- 5 years ago
Intro: I usually see that the bees are super-supportive towards individual posters, but when it’s time for a general discussion, many of us say things like “I would tolerate anything save for cheating and physical abuse” or “Unhappiness isn’t reason enough to walk out of a relationship/marriage”. I too used to feel that way – before I became a victim, that is. So I’ve decided to write this post delineating a day in the life of a victim (who hasn’t suffered physical abuse), for all the men/women who are facing or have faced abuse, and also for the lucky ones who never have and (hopefully) never will. I daresay it is extremely long, but if you do end up reading it and it changes your perspective even a little then please feel free to leave a comment.
Alrighty then, before you read any further, I’d request you to please close your eyes and picture this: it’s a lazy Sunday and your SO is taking you out for lunch (you don’t live together). How would you feel? Romantic? Excited? Happy? Relaxed? Think about that emotion for a moment, savour it, let it run all over you…
Now see the same from the perspective of a victim.
10:00 AM: You wake up with a dull ache in your chest, as if a tragedy has recently occurred but you don’t know what. Gradually, you feel a tingling sensation in your hands and feet, as though you are going to get your exam results. Then it hits you: your SO is taking you out for lunch. The thought makes you stomach churn (not in a good way – I finally got a colon infection from the continuous trauma of having to meet/talk to my ex). You check your phone – no call or text from him.
10:15 AM: You pep talk your ass out of your bed and face the mirror. You look tired and anxious. You wonder if SO was right – that you do look like a 40 year old (you are 27 at this time). Sighing, you roll out your yoga mat. Words that he said keep playing in your head like a movie – how fat you are, how uncoordinated your dress and accessories are, how you need to get along with his sister who’s an absolute b*tch to you, how bad a cook you are, how impossibly demanding you are, how sexy his last girlfriend was, etc etc. You were happy once, you had a job. But he made you quit to join his business. Since then he’s the one controlling the purse strings. When you ask for your share of the income, he makes you feel like cheap trash. He says he’s taking care of you. In a way he is, but sometimes it would be nice to have enough money for an occasional ice cream.
11:00 AM: You take a hot shower and cry your eyes out at how ugly and unlovable you have become.
11:30 AM: You try to pick out a dress in which you won’t look ‘frumpy’ (as he said last time). This is your dominant thought even as you do your hair and make up. You check your phone, still no call or text from him.
12 noon: He said he’ll pick you up at noon but he hasn’t called or arrived, so you switch on the telly. You never get to see your favourite shows when you are with him. He always hogs the remote. The last time you fought for it, he threw it on the sofa with a few cutting words and walked away. You were too miserable to care let alone enjoy what you were going to watch. Since then, you have given up in order to keep the peace. Today your favourite movie is on, so you start watching it.
2:00 PM: Movie ends. Still no call from him so you call instead, fearing an angry tirade in case he is busy. But he doesn’t answer. You think of calling your friends but he has somehow isolated you from everyone, even your BFF. You try to push back your tears as you think how lonely you have become.
2:30 PM: You decide to surf the ‘net’. You never get to do this around him, because he hogs your laptop (sans permission) all the time. You call him again and get a busy tone.
3:30 PM: Still no call. You don’t know whether you should cook something at home. If you do, you won’t be hungry at the restaurant and that’ll cause him to scream at you. So you decide to wait.
4:30 PM: He calls you to say he’s on his way. He also asks you to stand outside your building, as he doesn’t want to park. You disputed this last time with disastrous consequences, so you agree to standing on the road for an hour and a half.
6:00 PM: He arrives. You get inside the car and ask him what the hell was up. He tells you he was sleeping.
You: Are you kidding me!!??
Him: Well, me and the boys had a late night…came back around 6. Had a bottle too many to drink…
You: What were you doing till 6?
Him: Having fun…there were these girls…
You: You went to a strip club?
