an open letter to my abusers

To the ones who hurt me:

You abandoned me, ripped me apart, and used me for your own personal gain. You targeted weaknesses, broke my trust, and stuck your hands where they don’t belong. You took my heartstrings, binding my hands with them so they cannot be undone until you come to my side once again. Because you always leave me. 

But, you always come back.

You’ve told me you find me enticing. I understand. You think that I have so much to offer you, and I do. You know that I’ll do anything I can to fight for you, convinced that I’m full of unconditional love, unable to give up and move on without you because it’s so far out of my character to live without you. You’ve told me I’m intelligent, humorous, and driven. You admire that I have dreams and goals, and you love that I am always a good time. You think I’m the coolest because I’m a cheap date, and I love taking care of you. And I’ll never forget the time you told me I’ll make a great wife as you begged me to go to the courthouse with you later that week, because you “don’t ever want to live without me.”

And that’s why I think you’re addicted. 

I think you’re addicted to the pain you cause. I mean, you don’t see it as pain, but that’s what it is. Sometimes I think you forget that causing pain in the name of being nice is a just a pitiful cop out for your own emotional instability you hide under the name “trust issues.” Your emotional endeavors of equal parts confusion and compassion produce a passive aggressive state of hurtful actions to follow your kind verbal phrases. I can physically see the pain in your eyes as you coax me to love you in more convenient ways than I do right now. Because the timing is off, but you’re so turned on. So you’re stuck like a light bulb that doesn’t know whether to be on or off, flickering in an inconsistent, unpredictable fashion that only brings frustration to everyone in the room. 

And sometimes, I think you are addicted to me. The momentum, the energy that rises up between us in the midst of intellectual conversation or heated arguments can bring upon more than attraction. Because that’s what you’re used to. You see the familiarity of watching me crumble at your feet after walking back into my life when things with the latest girl didn’t work out. But then you remember that I’m just an emotional mess, full of baggage that you so desperately want to see cleaned up, but don’t want to take the time to help unpack. 

That’s like telling your alcoholic father that he needs to find sobriety as you’re shopping at the liquor store. 

And my bags are right here. You see them, but you’re so terrified of the explosion of my heart’s belongings that unzipping even one bag is impossible for you. 

People like you and me, I’m convinced that we are addicted to our abusers. Maybe that’s why the stripper goes back to her pole, the alcoholic back to the bottle, and the adrenaline chaser back to the place of the accident.

Because present glory is worth future pain. Alcohol, sex, manipulative partners, they abuse us in whatever capacity they can muster because, honestly speaking, we subconsciously allow their abuse to have power. And if there’s any common belief we share, it is the conception that that which we love (and that which loves us) will also have a sense of power over us. And we let it. Because that power creates a sense of control in our lives. That power allows us to feel like everything is how we want it to be, if only for a moment.

That’s why television portrays makeup sex as some of the best sex someone could ever have, right? That’s why Kathrine Heigl yells and yells over how manipulative and rude and hateful Gerard Butler is in The Ugly Truth, just to have them find passion in that very moment. Because the passion, the heat, the high emotional state of that particular moment allows them to create romance practically out of thin air. 

And sometimes, I think that’s what you do. I think you live for the moment. You allow your moments of instability, loneliness, and brokenness to push you towards your greatest desire — me. You like the good time, you like the fun, you like that you can say anything and I’ll do whatever it is that you want. Because I am so desperately in love with you that I cannot say no. And when things go down with your almost-fiance yet again, you remember why I’m still on your speed dial. Because once a cheater, always a cheater. So what’s another time. And your mind keeps telling you that I’m no good. But I’m “like a drug” to you, and that makes it so easy to keep me around. You might need me one day.

I get why you’re addicted. Because pain is a sort of energy, a feeling that is so so easily felt and much more difficult to avoid. It doesn’t require vulnerability or emotion. It doesn’t ask you to cry or sit down and have a real conversation. Pain allows you to be angry. It asks you to go to the gym and accomplish feats with your free weights that you never would’ve imagined were possible when you were young. That squat rack is nothing without the thought of me that just rages in your mind. 

