When I was sixteen, I was in such a bad place emotionally, and in desperate need of love and affection. I fell in love with a teacher, and shortly thereafter began a three year relationship of emotional abuse, gaslighting, and narcissism.
I’d grown up with a lack of control over my own life. I’d also been through sexual abuse more than once and had a lot of emotional issues. I’d been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, early childhood onset, reactive attachment disorder, and many other things.
Being as stubborn as I was, I’d thought it was just stupid doctor bullshit and held so much anger over Children and Youth for taking me from my parents at the age of seven, putting me in places and homes that I never felt helped me and, in some cases, were physically and mentally harmful to me.
That being said, he became a huge emotional support for me faster than I could even anticipate.
I found myself spending as much time as I could with him, every possible second with him more precious to me than the one before that.
I didn’t see the warning signs in the beginning, or nearly at all until after he left for good and I was finally free.
I loved him, with everything I had.
Every time something went wrong he was always there to guide me in the right direction and give me a listening ear, never making me do or talk about anything I didn’t want to talk about.
We’d spent many hours hiding and talking, getting lost in each other and dreaming about a life together where we didn’t have to hide how we felt.
All of that changed when I was moved once again, losing contact with him for a summer.
It was hell, and once we got back in contact, we started fighting and things went downhill.
The emotional abuse began, with him pressuring and guilt tripping me into doing things I didn’t want to do.
He’d also invalidated my feelings and fucked with my mind by telling me that he wasn’t hurting me, demanding I tell him how he was doing it when I objected.
We’d tried to leave each other more than once but we always ran back to each other and as my personal life went downhill, so did our relationship.
I’d started drinking and became almost an 18-year-old alcoholic, trying to self-medicate with any kind of alcohol I could get my hands on.
Another summer came and he left again, forcing me into a two month coke addiction.
I’d tried to commit suicide, and had been cutting myself more than once a week; whenever the urge came.
He’d proceeded to tell me I wasn’t really feeling how I’d said I felt, telling me that I’d only wanted attention even in his knowing that I had struggled with self harm since the age of thirteen.
He would retaliate with his own threats of suicide... which had me desperately trying to reassure him that he was loved.
At the end of that summer, after his being gone for four months, I’d started drinking again and was couch hopping, having no steady place to live.
I moved in with the wrong person at the wrong time, and after he had already attacked me and went to jail, I’d realized he’d gotten me addicted to the drug he’d had me experimenting with.
I’d struggled with that addiction for three months, and eventually quit my job and let it take over my life.
In mid-December, my teacher and I got back in touch and I’d gone to my dad's for Christmas break, quit my addiction cold turkey, and got clean.
Our relationship started up again and for the next three months we tried to rekindle what we had, seeing each other in person every other weekend.
Things were starting to get better, his control over me lessoning for the first couple weeks.
Again, before I knew it, he was getting angry and putting himself down, telling me that he wasn’t good enough or I didn’t love him if I didn’t send him nudes of myself or did what he wanted exactly when he wanted it.
I was put back in the position of always putting his needs first; his reality and ways of things became my reality and way of things.
He had me in the mindset where I asked permission to go out with friends and I lost my social life because he never wanted me to go out or do anything that involved my setting my phone down for more than thirty seconds — even to pee.
Come March, he was convicted and arrested for dating me while I was his student, leaving me not only as my boyfriend, but also scared and alone in the mindset that I needed him to survive.
Six months passed and I moved in with a friend from work.
Within the first week, my roommate had me seeing that everything he’d done to me was wrong.
Another two weeks dragged by and I’d started to realize what went wrong, what happened between us; what he did to me.
Within a month and a half everything hit me and I was finally starting to feel like I could heal, even though I still struggled with questions of why. Why had it happened? Why had I needed him at such a young age?
Today, Taylor Swift’s sixth album Reputation came out — and since I’d been a loyal fan of hers since her very first album, I decided to give it a listen.
Two days ago, I’d seen a preview of her song “Call It What You Want” on her Insta story and decided to give it a listen first.
Three replays in and I was in tears.
I had my dad listen to it and sat down and explained to him why I was crying.
The song is about her finding herself and how people hated and judged her, how when she put all that aside, with the help of a lover or best friend, she finally found the peace she needed.
I immediately tied the song with struggling to find the peace I’d needed for so long, the trust issues and the fake friends I’d had to deal with; the judgement from the people in whom I went to school with at the time I was in the relationship with him and were ridiculed by; and also having my best guy friend alongside me to help guide me, someone who didn’t care about my past- who really knew and understood me at my most vulnerable moments; and in Taylor’s words someone who “loved me like I’m brand new.” It shed light on exactly how healing he has been for me and how far I myself have come over the last year and in the very moment that it all hit me I broke.
The song brought an onslaught of emotions and I noticed that after nine months of being away from my teacher and the help I’d received in all that time because he wasn’t around to control me anymore, my mind felt much more clear.
With the knowledge of what happened with him came the same coherence of everything that I went through as a kid, and why I’d acted and thought the way I did.
Now, in the understanding of what went wrong I can finally work on my own mental stability and changing my thinking in a positive way.
Taylor Swift’s song led me to the answer of the most important question; one of which I’d been asking myself for years:
What had I been seeking that I so desperately needed my entire life, and thought my teacher could give to me?
The answer is so simple it almost stings: Help.
All I had wanted was someone to help me find the answers to the questions I’d been asking.
After getting this answer, the rest of them followed, giving me an understanding of myself I’d never had before.
Thank you, Taylor Swift.