An Open Letter to an Emotional Abuser

13 Jul

I just want to start by saying that I don’t think you’re a bad person. I never thought that you were out to get me or did any of these things intentionally to hurt me. But it happened. And it changed me. And even though I’m finally dealing with it, I’m still kind of angry. It’s hard to tell sometimes if I’m angry at myself or with you. But then I don’t want to be angry and I try to brush it off.

It might have taken me a long time to call it what it was, but it was emotional abuse. Like I said, I don’t think of you as bad or as an abuser, so maybe that’s why it took me so long to face this head on. You kept me hanging on; you pulled me in when you wanted me, but pushed me away when you didn’t. You led me on when you knew how I felt. You told me you loved me, but did you or were you just trying to convince me to sleep with you? (I’m so glad I didn’t.) I thought I could help you; thought I could save you from yourself.  I feel like that barely scratches the surface and there was so much more than that. But I’m still dealing with it all and I’m not ready to say it all.

You hurt me, but now I’m the one hurting myself. You made me afraid of a basic emotion that I now try to avoid at all costs. I get anxious; I apologize profusely. I assume that I must have done something wrong if someone doesn’t respond to me in a timely manner. I don’t trust myself anymore. I don’t want to be angry and the thought of anyone being angry at me causes even more anxiety.

I want to be happy with someone, but I fall for people who are unavailable; who don’t love me back. And I feel like I’m subconsciously doing this to myself—no one can hurt me if I never really stand a chance with them. Then it’s just me hurting me.

And I’m really fucking tired of it. I want to be okay. I want to not get anxious about everything. I want to not take everything so goddamn personally. I want to be able to just go out with someone, kiss and touch someone, do whatever the hell my body feels like doing.

But I don’t feel like I can. I can’t wrap my mind around doing something without emotion. I used to think that was helping me. But is it hurting me? Are my feelings holding me back from moving forward? Don’t get me wrong, I feel nothing for you anymore. I’m glad you can be so happy and have your life working out so well while I feel trapped inside my own anxious and neurotic mind.

As much as I want love and want to let someone in, I appear to do a fantastic job of keeping people out. I’m scared to admit my feelings to people because the thought of rejection or of such intense pain after letting someone else in is terrifying. My heart races just thinking about it.

I’m working through it, though. Writing this out is part of that. Being honest with myself about it. About how I feel. My interpretation. Talking it out. That’s a step in the right direction. Right?

This post was brought to you by Dawn, who knows that this story is not unique.


6 Responses to “An Open Letter to an Emotional Abuser”

  1. Brianna July 13, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Props, Dawn. I swear you just copied and pasted every unsent letter I ever wrote. It’s nice to know other people have been in the same shitty boat.

    • Kate July 16, 2011 at 10:10 am #

      Ditto. I’ve written this exact same thing over and over again. It took a lot of time and personal reflection to start releasing all the anger. Thanks for posting this!

  2. liarlier July 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    Actually reading this made me recognize some things I do in my life that are probably still directly due to one unhealthy relationship. One I thought I was over, but the aftermath of which still has me keeping myself at arm’s length from healthy relationships. More attention must be paid, more risks taken, more work to be done. Thanks for calling attention back to yourself. Ourselves.

  3. kelcoh July 19, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Dawn thank you for sharing this. I know I can definitely relate. Not too long ago a friend and I were at the beach and were comparing these kinds of relationships to building sandcastles with dry sand… you fill your bucket up, flip it over, and see it all crumble, but still all you want to do is fill the bucket up and try it all over again! The thought of passing someone on the beach doing this makes me laugh; it makes no logical sense! But our emotions are such powerful things. I think it just takes a lot of little steps.

  4. Dawn July 20, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Thank you all for your comments and encouragement. Like Kelsey said, “it just takes a lot of little steps.” This was definitely one of those steps for me and I sincerely hope that it was helpful or at least enlightening for all of you.

    Your support makes me feel braver and for that I’m truly thankful. ❤


  1. intro. « Lilac Shrieks & Scarlet Bellowings - August 1, 2012

    […] to write to heal the world, but first I think I need to heal myself. Peace is every step and it’s one step at a time, right? Share this:Like this:Like3 bloggers like this. Tagged intro, depression, creativity, ee […]

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