Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Already Gone (Mental Abuse Happens in All Kinds of Relationships)

It's an odd feeling when you look back on a relationship of any kind, even with your best friend, and realize how many red flags there were and how many things you just looked over. It's even weirder when multiple people look at you and say, "you know that's mental abuse, right?" I never thought of it before anyone said anything but I guess being constantly put down, berated for things that aren't your fault, made to feel lower than another person...yeah those are all signs. It's been almost two years since everything ended and I'm still amazed at how bad  I let it get and how only the people closest to me realized what was happening. I'm lucky enough to say it wasn't always that way and even luckier to say I no longer deal with it, at all.

I don't really think about the situation that often anymore, I tend to focus on how happy my life is now. However, anyone who knows me knows that music is a huge cathartic release for me. Because of this, there are a few songs that make me think about a time I'd rather forget. The songs no longer make me cry, thankfully, but one came on in the car yesterday and it brought me into a silent reverie. It was yesterday that I realized that I still think about the situation from time to time, I still sometimes wish it was different and that things had never took a turn for the worst but I also realized it doesn't bother me that much anymore. I don't cry about it, I haven't for a long time. I have come out of this mess much stronger than I ever thought I would. Some songs may still trigger a few thoughts but I actually try to remember the good times now because focusing on them made me bitter. That said, I still have those bitter thoughts once in a while, I won't lie and pretend to be perfect. Both of the songs that trigger this thinking are by Kelly Clarkson. I am pretty sure they are both meant to be about romantic relationships but the words make sense for other ones as well. 

If anyone asks, I'll tell them we both just moved on. When people all stare, I'll pretend that I don't hear them talk. Whenever I see you, I'll swallow my pride and bite my tongue, pretend I'm okay with it all, act like there's nothing wrong.

We just moved on. Yeah, I've used that line and I knew people talked about it. This isn't paranoia, I know they talked because people would ask about it by starting conversations with things like, "I was talking to so and so and we were wondering," or "we noticed." I know people were concerned but it always surprised me to realize that they talked about this. I guess it makes sense when you think of how inseparable we were. I'm sure people blamed me and I don't care. I had gotten used to the role that had been painted in our friendship: I was the sarcastic one who blocked out most people and she was the loving, kind one that couldn't hurt a fly. It's really funny to think now how wrong people were and how different things are behind closed doors. I now fully know the meaning of the phrase, "appearances can be deceiving." Yes, I'm sarcastic. Yes, it's difficult for me to let people in but I let this person in and most people have no idea what I did for her. Why? Because I never spoke of it. To this day, very few people know how much I did for her and how horrible things got. People had no idea how much of my life I devoted to helping this person, even at the expense of my own relationships with family and friends. As for the loving, kind person who couldn't hurt a fly? Wait until you turn your back, it all changes.

Remember all the things we wanted. Now all our memories, they're haunted. We were always meant to say goodbye. Even with our fists held high, it never would have worked out right, yeah, we were never meant for do or die. 

It feels bizarre to go from telling someone all your hopes, dreams and feelings to telling them nothing about you and hoping they would just leave you alone. I try to focus on the good times but sometimes that's difficult. It really felt like all my memories were haunted, or tainted, for a long time. Now I can finally think about the past and acknowledge there were good times before the downward slope. I trust that everything happens for a reason. Maybe we depended on each other too much...well, I know we did. I know that I was leaned on way too much near the end and expected to do whatever was asked of me. I also know that if I didn't do it I would be yelled at or guilted into it. Sometimes I was yelled at until I got so upset that I would get physically ill and I put up with it. No matter how hard we fought it, I think we would have always made it to this point. In my mind it would always end as it did, with the revelation that nothing I did mattered, with the words that broke me, "if I could forget you existed and be happy, I would in a heartbeat." Those words still pop into my head every once in a while, I think they've stopped hurting even though they put a sharp sword through my heart at the time. It's really destroying when somebody says this to you after you have helped them for years, especially when you've picked up the pieces of their lives over and over, especially when they choose when you are broken the most to say them. It was two weeks after my car accident and I could barely move, not the best timing to make me cry because even the simple act of crying hurt my body.

If anyone asks, I'll tell them we just grew apart. Yeah, what do I care if they believe me or not? Whenever I feel your memory is breaking my heart, I'll pretend I'm okay with it all, act like there's nothing wrong.

That's how I responded when people would ask about this person. "We just grew apart," became my favorite line but everyone knew it was a lie. I knew they didn't believe me and slowly I didn't care if they did or not. I still keep most of the details to myself, heck, I won't even put a name in this blog, but I've realized along the way that I don't care if people believe me. I know what happened, so does she. I thought about giving her another chance until I realized how many chances she got. Even after the initial fall-out I considered meeting to talk things over but I was lead through a roller coaster of, "I want to fix things," and "I don't think we should talk again." Who changes their mind that quickly? Well she did to try and make me suffer for not being walked all over as easy as I once had been. At a certain point I decided I would never let this person make me cry again.

You can't make it feel right when you know that it's wrong. I'm already gone, already gone. There's no moving on, so I'm already gone.

It during another one of her, "I don't think we should talk again," moments that I realized I didn't want to talk anymore. Why should I talk to a person who hurt me so badly? I was holding onto the person she once was, not who she became. Even talking to this person for a minute in a text message would get me so upset that the nerves in my neck would tighten and I would get a migraine. I never knew a person could make you physically hurt with just words until after the accident. When I think back and remember everything I did and how used I felt afterward, I feel ashamed that I ever let it happen. I had always said I would never let a man control me or abuse me, instead I let my best friend take over my life. I'm not sure if it has the same effect but I've heard it does.

I would never call myself an innocent victim. I'm not innocent, nobody is, and I'm not a victim. I'm a person who let another person use me. I regrettably let this person treat my family poorly and for that I have apologized many, many times. I stood up for them in the end but I'll never feel like it's enough. I'm not saying this person is evil, I'm saying she did horrible things to me and my family. Her control over me was suffocating and damaging but I knew this person better than anyone, I know she has a good heart somewhere deep inside of her. What this situation has made me remember is that everyone has a reason for being the way they are. She took her bad situation and reflected it on me, it's transference. The girl I once knew was already gone, had been for quite some time, I just had to accept it. She contacted me before I moved and asked if I wanted to talk, having changed her mind once again since she last said she never wanted to speak again a few months earlier. I didn't know what to say. It was random how she would pop into my life again when I had accepted she was almost felt like she planned for the moment I had realized I was okay to come in and mess things up. Of course, that thought is crazy. Anyway, after a few texts and a phone message, I decided what needed to be done. I couldn't let myself return to the way things were, I was stronger than that now. I told her that she had stopped being a part of my life when things were worst for me and that, if she couldn't be a friend then, she couldn't be a part of my life now that it was good again. It still hurts but it was the right thing to do. It feels weird to use the words "mentally abused" but they fit. I had been mentally abused for so long that when I finally broke free, and got over the heartbreak, it was impossible to go back after feeling the freedom. My life is better now. The songs come on the radio and sometimes I still think of her but now I try to focus on the good rather than the hell it became. I survived and I'll continue to thrive. I don't wish her bad but I can never go back. For those who have survived abuse, mental or physical, I admire your strength and courage. Those who have been through it know that abuse can come from anybody, even the person you least expect. I hope everyone who has gone through this managed to make it out and grow stronger as I have. 

(The lyrics used are from the songs "Cry" and "Already Gone.")

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