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 was in a four year relationship, but it was after it ended that I learnt I was in an ‘abusive relationship’ since day one. It started with criticism; my likes, my dislikes, my dressing sense, my makeup, everything. I didn’t realize this was not his ‘love’ or ‘concern’ or being ‘protective’, it was plain manipulation. Threats of suicide were a common feature during fights. He isolated me from my friends and family and made sure he was the only one who ‘cared’ for me. I was totally dependent on him emotionally and mentally. I had lost my identity. This continued for two years and all this while I thought it was part of the ‘adjusting’ and ‘compromise’ you do in a relationship.
Then D day happened. We had an argument during which ‘I’ cursed him in front of our friends, which ticked him off. When we were alone, he slapped me and his intensions were clear. How dare I abuse him in front of everyone! I was in shock, pain, anger, hurt and just stunned. “If I can hit you, you can also hit me,” that was his rule. After getting some sense as to what happened I hit back. Although it was nothing compared to what I had received. It was over for me, in my head. I will not take any physical abuse. But that’s easier said than done when you are with an ’emotional psychopath’. They are the kings of manipulation and emotional blackmail. I was made to realize, I ‘deserved’ it and it was my fault. I did not leave.
Two/three months later, he slapped me again during a fight. I could not believe it was happening again, after so many apologies. Again I did not leave. I stayed because he would not let me. It sounds ridiculous but I didn’t have the strength to deal with the ‘drama’ in which he was an expert, so I ‘stayed’.
I had been dragging this relationship for more than a year and would continue to do so for another year. I still tried to make it work, to forget everything, but it does not work that way. One needs to get away from anything that has a negative impact on you and your life.
I never trusted him after this incident and would always question his ‘apology’. To which his reply would be, “It’s just a slap, get over it.” This was the final nail on the coffin. I wanted out; he did not understand the gravity of his action and how much he hurt me and I didn’t have the patience to make him understand. It took a lot of courage and support from my friends to finally take the plunge of ending it; to deal with the ‘drama’. By this time he too had given up, he knew I would not stay this time.
You let them end it and that’s how you get freedom.
You would think this would be it, me a free bird, but no. There was something which did not let me sleep at night. An incident which haunted me in my dreams, which made me sick and I couldn’t figure out what it was. One day I looked up the meaning of ‘consent’ and everything was clear thereafter. The ‘love’ of my life had sexually assaulted me when I was passed out. I had not given my ‘consent’. You know how women are told to ‘satisfy’ men. That’s why I stayed quiet. This had happened after the slapping incidents. I don’t think he realises what he did and how it has affected me. I have forgiven him in my head, for me, and I’m glad that chapter is closed.
I am twenty six years old and have been single for more than two years now. I still haven’t given up on love. I have realized that I am a hopeless romantic and have to be careful not to be in love with the ‘idea of being in love’.
At the end I would like to share a favourite quote of mine which says, “God doesn’t give you the people you want; he gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you, and to make the person you were meant to be.“