I have spent the last two years cursing your name. I still cringe when I think about the cruel and thoughtless things you used to say to me on a daily basis. It was my own fault for staying with you as long as I did – I recognize that – and I take full responsibility for giving you the power to so significantly impact my self-esteem, but that doesn’t make me any less mad at you.
Recently, however, I have come to a liberating realization: I am truly grateful to have had you in my life. You may have burned me, but I have risen from the ashes and want to thank you for positively changing my life forever.
Thank you for forcing me to focus on recovery.
I had fooled myself into thinking I was fully recovered from my eating disorder when we met. Then, with nothing more than a few casual insults about my body hurled my way, that facade came crumbling down and I was sent spiraling back to my old disordered habits. Since leaving you I have gone back to therapy and dedicated tremendous energy to working on recovery, which I so desperately needed.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow as a person.
After I broke up with you I spent a year on my own. I needed the time to reflect on our relationship, why I stayed in it, and to find my way back to a place of self-love and self-respect. That year proved to be one of the most formative of my life. They say that a broken bone, once healed, becomes stronger than ever – just as I am stronger now than I was before I knew you.
Thank you for teaching me to stand up for myself.
When I look back on our time together, my deepest regret is how seldom I stuck up for myself as you tore me down little by little; it physically pains me to recall all those times I sat in silence as you criticized, poked fun, and name-called. If there is one take away lesson that I learned from you, it is to never, ever again remain passive when someone does or says something that hurts me. I have become my own advocate and am more outspoken now than I ever was before.
Thank you for reminding me never to settle.
My God have I become picky since dating you. I was lonely when we met and allowed myself to knowingly settle for something less than I deserved, which is a mistake I will never make again. I have gone on dates with some wonderful (and many less than wonderful) men in the past year, and have refused to commit to any of them – not because I am cold or overly-guarded, but because I know what I want (and what I deserve) and refuse to settle for anything less.
Thank you for teaching me the value of being alone.
I used to be afraid of being alone; the thought of never finding someone to spend my life with terrified me. I now live by the following Warsan Shire quote: “My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.” I am now stronger and more independent than I have ever been, and I know that if and when I do find someone to share my life with, I will be able to commit to them a self-assured individual who doesn’t need – but rather wants – them in my life.
Thank you for helping to shape the woman I am today.
A strong, confident, self-reliant and outspoken woman with a low bullshit tolerance who knows her worth; I could have gotten here without you, but I nevertheless appreciate the part you played in the process.
Thank you, and good riddance.