During my time at college I got into a relationship with this guy I really liked, he was funny and smart and everyone else seemed to like him too. A couple of months in to the relationship I realized it wasn’t as great as I’d originally thought he’d meet everything I said with either sarcasm or a harsh comment of sorts.

Soon he started sending me messages during the night whilst I was sleeping telling me he hated me, he didn’t love me, he thought I was a bitch, called me a slut, said all sorts of things to me. He’d apologies afterwards, usually before I woke up, and I’d instantly forgive him, he’d just been ‘angry’ when he said those things, so it was okay. This carried on for a while, I spent most days at his house, he got upset with me for being sad when I was called and told my brother in law was in the hospital saying ‘why are you sad? It’s not like you can do anything anyway’. Some nights when I was at his, his mood would change suddenly, he’d get up and go to the kitchen and tell me he was going to kill himself, and that it was my fault, all of his problems were because of me.

A few months in and he’d deactivate his messenger so I couldn’t speak to him, he’d go to a different part of college to usual so I didn’t know where he was, and I worried, when I found him and asked why he’d turned off messages he said it was a test. If I really wanted to find him or to see if he was okay I could’ve rang him, or text him, or sent him a snapchat. I truly felt that everything was my fault, why would he say horrible things to me if I hadn’t done something wrong?
After a while I started having panic attacks almost every day, my existing anxiety had increased to the point I didn’t know what to do, I’d constantly find myself unable to breathe or focus, so much so that I got sent home from college one day because of it. That same day I turned to him for comfort, he met me with hate, told me that any time he comforted me it would be a lie, that the things he said to me would be a lie... I should’ve left then.

Not only did he send me abusive messages, or ‘ghost’ me, he was also incredibly possessive, I’ve been in a group chat with some friends for a couple of years now, but there were a couple of months where I had to leave it, he didn’t like the fact I was in such a big group chat, with so many boys in it, he didn’t like it if I spoke to anybody else at all really, he’d constantly accuse me of things, even though I spent 80% of my time with him, he’d say things about my family. In order for him to be happy, and not get mad at me, I started isolating myself from my friends, I didn’t realize how disconnected I’d become from my life until it ended.

April came around and my sister had just given birth, two months early, naturally I was worried, not only for the baby but also for my sister because I knew she must be stressed too. Instead of saying it would be okay, my then boyfriend googled what could happen to premature babies, and read the symptoms out loud to me, I stormed off. He didn’t think he’d done anything wrong, but he never thought he’d done anything wrong. It was always my fault. I always ‘overreacted’.
Just before exam season, with panic attacks every day, my depression being at its worst, and the need to gag before every conversation I had with him (due to nerves) I decided it needed to end, it wasn’t healthy, I could no longer forgive everything he did without question. He told me he’d change, that all of his existing problems weren’t actually there etc... I didn’t believe him. I actually left.

Once I’d left it didn’t get much better at first, he’d spread rumors that I’d cheated on him, and because to every other person in the world he seemed so perfect and wonderful, nobody even listened to my side of the story, nobody cast any doubt on what he said. A couple of friends came up to me once it was over and told me they were relieved, they’d been scared to speak to me before because of how he was, I couldn’t believe I’d let it get that bad.

I still think about those times, and the way I felt, how hard it was. And although he never laid a hand on me, I was terrified of him, he hurt me more than anyone ever has. Now, a year later, I’m back to a reasonably happy place, I’m in university and have a job, my family is doing well, I’m seeing someone new, and I don’t feel scared anymore, I don’t think I have to tiptoe around everything, and I’m never scared that I’ll wake up and find three paragraphs of abuse waiting for me. It gets better, even if it seems impossible to begin with.