Open Letter to my Abusive Ex-Boyfriend

Subject: Open Letter to my Abusive Ex-Boyfriend
From: Shenae
Date: 1 Aug 2017

The way you treated me throughout our almost four-year relationship was very wrong and abusive. You changed my life – and definitely not in a good way. Like the naïve sixteen year old I was, I gave you a chance, wanted to be there for you and thought it could work. But slowly I realised the person you actually are, your true self appeared and the manipulation and controlling started. By the time you’d brainwashed me it was too late to leave easily. You isolated me from everybody I cared about. You made me feel so extremely lonely and made me hate myself and my life. I was never a confident person, but you took away every last bit I had and used me as your emotional punching bag. You crushed me, and dragged me down to your level of pathetic. You will never be able to take back what you did and the things you deliberately put me through. You are a pathetic, manipulative abuser. And that is all you will ever be, no matter how much you pretend you’ve changed. I’ve tried to suppress this and block it out, but I am through with having this pain on me alone to deal with, and it is definitely not something that can be ignored or easily forgotten, even years after. I’ve been in a constant battle with everything you left from the emotional, mental and sexual abuse.
Every time you criticised, insulted me, called me stupid, worthless, told me that I can’t do anything right, that no one actually likes me or cares, I believed it. You’d randomly accuse me of cheating on you. I felt isolated, hopeless, humiliated and ashamed of myself. It was somehow my fault every time you got mad at me. You crushed my spirit, slowly destroying every single dream or aspiration I had, every interest I had in anything, any friendship I had, and separated me from my family. You made me feel like absolutely nothing, just so you could feel strong and in control of something.
You would isolate me from my sister, forcing me to lie to her and avoid her. You’d criticise her constantly as if that would turn me against her. Whenever I spent time with my family or went away even for one night, I would have countless missed calls, threatening messages that you’d kill yourself or drive into a tree if I didn’t come back to you immediately – what sane person acts like that? You separated me from my friends, getting mad if I ever really spoke to them. You made me become distant, defensive and secretive; someone who had to walk on eggshells and not allowed a life of my own. Being with you was so emotionally exhausting. Putting on an act 24/7 that everything was fine and that you treated me well was so hard. Your tantrums were embarrassing, the way you would smash things and destroy phones in your anger was ridiculous.
You must know that the things you did to me sexually were wrong, no-one can be that ignorant and stupid. Your warped and disturbing view on what sex is, is not based on consent at all. The way you guilt, shame, criticise and not stop until you get exactly what you want is disgusting. Imagine trying to be strong and in control of your own body, to only have the person you think you can trust and feel safe around just ignore your wishes and do what they want anyway? Imagine feeling so disgusted in your own skin, that your body isn’t even your own anymore, that you have no control over what someone else makes it endure. Any decent person would not force themselves on someone, would not see someone protesting and saying ‘no’ as an inconvenience, and tell them to just deal with it. You made me feel worthless and would constantly betray all trust I was supposed to feel around you. There are no words that could ever describe the degradation you made me feel, and I will never even come close to forgiving you or tolerating it as something that is acceptable.
You knew exactly how I felt about the whole situation, you knew exactly what you were doing, but you continued anyway and ignored my constant attempts to fix everything that was wrong in the relationship or get you to stop. You knew I wanted out for years, but you only cared about the control you had over me.
You would not just abuse me though, remember those times you’d hit and even punch your dogs? In one of your anger outbursts, you pinned down your friend’s old dog, ignoring both his screams and mine. This made me hate you, but stupidly gave me some sort of comfort knowing that it’s not just me who knows what you’re like behind closed doors. You take advantage of basically everyone who feels compassion for you. Taking money from your family, exaggerating your poverty and basically seeing people as free ATMs in which you can feed pity and guilt into and out comes cash. No wonder you never bothered getting a job for years if this way’s so much easier! All the money you promised to pay me back once you got a job, you still just deny, even when I legally tried to get that back with proof. But whatever, it just proves that you’ll still never take responsibility or actually be accountable for anything you do.
When I was accepted into university, something that you knew I really wanted to do, you manipulated me into throwing away the opportunity to make something of my life, all because you wanted me 100% available to you. Instead of showing any support, you fed me empty promises that if I ditched that idea then you’d actually get a job and try to better yourself. I was defeated, and felt I would be forever trapped and alone. Did that make you feel good, superior, accomplished? You knew exactly how to play me, how to take away my control and strength more each time. I could tick off basically every box in all the checklists for abusive relationships. I had desperately hoped that someone would notice or say something, but no one did. Your friends must have known; those times when they’d helped me look for you when you’d thrown a tantrum or were wandering around town, that time that you had a friend over and you humiliated me by raping me under your house while he was there, him knowing exactly what was going on. You obviously made them uncomfortable, but they chose to stay out of it.
Remember that time you strangled me? I do, as clear as if it was yesterday. It was when I broke up with you and you had that tantrum. You pretended you couldn’t recall it so you could make out that you didn’t mean to do it; that it wasn’t your conscious decision. After all that time begging and crying that you would finally change and stop the abuse, you thought you’d try a new tactic, pin me down and try to choke me? All because it dawned on you that I had finally and officially made my decision and was standing strong no matter what. But of course, you promised that it would never happen again, exactly like every other time.
I am not afraid of you anymore. You don’t have control over me anymore and I am not your property. You will never, ever make me feel weak again. I know now that I am definitely not alone, I am actually loved and that I truly did nothing to deserve what you did. I am better than you and all of the abusers like you. I have seen the real you, and know that you have no capability of being a decent person. You will never be anything more than what you have proven yourself to be. You use whatever tactic you can to never have to take responsibility or face the consequences of all the wrong things you do – everything is someone else’s fault. You hide behind the façade of being the quiet guy with issues who’s been hard done by, but you know exactly how to play people when you want to. You can pretend you’ve changed all you like, but by ignoring the wrong things you do, you’re just proving that you’re the same person. You cannot blame your ‘tough life’ for the way you treat others, that’s a coward’s defence. Just because you are severely insecure and miserable, does not mean it’s excusable for you to hurt others to make yourself feel better.
How long do you think you can just hide from what you did, pretending it didn’t happen? It tears my family apart knowing what you put me through, and I will never forgive you for the pain you have caused them too. I hope that you never, ever treat anyone the way you treated me. I would never wish that on anybody, not even a fraction of what I went through. But I believe that if you give it enough time, you’ll show your true colours to the next girl, because people like you never change. I hope one day those that you have fooled into feeling sorry for you, even if they’ve already realised and still defend you, will come to be embarrassed to know you. I hope that one day, you feel guilty and it eats you up inside.
Without you in my life now, I have my happiness back. I am allowed to do the things I want and my decisions are my own. I’m not fearful of having an opinion. I can spend time with my family, I have my friends back and have the confidence to have made many more, I go to another university, I have met someone who treats me with respect. I know my worth and know that the world can actually be a safe place. I got out and didn’t let you break me. I do sometimes wonder how things might have been different if I never felt sorry for you back in high school, except I’ll never know. But I guess I am grateful for some things; thank you for showing me what people should never want to become, thank you for showing me how strong I can be and how much better I am.
Because it is you who is worthless, not me.

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