Words by Judy Mei
To the boy who tried to break me,
After all that has happened, the hardest part is not the scar on my soul, one which still aches like an old wound when my mind wanders into the past. It is not the memories of your cruel words that echo in my head until I am cold with an empty sadness. It is the bitter realization that you knew exactly what you were doing to someone you were supposed to love. You saw every wound, every scar you left on me, and you relished it. You craved the power of holding someone’s heart in your hands – the power to hurt and the power to control.
You thought it was your right. To take and take and never give. You delighted in using my weaknesses against me - cleverly taking advantage of my warm personality, and my desire to make those around me feel loved. Skillfully manipulating my fears to revolve around your happiness, by crushing my spirit into a guilt-ridden shade, crippled with anxiety of being too greedy or selfish. Keeping me by your side, so satisfied with your own handiwork, to ensnare me in a cage until I no longer had the will to break out. Until I was conditioned to always put your needs and feelings before mine.
Because that was your worst fear, was it not? That one day I would leave you. That I could walk away and never look back. Of losing your hold over me, until I no longer needed or wanted you in my life. The terror of being exposed as the despicable person that you are, with your blackened soul for all to see.
But oh, I walked away, I walked away with a soft heart and pity on my tongue, blind to the darkness that festered in your heart. I tried to find excuses for your anger and violence, and believed your pleas of ignorance, for all the pain you caused me. I wanted to believe your fervent apologies and your promises to change. Instead of anger and betrayal, I chose compassion. Because should everyone not deserve a second chance?
And so the months went by, and words in your defense slowly fell silent, one by one. I began to grow nervous in the aftermath of our breakup. I saw how far you would go to keep me bound to you. What once seemed to be love, turned into obsession. In your desperation, you tried to smother me in guilt for daring to leave, weaving a web of lies and deceit. The lies grew in your unsuccessful attempts to garner sympathy from those close to me. Continued to spread insidiously through the people around us, when you realized your failure in wooing my friends to your side. Until your false words of love and heartbreak left me with the empty taste of ashes in my mouth. And so my pity turned to confusion. Turned to anger. Until it turned into fear.
For many months, I did not want to believe your cruel intentions. That you enjoyed every jagged wound, every invisible blow which made me curl into myself and look at the ground. Of your malicious intent in using my kindness against me, punishing me to hurt and to control me. That you truly meant every shattered keepsake hurled against the wall. Every uttered threat of physical violence against me. I never imagined you capable of taking advantage of me at my most vulnerable, in the safety of my own bedroom, brain fuzzy with sleep and exhaustion.
I thought I had seen the worst of you in our time together. But oh, I was so wrong. In the wreckage of our breakup, you showed me just how ruthless and manipulative you could truly be.
That is the hardest part. To believe the worst of someone because you can no longer see anything else. You showed me that truly cruel people do exist, and taught me that sometimes, there is no redemption or reconciliation. And with this realization, I experienced the first bitter taste of giving up on an important person in my life. It is an empty and hollow feeling, walking away with the knowledge that a person will never change, because they delight in the pain and humiliation of those closest to them.
Did you ever truly love me? I think not. Perhaps you were in love with the way I made you feel. Perhaps you were in love with the idea of someone who was willing to try their hardest to love you in spite of your flaws. Someone willing to bend until they were broken underneath a relationship based on your needs and desires. It was never love, because love is selfless, and you are selfish to the core.
It may have taken me months to realize the damage you caused. It may have taken more than a year before I stopped blaming myself. There is a permanent scar on my heart and soul, and I look through jaded eyes, which have been opened to the ugly truths in life. But in the end, I emerged a stronger woman, one reforged by fire and flame. Your attempts to break my spirit made me realize that I always had the strength in me to walk away with grace.
Never again will I allow my feelings to be used as weapons against me. I am no longer the same woman you left behind, on that cold, bleak night in New York City. This is not the face of a woman who will let her voice be silenced in fear. I deserve a love which feels soft and safe. I deserve a partner who wishes to hear my laughter and see my smile.
So thank you for the strength you have hammered into me. For letting me walk away with no regrets. I do not miss you, for your absence has made my life better in every way.
And in the end, your biggest fear has come to pass – because I have found happiness and love without you.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse or violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of your relationship, visit https://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-7233 for confidential help anytime.
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About the Author:
Judy Mei is an engineer with a love for literature, poetry, and creative writing. Outside of work, you can find her busy with crochet, drawing, and game nights with friends. She currently lives in Toronto, Canada, with her boyfriend of five years, in an apartment filled with plenty of love and laughter.