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When ‘Niceness’ Is Emotional Abuse

I met B during my long and painful NYSC year. B was a medical student, top of his class, the kind of guy mothers described as ‘having prospects.’ We became friends soon after; having long phone conversations, exchanging sarcasm laden barbs and making routine cinema runs. It wasn’t long before he was talking about transitioning our friendship into a relationship. B wasn’t physically particularly my type (at 5’8 he was basically another woman in my eye) but he was super smart and we always had a good time together, so I was like heck, lets give it a try.

He seemed really anxious to impress me from early on. Agreeing with every opinion I had, using unnecessary phrases like “lose myself in you” and completely forgoing hanging with his buddies because I had boobs.

The whole bending-over-backwards-because-I’m-so-grateful-you’re-dating-me-thing got old quick and his niceness and over-eagerness to please made me very nervous. What’s worse is because he insisted on not having a life outside of my life, he would always attempt to make me feel guilty when I hung out with friends under the guise of “I’m worried about you.”

Quite frankly, niceness (the worshiping puppy variety), can be a form of emotional abuse. If I was a shittier person, I would have bilked him out of time and money because he clearly was fine with being a lap dog in the relationship, but I’m a Jesus baby geh so I tried to break up with him, in-person, like a decent human being. “The chemistry just isn’t there” I said, as I repeated my breakup talking points. “It’s really a problem with me, I’m dark and twisted inside.”

He heard me, but he wasn’t hearing me. A full month after, I still received text messages about our relationship growing stronger. It took a friend of mine getting into it with him to get a call that sounded suspiciously like “you don’t deserve me” and “how can you go on to live a blameless life?” It was a nice call to receive.

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