The Paper Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is my personal relationship abuse experience that I wanted to share with those in similar situations so they are aware that they are not alone.

Submitted: December 03, 2016

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Submitted: December 03, 2016

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THE PAPER HEART

MY ABUSE EXPERIENCE

 

THE EXPERIMENT

I did an experiment with my 4-year-old students a couple weeks ago. Yes, the bullying trend somehow made its way down to the preschool age. I cut out a large heart from my favorite paper design and put it at my desk for a week. Each time I would hear a mean comment from one child to another, I would walk to my desk and crumple the heart little by little. By the end of the week, it was a tiny ball of mess. I had the students sit down with the lights off and opened the heart up from the tiny ball it was. They began to ask my why I kept trash. They asked me if they were going to have to cut on the “lines” (lines being the thousands of crinkles). Ignoring the questions, I passed the heart around to each child asking them to try to take the crinkles out. After 15 failed attempts I went on to explain that the things we say to others stick to our hearts and never come out. You can only take so much before your hearts begin to feel like the ball of “trash.”

I decided to take this experiment into my own home. My high school sweetheart of almost 5 years was the only one in my home environment with the ability to affect me. I always knew that some of the things he said to me were wrong and hurtful, but never thought the treatment was this bad. Within two days of slowly crumpling the paper, I was unable to open it up again. During one of those nights he called me vanilla and then laughed in my face for not understanding what that meant. He asked me what was so special about me. What are my reasons that I should be chosen over any other girl out there? What qualities do I have that he can’t find in other girls? The most embarrassing part about this was that I was too weak to answer because he had put all of the things I love about myself down over the years. Every time I would think of something I would tell myself, “no don’t say that he won’t accept that answer.” I said nothing. Even though he was a 21-year-old drug addict, college dropout, busboy, living in my house under my dime, I said nothing. Even though I was a 21-year-old with thousands saved in the bank, a certified preschool teacher, a legal secretary, a new homeowner, owned a new car, and one of the most compassionate people out there, I said nothing. I said nothing because I didn’t want to hurt him. I proceeded to say that I am special because I have enough love in my heart after all the pain and suffering I’ve been through I have enough to love us both when he can’t find a reason to love me that day. He said, “The only reason I haven’t left you is because I know you’ll do something to yourself and I didn’t know if anyone else could ever love you.” That was probably the most heartbreaking conversation I’ve ever had. Not because he was an asshole, but because I realized I was breaking my own heart by trying to protect his.

 

NO BABIES EQUALS HAPPINESS

People always ask me why I don’t just leave him. They say I’m better than him. They say I’m too nice and they would have chucked up the deuces a long time ago. The sad part is I know all of this. I allow it because I feel that with all the wrong I’ve done I deserve it. In the beginning it was the most magical feeling I have ever experienced. I was lost and he saved me from my own personal teenage issues. He was my best friend that I had been in love with for the longest time and he finally saw me. We spent all day from sunrise to sunrise together. We would spend all day and most nights together. If we weren’t together physically, we were falling asleep on the phone. There was never a dull moment. I got pregnant not even two months after high school. That was probably the beginning of the end. He was very angry. That was the first time I really saw the monster in him. He had tried to convince me that an abortion was the only option. Considering my background was with kids, I refused. I was told that someone would call Child Protective Services on me when the baby was born because I was diagnosed with depression and severe anxiety two years prior and the baby would be taken away from me anyway. He would make comments when I attempted to be optimistic like “we are not a family ” and “I do not want this kid.” I was in the hospital multiple times during the two months before the abortion due to the fear that he was going to ditch the scene. The abortion was one of the most traumatic events in my life. I was numb for months afterward. By the time it got a little easier for me, I was pregnant again two years later. I was still weak enough to be persuaded, even knowing the pain I was put through the first time. We walked through the Catholic protestors outside screaming at us that we were going to hell. I can laugh at this now after two years because he had the nerve to tell me while we were in the waiting room that on the way home he would stop by Porto’s and buy me the cake we both like (not just the slice though, the whole cake!). Is that not a little bit amusing? How could he have been thinking about cake when we were in a Family Planning waiting room with women crying all around us about to go kill their babies? I was pretty broken after that incident too but by then I had just accepted my failures and wrongdoings because I wanted him to be happy and babies in his life would not make him happy.

 

THE PAST AND THE PRESENT

Yes, this is starting to become sickening to me too. I am completely ashamed of this behavior – this addiction to whatever it is that draws me to him. I take full responsibility for my actions and don’t place blame on him. I place blame on myself for enabling him all these years and never leaving when I’ve had endless chances to. Even when he leaves me for other people, I stick around like an abandoned animal waiting for their owner to come back. We’ve split twice in this 5-year span for a little over a month both times. I went on a few dates during those periods with real men that know how to respect a woman. I was actually treated as if I was a human being. It never failed that he would somehow find a way to call or text me at the most inconvenient time on those dates and prevent moving on. I continued to have a sexual relationship with him during both break-up periods due to whatever safety issues I had during those times. The last break-up period we had was two months ago. During that time, he had a relationship with someone else. I’m not sure how serious it was and do not want to know. It was sexual too, that much I knew. I told myself that if he had sex with someone else that’d really be the end. He lured me back by going missing, police search and all! How fucking dramatic! I took him in and we got back together when he moved into my house. Again, it was perfect for the first couple weeks and then it changed again. As unemployed and broke as he was, he started to leave for days at a time. He used his family as an excuse to me and me as an excuse to his family. He would announce to everyone that he was going to trap houses in Riverside (2 hours away!) and would refuse to answer his phone. He would leave his dog without food and water in my house and would hit the dog when he returned for peeing and pooping in the room. I didn’t have energy to argue when he got back so I would just smile and ask if he had a good time. His responses would be somewhere along the lines of he left because I was stressing him out so he needed to get away from me and I didn’t need to know where he was or when he was coming home. He did call once because his car broke down on the way back and he needed me to go pick him up. Every time he left he would blame me. I knew he was cheating but never said anything. In fact, the other night I was cleaning out my garage when I found a bra that definitely was not mine. When I confronted him about it, he got angry and asked why I was going through his shit. He picked it up, grabbed the cups, hooked and unhooked the clip, and smiled as if there was a porn video going on his head. He said, “Yeah, I know whose this is. Wow, I can’t believe she left this. Leave it here because I want to give it back.”  My mind was blown. I’ll admit I was childish and threw it in the dumpster then poured expired shit on it when I was cleaning out the fridge. I should have just given it back to him because it made me feel worse about myself. I just don’t understand how you can treat someone so wrong and still feel good about yourself.

 

THE CONCLUSION

This is a verbally abusive toxic relationship. I am no angel and do not want to play the victim. Again, I have done wrong myself in this relationship too. Maybe it really is me and those things really aren’t that bad. Some days maybe I have been the abuser. But that’s just it; I am not that person and have nothing but good intensions and love for this person. I do not want to treat him the way he treats me but sometimes I lash out and say or do impulsive things. It drives me absolutely crazy. All I want is to be loved by him but it’s simply too late. There is too much damage. All I know is that there is no way to get those wrinkles out. He destroyed me.


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