Here’s a story I haven’t told before. Or at least, I haven’t told this version of it before.
Usually, I tell a story of two teenagers in love who were tragically pulled apart by their terribly cruel friends. He cut himself; she tried to save him. His family was dysfunctional; she tried to save him. He was struggling under the pressures of popularity; she tried to save him.
All of that is true.
But what is also true is that meanwhile, she was constantly losing friends and almost never made new ones, and her confidence in herself was growing weaker by the day. And he did nothing to save her.
For the first two years of our friendship, we were adorable. We wanted the best for each other. We could tell each other things that no one else seemed to understand. It’s no surprise that we fell in love.
But once we did, he used my love for him to manipulate me in subtle ways. It took me FOREVER to realize it because we were once so pure and great together, and he had so many of his own troubles that I ended up giving him a pass on a lot of stuff. Even if I was initially mad about something, he’d find a way to get me to apologize to him instead because I was adding to his problems.
Here’s the thing – did he know what he was doing? In the early days, probably not. Did he feel bad about it? Absolutely. He took his self-hatred out on himself in the form of slashes into his skin.
But did it all still happen? Did it all still hurt me just the same?