I'm writing this as a record of the truth. I obvious have some investment in a preferable outcome having gone through the effort of trying to obtain the truth. But ultimately what happens after this is posted is up to Z. I've broken this up into a few sections. First the story, reconstructed and given what I believe to be an entirely neutral and as close to accurate assessment I can create as a third party observer. It is not guaranteed that all my analysis is perfectly accurate. But, I am confident in what I consider a series of conclusions, which will be the section which follows. I want to really establish that some things about this story are debatable, but some conclusions are strong enough that I would consider them basically fact. After that, as a special treat, I want to include my own personal recommendation for how you should move forward with your life. If I'm going to all the trouble of doing this analysis, I might as well give you a bit of advice on how you might better live. Up to you to decide if it is any use to you.
A Story You Know With A Twist
The story must start with the GF. In a lot of ways this is her story more than Z's. She came from a very broken and dysfunctional home. In a good world, her parents would have just broken up instead of dragging their children through the hell that they did. A growing child needs safety and love to develop into a health and balanced individual. GF did not receive either in the right quantities. There are lots of ways children cope with that, but in her case she developed what is known as an Anxious Attachment style. Defined roughly as:
"People with an anxious attachment tend to be desperate to form a fantasy bond. Instead of feeling real love or trust toward their partner, they often feel emotional hunger. They’re frequently looking to their partner to rescue or complete them. Although they’re seeking a sense of safety and security by clinging to their partner, they take actions that push their partner away.
Even though anxiously attached individuals act desperate or insecure, more often than not, their behavior exacerbates their own fears. When they feel unsure of their partner’s feelings and unsafe in their relationship, they often become clingy, demanding or possessive toward their partner. They may also interpret independent actions by their partner as affirmation of their fears. For example, if their partner starts socializing more with friends, they may think, “See? He doesn’t really love me. This means he is going to leave me. I was right not to trust him.”"
She has an incredibly unhealthy relationship with most other people. She has a friend group who doesn't really support her. She keeps her place within that social circle by giving and supporting in excess. She probably does not really know how to make a real connection with another person and these friends most likely tolerate her more than love her in any genuine way.
Now we can introduce Z. He's not too different from the average teenage boy. He's going through the motions of being a teen, a bit self centered, can sometimes be a an ass when he should know better. He gets into a relationship with his new GF, but things go downhill incredibly fast. On account of her anxious attachment style, GF is not able to actually create a real bond with Z. She treats him more like an object than an actual person she loves. She isn't trying to be in a relationship as much as she is trying to fulfill a fantasy.
A teenage boy is not equipped to be able to handle the burden of a person with this kind of severe issue mental health issue. Even most adults are not. Z even tries, multiple times, to break things off between them. But the Anxiously Attached can often be living in a separate reality and she is not willing to let go of that. Not really having any other options, and not having the experience or emotional maturity to understand the situation to it's fullest, Z starts to develop his own coping mechanisms in response. He tries to hide and distance and get away, hoping she will finally get the message. It got so bad for Z, he practically vanishes from the world in an attempt to escape what has become inescapable.
At this point, it would be a farce to call the relationship between GF and Z as girlfriend and boyfriend. Z has made it clear multiple times to GF that the relationship isn't working and that they should separate. She refuses to detach from the only bit of emotional security she thinks she is able to have and works to keep Z invested in perpetuating the 'relationship'. What she is experiencing is a delusional fixation, unable to cope with her traumas she puts all of her hopes on someone who is basically a stranger to her at this point.
Unfortunately, things continue to deteriorate in her life. She soon has nowhere to turn for any support. Not from her parents, her friends, her brother, or her 'boyfriend'. She feels the despair of total abandonment which leads to her tragic death by suicide. This pointless loss of life shocks the community. Besides the sadness and grief, the question arises of why this happened? The truth was that she grew up in a terribly broken household where she received no love and no support, which put her on her own self destructive path, forming superficial relationships and developing an extremely unhealthy fixation for the one she chose to be her savior. Her parents are the ones who own full blame for her death, their failure to provide her the childhood she needed is entirely their fault and ended in the loss of her life. Her friends may come as a distant second in terms of blame, they used her for what she could do for the group without having anything to give back. The brother likely was going through his own personal hell in that family and it would be difficult to assign him much blame when he needed to do what he had to do to protect himself. Finally Z, the 'boyfriend'. Looking at the facts of the situation and circumstances, Z was conditioned by GF's actions to become avoidant. This *was* truly an abusive relationship, but it was GF who was the abuser. She created a situation he couldn't handle and could not escape from. Even in the most generous light, she was not Z's girlfriend, she was Z's stalker. He can't rightfully bare *any* of the responsibility for her death as a victim of her fantasy fixation.
