I used to think he only abused me if he ever laid a hand on me. But that's not the case, abuse comes in all forms. Physical, emotional, verbal, upon many others. I was a freshman in high school and he was a junior. It was my first real relationship and I thought he was my first true love. Obviously, I felt on top of the world in the beginning, showered with gifts and love and my family adored him. But with those gifts came being called a slut and dumb. And with the love came arguments, and being screamed at about things that seemed so small and ridiculous. Overtime, he began to control my life. And I let him. I didn't talk to the friends I had always talked to before, because he told me I couldn't, I didn't go out anymore because he told me I couldn't. He told me I couldn't..... In the meantime he'd manipulate me into thinking I owed him things. Things I hate myself for. My self-confidence was broken down. I had nothing anymore. I stopped trying to reach my life-long goals. I thought I couldn't tell anyone because it would just make things worse. I was lost, and I tried to find myself in bad things, things I'll regret for the rest of my life. I don't even know why I stayed as long as I did. Maybe it was because I was young and naive or maybe it was because if I broke up with him I'd have no one. Or maybe it was because I thought he loved me.
"You never know how toxic something is until you get a breath of fresh air". A good friend told me that after me and my year long boyfriend broke up. I had never felt more free than once I was done with him. Finally being able to tell my family the truth, instead of trying to wipe my tears before I walked into the house was unbelievably relieving. I don't regret the relationship. Some people think I'm crazy for saying that, but I wouldn't be as strong and as happy as I am today if I hadn't gone through that relationship. He had taken such big pieces of me, pieces I'll never get back. And I have to live with that. But what matters most now is that I'm free, and I'm happy, so unbelievably happy.
During the relationship, I didn't even know there was such a thing as emotional abuse. He was emotionally abusing me and I didn't even know that was possible. If I had known sooner, I would have been out of the relationship much earlier. But everything happens for a reason. So what I want people to get out of my story is that, emotional abuse is very real, and it's very scary and it's just as deafening as being physically abused. Being aware of abuse is so important. But ultimately you are not alone in your battle, and being afraid to say something will just make things so much worse. Always remember you are never alone and that the sun always rises no matter how dark the night gets.
mental illness can blind you. it can take away your perspective, your beliefs, your faith, your vision. it makes it so that you can't see a reason to get out of bed in the morning. it's not beautiful, or romantic- it's life threatening.
personally, I suffer from severe depression, with a moderate anxiety component. I also have a genetic mutation called the MTHFR gene. this means that genetically, my brain doesn't produce enough folic acid, and even if it did, I wouldn't be able to process it in the right ways to make it into serotonin (the happiness neurotransmitter.) I was diagnosed in October of my sophomore year, and I've been hospitalized twice due to severe suicidal thoughts and tendencies- basically to keep me safe from myself during some hard times. I've torn through 7 (SEVEN) different SSRIs, and if you've never been on a significant medication, you can't begin to know how difficult it is to change between meds so frequently. I had to quit playing both club and school volleyball due to significant panic episodes that hit me on and off the court, and the depressive episodes that followed. I've had to drop out of first, the International Baccalaureate program at my school, then my AP classes, and finally my classes all together. I've been homeschooled on and off since my first hospitalization during sophomore year, and then was taken out of school completely in November of my junior year. Depression and anxiety have taken away my drive to make new friends, and the effort to keep the ones I have. I've lost so much due to mental illness. but this is not a sob story.
I have chosen to take my experience and turn it into something positive. I've taken every opportunity to reach out, including this one, and support those who are also struggling, or have family/friends who are struggling. I've spoken to countless people about my story, and made connections with people because of shared experiences. I'm planning to take my journey and become a therapist, specializing in depression and PTSD. I am fighting, and after almost two years of struggle with suicide and self harm, I am so proud to be sitting here typing this today.
if I could say one thing to myself two years ago, or to someone who's struggling in silence now, I'd say that asking for help is the brave thing to do. I'd tell them that it takes so much more strength to ask for help than it does to keep it hidden. it doesn't matter how far gone you feel, you are not beyond repair. I'd say that I am so proud of you for trying to handle this on your own, but you don't have to. mental illness is just that, an illness. you should treat it just like if you broke your leg. you wouldn't limp around on a broken leg, pretending you were fine, telling everyone "no really, it's just all in my head! I'm good." no! you'd get help from people who know how to fix broken legs. you'd get crutches and a wheelchair and some ice and some Advil and maybe even get surgery. it's the same thing. fix your leg, kid. find someone, anyone, and tell them your story and ask them to listen. if you're on this website, you've got a good start. there are so many people surrounding you who would be willing to help if you'd just give them the chance. you don't have to fight this war alone.
