Inspired by The Huffington Post’s “Why Didn’t You Just Leave” Series.
I thought this is was what a relationship with me was going to be like.
Ever since I began dating (14 years old) I was told that I was difficult to be with. My constant sadness, self harming and suicidal thoughts as a youth were cited as the reasons why boyfriends would break up with me. I carried into each new relationship the belief that if I could just get my sadness under control that they would stay and we would live happily ever after. It never worked. There was a lot of pressure in many of my relationships to change. “If you don’t stop self harming I’m going to break up with you.” I would then do my best to hide my cuts and scars because I couldn’t stop and I didn’t want him to leave.
While I know being with someone who was always sad, angry and hurt themselves wasn’t easy I can recognize now that it became an easy out for their abusive behaviour. They fed off of my vulnerability and I so desperately wanted their love. I found it impossible to love myself so I needed outside sources to give it to me.
With the ending of my most recent relationship I have realized the extent that my mental health was used as a scapegoat. I will never deny my negative behaviours and damage done to the relationship. In the end, I was ALWAYS trying to make my relationship better with someone who didn’t care to improve himself. His denial of needing improvement led me to believe that I was always the problem and that once I fixed myself our relationship would be perfect. If I could stop yelling, if I could stop being angry, if I could stop cutting, if I could stop thinking irrationally, then we would be perfect. A relationship full of screaming, yelling, being called names and things being thrown around was the price I had to pay for not being mentally well and causing the one I loved pain. Or so I thought.
The day came when enough was enough. I didn’t care anymore what was my fault and what was his because I didn’t want to work at a relationship that felt so one-sided. I didn’t care if I was in the wrong in leaving because I was finished with it. It was like a switch went off in my mind. I was done.
Being with my new partner I am seeing that a relationship with me doesn’t need to be chaos. Being with someone who responds lovingly, shows affection, and isn’t quick to anger (well, isn’t abusive) is showing me that many things weren’t my fault, that I was with people who knowingly or unknowingly took advantage of me. I’m not as bad as I thought I was and was led to believe.