“I miss her smile. I miss her friendship.”
From Brief Encounter to Once, there are countless films which deal with the beautiful agony of lost love. And now a brand-new video has tackled that exact same subject, asking three very different men to open up to the camera about “the one that got away”.
At first, it feels very much like a sweet and romantic clip; the men appear bashful, almost shy, when asked to open up about that special someone – and they describe their former lovers in glowing terms.
But, as the haunting video continues, the tone shifts, revealing a far darker side to their “loved and lost” relationships.
“I’d call, and call, and call, and call, and call, and call,” says one, hitting his hand against the steering wheel to punctuate each word.
Another, slamming his fist into his hand, disarmingly asks the camera: “You ever know somebody and you just cannot get through to them?”
Watch the footage for yourself below – and make sure you view it right until the end:
“You know, she’s my girl,” says one, with a grim expression on his face. “She’s not going to be with anyone else.”
Abuse takes many forms, and possessiveness is a subtle sign of coercive control.
Interval House (the first shelter for abused women and children in Canada), who created this thought-provoking video, explain: “The only thing worse than feeling sorry for them is having to go back to them.
“It takes an average of five attempts to leave an abusive partner [and] be ‘the one that got away’.”
Speaking to The Huffington Post about the video, Rachel Ramkaran – the communications associate for Interval House – said: “Usually a relationship starts out really lovely and charming and then a woman hangs on to the memory of that once it does become an abusive situation, and she thinks that she can help her partner get back to the person that they were before. When, in fact, usually that’s not the person that they really were ― it tends to be a ruse and once the relationship gets close enough the exercise of control happens.”
Ramkaran added: “Often people have this caricature in mind of what an abuser looks like or acts like and this video highlights that that is not actually the case.
“Abusers can be anybody and that they often are very high-functioning and good at blending in to society.”
There’s a growing awareness around the signs of coercive control. Just last year, a new UK law was introduced to target perpetrators who submit partners, spouses, or other family members to serious psychological and emotional torment, but stop short of violence – and they can now face up to five years in prison.
However, for many men and women trapped in emotionally abusive relationships, it can be difficult to recognise the warning signs.
These can include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Your partner constantly criticises, humiliates or belittles you
- Your partner checks up on you or follows you
- Your partner tries to keep you from seeing your friends or family
- Your partner has prevented you or made it hard for you to continue studying or going to work
- Your partner unjustly accuses you of flirting or having affairs with others
- Your partner has forced you to do something that you really did not want to do
- Your partner has deliberately destroyed any of your possessions
- You have changed your behaviour because you are afraid of what your partner might do or say to you
- Your partner controls your finances
- Your partner talks down to you
- Your partner has strong opinions on what you should wear and your appearance
- Your partner has tried to prevent you from leaving your house
- Your partner has forced you or harassed you into performing a sexual act
- Your partner has threatened to reveal or publish private information
- Your partner threatens to hurt him or herself if you leave them
- Your partner witholds medication from you
- Your partner makes you feel guilty all the time
- Your partner blames you for their bad moods and outbursts
- You are afraid of your partner
Emotional abuse, essentially, sees your partner bully and berate you as they slowly chip away at your self-esteem. To others, they may seem charming – but, behind closed doors, it’s a very different story. And, all the while, they work hard to cut you off from the people you love and who might be able to recognise your relationship for what it is; toxic.
If you are worried that you might be the victim of emotional abuse, it’s quite likely that you are. If these signs of an abusive relationship sound all too familiar to you, then get out of that situation as soon as possible.
Images: Interval House