I had no sense of control, and started with eating nothing and ended with eating everything. In a matter of 36 months I went from 98 pounds to 145 pounds. It was my own form of self harm. Starving myself because the hunger pains felt like a punishment, or stuffing myself until I wanted to vomit. Either way it helped distract me from the real problem. Maybe both were also a desire to control something, everything else in my life had been decided for me, and no was never an answer I could give. But I could say “no you can’t have any more food” or “no you’re not done eating yet”. Either way I was ashamed of my habits, knowing something was wrong on both ends of the spectrum. But most of all I think I was wanting someone to see I was hurting. That bigger problems lied a little bit deeper than anyone cared to look.
I am a happy kid. A near perfect kid. I make good grades. I take AP classes. I have a job. I work hard in everything I do. I wake myself up to make it to early morning practices. I hold multiple titles in my sport, and trained hard for each of them. But my family never seems to be satisfied with what I do. They don’t care about me they care about results. They never noticed that I was sick, or that I needed help.
I was in a horrible situation and struggling with depression. I thought change would help. I decided to start over. I met a boy. A wonderful, compassionate, patient boy; who little did know would change my entire life. I fell for him fast, but I hated being touched. The first time he kissed me I began to cry. I didn’t know how to explain what was going on, only that I felt completely and utterly terrified. I simply did not know what to do in that situation. I knew rationally it was him, but my mind was somewhere else. I flashed back to a time in my childhood.
I was young. I had no idea what was happening. I should have been loved. I should have been taken care of. I trusted him. I had no idea that it was wrong. That he wasn’t suppose to talk to me like that, touch me like that, make me do those things. I was too young.
It wasn’t once. And it wasn’t twice. That was what my life became. It was day after day, week after week, for three years. And no one noticed. No one stopped him. No one fought for me. I was a child. An innocent child and I deserved to be fought for. But no one did. I had been taught by him, my voice was better unheard.
I never thought about it again. My mind never even went to that place. When I was 11 years old I told finally told someone. I was then forced to talk about something I couldn’t, and forced into a treatment regime I was not ready for. I was told I was lying about my story. And not a single time was I told if I spoke up I wouldn’t get in trouble, and not a single time was I told that it was not my fault. I hated that place. The following summer was when the anorexia began.
I dropped to a low weight of 95 pounds, from an original 128. Again no one noticed. No one cared. I eventually put the weight back on and recovered slowly.
It got worse before it got better. I fell asleep in class because I couldn’t sleep at home. I liked doors closed so I could hear someone new walking in. I liked to sit with my back against a wall so no one could sneak up behind me. I couldn’t stand being touched because it made my heart jump and my lungs stop working.
When I fell in love with the boy we started doing things that “normal” high school couples do. But for me it wasn’t normal. It was a trigger. He was my trigger. When we did things it didn’t make me feel happy and special like it did other girls. It made me terrified. I would break down into panic attacks, sobbing and not being able to do anything. I was experiencing flashback, this was when it got really bad. He didn’t know that I had triggers. He didn’t know that I physically couldn’t say no when I didn’t want to do something. He didn’t know that simply looking at me the wrong way, or not looking at me at all could trigger something to snap. He didn’t know what was going on or what to do. He didn’t know if he just left after us doing things without holding me that I would breakdown and/or have nightmares that night.
It began to snowball. I lost control. I was no one longer the one driving the car of my life, my PTSD was. It controlled my thoughts, my sleep, my relationships, and my perception on the world and myself. I couldn’t focus because it of this I began binge eating putting on almost 20 pounds in 8 months, trying to grab control anyway I could. But still tried to keep it together the very best I could. Keeping my grades up, continuing to work, to train, to compete. But there’s only so much one person can handle. Once the results began to slip I began to fight more and more with my family. I was slipping. I was losing it. And the fight in me was gone. I can honestly say on my darkest days there was times where simply ending things seemed better than having to fight through another day. But rationally I knew it couldn’t rain forever and the sun had to eventually shine again. There had to be hope.
