Opinion: Love shouldn’t hurt

9th April 2019

I always wondered why they name storms after people and now I know why.

I grew up thinking that love healed everything, but it is the only thing painful enough to tear me apart. Every schoolgirl who falls in love “has Shakespeare, Donne, Keats to speak her mind for her; but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry.”

We all have a story about heartbreak or deceit but instead of sharing our pain we lock it in a place only we can revisit but why?

To me love should be like a Nicholas Sparks novel, the girl wants the boy, the boy gets the girl and everyone lives happily ever after. What I got was more like a slipknot concert, not that I have anything against the band but it was chaotic and messy and filled with masks that blind you from the reality of the relationship.

With the rise in technology it is easy for people to hide behind a mask on the internet, building a fake persona of themselves that is all too easy to believe. Abusers don't normally write 'I will humiliate you and make you feel inadequate' on their Tinder profiles, they don't wear 'I'm intimidating' T-shirts in the profile photos, they don't come with warning labels.

The worst thing about a toxic relationship is that the victim is usually oblivious to the poison, 'Maybe it's me', 'I'm sorry', 'I should try harder'. The harsh reality is that the insidiousness is spreading like wildfire, an estimated 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (1.2 million women, 713,000 men) and I'm disgusted that the figures are so high.

I remember a girl from school coming in with bruises on her upper arm in the shape of a gripping hand and I remember thinking to myself that she needed to leave her abusive relationship. She told me that she couldn’t leave as she was afraid he would hurt her. I remember just looking at her as if she lived on another planet.
Now I wish I would have looked closer and realised that the only difference between her and me was that the signs of her abuse were visible while mine weren’t.

I found it difficult to put a name on something I couldn’t see.

It started very movie-esque, the type of intoxicating love that consumes you, obsessive and possessive and the kind of tragedy that seemed beautiful.
It turned sour quite quickly though, the grand gestures and heart warming elements were short lived and were soon replaced with painful verbal comments that slowly ate away at any self esteem I had, it felt toxic... because it was. Although broken bones are painful, they heal with time but nothing can heal a mind from psychological and emotional abuse, that type of manipulation is enough to leave scars on your mental state indefinitely.

Even if they say “they didn’t mean it”, they’re still responsible for what they did, it isn't your fault and that is one of the most important things to remember. Sometimes they’ll play victim, try to garner all the sympathy and attention even though you know they have no right. Not because they deserve it but because they want to have constant control over what is felt in the moment. Some won’t take no for an answer and although it is easier said than done, you HAVE to rise above it and gain the courage to let go.

Just because you have a bad day doesn’t mean you’re regressing, just like every trauma we face in our lives the recovery isn't instant, it comes in stages.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to healing, no rule book to follow but I think these are some of the biggest things you aren't told about recovering from an abusive relationship:

Even if they say “you’re delusional, I would never do that, you made it up”, they’re trying to gaslight and invalidate your memories, this is one of the most common forms of emotional abuse. You get to choose whose in your life so if notice that things are getting out of hand, you have the choice to discard the relationship. Sometimes they’ll take a fake high road, accuse you of lying and say they did nothing wrong, that you hurt them, and pretend that they’re better then you. You are right and you are worthy.

“you’re delusional, I would never do that, you made it up”

The truth about toxic people is that they can make you feel more loved than anybody else in the world, yet they don’t even love you. Vulnerability is a weakness in itself, people are careless with brittle bones, instead of nursing your wounds they abuse your fragile state because they know that nobody else will notice.

Don't get me wrong, I love love but not the kind that leaves you traumatised.