Love and Emotional Abuse
One night I found myself in a weird blackhole looking through old photos of my ex. Not in a longing or missing him sort of way, but more out of curiosity. I had deleted all our pictures from social media, so I don’t even remember a lot of from that year. Through my late night browsing I came across some photos from a day we spent together at the Getty.
It’s crazy looking back on old photos remembering how unattractive you felt in that moment. I remember trying all day to take nice photos with my boyfriend and hating every single one of them. I think a lot of this stemmed from the way he treated me. My ex hardly every told me I was pretty and he constantly criticized my weight and eating habits. He would say things like, “you could have a body like hers if you worked out more” and would give me a hard time whenever I ordered something unhealthy to eat. I was appalled by these statements, but he’d say he was a photographer, so of course he was into long-limbed beauties with tiny waists; a stark contrast from big-assed me.
I turned into a completely different person that year we were together. My anxiety was at an all-time high and I would frequently wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks. I have never been overly self-conscious, but it was hard not to be with him criticizing every single thing in my life. My stomach was too big, my cooking was mediocre, I didn’t travel enough…He’d tell me I drank too much and would never drink with me, but then he’d travel home and immediately get drunk with his friends. He even criticized the electronics in my home. It was preposterous that I didn’t have an Apple TV or an air purifier, so he quickly replaced my stuff with his.
Nearly every day he would tell me I was pessimistic and had “negative energy.” I would sob and try to explain that it was impossible to be positive with him constantly beating me down, but it never stopped. I’d beg him to stop poking my stomach and refrain from taking pictures of random pretty girls on his phone, but he would keep going. I was so deeply unhappy, but prayed to God things would change. There were times he’d say our relationship wasn’t working so I’d try to end it, but he’d flip it on me and say he didn’t believe in giving up. I will never forget sobbing on the phone telling him that I felt like a battered woman. We both knew it wasn’t working, but we were caught in a terrible, miserable cycle.
Our breakup was an absolute nightmare and a few weeks after it ended, he pulled the whole, “I slept with someone and now I miss you” card. We talked for a couple weeks before he eventually told me we couldn’t get back together because he was not attracted to me. I screamed into the phone that if he wanted to be with a supermodel, he needed to get his ass to the gym. I was devastated again, but thanked him because I now knew we could never get back together. There was no way my friends and family could ever forgive him once they heard what he said about my body.
This is so hard to write about because I did love him and have some good memories, but our relationship was one of the hardest times in my life. I was definitely not perfect and there were times when I was awful to him, but the things he said to me over that year have really affected me. It’s hard for me to cook for someone because I’m convinced they are going to hate it. I have a difficult time being confident in a physical relationship with someone new because he was hardly ever into it. There are certain bikini models I can’t look at without feeling sick because he always compared me to them. We have hardly spoken in the last two years since we broke up, but I am still left pretty shaken up after every time we communicate.
I am by no means an expert when it comes to abusive relationships, but if you see things starting to go south in this sort of way, get out. Someone who loves you should not make you feel so terrible about yourself. I loved him and I tried so incredibly hard to make it work, but I should have ended things much sooner.
Looking back on our photos, the ones I felt so ugly in, I now see things much differently. I was not the ugly fat loser he made me out to be. I looked beautiful that day we went to the Getty and it’s a shame neither of us could see it.
Sad Girl Song – Cigarettes by Noah Gundersen
You remind me of cigarettes, the way I hold you in my chest.