Ann’s story

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There was a boy in my biology class who I perceived to be quiet, intelligent, and gentle. Over the summer after school year was over, he asked me out, and I said yes. He wanted to see me in person every day. We would go for walks in the park, out to dinner. After every time I saw him, he would ask me to talk to him online during the evening. When I would leave my computer for a few minutes, or when he could not see me, he told me that he felt like he was dying.

He told me that 30 seconds without me literally ripped his world apart. After dates with him, I started feeling depressed and isolated. I felt embarrassed and controlled. He told me that I was all he could think about and that nothing else mattered. When I tried to leave him, he told me that he had a gun and was going to commit suicide. He pulled the trigger several times, but thankfully, the gun was on lock.

How I coped

I consider myself to be a fairly stable person. I would prefer to not be in a relationship at all rather than to be in a relationship where I do not feel respected. Eventually, I dealt with my boyfriend’s emotional abuse by discussing the issue with my parents and some very close friends. I tried to remember that the situation wasn’t my fault, even though I felt terrible about it. My first step was realising that my intuition (of feeling controlled and uncomfortable) was something that I had to stop brushing off as a figment of my imagination. Love should not hurt.

How the situation changed

I am lucky to have realised the signs of my boyfriend’s instability early on. Since he continued to harass me after I broke up with him, the school counsellor and a police officer eventually had to be notified.

Now he has been transferred to a different school. I think if I had not spoken up to people about my situation, my boyfriend’s possessive emotional abuse would have eventually turned physical.

What helped me

My high sense of self-esteem initially made me realise that I did not deserve to be in this type of relationship.

Although it was difficult at first, I soon realized that I am not dependent on a boy to feel valued and loved. I love myself. My family and friends also helped me to cope with the situation enormously.

My advice to others

No one should EVER make you feel pressured to remain in a relationship based upon guilt. What my boyfriend did to me was manipulative. You should be in a relationship because you want to; not because you have to.

Even though it may seem out of reach, you can and will be able to find a person who respects you.

Just give it time and don’t date anyone too soon without getting to know them really well first.

The person should respect your personal space and he should not try to make you feel responsible for his actions (example: suicide). Respect and kindness is what love really is. If you are in an abusive relationship, you do not deserve it.

Seek ways to get out NOW before emotional abuse leads to physical, or physical to death. Talking to caring, trustworthy people really does help.

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