My loving boyfriend remained patient and compassionate with me. Helping me through my panic attacks, and learn to cope better with my PTSD. He saved my life and probably didn’t even know it. He encouraged me to attend therapy and since then my life has improved immensely. I wish someone would have told me it was not my fault, and I was not in trouble.
So I am telling you no matter what your story, or what your past it was not your fault. And you are not in trouble. You are strong enough to fight this. You are strong enough to step forward and ask for help. It will get better. Remember, it can't rain forever.
"It will not be beautiful but the truth never is."
When I was 15 years old I got my first boyfriend. I had been with boys before, but never ones who loved me, and never as a relationship. After 15 months, after love, and pain, and verbal abuse, I left for good. Leaving was hard. But not as hard as what came after.
I started my first year in one of the hardest and most elite programs in the country, and as if that wasn't enough, high schoolers- to put it simply- are assholes. Luckily, I had good friends who kept me grounded, and new friendships which grew stronger as the first few months progressed.
Also within those first few month, I started making poor decisions regarding boys and drugs. It never became anything serious, but it was a major distraction from my schoolwork. I started having sex with people who didn't care about me. I'm not sure why. Maybe they made me feel wanted. Maybe they helped me forget. Maybe getting high and having sex was what I wanted at the time. Whatever I told myself was just a lie- the truth is, I was running. Running from the pain of my breakup, the pressure of my program, the fear of inadequacy. But I very quickly learned everything catches up to you eventually.
I was fired from the first job I ever had about the same time my depression and anxiety began to escalate. My mother was struggling with her family life as I struggled with my personal one. By October my anxiety became so bad I went to the doctor to get medication. I had know about my disorder for years now, but I decided I couldn't do it alone. I needed help. And at first, the medication did. But the loss of support from my mother combined with all the other pressures around me proved too much, and I began self harming around Thanksgiving.
Over the next month things stayed the same. My brother was in and out of jail for the past several months, and he ended up incarcerated for Christmas- which also happens to be my birthday. Losing him among other people and things was probably the hardest. He had been my best friend and my partner in crime. It was an impossibility I could hardly bear.
Fast forward to April and my brother had been in and out again within one month of getting probation. I had stopped self harming and seemed to getting a grip of the stressful program I was in. But my mother only collapsed further and became so overwhelmed by her own depression- which yes, I had inherited from her- she had become a shell of herself. She was barely eating and sleeping constantly. She worked out quite often and lost around 30 pounds. I'm still not sure if she starved herself or was too barred out to eat, but she lost the weight either way. I, however, since the year started gained around 30 pounds, something she constantly reminded me of.
School prom was in April, and that's where the 17 year olds being assholes thing really comes full circle. People were excluded, bullied, and drama had stirred within a friend group which I had thought I had been apart of. Besides the belittlement and embarrassment I felt for allowing myself to believe I had friends I hadn't, my best friend decided she would rather spend her time with them than me. With so many family things spiraling out of control in my life, I had hardly noticed her fading out of the picture. But 8 months was a long time to make mistake after mistake. Maybe I hadn't been a good enough friend, or maybe I just hadn't been there, but she slipped away when I needed her most.
That was the last straw. The last three months of my junior year in high school I was suicidal and completely checked out. I stopped washing my hair, stopped wearing make up, stopped going out. Everyday became a battle. I got up, finished the school day, and fought off the demons who told me to end it. Medication had turned into a nightmare over the past few months- I was late everyday from over sleeping, missed classes and full days of school, and was napping constantly. I was a full blown mess. And I was alone. Most of the friendships I had made I had somehow severed. I felt worthless, and purposeless. I had trips planned for summer I had no excitement for. Life had lost any sense of hope or happiness.
I'm not actually sure why I never did it. Everyday for three months all I could think about was taking my own life. But I guess I had found enough courage to remember the people who would miss me. I reminded myself that there was a life past the one I was living right now.
In June I went to Costa Rica and found meaning in life again. I had never seen a place so beautiful. The people who so humbled and happy and kind. And I decided that's how I wanted to live. They had a saying there which meant happiness and oneness with the world. "Pura Vida." Pure life. What a wonderful outlook on living.
Today I am seeing a therapist twice a month who helps me fight my depression. I surround myself with people who support and love me, and I talk to my brother as often as possible. I focus on my purpose in the world, whatever that may be. It kills me to see the world so full of cruelty, and pain. So I've decided to be good to people, and do what I can today. Because I know tomorrow will be better.