But the truth doesn't really matter when we assign blame. Those parties most at fault, also turned out to be the least capable of accepting blame. The abusive parents and the neglectful 'friends' most certainly would not be able to do the kind of mature introspection necessary to shoulder fault for what happened. Instead, they turned to whoever they could to ease their guilt. Seeing as there was mention of a boyfriend in the note, it was easy to loudly and angrily point the finger at a party who was themselves victimized. Her parents, eager to find anyone else to blame for the loss of their child and their own massive failing, go out of their way to demonize Z in the town. Her 'friends', not wanting to have to account for their own complete lack of support for GF, also go out of their way to demonize Z at school. He has become the scapegoat of the story, and it actually sounds really convincing. The neglectful boy and the sad lonely girl who just wanted to love him. But reality looked more like, the stalker girl and the boy who just wanted to escape her. Nobody is capable or even wants to think that hard, especially when we in this society are biased against men in unhealthy relationships. People assumed guilt without really bothering to check the whole truth.
Z at the time most likely doesn't understand anything about Anxious Attachment or is able to perceive the way she forced him into the position he was in. He knows he isn't a murderer though and is initially able to fight back against an entire town turned against him. But nobody, especially at a young age like that, is able to resist society forever without anyone on their side. In a twist of fate, Z is now the one who has no support of his own. This causes tremendous harm to his self esteem and his ability to resist what is a false narrative being forced on him. His mind is overwhelmed by social ostracization. He is truly, once again, a victim. When the whole world is against you, and the mind is unable to defend itself any longer, acceptance starts to set in. All the shame, regret, guilt balloons completely out of control, nothing to keep it in check. Throughout his life, he only sees people who continue to confirm the false narrative. He develops coping and defensive mechanisms to deal with the pain of social ostracization. They aren't good or healthy or even things which reflect the reality around him. They are what the brain needs to process such extreme trauma.
The unfortunate remainder of Z's life serves only as confirmation of his distorted worldview, that he is an irredeemable person. His lack of control, his self destructive behaviors, his inability to create meaningful relationships without blowing them up. There was no 'original sin', he didn't deserve to be in this position. But now that he was, he has created a life that just piles on pain and guilt and regret, a self perpetuating cycle.
The 'Undeniable' Conclusions
These following statements I do not believe to be debatable based on the evidence presented. Perhaps if something was left out of the story they could be challenged, but even then, I doubt anything additional could be major enough to change them.
1. The GF was Anxiously Attached to you, which manifested as a form of abuse towards you.
I know what Anxious Attachment looks like. I have lived it. I know what fixation and unhealthy relationship dynamics look like, as I have also live that. You are going to have to trust me when I tell you how messed up the brain of a person like hers or mine can be and how easily that can turn to abusive behavior. People think that she was in love and you pushed her away but that is a very naive way to view what was in fact a very complicated situation. Her behavior was manipulative, controlling and it was destructive and undeniably it was harmful to you. It doesn't matter whether she was a victim herself, it doesn't matter if she was 'just trying to love you', her behavior was an abuse towards you. Another way to put it, she deliberately created and perpetuated an unhealthy relationship dynamic between you which negatively impacted your life, drastically even if you were as disconnected from the world as you say you became.
2. You were not her boyfriend by the time of her death and you have no responsibility in her suicide.
You tried to escape her, for years you tried everything to get away. You told her it was over, you tried to hide from her, you may have even been mean towards her in the hope she would dump you. But, through all that, that she refuses to accept you are not her boyfriend doesn't mean you are still her boyfriend! Even if people knew you as her boyfriend, and even if you allowed them to be under that misconception, you were still not responsible for supporting her. In fact, you of all people on the planet should *not* have supported her. That would have been enablement of her unhealthy attachment. Best case she needed to be removed and put in therapy, and worst case you should have had a restraining order taken out against her.
