“I am not my neediness”

“I fucking hate how stupid and inconsiderate you are sometimes and how you crave attention from so many people.”

I never like talking about why my ex-boyfriend and I broke up because every single time I tell a lie. Those words echo in my head and I don’t know what to say. Every time, I get a tug in my stomach, a little reminder of how I wish more than anything that it was as simple as, “It just didn’t work out.” It has taken me a long time to vocalize or even write about what happened to me, but thanks to friends, family, and a therapist, I can now openly say that I was in an abusive relationship.

We’d fight over the most trivial things, almost always instigated by him. He’d get angry with me for not wearing makeup when I saw him. I wore makeup to school, he saw it in my Facebook pictures, why didn’t I feel the need to “look good” around him? I must have needed attention from another guy at school. According to him, I was constantly seeking attention from others, the phrase “attention whore” was thrown around in many of our fights. Additionally, I was slapped with phrases such as, “you’re such a bitch sometimes,” “you never do anything right,” “I fucking hate you,” “you’re ruining my life.” How do you think I felt, boyfriend?

He had me wrapped around his twisted, cruel, finger in the most unhealthy way. I did anything he asked of me, in fear of what would happen if I said “no.” Until, after a year and a half, I broke free from his control.

When I did fully realize what had happened to me, I did not know how to process it. My senior year of high school consisted of me dropping about 25 pounds I shouldn’t have lost, and throwing myself at any boy who would give me a second glance. I needed to feel approved of, I needed to be in control after what had happened to me. Because, for a year and a half of my life, I let someone else control me, and belittle me until I was nothing.

Four years later, these behaviors have more or less disappeared. But I am still left with the longing desire to be needed and approved of by those I am romantically involved with. I am constantly questioning my actions and what I say, because that is how I operated in that relationship. I was always trying to please him as to not make him angry, and I was always worried about if what I said would set him off. I’ve never vocalized it, but I now constantly ask myself, “Do you approve of me?”

But recently, I’ve realized I’m tired of thinking this way. It’s exhausting. I know that there is no way in hell I’m going to let him win. I’m going to fight my neediness, and be open to allowing someone to love me for who I am, and not worry about whether or not I’m good enough for them. I refuse to be my abusive relationship; I am not weak, I am not my neediness.