It’s hard to describe just how you get yourself into a situation that literally kills you. Looking back on it, you see the warning signs; looking back, you know exactly what you would have done differently. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury while we are actually living our lives, and so the lamb ends up being destroyed by the lion. 

This story actually starts before it’s official beginning; without the prologue, I’m not sure that it would have played out the same way. I was in an unhealthy long-distance relationship, one that reduced my self-worth to little more than a sexual plaything for a man that I tried to give my heart to. As like attracts like, he found me when I was broken, seemingly beyond repair. A shell of a being, I was a wisp on the wind, just waiting to be caught and made whole. 

Slick as a snake charmer, it didn’t take long for me to fall under his spell. He made me feel special, like I was the luckiest girl in the world, simply for catching his eye. He was everything that I thought I wanted in a partner–charming, successful, witty. Oh, how he made me laugh from the bottom of my soul. 

For so long, he made me feel as if I was the only person in his world…but then, every so often, he would remind me that I was in a place of prestige, and should be thankful for my place in his world. Through a few casual comments or actions, he would remind me that it was I that needed him; it would never be the other way around. This was the main tool in his psychological arsenal of narcissism.

He kept me hanging on his every word, his every touch. He made sure that he was my world, and that I knew that I was merely a pawn in his. 

Perhaps if I was a better cook, or was more inclined to do his laundry, this story would have had a different ending. If I had allowed myself to be molded into the partner that he wanted, perhaps I wouldn’t be writing this at all. He required distance, and privacy, but I was not given the same respect. No, he made sure to remind me that my lack of privacy was my own fault; he had to go through my messages and my mail because if he didn’t, I might make him the fool by running off with another man. My leash was kept short, while he wore none at all. He was above reproach. 

For four years, he sat on the throne that he had built in my head, providing constant feedback on my thoughts and actions. If I chose to disregard his advice, I was punished by being turned out into the emotional cold until I followed suit. Then, I would be welcomed with open arms, but never quite accepted into the fold. On and on, the pushing and the pulling continued day after day. 

Above all else, he made sure that I knew in my heart that I would never do any better than him. He plucked me from the ashes, taking the clay of who I was and turned me into a person that was –almost– worth his heart. For four years, I truly believed that I was lucky to have him; he was with me, of all people, and I was worth his time. 

Time catches up with us all, and so came the day that he threw me away. The day that he truly broke me was the day that I died in an ambulance. But emotionally? I had died years before I used suicide to escape him. 

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Ashley

Passionate by nature, Ashley channels her emotions into her writing because sometimes speaking is hard. She is a mom to an elementary-aged daughter, will be marrying her best friend this summer, and her dog's name is Betty White. Like many in her generation, she is currently working on her debut novel.

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