At Granta, Marian Ryan pens a longform essay on rationalizing abuse, the vulnerability of the body, the failures of compassion, and being stalked on Facebook.
I was completely and utterly obsessed with him. His eyes, his smile, his cheekbones, his smell. I was obsessed for him to compliment me. I lingered for his approval, for him to be happy with me. I needed to see him every day, I had to text him constantly or call him. I wanted to make him happy. I had to reassure him that I only thought about him, that there was no one else I wanted. I wanted him to believe I was changing.
I wanted him to know I was a good girlfriend. That I listened to his opinions and his needs and that I cared about them. That I valued him as a boyfriend and as a person. I showed him that if he didn’t like something I wouldn’t do it. If he didn’t like someone I wouldn’t meet them or talk to them, I would even tell them to leave me alone. I couldn’t lose him; that thought was too scary. I showed him off to the world. I ignored the hate, the concerns of others. I let him know every single detail of my past and he told me he would help me create a better future.
His promises, all fake, but somehow so appealing. His voice, so harsh, but to me was comforting. His words, cruel, but to me was his way of making me a better and a stronger person. I loved seeing him, I loved being with him. I loved him. I was completely addicted to him, and his presence. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second I had to think about his feelings and how what I was doing, feeling, acting, saying would make him feel. Every piece of clothing on my body I had to make sure was okay, that he wouldn’t be pissed off with it. My life revolved entirely around him.
His eyes were deep and disturbing, to me that meant he had meaning, that he had seen and felt things that not many teenagers had felt. That it matured him and showed him the meaning of life. That he understood me, because I had seen things, been put through things that not many teenagers have had to deal with. But it didn’t mean that. It meant he had a dark soul. That he was angry most of the time.
Angry at me.
He told me that he would have people watching me wherever I’d go, that he’d hurt me if he saw me hanging out with guys. Because having male mates whilst in a relationship is a crime. He said he wanted me to have his children, I was flattered. But to him it meant I was stuck with him. That I couldn’t leave him if I had his kids. He insisted we had them early on, because that was the right thing.
Every dig he made about my weight, I thought, was his way of helping me become healthier and more attractive. I wanted him to see me as attractive. So I listened. Every time he hinted at me for eating I gave it away, I chucked it away. Every time I uttered the words ‘I feel fat’ he agreed saying I could lose some weight. He agreed with an anorexic and underweight human that she could do with losing a few pounds. Every time I jumped on the scales and informed him of the loss he’d compliment me, telling me not to lose hope, telling me to carry on. He praised me if the loss was high. “You look better than you ever have done and soon you will look even thinner”. The positive feedback reassured the voices in my head that I was doing the right thing that one day I’d get that ‘dream body’.
Every time I cried about feeling drained, about feeling confused, about not being able to walk anywhere without fainting or nearly fainting, he’d brush it off like it meant nothing. Like nothing was wrong with me. Like being Anorexic was normal. My body was giving up on me and yet he still tricked me into believing every week that I looked better than the last.
When I told him about being sexually abused at first he wanted to hurt the person and then each day he seemed to care less and less. Till one day he told me to go to the police or get over it. That if I didn’t do something then I was stupid and he didn’t want to be with a coward. A drama queen. A liar. My heart broke when he made me decide over reporting or losing him.
He lost his temper often. It was always my fault. I always said something that made him lose it with me. And every single time he blamed me. When he screamed at me, when he shouted abuse at me, when he tried hitting me. It was all because I made him angry, I did something wrong. It was never him.
But I didn’t know how to be without him. He thought for me. He told me what to say. What to do. What to eat, if anything. How to dress. I’d pick things up in the shop and be mocked for thinking I’d look good in it. Or thinking I was able to wear something like that, that it wasn’t appropriate for a girl who was in a relationship to wear a dress that showed a little bit of leg. Or something that showed, what curves I had left.
In 4/5 months I changed.
I was fragile.
I was Anorexic.
I was Sad.
I was addicted.
I was afraid.
I was possessed.
So when my whole family and friends were telling me to leave him, when strangers were telling me to leave him, I was confused. How could I be okay without the ‘love of my life’? how could I stay alive? How could I carry on? How do I act? What clothes do I like wearing? What friends do I have left? Who hates me? What do I do? How do I hide the fact I go days without eating a single thing?
How can I tell my parents that I was weak and had let some monster into my life, into their lives? That the person I loved was killing me. That I was killing my body. That I was no longer healthy, or at all happy. That every time I worked it was highly dangerous and putting pressure on my tiny, frail body.
It took weeks for us to split up. Back on fourth we went, breaking up then getting back together. Then enough was enough. I sort of realised I needed help, I was destroying my family. My body. My happiness. My life.
I am Elli Rooney, And I am currently in my second year of college. I study Law and Health & Social Care. I am planning to go to University and study Social working as I then want to help Children who are struggling, and are of need in any way, once i have passed.
When I was 15 something happened to me which completely changed my life forever. It resulted in me changing my career choice as I became passionate about helping others better themselves or giving victims or fragile/vulnerable children and teens the right support in which they need.
My whole view on life changed and so my opinions on the topics I will talk about in my blogs are topics I have recently formed a strong opinion and judgement on.
I also decided to blog because I love reading other people’s stories and seeing what techniques or ways they used in order to manage to get through life and how other people feel about the topics i am interested in.