So I've been soul searching. There are lots of details, but it comes down to this: I used to be in a relationship with someone who treated me like I was the most wonderful person in the world until, after a while, the person I was with became manipulative and verbally abusive. ("Everything will be fine if you change.") We haven't spoken in four years because he blocked me on social media even though we had been getting along--then unblocked me, then blocked me again, then unblocked me again, etc. It was confusing, but I've chosen to respect what I interpret as a wish for me not to contact him.
Yet I still miss him. It can feel like a very shameful thing, missing someone who hurt you. But I'd rather admit to this than tell myself I am neutral on the situation, that I feel nothing.
I recently read Kelly Sundberg's essay It Will Look Like a Sunset about the abuse she suffered during her relationship with her ex-husband. Her situation was far worse than mine, but I related. This passage struck me the most:
There are days when I still wish that he would beg me to take him back, promise to change, actually change. This will never happen.I used to have the same fantasy. Reading this part of the essay gave me the perspective to acknowledge that I don't want to be with him anymore, and haven't wanted that for a long time. I don't pine for him the way I once did because now I know I don't deserve to be treated like I'm worthless. But I do miss him and the way we clicked; the way I trusted him enough to read journal entries I wrote about us; the way made each other laugh effortlessly, and joked about living in an apartment full of 27 welsh corgis. Friends have suggested I only miss the feeling, not the person. I don't want to lie to anyone. I know I miss the person who used to be my best friend. ("Your opinion is more important to me than anyone else's.")
And it's okay. It's okay to miss the person who hurt me, as long as I remember he is not worthy of me. It's okay to miss the person who hurt you, as long as you remember they are not worthy of you. Love is complicated, so there is no reason to deny our complicated feelings. We are not weak. We have value. We deserve respect. If anyone ever wants back into our lives, there will be work to be done. Remember this. Write a note like the one at the top to carry around with you. Read it when you're being too hard on yourself. Be kind to yourself.
Sharing all of this is unnerving. There is always the chance the person in question could see it. But so what, I suppose? What will he do? Continue to hate me and not miss me? Never think about me even more than he never thinks about me now? Having to be the one who does the missing in this situation is heinously unfair. ("You don't love me anymore," he said when I wanted to spend the weekend with my mother.)
Sharing all of this is important. If I don't allow myself to feel the residual turmoil from what happened, I'm never going to heal completely. I'm a storyteller. Telling this one is me learning to be brave. There are friends and strangers reading this who didn't know we could relate in this way, and they are relieved to not be alone. ("All I want is for you to be happy and healthy.")