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Survivor's Story

Love and Abuse

Love and Abuse

TW // alcohol, abuse, sexual assault, feeling both love and hate towards an abuser

I was in love with the person who tried to assault me, and now my feelings are that much more complicated. I don’t mean as a toxic coping mechanism or anything like that, though all that is valid. I mean, I genuinely fell in love with him as a whole human. And I wish I didn’t.

We met when we were young; we almost grew up together. Over time, we started falling in love. Quarantine soon after started, isolating our relationship to an online format. The more I got to know him, the more I experienced what first love felt like. I was so young; I had never experienced love at that point. This relationship was new to me and also wonderful.

Over a year into our relationship, quarantine slowly seemed to be coming to an end. That’s when he started concocting and revealing his plan to be sexual with me when I was blackout drunk. He manipulated me for months, trying to make alcohol seem like nothing. He’d pressure me and make me feel inferior for not having drunk before. I’d bring up how I wasn’t sure about drinking alcohol. He’d always so lovingly calm me down. “Of course, I’d never pressure you into anything. You know that you know me. But-“

Feeling trapped, I continued with his plan. And, I would’ve gone all the way. But, for reasons I can’t remember, I suddenly drew the line. I told him I felt like he was pressuring me to drink. At this point, the idea of him trying to assault me could not be further from my mind. I guess I thought he was obsessed with me drinking because it’d be fun or because he wanted us to do something that’d bring us closer as people. In fact, at this point, I wasn’t even saying I wouldn’t drink with him; there was a high chance I would’ve gotten drunk for him anyways because he had such a hold on me. I was saying the pressure had become too much.

He always treated me like something beautiful, rare, and fragile that he didn’t want to drop and break. We’d gotten into fights before, but he’d always give the most sincere apologies I’d ever seen, even for the minor things. Of course, I expected this again. That’s what he’s been doing for over a year. Instead, he lashed out. He started gaslighting and speaking to me in a way he had never spoken to me before. He didn’t even fight to keep our relationship going when I headed out the door, he was so angry he didn’t care.

I didn’t go out the door because I realized he would assault me. I left the door because, after years of being yelled at, I didn’t want another person I loved to do the same. Back then, it was a split-second decision I made in the moment. Looking back, it was the best decision I have ever made. It’s a decision I don’t know if I’d have the strength to make even now, but it’s a decision I had the power to make back then. And I am indebted to my past self forever for that.

The idea of someone I loved trying to assault me is just too much for my brain to wrap around; to this day, I can’t process it. I know it happened because I have evidence. After all, people around me agreed and saw the blatant signs. But, it’s almost like a math problem that is way too advanced for you to understand. You’re trying hard, but you just can’t. My brain has no trouble wrapping itself around all the beautiful memories. Therefore, those memories are the only thing that I can remember. I’m crying my heart out, begging my ex to return to me, and my friends are baffled. They can’t understand why I would ever miss someone who could do something so
terrible.

People aren’t black and white. Some people can have so much good yet so much bad. And assault doesn’t just happen from a stranger on the street, for so many people- it happens from someone they know. Many people like me deeply cared about their abusers. So, when that relationship ends, they mourn not only the trauma- but the loss of a meaningful relationship. Some days I cry over the most basic, run-of-the-mill high school breakup. I listen to the same breakup songs everyone listens to, and my friends and I scream in a car about how we deserve someone better. Then, some days I am unable to move because of the unbearably heavy weight of experiencing an intense trauma that will follow me for life. Here I miss this boy I will forever remember for the touch of a first high school love, a boy who loved me so much he couldn’t breathe around me. Yet, I also am haunted for life by the boy who went farther than he ever should’ve, in ways I wonder if I’ll ever heal from. I have so much longer to go on my journey, but my first step is sharing it here.

I’m sorry to those whose stories are not a recount of an attempt of an assault but simply a recount of assault. I can only say that it’s not something most people can understand. But, every so often, you will meet someone who will. It was stories on this very website that was one of the things that inspired me to write this. And to the general public. It is valid if you have ever experienced anything similar to this, in whatever way. Whether you consider your experience small or big, there’s also a community hidden underneath. And I hope I’m one of them.

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