Leaving the Torture Chamber


The door stands ajar


“Sure, he loves you, but not in a way that does you any good.”


It’s an either-sex thing: “Sure, she loves you, but not in a way that does you any good.”


Matches are strange things. So much of our past goes into whom we choose as a partner. Come out of a family that disrespected you, you’re almost inevitably going to choose someone who does the same. Unless you’ve done a lot of work on your perceptions and decision-making, a disrespectful person feels . . . familiar.


The height of disrespect is abuse.


Physical, sexual, mental, emotional. Gaslighting, for example, convincing someone they’re wrong or nuts (when actually they hit the nail square on the head) is as damaging as slapping them, and far harder to recognize as abuse.


People get caught in relationships where they’re being used and abused, and then give themselves unhealthy messages.


“I can’t leave.” “I need to stay.” “This is what marriage is.” “I have to be patient.” “He/she really loves me.”


Sure, they love you, but not in a way that does you any good.


You know what they love? They love control. They love having you around to abuse, to make them feel good. They love feeling powerful.


Who does that remind you of?


That’s right, torturers. Torturers – this includes rapists, since rape is torture – have control and power. They get to deliver pain. Their victim cannot leave until they say so.


Look, if you’re in a relationship where you’re being abused in any way, you may think you’re strapped to that table. You may believe the door is closed and locked. You may think you have no choice but to endure and persist and pray for the abuse, the lies, the other person’s control and power, to stop.


But you’re not tied. That door stands ajar. You can get up and walk out. Truly.


Yes, you need to ask other people for help, and you might have to walk out secretly. You might have to make plans and listen to others’ encouragement.


The table has no straps, you can slide off. You can walk out that door whose only locks are in your head. You can escape abuse. Any type of abuse.


And then work on yourself to make sure you never again select that kind of person to be around. The kind of person who whines and protests, “But I love you!”


Sure, they love you, but not in a way that does you any good.




Filed under Abuse, Communication, Gaslight, Morality, Rape, Rape is torture, Rapist as parasite, Relationships, Sexual assault, Torture

3 responses to “Leaving the Torture Chamber

  1. Pingback: Wednesday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion | Clarissa's Blog

  2. Z

    Yes. With my parents I always thought I was delusional to compare them to torturers, although I could not help seeing the parallel. Then with this ex, it was much easier to see, and he resembled them, so I finally understood it was not delusional to see them this way.

    With all the discussion of abuse there is now, people still tend not to see it as torture (and interestingly, much torture has been euphemized and legalized). Good post…

  3. DC

    Yep yep yep. The hardest part by far is recognizing the abuse for what it is. There’s SO MUCH cognitive cloud surrounding it that even if you see dozens of arguments and supporting data, you might be incapable of believing them. That’s the crappy thing about defense mechanisms: they don’t go away just because you’re aware of them. (Well…some of them do. But denial doesn’t seem to be one of them, because maybe you’re in denial about *their* side of the story…and here you are stuck in fuckland again.) Chump Lady said it well on her “ex chump” blog: “Trust that they suck.”

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