Toxic relationships

“You’re in an abusive relationship. Break free. Be strong.”, said my best friend, Esha, munching on a sandwich. I looked away. She was probably right. My relationship with my boyfriend had been kind of a roller-coaster ride with our on-again, off-again madness and the outrageous fighting that happened on a regular basis. “But I love him”. I mumbled.
“I just don’t trust the guy is all. You’ll find someone better. He is not even that hot.”
I couldn’t help but nod she wanted the best for me, clearly.
“You’re so beautiful. I hate how you can be so naive. You don’t need a man to be fulfilled, girl. It’s 2016 you should learn to be independent. You’re so typical with your romantic ways. So bourgeois. Look at me, I’m single and so happy, I can flirt with whoever I want. See the cute boy by the window? I’m gonna go talk to him, you go on and pay the bill I’ll be with you in a minute.” I walked to the counter to pay the bill and while taking money out of my purse, a shiny black little blade fell out, I hurriedly tucked it back in.
Walking out of that coffee shop, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself. I hated myself for being so fragile and flimsy.
My dad was waiting outside to pick me up. “Thanks, dad.” I said as I slided in with him n the backseat.
“It’s okay, kiddo. You’re probably gonna need me for car rides all your life since the profession you chose for yourself hardly pays enough to afford decent food, let alone a car.” Dad had always been sarcastic. He was probably joking I shouldn’t let it sting so much. I forced a smile and remained quite for the rest of drive
That evening when I got home I had a text from him but I chose to ignore it. “I am learning to be independent”, I told myself.
“Is that my shirt you are wearing?” My sister screamed as we sat at the dinner table.
“Oh God. Sorry I forgot to ask you. I felt like wearing something cute today and it was just lying around.”
“It doesn’t even look that good on you. Pastels on your complexion? What were you thinking?” she rolled her eyes.
Sheepishly, I played with a pea in my plate. I regretted not asking her before I wore her shirt. I’ll clean her cupboard as a thank you, I thought to myself.
After I did clean her cupboard and returned the shirt, my sister started talking to me again.
“So, how is that loser boyfriend of yours?”
“Hey! Don’t call him that.” I protested.
“Whatever. You know how I hate the guy. Get rid of him already.”
“I will. I haven’t replied to any of his 12 texts since this morning.” I told her rather proudly.
“Good for you. Also, get rid of those heels. You look like a baby calf learning to walk.” She pointed at my feet. “And, God, headbands are so highschool-ish. Why’d you even buy that thing?”
“I just wear it to keep my bangs off my face.” I explained, apologetically.
My mother laughed, in her chair by the fire place. “Child, you need to learn to stand up for yourself. Your sister is bullying you.”
I let out a nervous laugh, mother continued, “how so you expect to excel in your professional life if you don’t have the guts to stand up to your own sibling? You are nothing like me or any other woman in our family. We come from a family of strong women I wonder what makes you so awkwardly shy and anxious.”
I had no answer so I just listened. “Have you seen your friend Esha? She is so bold, so full of life. I hoped she would prove to be a positive influence on you but no…” She went on.
Oh Esha, that reminded me I had to prepare her assignment for her because she was going out with the cute boy from the coffee shop. I slipped out of the living room, unnoticed.

Later that week, I tell my psychiatrist I’m depressed.
“Is there anything in your life that upsets you?” the sugary, middle-aged woman asks me.
“No.” I pause for a brief moment. “May be it’s my boyfriend.”
“Mmhm. Tell me more about him.” She says in a flat tone, almost as flat as if she was feigning interest. I find the words to talk as she scribbles ‘Prozac’, in cursive on my prescription note.

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