“Do you respect yourself?!” exclaimed Victoria while pulling me away from the living room where we were celebrating my 17th birthday.

It was a very quiet party. Only my 3 closest University friends have been invited and Anton. I did not want him to be there, but I had no choice. I did not want to have him in my life at all. I could not even comprehend how he actually got in there.

I knew Anton for only a few weeks, but in those few weeks all my life went upside down.

He seemed to be always around, monitoring every step I made or every breath I took. If he was not physically around, then there were phone calls. Hundreds and hundreds of phone calls each day. I was scared to answer the phone and even more scared not to answer it, as then he would come to my place full of rage: “Why did not you answer the phone? Where have you been?”


I could not comprehend how that happened, but Anton somehow got into a belief that he was my boyfriend. He even started talking about marrying me in  a year. That was when he was talking about me being the love of his life of course. However before even finishing talking about his love, he often was falling into a rage. Then my things went flying around the place and his fist was punching the wall a millimeter away from my face.

“Do you respect yourself?” Victoria kept exclaiming, while pulling me into a distant corner. I could not understand what she was talking about.

Victoria never met Anton before. I never even told her about him. So far he was behaving his best at my party. He treated me OK in public, except an occasional hiss, a pinch or a quiet jab that no one else would notice.

“He is not a proper human being. He is a psychopath! Classic textbook case. I’ve got only Cs in psychology, but I could see that straight away. You’ve got top marks. Why can’t you see that? Why do you allow him to be near you? How can you allow yourself to be treated like that? Do you have any respect for yourself?”


I’ve never seen Victoria to be so agitated.

“You should stop that straight away. You should not allow him to get anywhere near you. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t talk to him. Get him out of your life. Do you hear me? Completely out!”

Next day at the University she pulled me into the library and got for me a pile of books on psychopaths  as well as books on building confidence and self-esteem.  I spent the rest of the day at the library, and then another day, and another… It was quiet a peaceful there: no phone calls, no Anton. In a few months he vanished from my life…


A decade later Victoria gave me a ring:

“What are you up to?” she asked.

“Painting the house,” I felt totally exhausted after spending a few months preparing the walls and putting 4 coats of paint.

“Were all your efforts appreciated?”

“Hm, I guess so. I was asked a few days ago whether I could paint the roof as well, once I finish with all the walls. So I must be doing a good job…”

“And what is your prince doing?”

“Daydreaming, reading and enjoying a cup of tea.”

“Do you respect yourself for goodness sake!” exclaimed Victoria. “Every relationship requires equal efforts by both parties. Chuck out all the paintbrushes and do some daydreaming too. Or reading, sailing, dancing… Do something YOU are ENJOYING!”

And I did…