For the next little while, the days came and went and I’ve been trying to remember them but all seems to be a blur. He would go out with the love his life and return at his leisure. Meanwhile I would be playing house with his immediate and extended family. In my own way I had started covering up his lies for him. When someone would ask where is Raj was, he parents always said “work”. Soon I started saying the same. When asked where my husband was, I would reply work. If it was unusually late, I would say “probably out with his colleagues for an after work drink”.
I became a sad little liar for him! I hated my life… I hated the fact that he wasn’t being held accountable by anyone for his infidelities. I hated that he was getting away with being a complete asshole and I was helping him treat me badly. What was wrong with me??? NO ONE in that house questioned him, EVER! I still hadn’t told my parents what was going on, I was hoping it would all stop. Even if I had told him, what could they really do? I already knew I was allowed back home.
To take my mind off things, I had asked him if I could attend post secondary and he said no. He needed me to stay home and get to know his family and be helpful to them. Then I had asked about working, again the idea was rejected. He told me not to work or attend school for at least a year. Try to fit in with my family instead of running around. I’m pretty sure this was a way to keep control over me at the time. Limit my interactions with people and keep me locked up in the house. My fault was, I listened to him and his family. I didn’t work or pursue my education until a year later. I started working against his and his family wishes, but I’m grateful that I did!
Instead of focusing on setting their son straight his parents (mostly the mom) would treat me badly over the pettiest things. She picked me apart day and night, mentally, physically and emotionally. I was too dark, too ugly, too curvy, too stupid, the list never stopped, in fact it still hasn’t really stopped. I was so exhausted and hurt I didn’t know what to do with myself. All I knew to do was cry, so I did. I actually never talked about Raj’s actions to his parents until a decade after my marriage, I never even mentioned the other woman to them. I knew if I said anything negative to them about their son, they would somehow twist the truth around and blame me for all of this nonsense. My MIL often blamed me for her son not being around the house more. She would lash out at me over laundry and cleaning or whatever else was the flavour of the day. In hindsight, I think she attacked me like that to never give me the opportunity to talk. Instead she flooded me with so many other “issues” and put fear into me that I could never be the cause of more upheaval. Just for a little perspective, I don’t even think at this point I was married for 3 months.
There was a day when my emotions were running high and I decided to question Raj again. He had come home on time from work and was stopping in to change before heading out again. I had had a rough day with his family and didn’t want to be left behind again, alone and fending for myself. As he was about to leave, I started asking questions without waiting for him to respond. “Where you going?” “Who are you going with?” “When will you be back?” “Why are you and your family doing this to me?” “Why don’t you ever take me with you?”
I guess the emotions ran a little high for him as well and he did what he did best, he got physically abusive with me.
He slapped me across the face, telling me to stop yelling at him. At that moment, I remember swearing at him and him being enraged because I was talking back. Then he grabbed me by the neck and threw me up against the wall, I hit my head so hard against the wall I thought I was going to pass out. As my neck was in his grip, I asked him, “Do you do this to her to? Do you hit her like this? Do you swear and abuse her like this? Does she like being hit by you?”
He answered, “Maybe I do this maybe I don’t. She gets whatever she deserves as you get whatever you deserve. If she is a fucking bitch she will get treated like one, just like if you’re a cunt, you’ll get treated like one!” He was raging mad, his words hitting my face like a sledgehammer.
“Of course you don’t hit her and abuse her, she wouldn’t stay with you! If you love her so much why did you marry me and not her? You married me to leave me your family. What have I ever done to be treated like this by you and your family?” Tears streaming down my face all the while making sure I kept breathing.
At some point he let go of my neck, the yelling match stopped between us and his final gesture towards me, HE SPIT IN MY FACE! He left and didn’t return that night.
While I was curled up on my bed, alone in my room, I cried and wondered out loud why no one in the house came to my rescue. Everyone was home, how come they weren’t curious enough to know what the shouting was all about. The back of my head grew a goose egg and my head was pounding. My thoughts kept going to him and her. What was so great about her that I couldn’t compete with? Maybe she was that great that he couldn’t give her up for me. I went to sleep like usual, crying and asking myself, why me?
Mom, Dad please help me, I’m literally all alone! No one likes me here! They treat me like a servant and the dirt beneath their feet! Why would you do this to me, why did you throw me to the wolves? I promise to be a good girl, I will do whatever it takes to keep you happy so you don’t give me up again. Do you know they violently hurt me? Do you know they berate me all the time? Mommy they say you’ve taught me nothing, I am no good as a daughter in law. Daddy do you know they say I’m fat and ugly all the time? Do you know when he hits me, it really hurts? Why can’t I just keep living with you? I’m only 20 and I’ve never been in this kind of environment before! Mommy, Daddy, Nanaji, Massiji, neighbours – ANYBODY! Please take me out of here, I don’t like these feelings of hurt and hopelessness. I never meant to hurt anyone if I did, you all know me. I love everyone, I wouldn’t hurt a fly so why does he keep hitting me and why does his family let it happen?!?!? Mom Dad do you see the bruises around my neck, will I be able to swallow? How about the goose egg on my head, will you ice it? Can you trace his fingers on my cheeks, it hurts to touch? How did I end up like this? You told me that you do everything for my good and my safety; I’m not safe here…
Again, I’m choking back tears as writing this. It’s so tough to go back in time and relive all the moments. I feel like going back in time and pretending to be my own mom and rescuing myself! How could humans do this to other humans? My 20 year self just wanted to go back home but wasn’t allowed too.
Before I had fallen asleep I made myself a promise, I was going to find out more about her!
I woke up the next morning with a purpose and started getting into detective mode. I wanted to know about her, the only way I was going to find out was if I started digging so I did…