I am an emotional assault victim… by choice.
People use these two words so superficially these days. Love doesn’t hurt when your husband forgets to reply to your messages. It hurts when he slaps you across your face for absolutely no fault of yours. Dear soul sister, I know I shouldn’t say this but sometimes I wish that my toxic relationship was based on such physical violence instead of emotional abuse.
You want to know why?
Because after all these years, I have just begun to realise that what we had was an abusive relationship. That’s the thing about brainwashing and manipulating a person, they don’t realise it until it’s too late. There’s no ‘first slap’ or ‘first shove’ to account for. Maybe that’s why I never told you about this, or anyone for that matter. I myself, didn’t know. Is that why they say, ‘Love is Blind’? Then I wish I’d taken off the blindfold a long time ago.
It’s not fair that the first psychological effect on the victim is self-blame.
Now that I think of it, I can’t even remember when it started. Did it start with the little taunts here and there? The remarks about how I was so lucky to have him? Or during the times he would put me down saying I was just not good enough? I don’t know. Because during those moments I justified his verbal abuse thinking that he was just stressed due to work or that he didn’t mean what he said.
Sometimes I can’t help but feel that his triggers were all my fault. And it’s not fair! It’s not fair that the first psychological effect on the victim is self-blame. Funny, isn’t it? I’m blaming myself for undergoing domestic abuse and not even having battle scars to show for it. In fact, the numerous times I sat down to write this letter, I convinced myself that what I was experiencing was all in my head. I believed that I should give my ‘abusive boyfriend’ another chance to work things out. But I think I made the right choice by trusting you with my biggest secret.
He could crush my soul and I would still love and respect him.
Dear bestie, I needed to write this not only because I was helpless, but also to tell you that I need advice. I understand that we’re worlds apart, but right now, I have no way out. I need help to correct my mistakes. I know most people would ask me to fight back and hope for the best. Some may ask me to confront him and trust the love we once had. But what people don’t comprehend is the emotional hold he has on me. He could crush my soul and I would still love and respect him. That’s why it’s so difficult to walk out. That’s precisely why I’ve been tolerating every blow to my self-respect by choice.
His seemingly bipolar actions make me believe that he still loves me. He knows that I have nowhere to go, no family to confide in. On better days we’re the perfect couple, almost as if we were still in our honeymoon phase. He shows me enough of the ‘old him’ to make me stay. Sometimes he’ll hold me when I cry myself to sleep. It almost makes me give up; give into his embrace. But then I remember that he never apologises, never admits his mistakes and constantly forces me into believing that I’m no good for him.
I believe it’s time to change my life for the better. We’re beyond the milestone of reviving our relationship. The situations I’ve mentioned here are nowhere near the extent of what I’ve been going through. I fear dropping into depression. I’ve developed a fear of love. I’m afraid of him. But most of all, I’m scared that I’ll be chained to him forever.
Your Best Friend.
Author: Alisha Jamshed Syed