Mind / Relationships

Never Mistake Fear for Love

March is National Women’s Month, that is why I would like to dedicate this entry to all the women in my life (by birth, or by choice) who fell in love with the wrong person. May this month be the month you celebrate your freedom, yourself- you.

Statistics show that 38% of women across the world has experienced violence caused by their intimate partners. This is on top of the list of atrocities committed within a household.

Abuse comes in many forms- coercive control, isolation, behavior regulation, prevention of one’s independence and free will, physical violence, humiliation and threats, preventing one to get a job or to find her own sustenance, and rape. There are many other forms of abuse which are tangible, and visible. What these statistic lack are the type of mental abuse some do to their partners through their constant, repetitive lying and cheating, followed by the more widely-known guilt-tripping.

So-

Here’s to the broken-hearted ones,

Whose skin is black and blue after a night of struggle,

Whose eyes have seen no happiness since you figured out he’s trouble-

Here’s to the quiet ones,

Who gazed at the floor as his words streamed along,

Calling you worthless, ugly, insane, all day long-

Here’s to the faithful ones,

Who held their breaths at 4 in the morning,

Waiting for a message that he never planned on sending-

Here’s to the fooled,

Who believed they were the only ones in his mind, in his heart, in his bed,

But in truth, there’s always someone else instead-

Here’s to those who tried to keep it together,

Even it if meant working hard, going through hell or high water,

While he sat at home, and told you he found someone else better-

Here’s to the strong ones who didn’t need anyone,

Who eventually fell, strongly, for the “different one”,

Who loved so fiercely until they’re gone-

Here’s to the intense,

Who readily gave up their  life, their being, their everything,

Who treated their abusive partners as if they were their own king-

Here’s to the lost, the lonely ones,

Who built their lives around one person, and made them their purpose,

Who have erased themselves every time the wind blows-

“There are only two emotions: love and fear”, said Elizabeth Kubler Ross, “They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”

Never mistake fear for love.

Elizabeth continues, “From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt.”

Love is not a tragedy. Romanticists always spoke of love as if it is an unattainable goal, something to fear, to endure, to die for. No. Love isn’t about star-crossed lovers who chose to die because they fear their families will discover their togetherness, which was wrought by deception and lies. Love doesn’t mean you have to say sorry all the time. Love isn’t always resignation and acceptance, nor about prudence and honour or duty. Love isn’t a figment of imagination- it does not jump from admiration, to love, then to matrimony in a moment- it isn’t an excessive diversion. Love isn’t the single green light at the end of the dock.

Fear is. Fear is the tragedy that turns everything to dust. The fear of being alone, again, after experiencing being with someone drives one mad- drives one to deceive themselves and think going against their personal morals and values is okay. It is the fear of losing a person which drives you on your knees and beg for forgiveness, for wrongs you didn’t commit. It is the fear of what other people think that would keep you silent and “know your place as a woman”, because society thinks you should always submit, and obey. The fear of disappointing your family, your children, and everyone involved in your relationship makes you suck it all in, until your heart and lungs become heavy- so heavy, that crying, even for years,  will never, ever be enough. Fear is hasty- the fear of losing what you think is your only best option keeps you on your toes, keeps you diverted, until you lose the version of yourself you have known so well. The fear of losing what you had once, further, makes that green light at the end of the dock more unattainable than it truly is.

There is no perfect relationship. We miss, now and then, but that doesn’t immediately make us horrible. The same thing applies to our partners who may have committed an error or two, but who have since strived to be better men, and partners.

The line between acceptable and unacceptable is drawn when these faults come more frequently than usual, despite it being addressed and agreed upon. The intensity by which you were hurt, damaged, or forcibly changed should also come into consideration.

Him hitting you once may be forgiven, but not condoned.

You being broken after this incident, and him not feeling a shred of remorse is morally wrong.

You turning the other cheek, and ignoring the growing number of bruises and scars isn’t love – it is fear.

Him cheating on you once and extensively lying may just be a one-off.

You, unable to trust again, and him blaming you for not feeling safe is abhorrent.

You, chasing after him and apologizing for not trusting him isn’t love- it is fear.

So, never mistake fear for love, for both can’t coexist on the same plane.

About the Contributor

Vanessa Zambale is a secular-humanist who thinks for a living, writes with her passion, and lives to give and love. She is currently based in Cebu as a Communications Specialist while sidelining as a Social Media Marketer. She fancies living in a musical and proclaims herself as the Mother Of All Rabbits. While at it, Vanessa likes having her White Chocolate Dream or African Sunrise Tea Latte over meaningful conversations about humanity.

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Photo from photopin.com. Image source here.

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