But still, you always come back. I mean, I get it. You know I have a lot to offer. We both know that. But in your mind, I’m also ruining your life. Your attraction to me, your emotions that you can’t explain because it can’t be drawn out on paper, they make you feel all sorts of things that don’t even out. X’s and Y’s don’t equal X’s and O’s, and the only attributing factor is that the X is consistent in the equation in your mind. Our chromosomes go together, but they don’t find consistency with the playbook you’ve been using since high school football. 

But it’s confusing, isn’t it? You’re drawn to me in a way that doesn’t add up to what’s been drawn on paper. You’re drawn to me in a way that so many people are. You’ve told me you  find me charming and attractive, and you weren’t even speaking of physical attributes.

Maybe that makes me your abuser too. 

And I used to think that your vacancies in my life, the widespread times of avoidance as we lead our separate lives; I used to think these periods of time would bring me healing, that maybe this next time I’ll be able to move on. Because it’s not that I sit around thinking about you. In fact, I hate you, my abuser; mentally assaulting me and emotionally stripping me until I have nothing left to give that is not already something you have taken from me. 

And sometimes, even now, I want to feel that again. Being stripped to the core of my being, naked in my emotional state of vulnerability that only you can have because you created it. You made me vulnerable to your kind compliments and soft speeches of encouragement that would put even Mr. Darcy to shame. But you weren’t searching for my emotional vulnerability. But why is it so much easier to be naked in front of someone than cry in front of them? Because in our world, physical vulnerability isn’t vulnerability anymore, is it. 

And that’s probably why we’re all so screwed up.

It’s all about the feeling anymore. And our emotions create feelings we don’t know how to express. We just long to feel something. I mean, I’m the captain of that ship. I moved across the country for you. In a feeble attempt to feel you again, I left the comfort of my own homeland and moved somewhere new. Somewhere that angered you, somewhere that brought rage to your mind in the mere thought of my existence there. Because you hate the city. You can’t control me, and I proved that to you. But you miss me in such an uncontrollable way.

I find it funny to think that no matter how long we are apart, you still can’t keep your eyes off of me when I walk into the room. Because even in those moments, with your own beautiful girl on your arm, you find me the only thing in the room. But sweetheart. You can stare at me all you want. You do not own me. You have no control over me. You cannot keep me from enjoying my life.

My healing is my own. 

I don’t think you realize that. My healing doesn’t depend on you. It doesn’t need to be held back by your decisions and actions. What you do doesn’t have to affect me. My healing is my own.

I am a daughter of the Most High King. 

I am a sister of Jesus Christ Himself, fully capable of doing wrong and screwing up and enjoying life to its fullest. I cuss more than even I’d like, I find joy in the most random of things, and I find it so difficult to take care of my body when a bag of Sour Patch Watermelon’s is in the room. Heck, my life revolved around my athleticism until the fourth day of 2014, and I haven’t worked out since. I am a daughter of the King who is not near as kind and loving of a person as He would like me to be. 

But I am bold. I am deeply loved in the most compassionate of ways, which allows me to live life with others in mind. 

You have no power over me. You don’t create setbacks in my healing process. If you won’t help me unpack my baggage, you won’t be able to find adequate joy in my clean space. 

2016 is a year of healing for me. I’m learning to take care of myself, and that means loving myself well. I don’t need to feel your presence anymore. I don’t need to almost die to have you reach out to me. You don’t own me, and my healing is my own. Praise Jesus for that. 

You’re my abuser, in the lightest and equally most sincere forms of the word. And I was addicted to you. Your smile, your scent, your mind in all of its forms. 

But you do not own me. 

You do not get to tell me who I am. You do not have the right to keep me from finding healing in this life. You do not get to tell me when it’s time to forgive you, when it’s time to apologize. You do not own me, because I am free. 

And it’s about time I start acting like it. 

To the ones who hurt me, you do not own me. My power does not come from the pain in my life. Jesus Christ is my Healer, my Protector, my Faithful Lover.

Better Him than you.

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