Trigger Warning: Self-harm, abuse, eating disorders, mental and psychological harm, mental disorders.
I have, whether it’s easy to see or not. But that’s what we’re best at, covering up the psychological and emotional scars that were inflicted, putting up walls that you can never scale, to protect ourselves even when the monsters are long gone.
I was in an abusive relationship for nearly two and a half years. The monster that I faced on a day-to-day basis was actually my very first girlfriend. We met during my first week of freshman year in high school, in detention, if that sounds promising enough. For sake of her (undeserving) privacy, we’ll call her Casper. She was best friends with one of my friends, and the two always hung out together when I wasn’t in school. From the minute I laid eyes on her, my stomach twisted in knots and my throat dried up. I couldn’t shake the feeling of attraction towards her, even though there were many more suitable candidates for the taking. We got to know more about each other in detention, where she told me about her obsession with Broadway plays and musicals, showing me her first-edition copy of “Wicked” and asking me if I had any interest in the arts. We connected more and more later that day, and she even invited me over to her house that same afternoon. I felt like I had struck gold with this girl.
My mom dropped me off happily enough, but her stance grew stiff and uncomfortable when she laid eyes on the girl. Casper came up the driveway to meet us, donning an Invader Zim shirt that was two sizes too small, a purple and black tutu, orange-and-black-striped leggings, and about two pounds of eyeliner. She had blond hair back then, mixed with brown and tawny streaks that she thought “set off her eyes”. My mom exchanged a concerned look with me, even gesturing towards the truck as if to ask if I wanted to go back home. I waved her off and went inside the house with Casper.
I wish I would have taken my mom’s silent advice.
Casper asked if I wanted to stay the rest of the day or sleep over, and I gladly agreed with sleeping over. That night, when we were up in her room watching a movie, she pressured me into sleeping in her bed with her instead of the guest bed I was given. Once again, I agreed, and she took my supposed eagerness as a sign to extend the welcome. This time, clothes were stripped off, and she proceeded to pressure me into consensual sex. All night, back and forth we spent pleasuring each other. I faked so many orgasms just to get through the night…
We weren’t even dating at that time. In fact, it took another four weeks for her to ask me out. I made the mistakes of saying yes…Again. This was when the dam in her mind broke. Every hour of every day after that initial asking-out, she bombarded me with her insanity, inflicting multiple scars on my psyche. If it wasn’t her threatening to kill herself if I left her, it was telling me about all the times she was admitted into the mental ward for schizophrenia and countless other mental issues.
I know you’re asking yourself, why didn’t I just tell somebody? I really wish I knew the answer to that. I could have been saved from so much, but when you’re in that situation, you’re already not thinking clearly. There’s nothing you can do. You’re trapped.
Casper informed me of the hundreds of self-harm scars covering her arms, legs, and stomach. She told me, in great detail, about the objects she used to inflict the cuts. She told me that she was actually a leopard (or was it a mountain lion?) in her past life, and that she had to go through spiritual rituals to coax out her inner animal. Apparently, she would go out to the woods every night and meditate to the Great Spirit Animals to transform her into her inner self. Her school and social life was not immune to these occurrences, as she would wear headbands with cat ears and draw whiskers on her cheeks, walking around growling at people. I’ll never forget the stares and gaped mouths I recieved in public. Half the time spent in my relationship I was being an animal controller/tamer. Now, not only was having my mental health threatened, but I was humiliated on a daily basis by her hijinks.
The mental and psychological pressure she had me under every day gave way to anorexia. Her parents never showed any concern, figuring I could handle whatever I was going through. I would eat maybe once a week, and if it was ever around her, I would be trapped in the bathroom throwing up for five hours at a time. It was becoming a truly toxic relationship, but still I stayed. I thought I could fix her if I tried hard enough. But the truth was, the more I tried to fix, the more broken I became. If I did anything that she didn’t like, she would cut herself in front of me, deeper and deeper until I was screaming an apology that she didn’t deserve. I was walking on eggshells for months to come.
I was a starving, suffering shell of a person. My emotions had long been numbed away, only allowing one sad, blank stare to stay in their place. She chased away everyone I held close, keeping me all to herself and her insanity. Every waking moment I wished I could fall back to sleep forever. I couldn’t even cry because I put up so many walls that wouldn’t allow it. No matter how long she beat me down, I refused to give her the satisfaction of seeing me broken. I simply became a statue of myself, cold and hard and uncaring. I cut and tore into my body, begging to bring some kind of feeling to the surface, but nothing worked. I felt like a goner, already.
She had grown bored of me by Junior Year, in which she dropped me like a old food wrapper and moved on with her life. I was nothing anymore, except a soulless shell. It should have been a relief, but she stuck around, just close enough to keep her eye on me. I attempted to date other girls, but Casper was always in the picture, chasing them away with horror stories of what I would do to them if we dated. She told my next girlfriend that I was a dirty cheater, even though I would never cheat on anybody in my life. It was like a twisted version of the previous years, and I couldn’t escape.
However, Casper disappeared second semester of Junior Year, claiming that she had been accepted into a prestige acting school. She never surfaced for the next two years after that. I started dating again, and found myself being in successful friendships and relationships. There were always ups and downs, but they could never be as bad as what I had been through. I met my current girlfriend of two years, who is the best thing that ever happened to me. My life was finally being put back together. I couldn’t have been happier.
Last summer, Casper attempted to contact me by email. She said she wanted closure and forgiveness for all she had done to me, saying that she had changed. I simply relayed all the shit she had done, exactly, and told her that I was done with her. She wasn’t getting a “forgive and forget,” because if I forgot, I wouldn’t be talking about it, now.
There is still so much to say about this darker time in my life, so this might be a Part One.
I’ve finally made my escape. I’m happier, much healthier, and I’m finally living life again. Just remember that no matter what kind of shit you are put through, you will always be the stronger one. You can do anything, and you can save yourself. Please don’t keep quiet like I did.