My therapist (rightfully) pointed out to me last night that since we broke up on okay terms, I’ve had this feeling that if I could just see you one more time, just get you to hear me and understand, that you would forgive me. He also said that that’s a type of stalker justification. I thought of all the times I kept my eyes peeled for you when I was downtown, looking for that opportunity to explain, and I realized he was right. I swore to myself I was done contacting you, and I am. Here is my unsent letter, with all the things I wish you knew.
You started to see me fall apart, and I am so glad that we weren’t together through that. That’s so much to ask of a person, the level of support that would have required. The house remodel made me feel like an angry and defensive animal. Marj had moved in June but it wasn’t until school started that I really noticed her not being there. Grandma Irma dying. Grandma Jean living here. Launching my business; while that was overall a good thing in my life, was still stressful and scary. There was a $3300 car repair, and continued conflict with my best friends over not going to that stupid destination wedding. I started problem drinking again, hiding it in my car, in my room. I mixed it with benzos on purpose to have blackouts. I sobbed through Thanksgiving. I sobbed through New Years. There were a few times this winter my dad asked me if I needed to go to the hospital, as in, the psych hospital. Having an emotional breakdown isn’t an excuse for a behavior. I hate that. “I’m sorry I hurt you, but I was being unhinged.” The phrase “I’m sorry but…” is unacceptable. I do want you to know where my head was and what I was feeling that led me to make the decisions I made.
I don’t know what made you tell me that you had spent all your money during our relationship. You didn’t change your behavior. Our disagreements over paying continued. You didn’t ask me to do other cheaper things. I felt sick with guilt. I actually came up with my plan then, while we were still together. When you introduced me to your mom, I was going to take her aside and give her money to put in your account so I was still paying for everything. It was brilliant and nothing could possibly go wrong. (Do I need to specify I’m making fun of myself here? I’m making fun of myself.) Two weeks later, when we broke up, my heart and my guts were twisted for many reasons. One was that I’d not paid you back at all.
I didn’t listen to your wishes that you didn’t want to be paid back; that was mistake one. Now that I have the benefit of hindsight, I see how ridiculous these next steps were. Just remember, at the time I was spiraling out of control emotionally, and I was desperate to make something better, to feel like I had any kind of control in my life. My brain was telling me that I had to make it right. The twisted guilt I felt inside would get better when I made amends. Like in A.A. (despite the fact that I had slid into problem drinking again…)
So I wrote your mom that letter. That stupid fucking letter. I grew up in a time when we looked up people’s addresses in phone books and sent them things in the mail. I did that often as a kid. It has been brought to my attention that no one does that anymore, and to do so seemed psychotic. I guess I have learned that thing now. If you google your last name and city, your home address is the first thing that comes up. I probably wouldn’t have gone looking for it. I recognize that with that statement I am trying to justify that I am not a crazy stalker. But I took it as a SIGN. It was so easy to find.
Now, one might argue that I knew I was being inappropriate because of the wording in the letter. I knew I was being unconventional, but the acknowledging of possible impropriety was like when people on reddit add “bring on the downvotes” when saying something controversial. It’s anchoring. I thought by anchoring, your mom would read it and think, “No, this isn’t crazy at all. This is so nice.” I truly, genuinely thought I was doing something good. I felt like I was making things right by you.
I’ve told a bunch of my friends about this. Amy said, “You were just being kind, unnecessarily kind.” Chelsea asked me if I had cheated on you when I said I did something bad, and when I explained that I had written your mother to pay you back she said, “Stop being such a damn angel. Seriously you are like the nicest person I know.” A few acknowledged that I had crossed lines, but also said they could see what I was doing, and that there is no shame in living your values. I told Marc the story. He laughed at me and said, “Mags, you’re always going to be crazy no matter what. You just keep on doing what you think is right.” I’ve adopted that as my life motto. I’m always going to be crazy, so do what I think is right.
I didn’t think it was fair, you ghosting me. I was convinced I was in the right for doing the kind thing and that you and your mom had totally overreacted. Okay, so MAAAAAYBE I was a little out of line, but this was something forgivable. I have done so many worse things in my life that I have been forgiven for. I was forgiven for throwing my friend’s cat across the house. I was forgiven for losing my grandma’s diamond ring. I was forgiven for calling my ex’s sister a bitch at Christmas (though to be honest that one took some time).
I posted about this in a BPD forum. So much of my behavior through this is what I like to call “borderline-y.” And I can’t let go. I can’t fucking let go of you. On the forum I got expected responses, reminders, support. Some pointed out where they thought I had made mistakes. It was what I was looking for. Days after I thought the thread had died I got a response that made my heart leap into my throat. For the first time, I saw your point of view. He said I had completely betrayed your trust by ratting you out to your mom. (I said “No! I worded it very carefully.” He said that didn’t make a difference.) He said you probably thought I was trying to start conflict and drama within your family. He said I went from being some girl you’d spent too much money on to “psycho stalker ex.” He said I was way out of line. I read this and my throat went dry. Then I started sobbing. I started gasping for breath between my sobs. I finally saw how much I had hurt you. I sobbed so much I started dry heaving. “This is bad,” I thought to myself. “This is so so bad.”
Quick aside because it is relevant: You complain about the people who have hurt you. You talk about the people who made fun of you in high school. The whole time we were together you were still upset about the girl who had rejected you right before us. You didn’t let go of being angry at your roommates and said that you wanted them to respect you. There are more. Kids in your classes, your roommate in the dorms… You hold on to all these hurts, all these emotional scars you have. It was my impression when you told me these stories that you wanted an apology. I thought you wanted the people who hurt you to say they were sorry.
I had no idea what you were thinking now. I didn’t actually know what you thought at the time because you said nothing. Sometimes people lose touch forever because no one takes the first step to repair things. It’s been six months. I’ve thought at least 3,000 different things about you in that time – maybe you were less mad. You had wanted all those people who had hurt you before to apologize. So it was at this moment, armed with these thoughts, that I decided I had to apologize. I had to at least try to apologize. You know this part. I called you from a blocked number. I made a plan of what to leave as a message. I did not expect you to pick up. (Who picks up blocked calls!?) Your response of yelling over me with “NOPE. NOPE. BYE.” is hilarious. It has already become a friend-meme in my group. I felt free. My anxiety around the situation dissipated because I had done my best. Even though I had fucked up almost every single step of the way, that was still the best I had. Sometimes one’s best is so shitty.
And then the sadness moved in. I realized this was the true end. Holy shit, I hurt you so bad. I’m so sorry. You can’t forgive me. And while that response is justified, I have to live with the guilt I feel about it. When we first met, I expected nothing. Then you turned out to be everything. I fucked up maintaining any kind of relationship with you by being clueless, selfish, and impulsive along the way. I didn’t think things through to their conclusions. You were everything, and I lost you.
P.S. I’m still carrying that kernel of “if he could just understand…” This post goes viral. Everyone reads it. It gets republished in a book as one of the saddest moments of regret of all time. Someone recognizes who it is and makes you read it. This becomes the basis for the next 13 Reasons Why. But it’s like “13 Reasons Why I’m Fat From Eating Too Many Cookies and Crying.” You find it by googling “psycho ex mother letter.”
Because if you just knew, you would forgive me.