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Abusive Eugene

I had to pay the price for ‘justice’

Dear Eugene: You can’t say I didn’t try. Or that I didn’t give you a second — or third, or fourth — chance.

It’s not just that you broke my heart. I blame myself for falling for your funky, artistic charms, your bohemian and athletic good looks. You seemed so different from the others I’d known before.

Once, I actually thought I loved you, Eugene. But now I know it wasn’t you that I loved. I loved what I thought you were, I loved the façade that you put out to the world. Now I know it was just an act and that you never even cared about me at all.

The worst thing about you, Eugene, isn’t that you are lying, phony and arrogant. Or that you pretend to be politically progressive and spiritually evolved, but are actually close-minded and shallow. Your inability to take a hard look at yourself and see what you really are deep inside is tragic, but not unforgivable.

What I can never forgive you for, Eugene — what still gives me nightmares years later — is the fact that you are an abuser. Both physically and emotionally. And you cover it all up with your innocent smile. It doesn’t take a licensed psychotherapist to diagnose you, Eugene, as a textbook example of a sociopath.

Each and every time you hurt me, Eugene, you told me you only did it because you cared. That it was for my own good. That, someday, I might even thank you for it. And because I had made a commitment to you, Eugene, I stuck around, hoping things might change. Of course things only got worse.

Finally, one day, you hurt me so bad I knew I couldn’t respect myself any longer if I didn’t do something about it. So I confronted you, Eugene. I let you know exactly what you did wrong, how much you hurt me, and how I wasn’t going to stand for it any longer. And you actually seemed to listen. You told me you’d think about it. I accepted the possibility that you were finally taking what I had to say to heart.

Of course, it didn’t take you long to come to your decision. As has always been the case with you, Eugene, you insisted you hadn’t done a single thing wrong. So I left you, Eugene. It was the hardest decision I ever made, but for my own physical and mental well-being, I knew I had to get away from you. Still, something was missing. I needed closure.

I went to those who were closest to you, Eugene, your co-workers, your neighbors, your community. And I opened myself to the most grueling, invasive and humiliating experience of my life, all because of a naïve hope for some form of resolution. Finally, after years of physical, emotional, and financial hardship on my part, your community decided that you had, in fact, hurt me and for no good reason. That the physical pain I suffered on a daily basis — and still do, to this day — was your doing and that you’d be held accountable for your actions.

Yet, like everything associated with you, Eugene, it was just a sham. Yet another hoax. Through either treachery, cowardice, or self-deceit your community didn’t have the guts to unmask you for the monster you truly are, Eugene. While they admitted you had hurt me, they pretended it was just an accident. That you didn’t do it on purpose and it could’ve happened to anyone. While you were found guilty, I was the one who had to pay the price — literally — for the pursuit of “justice.”

This really isn’t about me, Eugene. You can’t hurt me anymore. In fact, it never was about me at all. What this is really about is all of the people who remain by your side, who, for whatever reason, still love you — or at least love the idea of you, Eugene. They are the ones I worry about. They are the ones who — if they don’t put you in your place once and for all — will continue to be victimized by you, suffering pain and sorrow for years and years to come.