Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Self help. I struggle with this so much. I used to be a person who accomplished everything I set my mind to. I graduated High School with honors, recognition and a future. I told myself that I would be successful, but between emotions and financial responsibility, my reality crashed. Community college was a choice I made based on the fact that no one, not even my guidance counselor, advised me on applying to schools almost a year prior to graduating, and the fact that I would have limited to no financial help from my parents.
Working, paying for a car that won't stop breaking down, and attending class is tough. I always had to weigh out what was more important to me in the moment. During this same time I had to drop classes to afford car repairs and work more. My bitterness grew with my parents for promising me that 40 grand was set aside for my education, but then telling me that: "We already had one daughter blow it, so now you won't get the same privilege."
Luckily I made many friends with Professors and though they probably shouldn't have, they let me sit in classes, off-the-record. At first I would attend these classes just to not be at home, but then I would absorb and learn so much. Though I cannot name the one professor, in general, who set this up for me and guided me, you know who you are, and I will never be able to thank you enough.
At this point my family life I was really spiraling and so was my health. I remember on one particular evening after leaving school at about 10:30PM, I felt a wave of exhaustion come over me. I started up my car, and headed in the opposite direction of home. Not knowing where I was going at all, I just kept driving. I will never forget how this black hole of depression swept over me and almost absorbed me. After an hour of driving one way, I reluctantly turned my car around and sobbed all the way home. When I tell you that that hour was the heaviest of my life, I don't expect you to understand.
I finally cracked on that day I think. I started drinking alone, cutting myself and I stopped eating. When I did eat, I would vomit it up. I wanted to feel empty. Life had been weighing me down for too long. People started to notice my weight loss and compliments flooded in from every which way. So I road on this high of denial to the point where one day, at a party, I just passed out.
The next morning I got a phone call from a guy who I had went on a date with a week prior. He had heard of what happened and he was concerned. A friend who was with me when I passed out had called a few of the recent contacts in my phone. He was the only one who checked in on me. So I told myself this is the direction you need to go in, this is the guy you need to be with. I got better with him, I really did, and I put in all of my energy and effort into that relationship.
So when he wanted to get a condo and told me I could finish my last two years of school, live with him and work a part-time job on the weekend to cover my bills only, I was over the moon. I thought I finally found someone who would support me and my life goals. Not even two hours of me moving into his condo he told me that he thought I should take a year off of school and get a full time job to help him support all the new bills he would have. I agreed, I was in this for the long-haul. Finding a job with just and associates was not easy however, but I was lucky to land one about an hour away from my new home with my boyfriend.
Things got really, really weird after this. My boyfriend constantly complained about money. So I gave him more and more. I didn't have much life experience and I trusted him to tell me the truth on expenses. So one day after pay-paling him six hundred dollars for bills that month and buying groceries for the two of us, we go to an ATM and he deposits his check. The slip read the total of his account balance. This is the first time I found out he was lying to me. He always wanted to know my balance, but here he was lying about not having money. After he deposited his check he told me of his plans to purchase an 8 thousand dollar Pin-Ball machine.
We got engaged. He took me to a Khol's and in and annoyed manner told me to pick one. Not that it matters but the ring He got me was on sale for 600 dollars and he got 200 hundred dollars Khol's cash on the purchase by opening up a card with them. This was my proposal if I didn't make that clear. This whole situation is how I got engaged.
When we got back to the house he started pacing. I was still on cloud 9 up until this. But all-in-all my life finally had direction and I was happy. I started to feel like something was missing. I talked to him about him being distant and he told me that it was just stress. We almost broke it off at this time, but then he took me to the pet store one day and again said "pick one." I looked at all the puppies and got so excited, I pointed to a bunch I thought were cute. He then said " I like this one here, and this one over here. You can choose either." They were both breeds I wasn't familiar with but I decided on one and the next day we had a new puppy." LIfe was good again for a while.
He kept complaining though, he didn't want to spend money on a wedding.I wanted one desperately and began to save myself. Doing this, paying for my bills, and half of the home bills was a lot. I was only 23 when he bought the condo and he had age and a masters degree on his side. But I kept working hard, he said money was the main factor of stress and I wanted to make that go away.
He became less and less affectionate until he couldn't look at me or make any eye contact. I would call him, stuck in traffic on the way home and he wouldn't answer. I knew something was going on but not what. I held on to how things were and just kept trying to make him happy. He wanted a new rug, I bought it, he wanted a new console, I bought it. He never seemed to want me.
