It was about three weeks since my mother had unexpectedly passed away. I had broken up with my long-term boyfriend and moved back into my parent’s basement. You could say my life was going pretty great.
My nights were filled with more facebook browsing than I would like to admit to. One night imparticular my trusty laptop pinged with a new friend request. Obviously thrilled that people wanted to be my virtual friend as my life seemed to be crumbling I rushed to reveal who my new friend is. Ironically, my new friend was an old friend.
Due to future humiliation, I will not post the real names of the boys I mention in “The Boys You’ll Meet” series that I am blessing you with today. So let’s call him Geoff. Jeff is too laid back for this piece of work I am about to uncover, so Geoff it will be.
My first thought at my new friend request was “holy crap that’s Geoff from elementary school!”, my second thought was “whoa Geoff got hot”. Obviously, I accepted.
IMMEDIATELY Geoff messages me asking how I am. At my time of need, I found this eagerness endearing. Oooh, a boy is talking to me! We strike up a conversation and it whirlwinds into this crazily involved, for a lack of words, friendship. We quickly began talking every single day, all day long. We would text each other at work. I had an hour commute at the time and would immediately call him the second I clocked out and remain on the phone until I pulled into the driveway. At that point, I would settle in at home and hop on skype until all hours of the night. We were virtually inseparable.
I was at a very sensitive point in my life. My mother had just died, I was newly single and my life was completely jumbled to no avail. Geoff’s intense and seemingly committed interest in me gave me a light when everything was so dark. It felt like an angsty, Nicholas Sparks movie. I thought he was the one.
Spoiler alert…he was not the one.
Things started to get sour pretty quickly. And not that obvious sour, but the kind of sour where you can smell it but you can’t find where it’s coming from for the life of you. You know what I mean? Anyway, it was turning sour day by day.
He was pretty obsessed with his appearance. He knew he was hot, to say the least. We moved so quickly in conversations that we started talking about him flying me across the country (where he had moved to when we were twelve years old). I was smitten by the thought of these grand gestures, and totally naive to think that would actually happen. Things got weird when he started encouraging me to workout. I thought he was just concerned about my health and I had mentioned that I wanted to get into shape. What a good friend, looking out. Except it started to get more insulting. He began to tell me that I need to get in shape for when I come out there so I can keep up with him. Okay, fair enough. It escalated a little more when he actually started sending me his own personal workout regimen and checking in on me every day. Again, I just assumed he was being a good motivator. Then came the kicker. He told me that he wasn’t sure if I was attractive or not. His reasoning? Well, because in some of my pictures I look pretty and others I don’t. Oooh, that makes it better! (Also, we video chatted every night so he could see me filter-less and all….) Needless to say, my self-esteem was plummeting.
As I assume some women can relate. This never ended up being a dealbreaker because of the amount of attention he gave me. Regardless of his ever changing opinions with my appearance, he still wanted to talk to me and be in my life. I still felt important. A feeling we all crave.
Eventually, however, I started to get frustrated by the masqued insults. I began bringing it up to him when I felt he had said something rude or hurtful. More escalation ensues. I was wrong. And that isn’t me saying that I was wrong, that was him saying I was wrong. Every single thought and feeling that I expressed happened to be incorrect in his eyes. I got lectures as to why that was.
I took things too personally. I was too emotional. I was too serious.
There came a point where he had engraved these thoughts into my head so much that I began to believe them. I began apologizing every time I felt insulted or just not addressing it all together. He would play games and toy with guilt. Saying he couldn’t be in something like we had with a girl like me. He would end it frequently and return a day or two later. Each time expressing his sorrows and his feelings for me. Each time we would begin where we left off. The evolving door of emotional abuse.
As time passed I started to drift away from Geoff. I knew what was happening was the opposite of healthy. I started coming out of my social shell a little more. The holidays were coming up and I started visiting friends and attending parties. Geoff didn’t seem too fond of my distance. He would ask me to call him each night, regardless of where I was. Some nights I would. Other nights I would not. One night imparticular I was at my best friends house. He had called and I had not answered. She told me not to call him back. She knew what had been happening and was far from his biggest fan. In a situation of abuse, I did not listen. Instead, I ended up getting lectured on how I should answer when he called because his time was valuable and I was lucky that he was making all this time for me. Again, I was wrong.
Then one day it somehow clicked. I had just had enough. I went out with a guy I had met prior, without Geoff’s knowledge, and had a good time. Realized that not all guys treat you like that. Unfortunately, that was my only date with that guy. But it was actually quite helpful. I told Geoff I had gone out. Clearly, he was angry. He told me he couldn’t handle this anymore, that is was too toxic (well duuuuh), and he broke it off. I didn’t fight with him on it, though he was the one that was toxic and difficult, not me. The fight was over.
In the months following our separation he contacted a couple times. Basically to rub it in my face that he was living a better life without me. I expressed my congratulates and support. It was easier that way. We attempted to rekindle a friendship almost a year later. I told him I had met a new guy that we both grew up with. He was far from pleased and never contacted me again. I think he finally realized he had lost the power he once had over me.
It’s a funny thing. You don’t need to be in a serious relationship, or even in the same time zone to become a victim of verbal/emotional abuse. Nor do you have to know a person for years. Geoff and I had our “fling” for just one month. This is the only legitimate lesson Geoff taught me. Abuse comes in all shapes and sizes.
I am glad to be out of the wrenches of this toxic relationships, I realize some are not as lucky and have it much worse. I think about that frequently. How other women, and humans in general, are feeling the emotions I had once felt. I wish I could tell each and every one of them that they are better than what is happening to them. To not let these people have power of us. Unfortunately, it is not that easy.
All I can do is share my story, as minuscule as it may seem to some. Abuse is abuse. And with the help of one another, we can overcome almost anything. Especially douchey, master manipulators named Geoff.