As far as boys and drugs, I must remind myself that growing is a process. We do not become who we want to be all at once. But everyday I have a choice to make decisions which will help me grow into someone better.
I am no where near perfect. I may have come to peace with my mistakes but the damage is far done. I ruined my GPA, irreparably damaged many relationships, and grew a reputation with many I am not proud of. My depression and anxiety still win some days. I'm not through the hard parts, I still struggle with my relationship with my mom and I miss my brother everyday. But this life is too wonderful and this world is too big to not want to live. And so I choose to remember the good, and always try to stay good to people. Because you never know what they're struggling with. You never know what it's like the fight demons until you've fought your own.
"Superheroes always have broken hearts and tragic backstories, so maybe I'm doing ok."
I was 4 years old when my cousin touched me and made me touch him. My parents were working and I needed a babysitter. I remember wanting him to read me a story before bed (that's the only way I could fall asleep.) He told me that he wouldn't do it unless I touched him. I was only a child I had no idea what he meant or what I was doing, I didn't even know if it was a bad thing to do. He started reading the story to me, after a while he stopped and said if I didn't let him touch me, I couldn't hear how the story ended. i don't remember much after that, however, my mom told me when she picked me up I wouldn't go anywhere near my cousin. Shortly after that I ended up telling her what had happened. When I was 13 he tried to reach out to me, my mom thought I was old enough to hear the whole situation. Honestly, I still get flashbacks. I haven't seen him since. About a year ago my cousin was sentenced for 6 years in prison for violating another innocent girl. I was asked to speak at the court hearing but just didn't have it in me. I want everyone to know that you can't let things like that define you. It's NOT your fault, self blame is a common thing and it's not true. You can't let it hold you back from any type of relationship. Lastly, never be afraid to ask for help or even just ask someone to listen.
It started out as innocently as most high school relationships begin. I was 14, almost 15, quiet, studious, insecure and growing up poor in a mostly middle-class small town. He was 15, almost 16, athletic, funny and he smiled at me when I walked past him on my way to my seat in World History class. It started out as innocently as a few notes passed between our friends, stolen glances and smiles when he turned around, small talk between classes. It started out as innocently as it could, but it didn’t end like a fairy tale, or even like a high school relationship that just grew apart. It ended with silence at the other end of the phone, a broken engagement and ultimately ended 3 years of abuse, control and manipulation.
It started out with behaviors that I thought were sweet, at first. He walked me to class, to the bus, to band practice. He put his arm around my shoulder, or held my hand tightly when we were in crowded hallways. He gave me his letterman and his class ring to wear. I wore that jacket no matter what the temperature was outside, and his ring was too big for me so I wore it on a chain around my neck. I loved to smell his cologne and feel close to him and be reminded that I was “his girl.”
He was fiercely protective of me, always asking me if I was okay, if anyone was bothering me, always keeping me in sight and checking in with me. We wrote notes to each other every class period and exchanged them at our lockers. We talked on the phone every night, sometimes for hours, usually about routine things and little jokes we had, or music or movies, or school. The same things most teenagers talk about with their friends or boyfriends. We had some intimate moments, but I had very little experience with boys touching me or kissing me, so I was very careful not to let things go further than I was comfortable with. I was not used to attention being lavished on me, being told I was beautiful or gorgeous every day, being valued and held above others. He made me feel like I was so special.
It changed subtly. He slowly and surely began to control things about my life even though at times it made me feel unsettled or unhappy. He asked me to wear my hair in a ponytail, because he liked to see my neck and shoulders. He asked me not to wear makeup, because I was beautiful without it. He asked me not to talk to boys in my classes, because he trusted me, but he didn’t trust their intentions. He didn’t like it when I wore v-neck shirts or shorts because he said guys were looking at me like I was a “piece of meat.” He wanted me to be “only his to look at.” He said he knew what they were thinking because all guys are the same, except him of course, because he loved me.
He asked, at first. And then, as time went on, he told. He demanded. We argued. I gave in. I did what he wanted, most of the time. And he cried – tears streaming down his face – if I resisted. He said he didn’t want to lose me, that he’d be so lost if someone took me away from him.