My grandmother past away, I got the news on his birthday. I had lived with my grandmother for a bit just before our relationship kindled and the news hit me hard. I asked him if he could just not invite anyone over. I needed to be alone. He had plans to go to his parents and he had a twin brother who had an apartment that they could use to celebrate after. He left me alone most of the day and I kept myself busy cleaning. Later a bunch of people entered the house laughing. They lounged around the living area. I ran to a room where we had kept boxes from moving and started ripping them up for hours. I was still emotional and angry. His brother came and checked on me but had no idea why I was upset. When I finally calmed down I walked to the living room. My fiance made his way over to me laughing. Mind you he hasn't said a word to me since arriving with his friends. He simply smiles though as if nothing bad has happened to me. "Having fun?" He says and laughs in my face. My anger fires up, and though I regret doing this, and I wish I hadn't (kinda) I slapped him. It was 1000% instinctual and I have never done it since or before to anyone.
There was silence in the room till his friend spoke up and said I shouldn't have done that. I look at my fiance thinking he will say my grandmother just fell down last night in the bathroom and passed away. I'm thinking he will say that I didn't want company because I wasn't ok and all day he hadn't even asked if I was ok. But he sat there and drank and let his friends tell me what a horrible person I was.
I walked away. I went into the closet, and rocked back and forth before going into a full blown panic attack. They stayed in the living area and carried on like nothing happened. I walked back in there about 45 minutes later. Told the whole room awkwardly that I was going to my parents, I was told to have fun.
I called my parents crying on my drive over, my mom was mad I slapped him, as really no one ever deserves that. I tried to explain it came without thought and that I too was disappointed in myself. My mom, dad and sister stopped scolding when they saw me. I was shaking, crying and not really being coherent (pretty normal post panic attack behavior). It was my Dad, actually, that hugged me and let me sob for as long as I needed.
I went back to him the next day, and he asked why I left, I didn't have the energy to relive it so I said nothing, and apologized for slapping him. He nodded and took me out to eat, we actually had a nice day despite everything. I know that mentally I'm a lot to deal with for anyone sometimes.
Months later the lack of affection ate away at me and got worse. I gently asked what was wrong, and as per usual he dodged the question. Until finally "You just gained so much weight that I don't find you attractive anymore." Now having overcome an eating disorder this was the roughest thing I ever heard. I went silent, slipped into another panic attack and he walked away. It wasn't till I said we were done that he apologized and begged for me to stay.
I ended up relapsing on my eating disorder. He would praise the weight loss. 17 pounds in a month. "You're almost there." He said as he patted me on the back. Thus began the new toxic relationship of affection being earned. Weight loss, tidy house + money = love. We lived like this for a while that I didn't even notice the new issues.
Some weeks he wouldn't talk to me, especially come winter when we were stuck in the house more. His anger would peak over small things. I spilt water once, and under his breath he called me an idiot and angrily started cleaning it up. I would try to help and apologize profusely. It didn't matter. The rest of the week he would be angry.
I would try to tell him how sad I was, how I felt and he would tell me it was all in my head. I'd threaten to leave and he would say "Go to your parents, but they are no better than me." so I stayed.
My panic attacks would worsen and I felt like I was stepping on eggshells. I didn't do anything right. How I folded clothes was wrong, how I cleaned dishes was wrong and how I put away groceries was unforgivable. When he would bang cabinet doors and say vile things about me under his breath, it made me scared. I would run to the bathroom or bedroom to hide. But he would pound on the walls, tell me to get the f**ck out. One time he slammed the wall so hard that all the medicine fell out of the cabinet and on to me.
If I were in the bedroom he would rip the sheets off of me and tell me to get the f**ck up and asked me what the f**ck was wrong with me. Sometimes he would just grab his keys and mine and leave. I would feel trapped in the house not knowing when or if he was coming back. This action of abandoning me, made me feel the worst. I would go into the bathroom and punish myself with cuts or burns.
When I got a part time job and intended to leave my full time to resume school, money was looked at more than ever. I wasn't allowed to shop for things like tampons or deodorant without his supervision or approval. He even was starting to pick out my clothing and telling what color hair I should have and how my hair should be cut.
Long story short, we were extremely toxic together and It took a lot of strength to leave. But leaving was the beginning, learning to love yourself is a whole new battle that I wasn't prepared for.