See Part 1 here!
On the way home the boy was visibly shaking. He drove with one hand on the wheel and the other holding mine in a death grip. My friend and his brother sat in the back. He began to purposely swing the car in and out of the ditch (red flag #6 - reckless disregard for the wellbeing of those around him). Every time I would tell him to stop and every time he would apologize or say he forgot my words. Again, I couldn’t tell if he was joking or seriously trying to kill us. I was terrified. I prayed all the way home begging God not to let me die that night. Later, my friend told me she thought he drove off the road every time she and his brother started cuddling in the back. Perhaps he was jealous and wanted to distract them. I don’t know.
We stopped at his house to change into normal clothes and go to after prom. When he went into his room to change, my friend and I heard an awful racket. It sounded as if someone was taking a hammer and smashing it into everything in sight. When he came out his hand had a big bleeding gash. He claimed he had been trying to kill a spider (red flag #7 – destructive). Terrified, I confessed everything to my friend, including my worry of losing her. She felt obligated to tell her boyfriend who said he was too unstable in that moment for me to officially break up with him. Nonetheless, I felt I had their support to end things within the next few days.
The next day, I told my parents what happened. I told them I was afraid and that I thought he may kill himself. I didn’t know what to do. They told me the same thing my friend told me in the bathroom. This is a borderline abusive relationship. He is manipulating you. Even if he does kill himself, that’s not your fault. My parents added something my friend did not. Break up with him now, not a week after prom. My mom told me he needs to know what he did was wrong and inexcusable. Don’t let him think he can ever treat someone else like this.
Monday, after school, I tracked him down and said my piece. He didn’t get it when I said, “this isn’t working out” and “I can’t do this anymore.” I had the support my friends, though. I made sure they were standing by and could see us. I wanted them there in case anything happened. I finally told him flat out, “I’m breaking up with you.” Not much was said after that.
I felt like a huge weight was lifted from me. It was then I realized that I was better off alone than with someone I didn’t have feelings for. I did not need to settle for someone who treated me poorly. If I am destined to be alone, then alone I will be. Anything is better than putting up with that. I also realized that I had great friends who were more than willing to stand up for me and help me out. Their support gave me confidence in myself and in my decision.
Today, I look forward to graduating college. I have been in a healthy relationship for three years now. Though our relationship has had some serious low points, we got through them together. We respected each other’s opinion and need for personal space when necessary. I’m not afraid of him. He respects me, my personal space and my family.
In a way, I cannot regret the events of my junior year in high school. Without them, I would not have realized that I would be just fine on my own. To this day, I rest assured that if I can live happily by myself. A partner is wonderful, but only if they treat me well. If I could go back and do it again, I would have broken up with him as soon as the thought crossed my mind.
Pay attention to your friends and the relationships they are involved in. If something doesn’t seem right, tell them. Make sure you tell them specific things you notice that worry you. For example, don’t say he’s too clingy. Say instead you’ve noticed he always has his arm around your friend and that she looks uncomfortable. Using specific examples will make you look observant instead of accusatory. Don’t pressure your friend to end things, instead, ask if they truly want to be with someone who does the specific things you’ve brought up. Let them know you are worried and are willing to help in whatever way you can. You’re words will make a world of difference. Always remember, a mentally abusive and controlling relationship is still abuse. Many times, mental abuse is a precursor to physical abuse. Don’t ignore it.