3. You are a victim, and something terrible and unjust has been done to you.
This is really straightforward. Even setting aside the relationship dynamic which was abusive towards you, the way society has handled you over the course of your life is the ultimate form of gaslighting and emotional abuse. You were scapegoated to protect the actual abusers, and with even your own family turning against you, there was no way for you to psychologically defend yourself against your abuse. Speaking from experience, overcoming this kind of trauma is extraordinarily difficult as you naturally cannot see yourself as a victim. But that is the nature of gaslighting.
4. You still have things you should regret and be ashamed of.
If you are not actually following me on the above, the thing I need to emphasize is that yeah, you did end up doing many bad and regrettable things. Especially in your later life, it seems you have been destructive and reckless and irresponsible. What was the original source of the guilt and shame I believe should be dispelled, but everything that happened after that, you still have to own it. The key here, is you have to recognize *how much* guilt and shame you should be feeling for everything. And, I would say, it should not be too much. Some for sure, but not an amount which hinders your life.
5. Putting it all together, you should be very mad at all this shit that happened to you.
If you aren't, you should be. The parents and the friends were cowards who used you to ease their own guilt. I'm sure many of them hardly even think about the GF anymore, they are sleeping easy because they sacrificed your life to make that happen. You should be thinking about the decade an a half of life that was taken away from you and you should actually be pissed. You might not be, if you don't buy my conclusions or even if they haven't sunk in all the way. But I was pissed when I found out the same shit was done to me and I lost around 18 years of life out of it.
Consider this a freebie because I like you. This is a few suggestions for you to move forward with. If you are willing to give my narrative a chance but you don't know what to do with it anyway, then I have some directions.
1. Internalize that you were victim.
This is the first step, you have to really come to terms with the fact that you were victimized and abuse and traumatized. That might actually be easier for you than it was for me, because i was under the delusion I was in control, that I was not so weak that I could be controlled or abused. I'm hoping that understanding that your GF was Anxiously Attached, the impact of that, and how all the dominoes fall from there, that you will understand all the ways you were actually abuse throughout your life. Another point to remember, a lot of the people who hurt you did not consider themselves abusers, they couldn't have known better having heard a repugnant rumor about you. But that doesn't mean the damage they caused you wasn't real.
2. Resolve the original sin.
If you can accept the above, you should understand that the source of your guilt and shame was put in you unfairly. And it caused your life to spiral out of control, making self sustaining cycles of self hate within you. But if you remove the original sin, you can prevent the cycle from continuing and you can start to unravel it all.
3. Forgive yourself the worst of what you've done.
Some of the things you have done you never should have shouldered the blame for, and others you should recognize only happened because you were forced into all the positions you are in. I think you still need to repay any debts you have to the world, but it is time to find forgiveness for yourself.
3. Part of atonement can be living a good, healthy life.
You have something you need to prove to yourself now. That you *are* a good person, that you can believe in yourself as someone who is worth it. You can start doing that by allowing yourself recognition for the goods you do. I don't know what goods you do, but if you don't feel it is enough, you can do more! Just remember to give yourself credit without throwing it away from the feeling that you aren't worth it. Once you are there, it will be easier to stick to self improvement projects, since you won't be as likely to self sabotage yourself. Building yourself up also increases your ability to be kind and supportive and do good. As easily as you can create a negative reinforcement loop, a positive reinforcement loop is possible which can help you take back control of your life and one day, make you feel proud to be you.
4. Identify and disarm your defensive mechanisms and traps.
You should be doing a lot of self reflection and introspection. You have problematic behaviors, you probably have triggers, you self destruct and ruin your relationships with others. Root out and understand why you do these things and start trying to undo them. It's not always easy, and it takes a lot of time, but you can develop healthier ways to handle situations that you now feel are out of your control.
5. Keep up introspection, keep striving to improve, and you can suceed - in time.
Even by some miracle if my advice is actually solid and you actually take it, it's not gonna be easy and it is not gonna be super fast to improve. It will not always been a straight line. Often times recovery is very rocky, it involves setbacks. But if you keep seeking it out, the results are worth it. You just have to believe in yourself enough to weather the rough parts.
Well, I spent a lot of time on that, so I hope you at least give it serious consideration and really spend the time remembering, processing, and reflecting on your past and yourself. But you may also just reject most of this. I dunno, I'm getting tired and I'm not your keeper, haha. I'm happy to answer or clarify anything, in the case you take me seriously as someone who knows what they are doing and talking about.
Either way, hope things work out for you Z.