Note: As a part of Love Matters and Youth Ki Awaaz’s ongoing #BearNoMore campaign on raising awareness about Intimate Partner Violence, we carried out a blogathon inviting you to share your experiences and opinions. The tremendous number of responses only show how important it is to discuss the issue. This post is one of the contributions made to the blogathon.
I am a 26 year old heterosexual guy, and I was a part of a romantic but abusive/toxic relationship; and boy did it teach me a lot of things! To cut things to a minimum without losing perspective – I was 22 at the time, was doing well at my first job, I felt that I should experience romance. Fortunately (or otherwise, in hindsight), I got to meet a good looking, well-educated and charming girl, with whom I gradually fell in love. There seemed to be nothing wrong with her, except the fact that she used to lose her cool infrequently. I rate that as pretty normal, considering my own hotheadedness.
We went on a couple of dates over a course of 3 months, after which things started getting more intimate, both physically and emotionally, which I naturally saw as a good sign. However, her mood swings started to take an upcurve in frequency too, to which I turned a blind eye. I thought every rose has its thorn, and I should not be this critical about someone. Big Mistake!! Pretty big thorn!! Ouch! FYI – She was still in college (2 years younger to me) and didn’t earn yet, so all the dates were financed by me.
I got shouted at for no real reasons (general mood swings), for unrelated reasons (arguments with friends/parents), and for petty reasons (missing a non emergency phone call from her). One instance, that got etched in my memory was when I got shouted at because I didn’t have a good enough job and it did not pay me handsomely, by a person without a job or solid job prospects, and who was enjoying really good meals at the expense of my sweat and blood (so what if I work in an a/c cubicle in front of a screen). We talked a lot on the phone, because of which I almost stopped playing and practising my guitar, a habit I am very fond of.
Obviously, I felt emasculated, as this person would not give me any emotional respite, and I did not want to be a guy who would shout on a girl and put her in her place; I just did not want to give in to that impulsive outburst. I planned to be a better person than that, and thought things would turn out for the better. By the way, it is not that there were no good times. She used to calm down, be the sweetest person around and then apologize, saying,”You know I do this right. Sometimes I cannot control myself. But I love you. Thanks for understanding.” As I mentioned, she was charming.
This loopy chain of events could have continued, had I not discovered she was cheating on me all this while, and cheating on the other guy too. She would flirt with my guy friends too, some of whom got concerned and uncomfortable. She would also go into phases of self hatred and suicidal thoughts. Slowly an explanation started to fall into place, for everything. I was initially too shocked and felt an emotional void, like I had been hit by a bolt of lightning, and could not gather a definite reaction. After much contemplation, I confronted her with whatever I knew and she reluctantly agreed. She asked me for another chance and promised to mend her ways, which I gave to her, since I loved her. Am I stupid or what! Well, I was very stupid to do that.
The cheating game did not continue (as far as I know), but the emotional pressure increased, and eventually I could not spend quality time with my guy friends, lady friends (big NO), colleagues, food, music, etc., without invoking an aggressive/jealous reaction from her. I just broke down and cried one day, and it is the best thing that I did. FYI – if a man cries, shit is going to fly after that. That break down gave way to a more practical way of thinking somehow, and I decided to end my year old relationship. I went through some articles and videos on the internet, about how people can be toxic, and ‘narcissistic personality disorder’, and she checked on most of the traits. I could not thank those articles enough, because otherwise I could have been disillusioned again via emotional manipulation.
I did end it, and after some weeks of emotional withdrawal, I just started feeling exponentially better, like a dark cloud had been lifted from the top of my head, and the sun shone through. If you are still reading this and are in a similar situation, I encourage you to burn all such ties in the best way possible, and take charge of your lives. It does not matter, if you are a man or a woman. The grass on the other side is definitely greener, and there is all sorts of trippy stuff.
One thing worth noting is that such people are not demons and evil spirits, but they are definitely dangerous. They are human too, but something in their past has damaged them so much, that they cannot draw the line between right and wrong, and work only according to their convenience. There is no point in hatred, and being away from toxic people should help. Just my two cents.