It has been a while. Four years, to be exact. It took me years to prepare myself to forgive and move on. When I eventually did, I learned something new. I was not forgiving the person that hurt me. I was forgiving myself. I was letting go of the load I was subconsciously carrying. Afterwards, I felt light and energetic.
There were times, I did reflect on my actions. Especially when I removed /blocked people from my social media page. Later, I was not surprised to discover another rumour. I blocked everyone because I was feeling guilty for my actions. I don’t know how many people bought this story. But again, I am not curious.
It was a flash decision based on my reflection. When I hear something bad about someone, I normally reach out and offer help whenever possible. This is if I was close to this person. If I was not closer to this person, I would offer unbiased and neutral support.
I was hoping that those close ones would at least reach me. Instead, one or two of the “relatives” removed me from their social media.
I returned the favour to everyone.
Sounds childish- but it seemed right at that time. I didn’t want a torrent of sympathy. I only wanted to hear these three words.
” Are you okay?”
I was rolled to the floor. The person who did it thought that I will never get up in one piece.
They were right, I didn’t make it up in one piece but I did get up and scrapped myself from the floor.
I reshaped myself, wiped the dust off, cleaned the wounds and looked around. A crowd was there. The faces were familiar but nobody looked sympathetic. I was like a zoo animal. I could hear people mumbling and entertaining themselves.
Later, I realised that this was because they were told a different version of the story. Like myself, the crowd was emotionally manipulated, too.
I concluded this because of a message I received from a mutual friend.
“You must understand that you will have to pay for what you did”
This was the exact first line. It was sent at around 11 PM. I was going to the bed after watching some catch-up tv. I didn’t have any streaming services at that time. It was just a chill.
“I know, everyone does” I responded.
Then a torrent of messages appeared stating how lucky I was to find my partner and how I didn’t see the heart of gold, how that person “sacrificed” their happiness for me etc.
I honestly didn’t know how to respond. I simply blocked this person. This person was so influenced that whatever I said would have made no difference.
There were a few more messages from different people, including my relatives.
I was really upset at that time, but later I realized that it is not their fault. Not everyone can see the different sides of a story, and it’s amazing in a way.
Amazing in the sense that if you tell someone that this person is bad, they believe you. But if you tell them that this person is nice, they question.
These people who abandoned me and even abused me were manipulated into believing the other version of the story. The interesting thing about emotional manipulation is that not everyone realises it. If somebody cries in front of you, you wouldn’t check whether the tears were genuine or fake, do you?
I hate to say this, but emotional manipulators never change.
Going back to the story, As I pushed the crowd away and resumed my journey, I began to feel better. When I was on the floor, I had a chance to look at myself. The me inside was very happy to see me. I realized that I am not a body with a spirit inside; I was a spirit borrowing this body for this journey.
Forgiving everyone made me stronger, inside out. Initially, I tried to forget everything, but I realized that there is no reason to forget.
There are things in life that are worth saving for. This is why I decided to save my memories. They are like old photos. Some of them are embarrassing, and some are funny. As long as I separate the pain associated with the events, these memories serve me better. They will make me feel grateful and appreciate life more because they made me stronger.
I feel really strong every time I recall these memories.
Not everyone can stay in one piece when they are being treated like a criminal when all they wanted was to spend some time with their child. With false accessions of child neglect, they granted me a supervised visit every fortnight.
It is not the cruelty of manipulation that amazed me. It was the sexist system.
If a man reports domestic abuse, the system seeks evidence. But when a woman makes an accusation, no evidence is required. The system “listens” to the accuser.
Despite having a person constantly checking over my shoulder, I was happy that I could spend some time with my child.
This happiness saved me from breaking apart.
I don’t know whether it was an attempt to break me further or something else. But without any wrongdoing, my lawyers were told that an attempt to reduce the visit (from every fortnight to every month) was made.
This attempt failed. And this was probably the first time I had some trust in the system.
Later the visit becomes local. Soon after this, I could take my child home every week.
Despite this, I did keep my cool. And I am still keeping my cool, even if it is below 3 degrees sometimes.
No one can take my happiness away apart from me. And I won’t let that happen. I concluded the second part of the blog with a quote by Mark Twain:
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
Now, everything has changed and I have a new quote to reflect on too.
“It happens all the time. People lie to themselves or their therapists because they’re ashamed or they don’t want to deal with the reality of their circumstances. Sometimes people are manipulative and twist the narrative to get something from the therapist: attention, empathy, love. Or the most likely reason: Sometimes the truth really hurts.” ― Jacqueline Simon Gunn,
The following year, same date (but not the same time) I had an accident. An elderly man reversed into me in a car park. Normally, I would have become angry. But I wasn’t. He was very apologetic, and we exchanged insurance details. We did that as if we were noting each other’s addresses. I had to pay the excess for repair and was sure that I lost my no-claims discount too.
I am glad to report that I didn’t lose my “no claims discount”. Instead, the car had an unrelated issue resolved.
It has been over four years and I haven’t been happier. I see my child every week and am surrounded by nice people, including a wee man that keeps me under his thumb.
Sometimes, it is not the blood that keeps the relationship going. It is the heart, both physically and metaphorically. The key to happiness, I found – is within.
Finally, I sometimes wonder what would happen if none of these happened.
This makes me chuckle.
I would probably be very materialistic and stressed and possibly turn into an emotional manipulator too. Instead of listening to Tara Brach, I would probably be watching Naked Attraction on TV. Instead of finding a source of happiness, I would probably be stressed because I could not afford the latest iPhone. I would probably enjoy watching people being evicted whilst eating the flesh of a dead animal.
But I would definitely be unhappier.
After four years, the threat of eviction is still there. I am still being manipulated. My family is still being fed false information about me and attempts to break me down are still being made.
But for someone who had survived hell, there is nothing left to fear.
Another reason to be grateful, right?