he never gave me a sincere apology for putting his hands on me.
Even with these two physical incidents, I still considered going to live with him in Colorado. He sold it to me as a way to start fresh together and “live the life we always wanted.” It took my mom literally screaming at me to see things clearly.
My lovely mother told me to stop being EMOTIONALLY NUMB!! I had finally been telling her what was going on with my ex and she knew the relationship was no good so she kept it completely real with me. Her words were a wakeup call.
I numbed myself to all his words and actions and just blocked them out so they wouldn’t hurt me. I kept my heart safe that way so when I took the shield down and thought about everything he had done to me the decision was simple.
That man honestly probably would have beat my ass if I moved in with him. I was headed down a bad path and I decided I needed to re-write the script.
Within a week of that conversation with my mom, I cut communication with him cold turkey and blocked him everywhere. He thought I was kidding when I texted him my final goodbye but I wasn’t. I
He once taunted me how I was like a sad, abused puppy and that he could kick me knowing I would always come back. That remark made things so much easier because it fueled my desire to never speak to him again. He knew how terrible and manipulative he was to me and threw it in my face.
I finally, FINALLY accepted that this person was not my best friend because a true friend would never purposely try to hurt me.
All these emotions have been brought to the forefront of my mind because my ex reared his ugly head yet again. He made a fake Facebook profile and pretended that we went to the same high school just to trick me into talking to him.
I have not attempted to contact him since our breakup in Nov. 2018 so I am not sure why he won’t leave me the fuck alone. It is crazy because every time I am at a place where I am not thinking about him at all, he pops back up and memories flood back.
Even with a new life across the country from me and a new girlfriend, he still finds time to play mind games with me. A part of me wanted to engage with him and take the opportunity to give him a piece of my mind.
That was old Krystal coming through. She would engage knowing that nothing good would come from the conversation. Now, I am at a point where I am really not here for the drama.
Talking to him would make him my present instead of leaving him in the past where he belongs. I guess when someone constantly knocks you down for years, you don’t really feel like catching up with them.
I am living my life in the sun now. No more hiding and secrets and shame. It feels absolutely amazing and I am doing so much better mentally and emotionally without him around. I try not to have regrets but to just reflect on my past and make better choices in the future.
Lastly, for those of you who may be unhappy in your current relationship or struggling to get out of a bad relationship or not even in a relationship at all, I leave you with my lessons learned….
YOU CAN AND WILL FIND LOVE
What you’re going through right now is not love. Love should not hurt so much. Do not listen to him when he says you won’t find anyone else. That is just a tactic to manipulate you into staying with him. You are a whole catch! Take as long as you need to heal and keep an open heart. Not all guys are the same.
YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE DISRESPECTED
There is absolutely no reason for it. Partners try to build each other up and they definitely do not make each other feel like shit. Your partner should not be calling you names, threatening you or constantly criticizing you. There is someone out there who will treat you properly no matter how they are feeling in the moment.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP SHOULD NOT FEEL LIKE AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER
One day things are good but the next day they are not. You are crying or sad all the time and your relationship is unstable. Get off the ride girl.
STOP IGNORING THE RED FLAGS
It is soooo easy to make excuses and look over red flags when you are in a relationship. Self-reflection is important. Ask yourself what advice you would give to someone being treated the same way you are. If you would tell that person to end the relationship, then you should probably take your own advice.
YOU CANNOT CHANGE HIM
When I tell you I am stubborn and could not accept this! There was literally nothing I could have done to get him to respect me. How a person treats you is a reflection of them and not you so THEY have to want to change. When you are constantly asking someone to change their toxic behavior and they do not, please understand that they really do not care about you that much. Hard truth but the truth all the same. Do not be satisfied with words unaccompanied by actions.
TALK TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Do not keep everything bottled up or make your boyfriend your entire social life. You need friends and outside people that you can talk to who will be honest with you. After a tough breakup, a support system will keep you strong.
MAKE SURE YOU SHARE THE SAME VALUES
I think this is one of the most important lessons I learned. We were raised differently, to say the least, and that played a major role in why we differed so greatly in how we spoke to one another.
YOU DO NOT NEED A MAN TO BE HAPPY
From a young age, girls are exposed to shows, movies, music that tell us we need to find Prince Charming and that we need him to be happy. I am still grappling with this one myself but I am learning that happiness has to start from within. Self-love and discovering what makes you happy is super important. I am happier now without him than I have been in years. I can finally breathe!
DON’T LET HIM DULL YOUR SPARKLE
I swear I feel like I am myself again. I lost her there for a little bit because when you have a gray cloud hovering over you, you tend to shrink down to stay away from the storm. Be with someone who helps you shine, babe.
Protect your peace, ladies! Don’t let any man mess up your day, life or most importantly your happiness or mental health.
Chase dreams not dudes, take care of yourself and remember you are responsible for your own happiness. I’m putting all of my energy right now into this blog and creating a business from the ground up.
Check out some of my other posts!
21 Warning Signs You’re In a Toxic Relationship
Reasons You Stay in a Toxic Relationship and Why You Need to Leave Anyway
3 Amazing Reasons Why Being Single is the Best
How to Escape The Dreaded Talking Stage
breakup relationship advice relationships toxic relationships
This made me a little emotional. Thank you for sharing and I’m so happy you are out of this bad relationship. I love that you’re enjoying life in the sun❤️
Kay Zane says
Thank you so much, Nessa! Your comment made my day 🙂
You are so brave for sharing your story. I’m glad that you are using your experience to empower others Stay in the sun where you belong!
Kay Zane says
Thank you for the kind words, Marie! I checked out your site! I see you’re on a blogging journey too. Jealous you’ve been to Maui haha! Good luck, girl~
Holy cow, I felt like I was reading my own story to a t! I know there are a lot of us out there who have gone or are going through very similar things, but you have put my own sentiments and experiences in such exact words, it’s actually scary. Kudos to you, Kay, for being so strong and smart at your young age. It took me a lot longer to get to the point of final break-up, but the Corona crisis ironically helped me on my way. I’m getting happier by the day, minus the odd sad day – of which my average week in the relationship mainly consisted – and it feels so good to be free from all the b/s and finding myself again!!
Thank you for sharing your story, keep up your great work!
Kay Zane says
Well at least one good thing came out of this awful Corona crisis! I’m so happy that you’re finally done. Stay strong in that decision. It really is refreshing to not be sad all the time 🙂 Enjoy your journey back to being the best and happiest you you can be. xoxo