I woke up with a start, realizing he was peeking through the bedroom door at me, seeing me cuddled with our daughter. We locked eyes with each other for a moment and then he just turned around and, left. I heard his doomed super bike start and him leaving for Harsil with his young biker friends on a ten day long holiday. I let out a long sigh, not realizing I had stopped breathing and urged myself to get up.
My body was aching all over because of the beatings rendered upon me by him a few hours prior till my little daughter begged him to stop. I tried to move but the pain was so excruciating, I held back and let my tears fall. It was as if a dam had opened and I couldn't shut it. I felt my daughter hugging me with her sleepy, swollen eyes and she said, "It’s okay mama, I am here". We both broke down and cried our hearts out, holding each other tight without saying anything.
How had our seventeen years of love marriage come to this? My thoughts wandered and entered the memory lane. Now looking back I wished, I had listened to my mother. It was as if she could see through his façade but I chose not to listen to her, I was being love-bombed into deafness.
During our courtship, he showered so much love upon me, telling me he is the luckiest guy to have found a girl like me and everything felt like a fairy tale. I was mesmerised. What a blind fool I was.. Everyone said that I had everything a man could have ever asked for in a wife and would get a better match than him.
I was talented, highly qualified (way more than him), confident, outgoing, full of life, belonging to an affluent Army family. I fell in love and had big dreams and expectations, like any other girl would have and got married to him against my parents' wishes.
My world fell apart on my wedding night, when I was spooning him and my "chooda" (sacred red bangles) accidentally pulled one of the strands of hair on his chest. He just pushed me and stood up, twisted my arms and broke my three bangles.
THAT WAS MY BIGGEST MISTAKE. Mistake of choosing to be quiet when I should have spoken up and all I did was hugged my mother, who had come to attend our wedding reception and apologized for all the heart aches I had caused her. My mother was taken aback, I could see many a questions in her troubled eyes - as to what had happened on the happiest day of my life for me to apologise.
Even though I wanted to, I could not confide in her then. It would break my parent's heart. Life went on and so did the beatings, especially the choking of my neck when he was two drinks down (which was everyday) and I kept taking it like a fool wishing things would change for the better, wishing his constant nagging about my weight and constant comparison with his ex girlfriends would stop.
It was not that he was perfect, he would even forget to brush his teeth some mornings. He was unlike an officer, average in his career but love makes you see things differently sometimes, that are not there. I even lost 45 kgs with excessive gymming just to be worthy of his love and as per him, became a look alike of an AIDS patient instead in his eyes, making me feel that I can never be good enough for him.
He had gradually whittled away my self-confidence reducing it to nothing. I used to beat myself up every single hour of every single day wondering why I wasn't good enough for my husband? What can I do to make him love me? I conceived twice after that and both times, he sent me to my gynaecologist mom for an abortion saying, "I am not ready to be a father yet".
My parents were perturbed and I was also heartbroken, but chose to remain quiet. How could I confide in them and tell them that he is a narcissist, a master manipulator who has perfected the art of making people believe whatever lies he spins.
My only fault was I loved him dearly, looked after him with the best of my capabilities and all I wanted in return was to be loved, appreciated and wanted. My parents had given me that much of an education that I could fulfill all my materialistic dreams. I was working as a Principal of a Kindergarten School, organizing parties at home and in the officers' mess, fulfilling all other responsibilities as an Army officer's wife and getting accolades outside.
My home was as good as the pictures of décor published in "Inside Outside magazine". Flowers bloomed in my garden, I was an ardent baker, singer but at the same time, I was weak, losing a piece of my heart every single day. Whenever our common friends or his seniors complimented him as to how lucky he was to have a wife like me who kept his uniform ready, his clothes co-ordinated even before he woke up, cooked for him all his favourite meals including his obligatory non vegetarian dish three times a day etc. All he did was acknowledge it with a smile and come home and shower all his love with his constant criticism and beatings. To the extent, he broke my two upper and two lower teeth on two separate occasions.
