In relationships, it’s a given that there will be challenges. Mountains you’ll have to climb. Obstacles meant to make you both stronger.
But what happens when the person you were in love with is constantly caught in a shroud of lies, and their tactics seem only focused on destroying who you are, in the name of their own confidence? What do you do then? Where do you draw the line?
As Emanz shows us, a painful realization like this is far from easy. But at some point, a choice has to be made, and sometimes it isn’t about whether you love someone, but whether (and how) they really love you.
At first, it felt great. But eventually I saw the little ways he constantly tried to tear me down. For example, he would compliment me but then take it back. Every chance he got, he would make me insecure on so many levels as he compared me to other people like his exes, saying how I would never look as good as they did or that I would never be able to pull another guy like him because I didn’t look the part.
He was incredibly controlling and wanted me to do everything the way he wanted me to. He would try to get me to do what he wanted by being very vindictive and manipulative. And in the moments where he really did seem to have my best interest in mind, it was always on his terms.
But no matter what, everything revolved around him and what he wanted. And by either using my beauty against me or making me feel it didn’t exist at all, he tried to make me feel less than, so I would never feel confident enough to imagine a life without him.
And when trying to destroy my confidence in myself through beauty wasn’t enough, he used my own feelings of loneliness against me. Whenever I would make him angry, he would bring up the things he knew really hurt me, like my family rejecting me when I came out.
He would say things like, “That’s why your family rejected you” and “That’s why your father threatened to shoot you. You deserved it,” to make me feel like he was the only one that cared about me. The only one I had. And as hard as it is to admit, I believed him.
When it comes to relationships, I’m still learning. But now I know what I don’t want. I don’t want another abusive person. Instead, I want honesty, truth….I want someone brave enough to be trustworthy, so we can learn to love, cry, and grow, together. I want to feel loved.
In my mind, if my family wasn’t talking to me and he was the only one around, then it meant what he was saying had to be true, right? So, for a while I would believe that he was possibly the only person that was there for me. It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t true, and that he just wasn’t good for me.
We didn’t break up immediately because we lived together and I didn’t have a place to go to. But that’s definitely when things changed between us. Mentally, I wasn’t there and for a long time we didn’t even talk to each other in the house. It became clear that he was talking to other guys because when they would find out about me, I would get all kinds of calls from them, asking me to get rid of all my photos of him, even though we were living together in the same house.
We fought a few times as well, which meant things were really going downhill. At that time I was already angry and upset given the lies about the pills. So when more lies would surface and we would get into fights, there were moments where either he would hit me or I would hit him. Things even got serious enough one time where the cops had to get involved.
Later, all kinds of lies came out and it became clear that just about every time he accused me of doing something bad or behind his back, he had already done it himself. Eventually, we reached the point of no return and I left.
Whenever I would make him angry, he would say things like, “That’s why your family rejected you” and “That’s why your father threatened to shoot you. You deserved it,” to make me feel like he was the only that cared about me. The only one I had.
When it comes to relationships, I’m still learning. But now I know what I don’t want. I don’t want another abusive person. Instead, I want honesty, truth. Someone who isn’t afraid to be themselves. Someone willing to share their life experiences as much as I’m willing to share mine. I want someone brave enough to be trustworthy, so we can learn to love, cry, and grow together. And most importantly, I want to feel loved.
During that relationship, although he said loved me, just about everything turned out to be a lie, which he eventually admitted. I don’t know what love really feels like because I’ve never felt it. But I do believe that if a person loves you, they would never do anything to intentionally hurt you. And even though things might happen, they would never put you in a situation where your life’s in danger. That’s the love I want. That’s the love I’m searching for. The kind of love that reminds you of your worth.