‘You’re an angel,’ he said to me after a night of being told I was worthless. The sun started to shine through the window, it reeked of booze and I had yet to sleep. I wanted to be that ‘angel.’

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“It was early in the morning and the sun started to shine through the window, it reeked of booze and I had yet to sleep. ‘You’re an angel,’ he said to me after a night of being told I was worthless and will never be able to help.

The night before started like most nights. He pulled into my driveway around 2 a.m. wasted and angry at the world, life was always against him. I wanted to be the one to show him that love is worth more than alcohol and drugs, that it is possible to be happy, and there are many other ways to cope with life’s stressors. I wanted to be that ‘angel.’

Courtesy of Sarah Sleeper

Once he arrived at my apartment, he was already yelling about something I did wrong. He went for his truck to leave and I stopped him. I was not about to let him drive drunk. We fought in the driveway over the keys and once I retrieved them, we left for his parents’ house. They were out of town and he was dog sitting. Once we arrived, he went to go feed the dogs. The week prior to this he had gotten a new dog – one that had been in a kennel most of its life – and we were still figuring him out, as he was us. He went to put the bowls down, and Max bit him. He probably wanted to eat the food as fast as he could, afraid the other dog would eat his too.

It was a decent bite; his pointer finger was split open and blood started gushing out. Instantly I felt a rush of anxiety take over my body, because any time anything remotely bad happened to him, something worse would form from it. He started screaming at the dog as I stood there in my pajamas deciding if I should just make the long walk back to my apartment at 3 in the morning, not wanting to witness something awful.

Blood was dripping onto his parents’ white carpet as I was trying to get him to a sink. The anger quickly turned towards me. I was ‘worthless,’ I made his life ‘more difficult.’ ‘Can’t you see my life is falling apart? Can’t you see the universe is against me? I don’t need this from you, too,’ he shouted. He went into the bedroom and passed out, his hand still covered in blood, clothes and shoes still on. I felt completely broken.

How could someone I love and someone who claimed to love me be able to say such hurtful things to bring me down repeatedly? I decided to try and clean the blood out of his parents’ white carpet. No need for them to deal with this mess when they get home, right? If someone would have seen me, it probably would have looked like some Lifetime movie: a young girl in her pajamas crying and cleaning blood out of a carpet while her drunk boyfriend is passed out in the other room.

Courtesy of Sarah Sleeper

The following morning when he called me an angel, this wasn’t new. He knew if he brought me down, he had to lift me back up again, right? I once again forgave him and we moved forward. I thought I could fix him, and our good days were great, but they were few and far between. This lasted for a long-time, way longer than it should have been allowed.

Then in August of 2015 my grandma passed away, and everything came crumbling down around me. I was alone. I needed him more than anything now. I needed his support, I needed him to hold me and listen to the speech I had prepared for her funeral. Instead, he did the exact opposite. ‘I need space,’ he said. SPACE?!

Courtesy of Sarah Sleeper

At that moment I looked up at the sky and smiled because I knew my grandma gave me strength, she gave me the wings I needed to be set free. I left him that day. I packed up his belongings, got my key back and moved on with my life – with the weight of the world no longer on my shoulders.

Courtesy of Sarah Sleeper

Sometimes we do not see our self-worth. We want to be people pleasers, and fixers. I miss my grandmother so much, and I am so thankful she gave me my wings.”

Courtesy of Sarah Sleeper

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sarah Sleeper of East Lansing, Michigan. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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