This is a piece I recently wrote that is very personal to me, but I thought I should share it as I want to advocate for the effects of bullying and emotional abuse.
Mistakes, Maturity, and the Art of Moving On
I’ve dealt with a great amount of bullying starting as early as 5th grade with the typical “Proactive” jokes or rumor spreading. Regardless of how much it hurt, it’s made me a stronger person today. With this said, nothing compares to the torture I have been faced with the past 4 summers. If I’m going to be honest, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, big ones too; but it’s the way you handle yourself after the fact that defines who you truly are. It’s the decisions you make to attempt to fix the mistake or work towards moving on. It’s the fact that you’ll never do it again after you do it once. It’s the maturity level that you hold. From the past 4 summers, I have learned many things and the most important is this: no one truly wants the best for you except yourself, so if you want change, you have to make it happen for yourself. I’m not saying don’t ask your best friend or your mom for advice. I’m saying that in the end trusting your gut and having self confidence will be what takes you far.
Let’s take a look down memory lane for a second. The bullying started year 2 of my job as a camp counselor. It started small with little things being said behind my back. NBD, right? Until it escalated quickly where I would be going home from work every day crying about how I’m not good enough to be accepted by my coworkers – which, if you work at a summer camp, you will know it’s typically teenagers around the same age as I was. I would be invited then uninvited for absolutely no reason to their “exclusive” parties. There was one person in this situation, who was my absolute best friend and might’ve even had a crush on me, but would always choose them over me anyday. I would be sitting at home alone while he was with them all the time, shitting on me, and nothing was done to stand up for me. I was constantly put down and there’s nothing I can say in this that explains the pain I went through only in the first year.
This continued for 2 more years. At the time I was very naive and vulnerable as I was only 16 or 17 years old. Those little remarks or acts of exclusion went a long way in a mind that already suffers from anxiety and depression. I never thought I was good enough. I never thought I deserved friends because it was always my fault for not being included or not fitting in. I supposedly had many “friends” that would just go behind my back and agree with the bullies.
Okay, fast forward to the infamous summer of 2017. Now this boy that had a crush on me is now my ex boyfriend after 2 years together. The break up was my fault completely and I regret ever doing what I did to him because no one deserves that pain of disloyalty. I admit it. But, what people do not know is the emotional abuse that existed prior and after the breakup and now it is time for me to finally open up. For the entirety of our relationship, even if I did not do anything wrong, everything was my fault. And I have to say I’m good at one thing – admitting when I do something wrong. Regardless whether or not I’d done anything, I would get screamed at, get told how much of a “heartless jerk” I was, and got told “fuck you”. In addition to this he would explain how he always spends money on me (as if that’s what matters) and go off about how I do nothing in return. I would get told that once he broke something out of anger, it was all my fault because I got him this angry, and this would happen not once, not twice, but multiple times a week. But I always felt guilty so I stuck to him. I stuck to his cycle of anger, punching walls, ignoring, and then feeling sorry and loving, only for it to happen again. I was delusional for not noticing these patterns and ending it sooner, but in the end I made a huge mistake that I am completely disappointed with myself for, but cannot change. I am 19, after all. Mistakes happen. That is not an excuse, but I felt trapped. After the breakup, I was told that he was going to kill himself because of me and that “he wanted to slit his wrists because that’s the only way he will never see me again”. I’m sorry, but NO ONE deserves to hear that. I would receive, on the daily, messages about how awful of a person I am in paragraph form, over and over and over again. After thinking this from past summers due to this guy, I continued to put myself down even more. I would get subtweeted constantly and then get an apology only for him to tweet about me the next day. But, I tried to think positively as he was the only person in that group from past summers working again. How bad could it be? The boy would continue to try and show affection and would get angry every time I did not show it back and because of what I did, I felt I owed it to him to show that I cared. But now I realize I did not at all owe him anything anymore. I denied a kiss and got yelled at about how it is my fault that I just do not have feelings for him anymore. Or he would explain that I should love him and proceed to make me feel guilty. There was one night we had gone out for dinner and proceeded to get in an argument in his car. He was driving so recklessly that I felt the need to inform my parents that I did not feel safe. Then, just when I thought things were getting better and we started to become civil, those people from previous summers came back even harder and attempted to get me fired. The boy knew about it and denied any knowledge of the incident. He then put the blame back on me, prior to me receiving a nasty voicemail from the girl who tried to destroy my job for a mistake in my past. Just when I thought that the bullies from year two of camp were officially gone, I realized there’s always going to be somebody out to get you.
I’m aware there are multiple stories within this, but I want to emphasize the effects of both bullying and emotional abuse. No one should ever make you feel as though you are not worthy. If this is the case, find your own worth and embrace it. As for being in a relationship, what I did was 1000% not okay and should not be the way to handle any situation. But, if you feel as though you are being abused in any way, you need to speak up and acknowledge that it is happening before it is too late. Also, never put your feelings on Twitter or whatever because you think you’re “exposing” someone, but you are really just allowing others to judge someone without knowing any back story. No one should have to endure the pain I have in the past, but should take what has hurt them and use it as motivation to create the best version of yourself.
This was a relationship I felt trapped in, I felt as though I was forced to be happy. Don’t get me wrong, many experiences were amazing and I will cherish the good memories forever, but at the end I was so in love with this person that I did not acknowledge the abuse he put me through. If you are reading this: learn from my mistakes. Know the signs of emotional abuse and leave. Do not let anyone blame you for their mental illness and put their anger out on you. If you feel unsafe, leave the situation immediately. If people tell you it is not that bad, do not believe your story, or explain how physical abuse is worse, do not listen. Both are just as awful and should never happen. It should not be the case where someone has to get seriously injured, or even commit suicide for people to realize their wrongdoings and it is time for a change. Also, stand up to those bullies that constantly make you feel worthless. It is only their insecurities that make them come at you. Kill them with kindness. Ignore and block their numbers and social media. Do what you have to do to keep only positive people in your life. I believe everyone deserves a second chance because I was lucky enough to receive one, but once the actions become repetitive, it is time to get out and you can do it.
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