Moving on with Hope

Three years ago, I entered a relationship with someone I had convinced was my person. We had the same interests, hobbies, and lifestyle, so I thought he had to be the one. We met on the infamous Bumble dating app; I figured how bad this app could be. My best friend met her fiancé here two years prior, so I figured let’s give it a shot! Four days later, after numerous failed conversations and bad pick-up lines, I found Jacob. Jacob was one hundred percent my type. We spent countless hours on the phone chatting about our lives and trauma, bonding over our mental health experiences. Shortly after several dates, he offered me a room to stay in his parents’ home. At that point, I had driven 1 1/2 hours nearly every day that summer, so moving in sounded like the best option to bring us closer. At the time, I was excited to share a space with someone I felt a strong connection with. However, the connection soon faded just two months after cohabitation.

I started a new job, met new people, and reconnected with old college friends I had left behind. My ability to be social and connect with others deeply scared the shit out of Jacob. He began to feel insecure and annoyed by my friendships with other people and suddenly wasn’t the boyfriend I expected to be. About three months into the relationship, I began noticing Jacob’s anxiety increasing, growing more codependent on our relationship every day, and unable to regulate any of his feelings/emotions. One weekend, I decided to take a trip upstate to visit a friend who was visiting from across the country, when a day later, Saturday morning, I received a text from Jacob that genuinely changed our dynamic. The text said, “I know I was wrong, but I read your diary and” … well, there is no need to talk about the rest. Jacob used this opportunity to snoop around my personal belongings and intrude on my private thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences. I’ll never forget this moment, reading the message and feeling my heart sink into my body. I was a different person from this day on. Jacob and I… we were different. In that diary were conversations with my inner child, letters to people I’d never send, and information about my life I could never get back from that bastard. Excuse my french. I hate him. Ever since that day, i’ve hated him. I couldn’t find it within myself to forgive him. I expressed to him that it would, in fact, take me some time to heal from this betrayal and that this situation might have been unforgivable.

Shortly after, I was locked in the house, unable to leave, found knives under our bed, and was being emotionally abused/violated. I knew I wanted to go. I knew he could never be my person. But he scared me. I was unaware of what he would do if I left. Would he try to self-harm (given his history), try to harm me physically (what’s with the knives under the bed?), or hurt someone I love (I dare him)!? I had no idea what he could do, so I took a step back and weighed my options. My first thought was to try and work on forgiving him because all this has to be because he loves me, right? I thought this must be why people say, “Love makes you crazy,” but no. Jacob’s love was dangerous; it rattled me with fear for years, and I lost myself.

I felt there was no safe place, no person who could love me gently. Perhaps I am unlovable. I spent two years trying to escape Jacob and his family’s toxicity. I shared very little about my day-to-day struggles in this relationship during this time. My parents were residing less than 1 hour away, and I still couldn’t tell them the truth about Jacob. My friends, too… I didn’t want to hear the shit I knew they’d say! “M leave him! Get your own place! Tell somebody! Get help! etc.” I didn’t want anyone to worry. I didn’t want to be a burden.

One day during the winter of 2023, I was late to work. My boss called me into the office to ask, “Why do you look so sad? This isn’t the M we know and see every day.” I explained to her that it was no big deal. Just had issues with my partner this morning. My boss replied, “M, are you safe at home? At this moment… I caved. I began to cry tears of hopelessness, and when I found myself able to come clean to someone about my relationship with Jacob, I spilled out everything and then some. My boss stood up, hugged and whispered, “M, you will be safe, I see and hear you. Thank you for being vulnerable and honest with me. Throughout that working day, I felt super anxious about airing details of an emotionally abusive, toxic relationship. I wondered what would happen if she judged me or believed I could not show up at work. Nonetheless, she called me into her office before clocking out that day and offered me a check for 3300. She said this is a down payment for a new apartment and relocation away from Jacob. 

When I left work that day, I felt a feeling inside me that I hadn’t felt in years: hope. I hope that I can express myself again, put my feelings out there, and receive help. From that day on, my boss and I began to find ways to support my mental health and start healing. 

In this moment, I knew it was possible. Maybe I could start to find myself again, and regain the parts of me Jacob stole. Perhaps I can be less afraid and begin to heal. 

But truthfully, even healing feels scary. 


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April 18, 2024

Wow that is an amazing boss. That’s the sort of thing that gives me hope for people again… I have someone like that. I snapped in half and was not sure how to put myself together, and someone was like “Can I do things for you? Can I help?” and it was vulnerable to say yes but I’m glad I did. And to the right person.

Healing is definitely scary. But you are still here and I for one am glad for it.