You apologized again, didn’t you? But why did you apologize? You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, as you replay the argument in your head, you realize he’s the one that started it. Not you. So why are you apologizing? Oh, well. He probably got mad because of something you said. That’s probably why he was ignoring you in the middle of your argument, too. He claims it’s because he doesn’t want to lash out at you, but you know in your gut it’s because he’s merely avoiding the conflict as you sit on your couch consumed by it. So obviously since you can’t seem to let it go, and he seems to be fine avoiding it, it MUST be your fault.
What about that boundary you crossed? Oh, shoot, you’re right. He didn’t make boundaries with you so you were left to control them on your own with no accountability. So obviously, it’s your fault for feeling like utter shit when you cross them, compromising yourself yet again. But isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? You’re his girlfriend, and he needs to be pleased, too. It’s not all about you. Why are you making it about you? This is normal human behavior. It’s normal to compromise yourself and what’s important to you for someone else, isn’t it? I mean, he loves you, right? I’m sure he does. He totally does. He tells you that all the time. That’s why when you get home from his house you lay on your bed crying because you’re having yet another meltdown from feeling dirty after crossing another boundary. You thought you wanted to, and in the moment you did, but now that you’ve done it you don’t feel like you can take it back. So you don’t. And you continue to feel like crap until it becomes so normal that you become numb to the discomfort, so maybe you start enjoying whatever is happening ever so slightly. But really, you’re not.
So…you stopped talking about that thing that’s super important to you, huh? Obviously he doesn’t care about it too much because his eyes glaze over when you talk about it. Even though your mom points that out, you defend him yet again because he loves you and he wants to hear about the things you care about. Right? I mean, you care enough about the things that are important to him to learn about them and try to become knowledgable about them so you can have discussions about it. But really, you don’t enjoy it; you just enjoy making him happy. Gosh, don’t you wish he would return the favor? Yeah…you do…but it’s okay. You can just talk about something else.
When did you start to compromise the things that are important to you to make him happy? You don’t remember, do you? Because it happened so gradually and it felt so out of your hands that you just let it happen. You found yourself being willing to compromise your life-long dreams to have that super fun marriage with the white picket fence and the fun weekends. Except once you step far enough back to look at the big picture, you realize that you wouldn’t be living with the white picket fence; you would be living with the ratty, messy yard and the lock on the door that feels impossible to open. You would be living with the crippling debt and the constant arguing about whether or not you’re gonna go to church that weekend. You realize that you’ll have a really fun life, but it wouldn’t be substantial or fulfilling. So you decide that it’s time to let go.
So you finally broke up with him, huh? Do you feel free? Do you feel relieved? Probably not yet…but look at you. You’re finally putting yourself first. You realize that your faith and your dreams are far too important to put on hold for someone that wouldn’t do the same for you. You finally realize that you are worth the important conversations and you are worth the boundaries. You are worth the arguments and the staying. You realize that it isn’t normal to go through your day wondering what you’re going to apologize for next. You realize that it’s okay to recognize when things aren’t your fault, and it’s okay to sit in the discomfort of an argument.
You realize that you are worth so much more than compromising yourself for someone else who will NEVER return the favor.
You realize that you are valuable, and that you deserve to be treated like you have value.
You realize it isn’t normal to be begging your boyfriend to fight with you just so you can have one honest conversation that doesn’t feel like you’re barking commands at him.
Congratulations, my dear girl. You’ve finally walked out of an emotionally abusive relationship. The next steps won’t be easy, and the healing takes a long time. But give yourself grace. Every tedious, gross, emotional step of the healing process is so worth it. And one day, you’ll wake up and you’ll realize that you’re free. You don’t have to live under his shadow anymore because you have your own. You’re finally you again, apart from him, and that is the most freeing feeling you will ever experience. Here’s to healing, to grace, and to loving the sound of your steps walking away from the things not meant for you.