What An Abusive Relationship Looks Like
They are all out there, right now. Women who face it, are facing it, day in and out. I have faced it too. And kept quiet about it, because that is what people tell you to do. Politely sweep it under the carpet, because as a woman, someone else’s crime is still your shame.
It all starts very well, as always. Both seem to love each other deeply, truly and madly. Things seem to go great for a while: Steps are lighter, the heart pounds harder, and you want to smile without any reason.
Intoxicating, his happiness starts to mean the world. But with that, slowly and steadily, you need to bend your life for his happiness. Good women are self-sacrificing and accommodating. So you feel you are on the right track and plunge into it.
Rules, diktats and norms are laid down silently. They are said and unsaid. Any diversion is met with rage and anger. You take it on. Men are allowed to be angry and they need to vent. Remember the famous phrases “men will be men” and “boys will be boys." You think to yourself, maybe being a sponge and absorbing it all will calm him down, and he will acknowledge your greatness.
You get damaged from the inside and outside, bit by bit.
Confusingly, you also see the man can’t live without you. It goes on to more control about work, family and personal choices. Finally, it is about your existence. Autonomy about who you are and your thoughts, ideas and values. Suddenly, there is a master to serve. Even though he is ruthless and powerful, you still love him. It’s all good.
Then one day you speak for yourself and don’t play by the rules. The hitting just happens.
You are — Smacked. Slapped. Strangulated. Bitten. Kicked. Punched, pushed and thrown around.
Sadly, your own first reaction is of embarrassment. You don’t want to believe this is the reality. A person who loves you insanely, can he really do this to you? No. You attribute it to a momentary loss of sanity.
You feel scared, but he is really sorry, suddenly, after the act is over. You feel relieved that you don’t need to detest the person you love. You forgive him. Give him a second chance.
But the hitting continues...it comes back again and again.
You get damaged from the inside and outside, bit by bit. Broken into pieces. Scared for your life. You fear him now. However, all this makes you feel ashamed and guilty, where he remains unfazed, unaffected or unaware of the horror he creates each time.
You tell yourself it’s your fault somehow. There is no one you can talk to about it, because you are still protecting his dignity. It worries you that people will judge him.
There is a feeling of sleep paralysis. You are frozen in time and all your controls are lost.
If you are in a relationship or marriage with anyone where you face or have faced domestic and physical violence, then there are certain things you need to accept:
This is not love. He doesn’t love you, because he wouldn’t destroy you like that.
This is not love. You don’t love him, because playing victim is not showing your own greatness or sacrifice for love.
He will hit you once. Twice. Thrice. Again and again. Stop waiting for him to realize or change. He needs to see a counselor, and you can’t be that person.
This is not love.
Make-up sex is always thrilling, but after getting hit, it is just more violence.
You are not here to make him happy. That will not change or stop him. Stop trying to buy your happiness or safety.
Yes, some women don’t have a choice, they say. Circumstances, finances, societal pressures, nowhere to live, no family support, children? There is always a choice. Get away from that person now. Physically distance yourself from the person. Your options for self-sustenance will come to you on your own the moment you do that. Anything and everything is better than staying to be hit again. If you have children, then by walking away, you have given them their life’s best survival lesson.
You are not responsible for his actions. No. Your faults, flaws, provocations can never be reasons or justification for his behavior.
The more you fear him, he will scare you further. Just get away from him. Don’t wait till you feel imprisoned by his wrath.
Don’t carry guilt in your heart for his monstrosity. You are not creating it.
He will control you. Make you feel small, less, insignificant, inadequate. You are not any of it. No one can control you unless you allow it.
Don’t carry the shame for his actions on your own self. You can’t inherit his shame.
Awakening his conscience one day, can’t be your lifetime agenda or wait.
Lastly, don’t wait for him to redeem himself. He won’t. Don’t waste your life.
I got out. Left him. I decided to talk about it, so that you do that too. Get out of this toxicity now.
By Piyali Dasgupta
Piyali Dasgupta is a capacity building, experiential and expressive arts learning specialist and strategist. She uses it for life skill/behavioral development, self exploration and training. With that she is a time and life traveler. She loves trees, water bodies, vintage, cooking and arts. Finally, she is a feminist and wit addict.
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