“I Couldn’t See The Red Flags Until He Hit Me,” Reeja Opens Up About Her Toxic Relationship

3 min read

What is the most important thing in a relationship? Well, if your answer is love, then you better hang on to this story to discover why you wrong!

Reja Karrai, a successful professional, phenomenal belly dancer, and an independent woman shifted to Hyderabad for her first job. She is one of the very few internationally trained belly dancers. It was during the course of this job, that she started dating a man, who changed life forever. 

He was Reja’s super boss, a person who was controlling and emotionally manipulative. Something that Reja did not notice for a very long time. When people started expressing their disapproval over their relationship and suggested that she deserved better, Reja barely understood why it was such a big issue.

The thing is it isn’t easy to grasp the idea of the person you love being unhealthy for you. 

Imagine yourself to be sitting on a roller coaster. You love the thrill and you know you have to let go a little to make the most of it. But what if the ride does not stop? What initially gave you thrill would now suffocate you and make you feel sick. You would want to its stop, but you seem to have no control over it. 

This is exactly what toxic relationships feel like. Reja was in a relationship where love seemed to justify and compensate for the absence of respect, and that is where things started going wrong. For five long years, Reja changed herself completely to be able to fit into the suffocating limits desired by her partner.

“He had weird ways of asserting control love me. I stopped wearing strong perfumes because he thought it attracted other men. I did not touch pizza, even though I love pizza. 

While the toxicity and the abuse worsened as the relationship progressed, Reja had somehow internalised and normalized the unhealthy behaviour. 

The signs were all out there. 

“I lost a crazy amount of weight. I never realised how I went on from being an overweight person to someone whose ribs were visible. And this wasn’t healthy at all”

The final blow came in after an unfortunate incident when an argument led to life-threatening physical abuse. He kicked and assaulted her, giving her a shoulder injury.

She suffered severe phsysical and meotional damage that took years of medical intervention before she could finally move on completely. Her journey of healing was indeed difficult. There moments when she felt as if she was drowning in waters, dance became her little log of hope, helping her stay afloat.

Her dance group has multiple women whp share similar stories of abuse and violence. One thing that all these women together realised that It’s never too late to walk out of an abusive relationship. 

Women often tend to ignore the little hunch, that in most cases turns out to be accurate. It’s important to remember that love is about feeling good, and if it does not feel good, may be it isnt love at all.

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