Him: Wasn’t my suggestion…you know, there was this girl X, she had the loveliest tatas~
You: How do you know her name?
Him: We talked for a bit, when she was giving me a lap dance. I could suck at those tits all night!
This conversation makes you squirm so you change the topic.
You: I called you and got a busy tone once.
Him: That was my buddy Y.
You: You took his call but didn’t return mine?
Him: I did call you, didn’t I? Geez, I’m not a damn answering machine! You don’t have an iota of patience in you. So what if I was late? Sue me! So, where do you want to eat?
You: Anywhere is fine.
Him: I ASKED YOU FOR THE NAME OF A PLACE DAMMIT. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO EAT THEN YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE PLANNED THIS!
You [trying to fight tears]: I didn’t…fine, let’s go to X.
Him: Okay. [after 5 minutes] X is ridiculously overpriced and the food is terrible.
You: Then let’s go to Y.
Him: We can, but that’s all the way across town. It’d take us hours to reach.
You: Then Z?
Him: Naah, not in the mood for Mexican food.
You: Then you pick.
Him: What part of ‘you pick the place’ don’t you understand? Why does everything have to be so difficult with you?
You: You don’t like anything I pick.
Him: FINE! WE’LL GO TO X. HAPPY?
You are at X and he passes you the menu.
Him: What would you like to eat?
You: Chicken ravioli sounds good, and some Chianti to go with it. You?
Him: Meh, nothing looks good. I’ll pass, you order.
You: Wha…I’m not eating all by myself. If you hate it this much let’s go find another place.
Him: DON’T CREATE A SCENE HERE. I TOLD YOU TO ORDER, DIDN’T I? MUST YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH EVERYTHING? YOU’RE JUST IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE, YOU KNOW THAT?
You decide not to order and walk out of the restaurant, while hoping nobody has noticed your tears. He follows.
Him: WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY ARE YOU BEHAVING LIKE A LUNATIC?
You: I’m sorry, please just take me home.
You come back home. He hogs your couch and telly. You just sit there, looking pissed. He comes over and puts his arm around your shoulder.
Him [affectionately]: You are so immature, you know that? And you’ve got a real short fuse. Haha, who else will put up with your mood swings but me? Nobody loves you like me baby, and nobody can ever love me like you. We are made for each other.
He kisses you and then shoves your head on his…erm, member.
Him: I know why you were so frustrated, this is what you wanted, didn’t you? Why do you make me so mad? You know I love you.
By now you’ve learnt not to say no when he asks for sex (how you arrived there is a topic for the intimacy board). After he’s finished, you rinse and come back. Your anger has abated somewhat and you want to sit and cuddle for a while. However, he pinches your arm and slaps your butt.
Him [laughingly]: You lazy bum! Get off your fat butt and cook something for me! You spoiled the whole eating out thing and now I’m famished!
You: I only have ______ in the kitchen.
Him: Yuck! What woman has only ______ in her kitchen? Your kitchen should be well-stocked all the time. That’s how my mama keeps it.
You: What would you like to have?
Him: Anything will do.
You: How about ________? (his favourite food)
You: Then let me run to the store and get the ingredients.
Him [eyes back on telly]: And while you are out get some cigarettes and a pack of chips for me. And take the key, I don’t want to get up and open the door for you.
You do that. And while you are walking on the road and see other couples holding hands and looking lovingly at each other you feel that dull ache in your chest all over again.
You see, for people like us unhappiness is not a word. It is a heavy, tangible thing we have carried for years, even decades. Till we have come to hate our abuser, come to wish that he falls off a cliff and disappears from earth. Counselling? If tomorrow my ex comes back a new, improved man I’d still slap him right across the room for what he has done to me. I’m not that forgiving. Even now my eyes get blurred and my blood boils as I am typing this.
If there is anyone who identifies with the above, I really appreciate your support. For the others, I hope it changes your mind about non-physical abuse and unhappiness even if by 0.0001%.