Tag Archives: abusive relationships

Stillness in abandonment

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i)

My parents tell me about their youth. Times that they would like to live again. Memories, back to when they we’re not married. They drape their lives across for us to listen and get a glimpse of how carefree they were. My mother talks about how free she was until she fell in love with a man. A man who made a cage out of false promises and she chose to stay in it. My father talks about how he always meant well but never well enough to hold his ground.
You see?
He had kept the door of the cage open, always. He never believed in chaining someone down.
They don’t ever leave one another; the one free or the one captive. The cage has room for both of them, now. They sit in it with the door open. I think this is what Stockholm syndrome is like.

ii)
I learnt the importance of detachment at a young age. My feet are quick to change direction towards an exit even when my heart tells me not to. It’s been long since my heart sounded like mine.
Tiptoeing around the ones I love, biting my nails and avoiding interactions as I make my way out of their heart.
This isn’t a heart, I say to him. This is an iceberg and I push the ones I love off the tip.
My mother taught me to have a hard heart. Having a stone heart is better than having a cold one and if you don’t have one at all? That is the best. Shut them out before they see that you’re just a tangled mesh of nothingness.
A sadist ode to the inner masochist poet.

iii)
We’re all tiny galaxies orbiting around the ones we love. We make them our center of attention from time to time. I learnt from the cage she was kept in to know never to stay around anyone longer than their intended purpose in my life. Never slip through into their universe.
A failed union taught me to never let anyone become everything; even when great poets tell me otherwise.
I become watchful of boys who spin cages out of promises that they don’t intend to keep. Boys who tie ropes around your fingers with promises; and my mother still hides the jute marks from her wrists as she talks about love.

iv)
I remind myself to always be on guard when it comes to feelings. Never get close enough for people to lure me in with their ropes and cage me.
Practicing on the ones you love is the best way to be perfect at the art of running away. Never getting attached but always making it seem like you’re emotionally dependent on them. This way you can always have someone to love you but never run the risk of collateral emotional damage.
My psychologist calls this “fear of attachment” but I call this, survival in a world where everyone believes that love is a simile for imprisonment.
Because once I knew a boy who told me that his mother refused to leave his abusive father because she loved him. Months later, I saw myself in the same position- very familiar to our conversation. However, I decided to leave because in the end-we’re all just somehow fulfilling the patterns and scripts laid out by our parents.

I decided to break the pattern as my mother talks about how I should have stayed. I wonder if she realizes that love and hurt are not similar. “There is no need to associate the notion of hurt or pain with something so beautiful as love.”, I say, and she dares not look into my eyes.

v)

Being “present” has never been one of my strongest attribute. I like to run away on purpose from people so there is no chance of emotional attachment which can lead to detachment, later on.

Escaping everything and everyone, like a social Houdini.

However, instead of magic tricks I just disappear for days on end because that way I can be friends with the empty space of my room.
Ignoring every attempt that people make to reach out to me with the phrase “I’m busy.”

I’m not busy.
I’m just chugging in sleeping pills and valium with a tenth of whiskey to sleep off whatever it is that is bothering me. Sleep off whatever it is that has been growing inside the pit of my stomach that I have to escape to deal with it but not deal with it, at the same time.

He tells me escapism is a magic trick that is getting old
I say, “Abracadabra” , and smile.

vi) I take two pills with a glass of wine. I realize that I’m getting old and so is this liver. I find myself trying to be careful in the destructive path that I have chalked out for myself.
Shit! I think I might be in love. Because why else would I be so careful?
The next day, he tells me that I’m not as bad as I like to tell the world. I smile knowing that he doesn’t have half the clue or maybe he does and accepts.
What I am in front of people is not who I really am or maybe that is exactly who I am. Someone so volatile, raw and absurd that everyone thinks it’s an act.

A reality mistaken for illusion.

He tells me, I’m more of a habit than a love.
I laugh.
He says, that my attempt to throw people off is forced than natural.
So, I push him and we laugh
He touches my hand
I can feel the ropes tightening on my wrists. The same ones I saw on my mother and warned myself about.

vii)

Every man I know searches for a lava heart underneath this iceberg even though I keep on telling them that there isn’t one. They try hammering their name on it.
Freeze their fingers trying to hold it.
Break them off.
I find their attempt at trying to find something real under something false so beautifully heart wrenching, I almost give them a chance.
Chance

I run before they realize that I’m not the person they want to freeze over.
Run as soon as their fingers become blue.
Run as soon as I feel the rope creeping up on my wrists.
I say their names like an empty prayer I will soon forget. A prayer that creeps up on your lips only when you realize that “loneliness”, is a word laced with melancholy and wrapped in abandonment.

I leave because the cage door is open and I’m not going to take a chance on captivity by choice. Never by chance.

 

 

 

A poem for your manipulator

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I’ve been too afraid to lose people. So much so that in order to make room for their personality, I diminish mine. I learnt it from my parents. My mother turned from monsoon rain to a chaotic thunderstorm. My father became the ruins rather than the fire.

I make room for his,
dreams
aspirations
hopes
love
goals
in this process of providing space. The little of myself I was left with is crumpled in the corner. To keep a love one has to bend.
One has to change.
One has to make room.
One has to apologize.
One has to let go because love,
Love is worth keeping
Love is worth fighting for
But love is toxic
When he tells you that you should be sorry for your choices. When he makes you feel like you do not exist except for his shadow. When he makes sure you know that he has the string and you’re just a puppet. When his silence screams at your face more than his words. When he tells you that he will leave. When he emotionally manipulates you with your answers and you can’t do anything about it. When he takes the little space that you had.

I’ve been too afraid to lose people. But, I’ve realized I’m more afraid to lose myself.

The synonyms for love

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At times
I used to wonder
Why don’t people leave?
Abusive relationships
Why would someone be so blind to hurt?

Pain is not a synonym for love

Sometimes
I used to wonder
Why does she choose to stay?
Even though he slapped her last night
Because the dinner was cold

Physical pain is not a synonym for love

Sometimes
I used to wonder
Why does he still come home?
When she threatens to kill herself
If he doesn’t agree to her demands

Mental pain is not a synonym for love

Why don’t they just leave?
When hurt overshadows love
And someone tries breaking you
Isolating you from everyone
Why act blind to their every move?
If I can see it then I’m sure they can too

But, now I know
Because loving means being vulnerable
An open invitation to hurt
Because loving means hosting a riot
And their middle name is chaos
So they crash and burn
You don’t get to say much
Because the same door that shunned you out
Is the one that takes you in on gloomy nights
Because you tell yourself this is just a phase
And that the real them is not an abuser
Because you’re too afraid to love someone else
All the energy and time you’ve put into it
Because even when they slap you across the face
They say that they were joking and you believe it
Because even when she has the blade on her wrists
They say that they love you and want you to be theirs
Because even though you have cried before at their behavior
They are growing up and this is a part of it

But love is not a synonym for pain, or is it?
Does it mean crying every night?
Or does loving someone mean killing yourself
Slowly and then at once

Love was replaced by pain and we didn’t know what to do

But learn to walk away
As soon as the red flags go up
Do not ignore them
Push them under the rug

Love isn’t a synonym for unhappiness

It is going to hurt a lot
You will miss them
Every day and every moment
Probably look at the roses they got you
Or weep at the pictures of you two together
You would want to reach out

But remember, the only synonym for love is love
And you want to be with them
Because you love them
But you’re afraid of them too
And you never realized that love replaced fear
Now, I wonder
How
Can you love someone and be afraid of them
All the at same time?