He isolated me from my friends. I was in band and he wasn’t, and we had been the same friend group of girls since middle school. We ate lunch in the band hall every day, we hung out after band practice, we had inside jokes about rehearsal or the music or something that happened at morning sectionals. When I was a junior, my director made a rule that no one outside of band could be in the band hall. That meant he wasn’t allowed in there, which by definition meant I couldn’t be either. My friends were angry, they felt betrayed. He was always nice to them to their faces, but he told me repeatedly that they were “whores” and they “didn’t really like me,” or they “felt sorry for me.” He convinced me that they were flirting with him behind my back, that they were plotting against me, that they were trying to break us up. I believed he was my only true friend, the only one who understood me. He knew every deep, dark secret in my life. He knew family secrets. He knew things that, if anyone found out about my family, would get them into trouble and I’d lose them. He had built a wall around us, an impenetrable wall that no one could breach. I trusted his every word, believed his every statement, had faith in him and that he wanted only to take care of me. I was also terrified that if I did leave, he’d tell everyone in our town everything he knew, or that he’d make good on threats to make things up that were even worse than the truth. He didn’t lay a hand on me, didn’t hit me, didn’t even raise his voice.
Until I became friends with someone forbidden. The band had a concert performance trip to Florida during Spring Break. I was packing, and he had become completely unreasonable in the days leading up to the trip, had started yelling at me, cornering me in my bedroom and threatening me that I had better not go on the trip “or else he didn’t know what he’d do to himself.” But my father had paid hundreds of dollars to help me go on the trip, my director expected me to go, and I wasn’t missing it. So I did the ultimate betrayal in his eyes – I went anyway.
So he broke up with me, right there in the parking lot when he dropped me off. He said I was never going to find anyone who loved me like he did, and if he did something to himself while I was gone, it was my fault. I cried and cried. I was scared he’d hurt himself, and I couldn’t live with myself if he did. I genuinely loved him, wanted to protect him, to go back to the way it was in the beginning. But I was also so tired of the control, the accusations, the jealousy and isolation from other people.
In the space of about 5 minutes, I went from heartbroken to extremely angry. I got out of the truck, told him to go to hell, and went on my way into the band hall. And – somewhat out of spite – I sat with a boy on the bus. A guy in my section, a year younger than me, sat beside me on the charter bus for 18 hours. He was kind, had a gentle smile, and he listened when I spoke. He laughed at my silly jokes. I felt myself relax for the first time in months. During the 5 days we were in Florida, I talked to him about a lot of things, and I opened up about a few of the issues I was having. He said I deserved to be treated like a queen, and that if I wanted to get back with my boyfriend, I needed to tell him how I felt.
When we got home, he was there, waiting to pick me up in the parking lot. I was skeptical, but I got in the truck. We sat in silence, and he drove to a local park. He parked, turned to me, and he was crying. He said he thought a lot about me when I was gone, that he was so sorry, that things would be different. He said he wanted to be together, that he’d make it right, that he’d change. He held my hands, looked into my eyes, pleaded and begged me to give him another chance. He looked so broken, so lost. I couldn’t turn him away. I made him promise he’d change. I made him swear it. And he did.
And it went back to the way it was at first. The sweet notes, the kind gestures, laughing and joking. He eased up on what I wore or where I went. He didn’t stop me from seeing my friends. We really didn’t argue. Until a friend of mine saw him at his job, and they talked about our breakup briefly and she mentioned how I’d become “close” to a guy on the band trip.
I was at work, handling an order in the drive thru. He got off work early, came and sat at the end of the counter where I was serving people. He didn’t speak. He stared at me, watched my every move. I was terrified. I had seen the face of his anger before, but he was stone faced and red. He sat like that until we closed, and then he waited in his car. I still don’t know why I got in the truck that night. But I did. When I got in the truck, he was crying. He looked up at me, tears streaming down his face. And then, he hit me. Full force, closed fist, right across my mouth. My lip split open and I felt like I’d been slammed to the ground. I was about to reach for the door handle, and he grabbed my arm, held it down and drove off, and stopped at the park. I stopped resisting because I knew it was futile. He was so much stronger than I was. My head was pounding and I was so scared. We sat in silence and I could barely breathe. He got out, went around the truck, opened the door and dragged me out. He kicked me in the stomach, pushed me down and hauled me back up again repeatedly, pulled my hair, spit on me. In silence. He picked me up and held my limp body against the side of the truck, smeared dirt all over my mouth and face. He told me he was going to “ruin” me. He said he was going to make it so no one would ever want to even look at me, let alone touch me. He called me every filthy name he could think of, and then he dropped me on the ground. Then he got in the truck, and called for me to get in. I was so upset but terrified to be left alone at night in the middle of a forest so I got in. He drove me home. As I got out of the truck, he came up behind me and picked me up, cradling me in his arms, and he cried, and cried more. He was coughing he was crying so hard. He kept saying he was sorry, that he couldn’t believe he’d hurt me. He begged me and begged me to forgive him, to please say I was okay. I hurt all over, but I knew that if I fought back or tried to run or told anyone, he’d do worse. So I said it was going to be okay. I let him take me in the house and clean me up, bandage my cuts, hold me and stroke my hair. He promised it would be better. He just got so mad, and he couldn’t control it. He couldn’t lose me. He hadn’t told me about what my friend had told him. I didn’t know for weeks what had led up to the beating.
