Let’s Talk: The Cycle of Abuse & The Introspection of an Abuser
Recognizing that you are in an abusive relationship is often difficult; accepting that you are the abuser is even tougher. But what happens when you're a woman abusing a man?
I believe in auras. I believe that at any point in time, we have auras around ourselves. As I write this now, as I introspect, my aura is deep blue - pensive, cool; the shade of still waters that run deep.
There are times my aura turns a bright orange, fringed in black. Those are the moments my very presence simmers in anger, in suppressed violence, in uncontrollable rage. The black borders around my aura pulsate, threatening to take over; threatening to turn my universe dark.
It’s cyclical: It always begins with a fresh start.
My aura is green, a lush forest green.
We talk, we laugh. We’re happy.
One of us says something a little off tone, a little sharp, and the other responds.
My aura shifts to a fluorescent yellow.
We end up throwing words at each other, each phrase a knife designed to cut a little deeper.
The words cut deep because we know exactly how to hurt each other.
Orange. I see red, I see orange, I see myself engulfed.
You see, we know each other better than anyone else in the world - he’s my soulmate, my best friend.
In those moments, I scare myself. My own potential for destruction terrifies me. Once I feel that orange light beating down on my eyelids, creeping through my peripheral vision, I start lashing out. And once it begins, there’s no way to stop it. My words are laced with poison, and my mind races a million miles a minute. When the abuse is emotional, and not physical, it’s so much easier to ignore. Especially when I’m the one inflicting the abuse.
I can’t talk to anyone about this. The issues are too complex - I’m a girl. He’s a boy. I’m educated, empowered, a feminist, politically vocal, loud, big - I am not the kind of person you would expect in this kind of relationship. I am definitely not the poster girl for abusers. The people around me simply aren’t capable of thinking about the possibility that I’m anything but the victim here: the societal and personal biases are too great.
Why is it easier to see me as abused rather than as the abuser? The issues are complex, but really, they’re so simple - ignore the gender roles we would normally attribute to an abusive relationship, and there you have it.
Our fights are never healthy disagreements, they’re toxic to the point of self-destruction. And here’s what scares me - I don’t let go. When a fight starts, I grab the issue by the throat. I strangle horrible words from the core of our relationship, the ugliest side of my personality rears its head. I am insanely possessive, I am dangerously jealous.
The person I become is terrifying. Still not convinced? Here’s an example:
Three days ago, he had a double shift at work. He didn’t call me all day. I called him around midnight and said, “Do you not want to be with me anymore?”. I heard him draw a rasping breath of patience, a breath that tore through my heart because I knew he was struggling with his health. It also annoyed me - how could he show weakness? I needed him to be strong, vital, glowing with inspiration; in love with life just because he was around me. I couldn’t let him gain higher moral ground using his illness. He said, “I need us not to fight for a few days. I’m worried about my finances, I need the peace to figure things out”.
Ugh. So saccharine, so sympathetic, so sterile. I lashed out almost immediately - “Why can’t I be your source of peace?”. That escalated. I taunted him; I sneered and scoffed. He didn’t rise to the bait, which just made it worse. I went to bed simmering with the resentment over the lost opportunity for a fight. The next morning, as soon as I woke up, I had to call him and ask, “So. Who were you with yesterday?”. I threatened to leave him, I aimed sharp jibes at his self esteem, I made him apologise. I spent the day calling him every half hour - not because I actually believed he’d be around someone else - how did it even matter? - but because I fed off his attention, because I wanted to be the only one in that special role. He’d beg me to give him some space - and I’d threaten him with cutting off all contact unless he fixed this now. He’d tell me, “Please, I have a headache, let’s just take a break”, and I say, “Stop avoiding me.”
He’d say, “This is killing me.” I’d say, “Good”.
As our fights snowball, I recognise that the relationship is inherently toxic, that our foundation is built on a great gaping ravine. I feel so much contempt for him, and that roils with the amount of neediness I feel, the validation I crave, the attention and time I demand. I want him around all the time, I never get enough of him - only because I can do whatever I want with him. He’s malleable, he’s susceptible, he’s mine.
I wonder - will I ever get the help I need? Will he? Will we ever stop fighting this way? Will we ever get better? Will he ever be able to break out of this relationship? And if he does - oh, God forbid - if he manages to find a life without me - would I survive?
Or what if, worst of all, this is the rest of my life?
Suffocation, fear, panic.
My aura is white.