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I Let Go of My Abuser But I Can’t Let it Go

“Sometimes I laugh off the way he’d threatened me on the phone, or threatened to kill himself if we broke up. I always say I wish he had. It’s kind of true, but I know it would have made him a martyr to our teenage romance; our tragic love story. I also know he probably would have botched it on purpose – for sympathy and attention and to make me feel guilty.”

I talk about him openly: the abusive boyfriend I had for most of high school. I talk about how he separated me from my friends and family so well. My isolation was important to him. I talk about how he would “hug” me when he was angry in public; squeezing me so tight I felt like I might break. How he’d wrap his arm around my waist or shoulder in a similar way. From the outside it looked like affection, and if anyone could tell that his fingers were digging into my skin, they didn’t say anything. It made me feel so far away from everyone else. So alone.

I complain about the day he thought my jeans were too tight, so – when we were alone – he criticized me and grabbed the crotch of my jeans and squeezed so tight that I ached for the rest of the day. Or the time I visited my best friend at the beach and – because I’d mentioned that she was bi – he was certain I would end up in a threesome with her and her boyfriend.
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He called me three times to make sure I wasn’t doing anything he didn’t want me to. He begged me to go back to my family at the hotel, to promise I wouldn’t spend time with her. He hissed insults through the phone line and, when I hung up on him, he called again. And again. And again. I turned off my cell phone, knowing I would regret it later.

 He called me three times to make sure I wasn’t doing anything he didn’t want me to.

Sometimes I laugh off the way he’d threatened me on the phone, or threatened to kill himself if we broke up. I always say I wish he had. It’s kind of true, but I know it would have made him a martyr to our teenage romance; our tragic love story. I also know he probably would have botched it on purpose – for sympathy and attention and to make me feel guilty. I vaguely remember him doing something like that. Still, it would have saved me a lot of pain, fear, and isolation.

Cynthia Marts

Cynthia Marts

Cynthia is an east coast girl trying to make it in the west coast world. She writes fiction through her psuedonym, E. S. Vale, and moonlights as an editor whenever possible. She has a new husband and two dogs, and loves food, books, and her tiny family.

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