She wanted it, of course. I could see it in her burning red eyes; her tears streaming from a mixture of confusion, anger and months of frustration, trying to get his attention. Just like it was when they were first together. She’d often start the fights, just to get him to notice, if only a little bit.
She wanted a hint of damn emotion, something, anything, to let her know he damn cared. She bloody did! She cared a lot, obviously.
When Rachael was first together with John, their lives couldn’t be better. He was my flatmate at first and she was fastly becoming my friend. I liked Rachael, I must admit I did feel a sort of fatherly protection thing with her, even if I was nothing like a father, there was some sort of weird dynamic going on within the three of us.
There was no doubt about it, I had lived with John for over two months now and I knew he was a player. I watched as potential lovers came and went; he would often sit them down whilst I was there, sometimes drunk, and he’d blow them off without a care in the world. “It isn’t you, it’s me,” he’d say, and I’d watch as they’d leave tails between their legs, off to call all men bastards for the next few years.
Then Rachael came along. She was the only one that really put up a fight. I remember when her and her friends would come over to mine and smash shit up, I get it, it’s what kids do. She was a kid, no older than 18, just left high school and John was going into his thirties. Why I saw this as acceptable is beyond me. In small communities we sort of accept the cultural norm. In this one it was obviously the older dudes dated younger women.
I’ll admit, there were times when we had a lot of fun, there were times when the three of us acted like a trio-friendship; it was nice for a while, it always is with narcissists until it’s too late. Anyone can be snared by a Narc, they are sneaky, they are vicious, and before you are aware what’s happening it’s already far too late. Boom! It’s love, or some weird fucked up version of it. If you’ve been a victim, I swear it’s not you — anyone can fall into the trap. Age, and wisdom are the only cures for preventing Narcs from falling at your doorstep.
I remember the first night the craziness started, when John felt it acceptable to pound Rachael into mush, and I sat by, fearful that the same fate would befall me. I remember the toil afterwards, when it was over, trying to find an excuse as to why I had allowed this to happen; I was definitely brought up different to this, I had a mother that had been through the exact same process with her husband, I was different, of course I was.
I spent a whole six months witnessing the worst atrocities known to man. I honestly didn’t think this sort of behaviour would happen to me, but it found me, in it’s own way. John had a hold over our household, he was the alpha dog. Rachael and I often found ourselves treading through eggshells to appease his super-fragile ego, and anything that didn’t go his way he’d blow up into a ball of crazy rage. He had us both under his spell; he wasn’t scared to abuse Rachael in front of me because he knew I was super scared of conflict. He knew he could do anything he wanted..
Coercion is rape. There’s no doubt about it. I watched Rachael do things that she wanted to do just to feel a bit of love from him. If you have to do that then in my eyes, it’s rape. If your partner doesn’t feel like they have 100% of choice in the matter then I’m sorry, that IS RAPE.
Some men don’t get it and something needs to change, actually, a lot needs to change. Your partner should not feel pressurised into giving you love. Your partner should not feel pressurised into sex, and your partner certainly shouldn’t feel pressurised into being in your space at any given time — and if you feel you’re always having to prove yourself to your partner, then I’m sorry, that’s coercion.
See, we haven’t configured the boundaries to sex and relationships properly yet. Narcs still have plenty of women to choose from and never feel the full force of the law. The police were always at our house but there wasn’t much they could do, ever. It was crazy. I’d hear her shrill screams in the other room and I’d hide under my blanket, petrified of what would happen to me next.
Threat is the most misinterpreted injustice in law books. A threat could be meaningless to some, but to others it could just be like you already punched them in the face.
Perhaps it’s time to look at the world differently, men. Look out for your sisters, and call out these arseholes for what they are, rather than shrugging and saying,
“Well, we knew he’s like that. Why does she stay with him?”
Because NO-ONE HELPED US
Get that now?
(Names were changed to protect identities)