Abuse Comes in Many Forms
By: Steven Cummins (@CevenStummins)
When you first meet someone, you don’t always expect that they would be that one person that you think about every day. What you’d expect even less is for them to be the sole reason as to why you’ve lost all motivation to function daily -- this is called emotional abuse. It’s a scary thought that someone could be tearing you apart without anyone noticing, but it’s more common than you’d think. It is a highly traumatic experience for many people including myself, and it can become a much worse and dangerous problem if it is not dealt with soon.
I grew up an only child and came from a little school, which made making friends hard as a kid. I started to come out of my shell in 8th grade and made a few friends including one girl who I’ll just call “L.” I joined L and her group of friends, and we all became very close. I would text L almost daily, and she became the first person I ever actually loved. I didn’t know this at the time of course because I would push back those feelings and tell myself that we were just friends. But they would always come back. She was the first person to tell me “I love you,” which I know she just meant as friends.
High school came around, and this was when the problems started. L began to realize how much I cared for her and took that opportunity to decide when she did and didn’t want to have me around. There began to be times when she would stop talking to me suddenly out of the blue and when I asked why she would say something like “figure it out” or “you should know,” making me always feel guilty. Today I know I didn’t do anything, but my lovesick mind back then could do nothing but apologize for whatever heinous act I must have done to upset her. This became a constant cycle for about a year. It let to anxiety attacks, self-harm, and at one point suicidal thoughts. But L didn’t care.
I had realized my problem when I was a sophomore; I just didn’t know what to do. I knew I needed to cut L out of my life; I was just afraid to do it. I was scared of getting rid of someone who I thought cared about me. I was afraid that if I did, I would end up coming back because she would miss me, or I would miss her. I was never more stuck in my life.
It took until a mid-senior year for me to let her go. Three years it took. And even to this day, I’m scared to love someone else.
To anyone who is in any abusive relationship whether emotional or physical, learn ways to separate yourself completely from them and find the means to make yourself happy without them. Any individual hobby is a good start like a musical instrument or meditation. Going out with friends is also an excellent way to enjoy yourself whether it’s going bowling or catching Pokémon on Pokémon Go. Make new friends at your school, youth group, Buddy Project, etc. and be sure that they are positive and encouraging influences in your life. Anyway, you can find to distance yourself from that individual is a crucial step into self-love and self-reliance.
To anyone who knows someone in some abusive relationship, speak up in any way you can. Before you do this, attempt to reason with that person in the toxic relationship and determine whether they can become convinced to distance themselves from that other, individual. If this fails then, you should try to tell an adult or trusted figure who you believe could help. If this relationship is physically abusive, then your best bet might be to let the local authorities know. Do not be a bystander forever because the long-term impact could become a severe problem.
When you love someone, no matter how much that they ignore you, yell at you, accuse you, it’s very easy to blame yourself when inside you know you don’t want to blame them. It’s your job to take the extra step and realize that you are in a toxic relationship and to end the abuse that your “L” is putting you through.