By Sumit Shrivastav:
I have a friend; a close friend for that matter. And we have been friends for long, but we lived apart and did not have many chances to meet and talk. But as fate would have it, I moved in the same city as his.
I was unemployed and didn’t have a purpose in life then, so I had all the time in the universe. He used to make time out of his busy schedule. We started often meeting, drinking together, getting nostalgic, mocking each other about the silliest things, poking fun at our other mutual friends while talking about them as the friends do.
And we gradually transitioned from good friends to very close friends; best friends would be an overstatement because I rarely believe in superlative degrees of friendship and love. At this point, I might sound boring but hold on, it’s boring, I agree, but it’s necessary for you to know.
So as we came closer, we transcended local rants and started discussing global things. Mocking each other continued as it does.
But this time, something happened. Not unexpected though. He gradually resorted to body shaming while discussing anything. I am not so fair, FYI, though but I am not sure whether I am ugly because ‘ugliness’ is deep down to the bones.
He did it in all his innocent and noble intentions of friendship. And I too acquiesced to it subconsciously believing it was an unquestionable and unalterable code of friendship only to realise later that he did it every 5 minutes to put me astray of any discussion where either he would lose ground or simply wouldn’t care for my opinions. He would try to exert a little dominance over me as everybody fancies. I too didn’t care much at first which was a mistake. Never ever allow anyone to body shame you even under the disguise of ‘just kidding’.
As we were good friends, I confided in him and shared most of my personal things with him.
He started using these as ad hominem arguments in any discussion. I again did not object to it. Another mistake. Strongly recommended against it.
Then as my confidence was shattered, his advances exponentiated. He would mock or belittle me in front of anyone, my friends or his, again under the disguise of breaking the ice. I tried to object, but half-heartedly and unsuccessfully. The third mistake, you ought to be firm in your negation.
Then a stage reached, where he would think that he was always right, and I was always wrong, and I wasn’t able to even object to it because he had mastered all the tools described above and threw upon me at his will.
He would decimate my opinions, thoughts and suggestions and I was left with shattered self-respect, self-esteem and any sense of purpose. I would acknowledge to everything he’d say. There was never a question of agreement. Moreover, I was stereotyped of being a student of a particular field who could not have any authority over anything else only to use it against me.
If such a point comes in your life with your friend, girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse, you feel troubled; you might go into depression if you contemplate too much on the humiliations inflicted upon you.
And despite the intention of just having a little dominance and control over others’ life, the relationship will eventually culminate into break up which you certainly don’t want, given the mutual love.
So, what’s the way out? Stay firm about what you are, recognise any kind of humiliation inflicted upon you and deal with it then and there lest it becomes the Achilles heel. Because the emotional abuser will never realise her/his fault. Never. Ever.