Ernest Hemmingway said, “The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
I have been broken to a point of wanting to give up. Lucky for me, I so far never had to go through with it because I was loved, and I could not dare break the hearts of those who love me. In fact, I used my brokenness to make me strong, and their love to keep me whole.
Let’s talk about emotionally abusive relationships. These are the toxic ones that you hold on to even though everyone you know has told you to let go.
If you love someone, you get blinded by your desire to be with that person, that you’re willing to lose who you are if it means you are going to be able to keep him.
He’s going to make you feel small, and will undermine your existence, or will call you names before you could get it in your head that the relationship is less than healthy. The sad part is that everyone — family, friends (mutual and exclusive) — will tell you over and over that you have to let go. You will be consumed into a dark place, fighting for someone you love who sadly doesn’t even deserve you.
You will think that you have your own faults, and most probably, you will. You may ask for time that he simply cannot spare, or ask you to love people that you simply cannot respect, and you will get angry. So much so that you cannot just let go of the anger of all the things that he will put you through. Because emotional abuse is like that — the other person will manipulate you into staying by threatening you with suicide attempts, dragging you with feelings of inferiority, or acting so jealous, you will eventually make your world revolve around him.
An insane manipulation is one big clue to an abusive relationship. If it’s a suicide attempt, you will be in such a deep form of fear, that you will have no choice but to stay, because you know that you’re going to be the one that people will blame if he tries it again after you reject him. A healthy relationship does not have room for fear. If you have to go on living every single day with a person and fearing that you will lose him at any given moment, then that is not healthy. Relationships should make you feel secure, not fearful.
Another thing is that you cannot be too dependent. If you find that you will have to compromise a lot of things, that you had to compromise your relationships with other people: people who made you whole, and people who made you into the person that you were before you molded yourself to fit him, that’s unhealthy.
Relationships are supposed to make you better as a person. If you find that you have to change who you are in order to fit into what the other person needs, then you’re doing a disservice to yourself and your potential. Being loved by someone was supposed to make you feel bigger, not smaller. If you find that you have to dim your light to make the other shine in his, that’s no good. You are supposed to change together for the better, not for the better of one, but for the demise of the other.
You shouldn’t expect things from anyone, because you’re going to end up disappointed.
For all the times that you will be there for him when he was broken, if he ever leaves you to fight your demons alone because he was “too busy,” then let go. If he can’t be there for you as a boyfriend, there is no way he can hold up to the “for better or for worse” in your future vows.
You shouldn’t deal with these, if he ever says them to you:
“I’m too busy, you can’t expect me to be there for you.”
“I’m far away, find your friends to talk about your issues to.”
“You are not as important now as you were then.”
“My school. My family. My extra-curricular activities. My frats and orgs. My friends. Maybe if I have time, you.”
“Understand me, but don’t expect me to understand you, I have no time for that.”
“I’m never going to choose you over them.”
You shouldn’t have put up with all those, but at some point, you will. You will because he was your first love, or your epic love, and he was the one you thought was the love of your life.
That’s the third thing about abusive relationships. A person who truly loved you would not deliberately hurt you. If he did love you back the way he said he did those first few weeks or months that you got together, he wouldn’t say hurtful things, no matter how difficult it was to be with you.
The good thing is that you will have a line. There will be something that will finally make you let go, and you will realize that the crap you were putting up with is at the point of abusive.
And it will hurt. It will hurt, and you will cry. A lot.
But your friends and family will be happy for you. They will accept that you’re sad for awhile, but they will be happy, because you won’t break their hearts anymore by crying and pleading, and being with someone who’s no good for you. They will be happy that you finally saw what they have been seeing since the beginning of the emotional roller-coaster that you were in.
The sad thing is that you probably couldn’t totally blame him for the hurtful things he put you through. Abusiveness is a cycle. It may not be the exact same way, but the people who abuse are usually abused themselves too, and you just have to be grateful that you got out of it.
Emotional abuse. That’s the worst of them, I think. Because emotions have the power to destroy you in a way that can be strong or subtle, but damages you just the same.
Friedrich Nietzsche did say that which does not kill us makes us stronger, and for everything that you ever went through for him and because of him, you will be a lot stronger.
For all the insanity that you put up with, for all tears you shed, for all the hurt he caused you, You have more than enough strength. So don’t give up.
Aere perennius means more lasting than bronze, and strength comes from all the broken pieces of yourself that you did not give up on. It comes from the people in your life who were always there for you. You have friends who always have your back. You have a family whose affections you didn’t have to buy, and you have them all to love you more than you could even begin to comprehend.
For that, you are blessed, you are stronger, and you are better.
So find the strength to let go if you have to, no matter how much you love him, someone better will come along, and you deserve someone who loves you as much, if not more than you could ever dare love again.