very chilling topic on twitter right now.
i have my own reasons for #WhyIStayed, and looking through this hashtag, i can see so many women and men who were lost, just as i was.
i stayed because it was the first time i felt important to anyone. he “loved” me. when he said he would die if i left him, i thought it passionate. when he started showing up unannounced at my house, because my friends told him my brother’s friends were over, i thought the jealousy was endearing.
then he tried to kill himself when i left town for two days. he was convinced that i would find someone else, in a town where i knew no one. i came back home, and promised i would never leave.
the manipulation and emotional abuse became physical—but only once. he slammed me against a wall after i made a joke about dumping him once i started college. i hid the bruises from my family, for weeks. that was the moment i decided to get out, no matter what happened. for some people, it only takes one time. others need more than one. and some people never make it out alive.
it is not always easy to “just leave.” it is a blessing if you are able to leave, with no consequences.
Sometimes, if you ask the right question at the right time, you can see the warning signs everyone else saw a while ago. That was the wake up call I needed, when her answer to “What do you expect from me” was “I want you to drop everything and come to me when I tell you I’m bored.”
Like I was a dog that she only wanted to bother with on her schedule, because god forbid I put something else before her (no matter what it was, studying, time with friends, sleeping at regular hours) or she’d make it into a fight about how I didn’t love her enough. Because she thought it was funny to insult and demean me in front of her friends (but of course she never even wanted me to see mine, much less for them to speak to her). Because she would talk about what we did in bed as if there was something wrong with me, as if I owed her something - and she’d do this even with an audience, as if that was remotely appropriate.
That’s why I left. Why I stayed? I was young and stupid and thought love meant staying even when it was hard, even when the other person MAKES it hard. I thought I was in love. I stayed because she would make me feel guilty for talking about the future, for thinking about the future, without imagining her in it first, until I almost couldn’t imagine it either.