He never hit me in the face again after that. Too much evidence, he’d say later. He knew – the moment I slumped into his arms and allowed him to come into my house and stay in my life – that he had me right where he wanted me. He knew he could do whatever he wanted to me, and so he did. He had complete control over me, so he went back to the physical and emotional manipulation, the isolation, the constant control. He never left a mark where someone could see it. He would pinch me on my upper thighs, slap the back of my legs, punch me between the shoulder blades. He would force me to overeat, then punch me in the stomach until I threw up. I began chewing my fingernails, pulling out my hair, stabbing myself with needles in my armpits. Anything I did to myself hurt less than what he was doing to me.
He repeatedly sexually assaulted me. He told me that every time I’d let him touch me before gave him the right to do whatever he wanted to me. He held me down, put his knees on my chest, pinned me against walls, pulled my arms behind my back so I couldn’t fight back.
This went on for over 9 months, my entire senior year. In that amount of time, I kept my job, held up a 4.0 GPA, applied for college, was a newspaper editor at school, and a leader in the band. No one – not one single person – knew any of it had ever happened.
He proposed to me three weeks after we graduated from high school, and I accepted. I honestly, truly loved him, and I wanted to help him, to be enough for him to change. I wanted to save him – I knew his childhood had been horrifying and he had been abused himself. I knew his secrets too, the same way he knew mine. And I wanted to save him. He enlisted in the Air Force, and I went to college orientation. I saw him graduate from basic training, and I went to my first day of being a college freshman with a ring on my finger and wedding plans in my mind.
I was 18. He was 19. He’d been my entire existence for four years, and hiding the truth from everyone had been my daily work. After 6 months in college, with more freedom than I knew what to do with, I made the decision to end our relationship. I called him on a January morning, 2 weeks before what would’ve been our 5 year anniversary. A girl answered the phone. In his apartment. In the morning. I asked if she was his roommate’s girl and she said she was his girl. I asked to speak with him, and when she asked who I was, I said I was his fiancée. He picked up the phone, and I told him it was clear that he’d moved on, and there was no way that he could take care of two women since he’d never been able to take care of one. Silence.
And it ended. I saw him once more about 3 years later, sitting in the bleachers of our hometown football game, and I was with that sweet guy from the charter bus, the man who would become my husband. And even though the physical contact and the tumultuous relationship ended on the surface, the effects of it rippled through my life and my relationships for years.
I wish I’d known so many things when I was going through this.
I wish I’d known I was NOT alone.
I wish I’d known I was NOT to blame. It was NOT my fault, I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t even really allow it. I didn’t know any better. No one had ever told me that love could hurt.
I wish I had known that control, manipulation and isolation are not signs of love and protection but are the early warning signs of abuse.
I wish I’d known that I could tell someone, anyone. No one who loved me would’ve let it go on the way it did. But they didn’t know. I was an expert at protecting him instead of myself.
I wish I’d known that there is professional help available. Counselors, police, teachers. Someone could’ve stopped it.
I wish I’d trusted my family with the truth. They would have helped.
I wish I had been more self-confident, more true to myself. I wish I had known my own self-worth.
I wish I had the strength to tell people I needed help, and that I did not to see myself as weak.It started out as innocently as most high school relationships begin. I was 14, almost 15, quiet, studious, insecure and growing up poor in a mostly middle-class small town. He was 15, almost 16, athletic, funny and he smiled at me when I walked past him on my way to my seat in World History class. It started out as innocently as a few notes passed between our friends, stolen glances and smiles when he turned around, small talk between classes. It started out as innocently as it could, but it didn’t end like a fairy tale, or even like a high school relationship that just grew apart. It ended with silence at the other end of the phone, a broken engagement and ultimately ended 3 years of abuse, control and manipulation.
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