There's actually no other way to put it but I was in a relationship that I didn't consent to. It was pretty much one-sided, in that the other person thought we were in a relationship, and I never actually realized this until late last year. But it didn't end there; it was an abusive relationship. This person took advantage of my passiveness all the time in order to fuel their fantasy that we were dating.
Sometime in August last year, tragedy allegedly struck their offline life, and I was there for them. I was their emotional support and I did everything I could despite our distance, to keep this person in a safe emotional state. But that's when things started getting weird. They used this tragic event as leverage over me, in that they could do/say anything they wanted to me--a lot of which were really weird sexual advances toward me--and I feared so much that I would push them into distress by speaking up my discomfort, that I just LET them harass me.
After awhile, I became really skeptical of this event and whether it really happened. In my concern for my friend, I had been looking in their local news listings for anything about what happened--because it was a pretty intense thing that happened that it would have been in the local news. After two or three weeks, still nothing. That was one of many red flags.
I started having my guard up more and more, and after the behavior got progressively worse, it grew unbearable for me, especially with the looming possibility that the event never happened, and this person quite literally fabricated this event for the opportunity to get me to act as their significant other in all of my support. The part that spooked me most, though, is that the circumstance of the event means that it was very thought out--at least a year in the making. And if that is the case, this person had the intentions of making this happen a year in advance, lying in wait until then to "activate" the tragedy to use.
At this point, the possibility of it all being a lie was too much for me, that I just stopped talking to this person. It was a ****ty and cowardly thing to do, but I couldn't just confront them and be like "DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN?" because if it did, that would have been quite literally the worst thing to say to them. After I stopped talking to them, their texts to me started getting weirder, as almost an attempt to get me to reply in any manner. But a week or so after I had stopped talking to them, this person actually snapped. Like I was the thing keeping their mind in check, and now that I was more-or-less out of their grasp, they went completely off the deep end.
Like an abusive relationship, this person lost their mind because they no longer had control over me. They began harassing my friends and trying anything in their power to get me to respond. Which made it more apparent to me, that no matter how much I wanted to offer closure, that it was too late--and that even if my intentions were good, this person's intentions were not and if I caved in any manner, they would find a way to reel me back in. After a few days of this, the truth came out. That this person was never who they claimed to be and that every event--including the one I feared--was a lie.
A little additional context: during a conversation we had at some point after the initial "tragic event", they were helping me with job apps (though not really), and they asked me for the name of my town. I foolishly disclosed it, because believe it or not, I trusted this person. I trusted them so much. I thought maybe they needed my town name for something regarding the apps, but it didn't, and instead they began exploring my town on Google Maps and that really scared me.
With them knowing my town in their current mental state, I grew extremely paranoid. I was genuinely fearful that they were going to try to find me in real life and hurt me. During the month, they would constantly ask me if they could move in with me--and looking back, I'm not even sure if that was a playful jest anymore.
After awhile, this person began speaking ill of me on various sites. Again, I had trusted this person. I had told them so much about me, and about my personal life, about my terrible experiences, everything. They used all of it. All of it and more. They acted as the victim--and I'm sure in their mind, they were, and I sympathize--and started accusing me of abusing their trust, of all things. Which was all sorts of ironic, though I actually had not said anything about the events of this, because I still cared about them and didn't want to hurt them any more than I already did.
So while it was killing me inside, I let them continue to spread hybrid lies about me, while I sit in utter silence, hoping that maybe they'll notice that I have not said anything about them since the events, except to the ZD staff and my closest friends, and the former was only in fear of my own safety and the safety of others.
Though, I still think about this person a lot. And I still care. I think it's best for both them and myself that we no longer speak to each other, but they still deserve to know this. Because, it had occurred to me a few months ago that maybe their accusations toward me on the sites weren't entirely unfounded. If what they thought had happened was in any way different to what I thought happened--which are quite obviously both inaccurate in their own ways--that perhaps they thought the real reason I stopped communicating with them was because they thought I had found out that they weren't who they said they were. That I no longer liked them because maybe they thought I thought I couldn't be friends with the "man behind the curtain" because they were not really the wizard they claimed to be.
And the more I thought about this, the more things started to make sense to me, about what they did after I stopped talking to them. There was a certain point where someone from another site my friend was on joined ZD simply to talk ill of them and to spread the "truth" about their identity not being their online one. It was evident that he didn't like them, whatever his reasons were. Which, at this point, I had already heard about this person's fake identity from one of my friends who had heard it directly from them in a confession of sorts. But with knowledge of this guy who joined ZD, I think it's entirely possible that they thought this guy had approached me and told me about this and that was the reason why I stopped talking to them. That I no longer wanted anything to do with them because of their identity being different.
So, to the person who was once my friend, and quite possibly my abuser only in my perception of the events, if you read this, I'm sorry things turned out the way they did. You know me, you know how I am, I hate speaking up if it risks hurting someone. I ran away. I ran away from you because I didn't want to hurt you, and in doing so I ended up hurting you. I want you to know that I never hated you and I hope you are doing okay, and that you have moved on. I think we both ended up with conflicting paranoia and that makes it impossible for us to interact again, but know I still care about you and I am still rooting for you from the sidelines.