Abuse

Abuse can take many forms: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sometimes we can see clearly its manifestation in the forms of scars and wounds. Other times we see the after effects in the long run, like: suicidal tendencies, insecurity, low self-esteem, paranoia, etc.

Many people in abusive relationship deny that they are being abused. They think it’s their fault that a person becomes abusive, and they start making excuses for abuser’s chosen behavior and deeds. They may create scenario in their heads that abuser is just being tired/cranky/upset/whatever that makes he/she has the right to be a bit meaner. Although we all know that abuser is the one with issues and urge to take their negative emotions on other people.

People stay in abusive relationships for many reasons: love, friendship, working relations, blood ties, and many more. As much as the reasons are important to stay in unhealthy relationships, abused people need to think about their own well-being, their own peace, and their own lives. We all only live once that it’s worthless to yield to abusive behaviors.

I am having an abusive relationship and I will get out.

For almost three years I’m befriending this woman, about my age, whose daughter goes to the same school as mine. Both of us are stay-at-home moms. The world is such a small place that in short time we found out we had the 6-degree connection. We happened to be friends/family with the same people.

She is a very outgoing person, a popular woman in our small but developing city. She knows everybody and vice versa, and for me who just started to live here it feels good to have a contact. The conversations have always been good and lively, online. Offline, she never so much as bats an eye when she sees me. Even when we run in the same circles, she will pretend that she neither sees me nor mingles with me.

This had bothered me on and off, but I kept it in the back of my mind. I managed to make excuses for her that maybe she was being tired or on her period, so that she didn’t want to speak to me.

You know as life happens, so do life events. When our family was still separated, Cikarang and Surabaya, and either kid got sick and needed to be hospitalized, I turned to her asking to take care of the other child who was healthy, while waiting for my husband to come from Surabaya. Within three years I have never asked more than ten times because I can still manage my time and running the errands. I am also not comfortable leaving my kids with relatively strangers.

She, on the other hand, has asked me to take her child to my house after school hour, before any extracurricular activity her and my children attend, and to be chauffeur for too many times that I’ve lost count. I’d done all she asked happily, because she always had perfect reasons why she couldn’t pick-up her child on time at school, why she needed two to three hours after school before getting her daughter. Sometimes it’s because of her husband’s illness that needed routine treatment in Jakarta. I understood that the traffic was unpredictable and she couldn’t be sure that she would return from the hospital on time. Other times it’s because she had to attend wedding parties of close family. We’re from the same tribe so I also understood how important it was and how long it would last (usually from 4 AM make-up time until 9 PM). I was genuinely happy to help.

Recently she has put her child under my care for no reason at all, and asked me for it 30 to 60 minutes before the school ends. I’m into many new ventures since January so I find it difficult to accommodate her wish and have three (very active) children at one time, and still be able to work on my stuffs. I’ve refused a couple of times but she has always played the “pity me” card that makes me oblige, eventually.

Today I picked up her child alongside mine. It’d been a while since she came to my house so I was surprised when in less than two hours she managed to: 1) make a mess of Misael’s room, 2) scratch the piano, 3) hit my car with Sky’s bike and have a good laugh about it. I was reeling with anger but I managed to stay calm, for the sake of my presumed friendship with her mother.

Then the mother came to get her. She was dressed so nicely and told me that she just attended a lunch party at Ritz Carlton Hotel Jakarta, held by the developer of this apartment she recently bought. I was astounded. I was used to emergency-related excuses that the possibility of her having so much fun over there while I was here trying to put a leash on her child, was so upsetting to bear. How could she? She didn’t even bother to step out of the car. Her daughter climbed in and it was I who got all her suitcase and two backpacks and put them in their car.

I was and am not their, or anybody else’s, maid.

It annoyed me so much that I talked to my husband about what happened. Right then I realized that I had been used for the last three years. The behaviors this friend showed me had been going on for some time and yet I never complained. Why? I wanted to keep the friendship, to nurture it, to oversee small things. And each and every time I was playing maid for her daughter. I took her bags in and out of the car. Her mother never got out of her car to help. She didn’t say thank you until I said it first, for the sake of being slightly sarcastic. She never asked me what my own schedules were. She just dropped her child at my house, many times on short notice, whenever she wanted to. She has two older kids, both in middle school, but her daughter never wants to be at home with them when her mother is not around.

Like I said, she is very popular with abundant friends, but why oh why she only puts her child into my care every time she’s busy with her own agenda? Why not with one of her many friends? I am being used and staying in an abusive friendship. I will not hold on to friendship that can hurt me and my family. This friend has taken me for granted and is ungrateful.

Never again. It will stop now.

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