He was a charming and eloquent guy, a writer by profession. He has a habit of turning any conversation into a joke, which sometimes makes it hard to tell whether he is joking or not.
A few months ago he sent me this text message: “You’ve never done [sexual] penetration yet, so you cannot tell me to do things. I will not listen to any of your suggestions . . . I don’t obey people who is not qualified to tell me things. I’ve fucked nearly 15 women. And you? Look at you! What you had done is not real sex. I hate the way you theorize sex too much.”
The message came after I refused to have penetration sex with him. It became, however, a wake-up call for me. It made me realize what he was doing: he was committing an act of silencing.
It began when I spent the night with him one night. At first we were making out and it was steamy and enjoyable. And then he forced me to open up my thighs and enter my private part forcefully, which made me shout in pain. I started to cry and I told to stop.
“You need to taste the real sex.”
“I don’t want to. Please stop!”
“You sure? You don’t want to?”
I repeated my refusal again. He stopped, but instead of apologizing, he blamed me. “You shouldn’t have acted like it was too much. I’m so disappointed.”
“Now stop!” He said. “You shouldn’t cry.”
After that horrible night I blocked all of his contacts. It was the only thing I felt that could make me feel better. But months later I was still haunted by the episode – his words lingered in my head, his contemptuous tone, his deprecating gaze and smirk. He was brimming with confidence that somehow always left me end up in a trench of silence.
It took me months of contemplation, questioning myself whether it was an act abuse that he did. I ran in circles and made of a lot of justification. I told myself maybe he was just joking, maybe he didn’t mean to be too harsh, maybe he was just too drunk, and maybe I should try not to take his words too seriously so maybe we could start over. Eventually I reached the point when al the “maybes” no longer sounded true.
I’ve come to a conclusion that he is a plain asshole who uses women as a sexual object, and I am aware that he tried to manipulate me while threatening me. I also realize that for the past two years he had been disregarding my opinions, and that his words had controlled me and made me feel he was always right. He exaggerated my flaws. In short he was emotionally abusive. And I became aware of this emotional abuse because of a text message that was intended to silence me.
Realizing you’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship is not easy. I know the struggle. No wound, no scars, no bruises, no physical drama, no “real” evidence. You will keep trying to find excuses to defend your abusive partner’s behavior.
But, girl, please listen to me, your anxiety is real, the pain that you feel is real, the stress and depression are also real. Although it is not physical, it doesn’t mean that the abuse is not real. Don’t deny and don’t hide, talk about it to people you sincerely believe. More importantly, leave. Pull out and run from the abusive relationship now.
Danti Oktarizkia is (still) a half-baked feminist who reads tarot at times when she’s not flirting. Interact with her through her instagram @thetinyshaman