How I Was Stuck in An Abusive Relationship for 1.5 months

How I got into this situation was totally unexpected. And while he never laid a hand on me, the emotionally turmoil I went through during this entire saga was enough to scar me. Yes, I was in an emotionally abusive friendship, and I'll be damned if I ever allow myself to be that vulnerable around a friend again.

It goes to show that no matter how genuine a friend seemed to be or how long you have known him, you'd never know his true self until you live with him.

(In case you're wondering about the photo, I wasn't physically abused, but trying to make a point that emotional abuse is as bad as physical one).

It all started with an offer.

I was in a really bad place after losing my mom. I began to isolate myself from everyone around me, I terminated many friendships and kept minimal contact with close ones. Grief overtook me and I lost tremendous amount of hair in January, had terrible fits more than I care to count. But the kicker was this, I fell into depression, and grief didn't even allow me to fight it. While I never told anyone other than my closest love ones who were involuntarily involved, I had attempted suicide and plotted several more during this period. Once, ambulance came to get me to the hospital to extract the handful of pills I have swallowed, but I learnt from attending to my mom that as long as I was sober, paramedics had no right to forcefully remove me. I was executing knowledge I had obtained to my "advantage" to achieve a successful suicide under watchful eyes. As I was the one who was responsible to inject morphine into my mom during her final days, when my plot surfaced, I hid the morphine unbeknownst to anyone and started researching the lethal dose of morphine consumption and its effect. I knew I needed help, fast.

The offer came in the form of a summer in England. I was in no place nor mood to relocate or travel, but I knew I needed a change of environment, anything to get me out of this deadly (literally) rhythm quickly. So I jumped at the opportunity.

Little did I know, I was exiting a torture chamber right into the devil's den. 

At first it was pleasant and friendly, as how all stories like this always begin.

Then the small criticisms creeped in, then it became more frequent, it wasn't before long that I realised he treated his friends very differently as to how he would treat me. It was all pleasantries and plenty of room for "mistakes" for his friends but all harsh criticism on me.

Frankly, I've been a stellar housemate, I cleaned, vacuumed, arranged and mopped his house, kept his kitchen spotless, even cleaned the entire bottom floor of his house when garden contractors left for the weekend, wiping every surface and plates and appliances, mopped twice so his floor was rid of cement dust. Helped cleaned up when he had his friends over for a meal, or even after he threw a BBQ for his friends. Took out the trash, sorted out his living room, and kept the room I stayed in clean and bedsheet constantly washed.

I opened the blinds exactly the way he instructed (90 degree perpendicular before pulling them apart, not a degree less or more), pull or draw the curtain the way he preferred it (the folds intact and in the right order as it's being pulled aside), switched off the power of the washing machine or appliances the way he wanted it.
(Do you see how ridiculous this sounded? And I complied, his house, his rules, right?)

The times I forgot to switch off something, I apologised and hardly repeated.

But the criticisms continued to rain down on me and there's always something he's not pleased with.

The MOST absurd thing is, he was emotionally abusing me for 1.5 months, without realising it.

The only times he was pleasant to me was when he was either drunk/tipsy, or when he had just returned from a social event and was high on social energy, or both. When the effect of that died down, he'd return to his moody unresponsive critical self.

The second week, he had a stressful episode with his ex-girlfriend, and whether he knew it or not, he became exceptionally mean to me that whole week. Every statement came with a sarcastic remark, every criticism harsher than the one before, and I was beginning to feel like I was treading on water whenever he's around, that feeling never left from then on. Sometimes I wondered if that was what drove his 6-year girlfriend into the arms of another man, or how another decent normal human being was able to tolerate living with such a dysfunctional being for 6 years.

There was a day I assumed he felt bad for "being a dick to me" (his words, not mine) he decided to buy tofufa for me. I thought, that's nice, but damage was done, I had built a barrier around me whenever I was around him. One act of kindness was not going to undo ten dick moves.

If there is any debate on my story being one-sided (and I know there will be), read this article on Psychology Today to find out if you're an emotionally abusive person. I'm quoting this set of questions targeted at men who are emotionally abusive, see how many you have answered yes. 
  • Does it feel like your wife or girlfriend pushes your buttons? 
  • Does she have a way of putting you in a bad mood? 
  • Are there times when you don't want to speak to her or be around her? 
  • Do you feel like you overlook a lot or swallow a lot, until you can't stand it anymore? 
  • Does she frequently "do things the wrong way?" 
  • Can you be having a nice time and then out of nowhere she says or does something to set you off? 
  • Are you sometimes on edge about having a bad or unpleasant evening? 
  • Does it feel like you have to criticize her for not being more efficient, reliable, or a better person? 
  • Does it feel like she makes you yell or shut down when you really don't want to raise your voice or be in a bad mood at all? 
  • Do you treat her in ways you couldn't have imagined when you first started loving her? 
If you answered yes to any of the above, here are some things that your wife or girlfriend probably says about you:
  • He's so moody. 
  • He doesn't see or hear me. 
  • I feel like I'm his possession. 
  • I can't be myself; I have to think, feel, and behave the way he wants. 
  • Nothing I do is good enough. 
  • I feel like I'm walking on eggshells.
While I can't answer on his behalf, but from my observation there were at least 4 YESes or more to those questions. As for the second half, it's YES, YES, NO, YES, YES and YES for me.

Sure we can go into the details of every little thing that happened and defend ourselves (I didn't text because I thought I was giving you space), but this psychology piece should say it all, after all, it's a field he's most familiar with.

Cutting him out of my life was the best decision I could do for myself, and I'm in a happier place now. Spending time with my UK families made me feel loved, and normal, and how even right now, sitting across from my cousin while we both work on our computers, a cousin whom I have not met or spoke to in 9 years, gave me more comfort than a friendship that had lasted for 9 years.

my cousin, James. 


2 kissed Nicole

  1. An emotional journey not to be repeated. Stay strong girl, there's more pleasant ones ahead. Way to go.

    1. Thank you. Yes life can be really harsh.