That is when my parents took a stand. They could see me fading away but yet again I lied. I lied for I thought I could not go on without him. My wise mother questioned both of us separately and urged me that it's not too late to walk off as there are no kids involved, that they are by my side no matter what but, I was too god damn weak and more so, logic and emotions rarely speak the same language.
After three years, I again got pregnant and swept every ugly thing under the proverbial rug and this time I stood my ground stating very clearly that no matter what, I will go through this pregnancy. He again left me with my parents stating that they are doctors and they can look after me better than him! From the very start, the child who was growing inside me was a fighter and I prayed everyday for a daughter for I thought that once a girl comes in our family, he and his parents would learn to respect a woman and that, they would learn how to treat someone else's daughter.
But my life was never meant to be easy and I was diagnosed with oligohydramniosis ( a condition where in fluid is very less for the foetus) in the fourth month and was put on bed rest with lot of restrictions. My daughter was born pre-mature and then the narcissist's mother came on a flying VIP visit , took all the gifts my mother gave and subsequently complained about them to me. What really shook me was when I questioned him that why he married me if I was not good enough.
The body shaming and his inability to break free from his ex girlfriend who knew all the intimate and intricate details of our life was taking a toll on me. Why did he propose to me? He used to just smile and say, "I married a package. A convenient one from an affluent family from whom he could gain all kinds of capital." And that is when it hit me that who in their right mind concocts and stoops so low , intentionally and maliciously destroying someone's life.
He dumped a truckload of manure on my head and it stinked. Years passed by and I put all my heart to give my daughter a happy healthy home but fate played a cruel role again in my life and my daughter was kidnapped for a ransom. My world fell apart. No parent should go through the feeling of never seeing or holding your child again. My father turned the town upside down and with the help of police, governor and many others authorities in power, we got her back after twenty seven long, traumatic hours. She was in my arms and that’s all I needed , that’s all that mattered.
We were given a new life and I thought he would mellow down and appreciate what he has but a snake might shed its skin but a snake it shall remain and so did he. He was good till the going got tough again, when we got posted to his hometown and all hell broke loose. His numerous ex girlfriends virtually came alive, his parents welcomed and encouraged his philandery and their incessant demands left him with no time for his own family .
On top of it, he bought a super bike and his love for freedom and urge to break free oozed out of his very being.
A thin red line which one never crosses in any kind of relation was crossed and when I put my foot down for enough was enough, I was brutally physically, emotionally and mentally abused till the day my then eleven year old daughter begged me to walk off. She told me that she didn't need a father like him who only behaves like a normal father or a husband when he rarely deems fit or finds it convenient.
"No body's father is like that, she said. "I don’t want him hitting you mama, I might not be able to save you next time from his clutches". These words of my child who had already gone through so much in her little budding years shook me to the core and woke me up from my deep foolish slumber, making me realize that I owe it to my little baby for her future. That, I as a mother have to set a mark that this kind of behavior is unwarranted and that you don’t need a man to complete you.
Breaking this vicious cycle has been the hardest part but it could be done. All one needs to do is find the strength to break away from toxicity before it erodes you completely and yes! I reached out for help, working through all the emotions takes some serious dedication and often outside help and both me and my daughter were helped by professionals, very dear genuine friends and yes, my family.
It's been a year and a half since both me and my daughter walked off from our golden gilded cage and from being victims, we became survivors, trying to piece together the broken bits of our life. I push myself every day to get up and tell myself that my road is long and bumpy but I am not afraid.
My body carries the scars and I have multitude of health issues now BUT, this too shall pass. I am a battered soul, learning to survive, learning to let go of everything that is past its expiry date.
The biggest lesson I learnt is that no child needs to suffer the sins of a narcissist parent and to stand up, at the right time for no one has the right to treat you like a football and always listen to your parents for they have nothing to gain other than to see you happy.
Life will go on as everything.. every relation , every turbulent time is transient and this is the reason why your windshield is larger than your rear view mirror. It shows you where you are going, not what you left behind.