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  • Emilie Surrusco

Love and hate

One of my oldest and dearest friends sent me an email to tell me that reading my blog has taken her back to that time when we were young college students and I was dating Jason. She still wonders if she did everything she could have to stop what was happening to me. She still hates him, and she still wants Jason knows how much she hates him.

Her email made me sad and happy at the same time.

Sad, because she is someone who means the world to me and I don’t want her to feel bad. And sad because she did try to stop it – she and another dear friend came to visit me one day at my summer job, almost a year into the relationship, to tell me that I had to leave him. I remember hearing their words and not being able to meet their eyes. I remember feeling panicked.

They didn’t understand that he had convinced me that there was no life for me outside of him. I worried that if I didn’t leave that they wouldn’t be my friends anymore. Fortunately, that worry was in vain. Their love and support never wavered even as things got worse and I dug deeper and deeper into the vociferous black hole that was our relationship. When I finally did leave, they were there for me on the other side.

My friend needs to know that she did everything she could have done and more by being my friend and, at the same time, not turning a blind eye to what was going on with Jason.

So why did her email make me happy? It was her expression of hate. See she was friends with Jason too. She, the other dear friend, me, Jason and his two best friends spent the first summer of our relationship together. We were an inseparable “sextet” in more ways than one.  She knew Jason’s charming, fun-loving, sensitive side. Like so many others, she could have believed him over me. The thing is that she and I have been friends since we were eight years old. We played soccer together, we went on summer vacations together – throughout our teenage years, her home was a refuge from my house, which often resembled a proverbial war zone.  She knows me in a way that very few do.

During my relationship with Jason, she saw what was happening to me and she knew it was wrong. That’s what makes me happy. She hates him for what he did to me. To this day, if she saw him, she would tell him so.

Her venom reminds me that what he did was wrong. Even now, 20 years later, sometimes I still wonder if it was my fault, if I really do deserve the beautiful family that I have, or if instead I deserve the hell Jason put me through. I know it sounds crazy but a small compartment of my mind is still battered, despite all the good that has replaced the bad.

Her hate makes me feel understood and loved.

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