Spraining My Ankle Showed Me How Toxic My Relationship Really Was

I’d been waiting for my boyfriend to tell me he loved me for months, so I was overjoyed when he finally did. Unfortunately, I ended up spraining my ankle the same night and that injury invalidated his sweet words pretty much immediately.

  1. He wouldn’t take me to the hospital. I’d never experienced any kind of serious injury before and I was scared. My ankle had swollen up like a balloon and was getting uglier by the minute. I thought it was pretty damn obvious that I needed medical attention but my boyfriend just wouldn’t have it. Just wait until the morning, he said. It’s probably not that bad, he insisted. What was I to do? It was my right ankle, so I couldn’t exactly drive myself. With no other transportation options, I realized I’d have to wait until the next morning.
  2. He manipulated me into having sex that night. Since we weren’t going to the hospital, we went to bed instead. I was crying by that point, unsure of whether my ankle was sprained or broken while also feeling concerned about how I was going to deal with it at work—I’d just been promoted, for cryin’ out loud! When my boyfriend started cuddling and kissing me, I assumed at first that he was just trying to comfort me. Wrong! I should have gone with my gut and told him no, but he complained about my lack of mobility and guilted me into it and I went along with it.
  3. He abandoned me the next day. So remember how he told me to wait until the morning to go to the hospital? Silly me, I thought we’d actually go. Instead, I woke up as my boyfriend was getting out of bed. He muttered something vague about being busy and having already made plans for that day and then he left. I was too hurt physically and emotionally to try to stop him.
  4. He was OK with me injuring myself further if it meant he didn’t have to help me. Life goes on whether you can keep up or not. I really shouldn’t have been trying to walk or drive on my ankle, but I also didn’t have much of a choice because I had nobody helping me. My boyfriend never once expressed concern over the fact that I was doing these things, but I have since realized this was because it let him off the hook.
  5. I actually did injure myself further and he was annoyed. A little over a week after my initial injury, my boyfriend and I were hanging out again. In a case of extreme irony, it was because I had just taken him to the doctor for a mild concussion. Then, being the class act that he was, he allowed me to drive him again on my bad ankle to go get lunch the following day. As we were leaving the restaurant, my ankle suddenly buckled and I went down. To my horror, my boyfriend just sighed and said, “Come on, get up. People are going to see.” He was then further irritated when I begged him to finally drive me to the hospital. He did, for the record, but I still had to drive us home. I’ll never forget him dozing off in the passenger seat while I winced with every movement of my foot.
  6. I found myself lying to friends and family Honestly, I was embarrassed by the whole situation. It’s bad enough spraining your ankle in a dumb way (I slipped in a puddle) but it’s even worse when the guy you’ve been raving about to friends and family starts treating you like a leper as a result. So when people would ask, “Is he taking care of you?” I would just say yes and change the subject.
  7. Honestly, I’d never felt so alone. Not only had my boyfriend essentially abandoned me but I also didn’t have other people around because they believed he was taking care of me and keeping me company. I also had to miss days of work because my job required me to be on my feet most of the time, so I didn’t even have that kind of socialization. At one point, I (very slowly and painfully) made a trip to the nearest supermarket and almost broke down crying right there in the store. Asking for help has never come easy to me in the first place, but it especially sucks when the one person you just kind of expect to be there for you in times of need just suddenly isn’t around. I was very sad, confused and above all, lonely.
  8. My ankle healed and so did my heart. It took a really long time because I’d sprained it so badly, but my ankle eventually got back to normal. And as you know, my boyfriend and I did call it quits. The truth is that our breakup didn’t hurt as much as I could have since my heart was already broken by that point. As with all bad things in life, the only real option is to eventually get over it and move on. The good news is that the guy I’m dating now is very different and I’m certain he’d still be there for me if I sprain my ankle again. I’m not willing to try that theory out anytime soon, though.


Brianna Gunter is an NYC-born Jersey girl now living in the Rocky Mountains. A graduate of The College of New Jersey's journalism program, her work has appeared in a multitude of publications both online and in print. When not writing about life as a millennial, she can be found hiking, hunting for pizza or making new dog friends.