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Invisible Chains

Who doesn’t love FIFTY SHADES OF GREY? A romance depicting the perfect orthodox love-story between a neurotic beau and a timid girl who attempts to cure him through unconditional ‘love’ (submission)?


The notion that a man wearing the pants in a relationship ordering around a meek woman who consents to all forms of abuse and thinks of it as a sane choice believing that her infatuation might reform the man she seems to be in love with, is not as bizarre as the unusual response of the viewers who have been going gaga over a film that doesn’t only normalize abuse, but also tends to glamorize it. The perplexing idea that love is enduring and that a relationship must sustain under all circumstances in order to validate the former claim has smudged the line between a healthy and an abusive sick relationship for us.


The ‘brown‘ idea of love or being loved consists of a fantasy that is influenced by fiction and Rom-Coms because where we live, it is disguised as an exploitative romantic relationship between the individuals who claim to be in ‘love’. The masquerade of unconditional love seems so appealing that people begin to fancy it. This behavior is a manifestation of submission to the culture that reinforces inequality and compromise in the name of love. We hardly get to witness a relationship based on equality and respect (except for in fiction) and have therefore presumed that equality in love is unattainable.

So while some of us become passive, others become control freaks!

wrong idea about love

These control freaks are so driven by their own perception of reality that they construe a disoriented version of it, revolving around themselves in a way which not only neglects but devalues the needs of others. When in a romantic relationship, they deny their partner any sort of authority and make them feel like they have to tread on egg-shells all the time and have no place to go where they can feel like they are not under ‘control’. Letting loose a torrent of abuse, the control freaks exert a coercive control over their significant others making them feel like they are confined in a room outside of which there exists no life or reality.

Emotional abuse is an attack on personality rather than the body. If someone is altering their behavior because they are frightened of how their partner will react, they are being abused.


coercive control

Expert, Evan stark, liken coercive control to being taken a hostage in the documentary ‘POWER AND CONTROL’. As he says:

the victim becomes captive in an unreal world created by the abuser, entrapped in a world of confusion, contradiction, and fear.

Such a pattern of behavior is exclusively designed to make the victim feel vulnerable, worthless and dependent on the megalomaniac by isolating them and regulating their activities according to his needs. The victim is intimidated to the extent that they start taking the blame for the minor things which triggers their other half. This is mostly because they fear the consequences of displeasing their exploitative partners when they are blamed on. As a result, the victim’s self-esteem drops down to zero and he finds himself stuck in a web of invisible chains of a controlling person.

How do you know if this is happening to you?

Some common examples of coercive behavior as given by the womensaid.org.uk are;

  • Isolating you from friends and family
  • Depriving you of basic needs, such as food
  • Monitoring your time
  • Monitoring you via online communication tools or spyware
  • Taking control over aspects of your everyday life, such as where you can go, who you can see, what you can wear and when you can sleep
  • Depriving you of access to support services, such as medical services
  • Repeatedly putting you down, such as saying you’re worthless
  • Humiliating, degrading or dehumanizing you
  • Controlling your finances
  • Making threats or intimidating you

White Ribbon Pakistan campaigns against such abuse too. If you are a victim or know someone who is a victim of coercive control, seek professional help.

There is an escape and you’ll find it!



  1. Everything is NOT fair in so called “love” . Even our society normalizes that “control” and call it “care” . There is a visible difference between the two. In ANY sort of relationship there should be concept of personal space, will , consent , plus “i am free to do what i want to” and if the other person loves me he SHOULD give respect first.

  2. It’s a well written Article,keep spreading your words.we would Love to read them.

    Here are some points which I want to highlight.

    In Love,each partner should know the likes and dislikes of each other,trying not to do the things which your partner dislike.
    Relationship does’t means that you isolate yourself from rest of the society,friends and others.
    Giving “space” to your lover matters a lot,the other person should freely spend time with others because it’s not war where you capture the place and you became the owner ,it’s a relationship in which each have the freedom to spend time where ever they want.
    The behavior like a investigation officer,checking contacts,messages or spying of your partner is a sign that you are in controlling or abusive relationship.please get out of it.
    Patience,tolerance and respect for each others point of view must be present in a relationship.
    We are human beings (emotional beings),All of us have weakness and strengths, good and bad points, we must understand that thing,as unconditional love is accepting the person with all its flaws and strengths.
    We all do mistakes,but forgiving mistakes and understanding each other can make a good relationship.

  3. Applauds on your work…
    And this is actually what 70%of our girls are going through .Having the iillusion that a man’s aggressive behavior or demanding nature is his way to communicate love …!! And the irony of the fact is that they love to sacrifice themselves ..even if it means for a lifetime…!

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