What I Learned From an Abusive Relationship

A while ago I made a journal entry about how grateful I was for [redacted] and how he had saved my life. This was before he raped me. Now I’m grateful to have known him for entirely different reasons. The son of a bitch did save my life, just not in the ways I was hoping he would.

Our relationship was toxic from the beginning and not just because of him. Filled to the brim with lying, cheating, and emotional abuse, we were never made to last. I often wonder how we made it as long as we did. I wanted him to be my “forever person.” The dream was for us to move to San Fransisco and grow old together. I’d become a doctor, and he’d be there when I got home. We would get high together and raise dogs, maybe even host some foster kids. I could campaign for local government positions in my spare time and learn how to file my taxes properly while he’d go rock climbing with his brother.

If I’m honest, we would have ended up cheating on each other in our thirties. He would knock some well-meaning chick up but wouldn’t have enough money to pay child support after I divorce him, so I would befriend the mother of his child and help her raise their kid while he frolicked in some random circle of hell.

This isn’t your standard idea of a fairytale, and I never mentioned the last part to him, but it was my dream and I loved it more than I loved myself. So much so that I chose to ignore all the red flags we were continuously throwing at each other. I thought he would teach me patience slowly over time, not all at once with a fatal blow. It killed me inside when none of my friends were willing to testify against him in court for fear of how it might affect their personal lives, and I died again when the news came that he wasn’t going to be tried for what he’d done to me.

Life is a fickle thing. There are so many ways for your plans to get derailed along the way yet somehow that doesn’t actually matter much in the long run. It’s always difficult to pick yourself back up again after being knocked down but no matter how long it takes, we always manage to do just that. Humans are funny. We’re vengeful and easily offended, we know nothing and still manage to convince ourselves of the opposite. If you ask me, it has to be a fluke we’ve made it so long without setting the world ablaze much sooner.

Despite all our faults, we’re still standing. I truly believe it is our unwillingness to give up that is what has allowed us to keep breathing for so long. It is our ability to focus on the little things that continue to pull us forward even on the days we’d much rather give up. Our ability to create the good in situations where there is none is our only redeeming quality as a human race, and it’s the most important thing I learned from being dumped by a boy I told myself I loved for reporting my rapist to the police. It’s the only thing that pulled me back to partial sanity after the boy who told me he was in love with me did the worst possible thing you could ever do to another living creature.

Joy is in the little things. You might find it in an unexpected text or a lucky penny on the sidewalk but it is all around you. Each day you wake up, your soul and the day ahead are teeming with possibility. Even when they are not. We all have the power to turn things around and make something amazing where there used to be the opposite, you just have to decide that’s what you’re going to do.

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