Toxic Charades

You pushed me! Stay away from me!”  He raged. “You are dangerous! The next time you might stab me!” You pause, wondering if it’s you he’s describing with so much vehemence and certainty. You don’t recognize yourself through his eyes but it must be who you have become. You’re vaguely aware that you’re shaking with a pulse you’ve never felt before. 

Rent with shame and embarrassment, you forget the many occasions you kept your cool, the numerous times you backed down to keep the peace, feeling/allowing a piece of yourself to die as you struggled under his rage, to appease him and be what he wanted. It must have all gotten too much and you lost it for a second. Now Bam!! You are the bad one. You are the one inflicting pain and discord. So you mellow once again to keep the peace, and the cycle continues.

With a forlorn look on his face and a soft voice he adds “I don’t want to hear about this anymore because I may spiral down into depression and I can’t go back there again”. And just like that, though HE cheated, HE destroyed all you once believed in, he also dismisses your need to process. And once again, you swallow your pain to take care of him. HIS actions hurt you but you have to repress the feeling of betrayal. God forbid you cause his conscience to stir and remind him that he turned your lives upside down. Your head is spinning because it doesn’t make sense. But you’re in too deep. He is so full of conviction, you must be wrong. 

Remorse is just in the words because although he says he’s sorry, he continues to devalue and disrespect you with his actions. But you cannot address it lest you trigger his depression. Apparently, your unhappiness about his cheating is already affecting his creativity and motivation to work. Now he says he can’t be the man you expect him to be because he is sad and it’s all your fault.

The abuser parading as victim now proclaims: “My life was doomed, from the moment I met you…and her”. But you apparently don’t measure up to her so you strive even harder to make yourself worth his while. You’re doing backflips and cartwheels to ensure he succeeds while neglecting yourself. However it’s never enough. You are still to blame for every related and unrelated setback in his life. After all, he was a young man living his dream before you showed up and ruined it by driving him to cheat and hurt all he claims to love.

By Omowunmi O.

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