Emotional Abuse in The Girl on The Train

My life has gotten to a point where most days I am able to get through without even remembering that I was once mentally, emotionally and physically abused. I’ve put in the work, I’ve done the healing, and where many things used to make me think of the abuse or at the very least the abuser, today it takes a pretty significant thing to remind me.

This weekend I watched The Girl on The Train for the first time (and FYI –  I have never read the book for comparison.) If you have not yet seen the movie or read the book and do not want any spoiler information… stop reading here.

There is a whole lot of freaking crazy psychological and emotional abuse going on in this movie, and while the movie slowly lets you unravel the truth… it was freaking hard to watch. I had a physical reaction to this movie. It was hard to breathe, my heart rate increased, my palms were sweating.

The writer and/or producers of this movie really absolutely nailed two things with psychological abuse.

  1. Justin Theroux’s character Tom: Tom was a nightmare for me to watch. He was calculating, he made it seemed like he cared, like he was protecting Rachel, like he had her best interest at heart. His eyes were dark and unforgiving, like a shark. The scene where he convinces Rachel that it was really her fault that Megan died was so realistic he could have been convincing me… his tone, his voice, the matter-of-fact way that he says it so calmly and convincing. Everything about Tom was spot on for an abuser. My whole body tensed up when he was on screen,  I could just feel the unease and anxiety building inside.
  2. Emily Blunt’s character Rachel: Early in the movie I felt a bit indifferent towards Rachel… sad for her that she was in that situation but blaming her for being an alcoholic. As the plot unraveled and the truth was revealed I connected with Rachel in a way I never anticipated.  All I could think about after seeing this movie was thank God The Narcissist didn’t like me to drink alcohol. Thank God my depression and loneliness didn’t drive me to drugs and alcohol. Thank God I at least had my memory of what was actually happening to rely on and not just The Narcissist’s take on everything. It actually really scares me because watching that movie I felt like that could have been me. I was not far away from letting a crazy man dictate my entire life and convince me of what was happening. I can’t even imagine what path the abuse would have taken if I couldn’t even remember what I was doing. I related to her sadness, her feeling of being worthless, her lost-in-the-fog-and-desperately-trying-to-claw-out mentality. I related to her realization that she spent all of this time apologizing to a man and feeling like she didn’t deserve him only to realize what he truly was. I related and felt for this character on so many levels.

So to my fellow readers who are healing from mental and emotional abuse – if you are easily triggered you might want to avoid this movie and I am guessing the book as well. If you want to take the chance and watch it, just be prepared mentally that it could stir up some shit for you.

And if you do watch it, you might end up thanking your lucky stars (like me) that your own situation wasn’t much worse.

19 thoughts on “Emotional Abuse in The Girl on The Train

  1. I haven’t seen the film but have read the book. The book has had mixed reviews, but I reckon the reviewers who lost patience with Rachel as a narrator don’t understand addiction. I thought the writer did a great job of depicting alcoholism and what it can do.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it really hit home for me I spent 15 years with a narcissist and 6 of them we had a child I left slowly after having could have died a few times to my child being in danger when I left him a week later he broke into my mothers home attacked me in front of my child and at this point my son was aware that what dad does is wrong and he was informed of what domestic violence was we had been to dart that past week to get help I should have stayed in the safe house but I chose to be with my mom he could have killed me that night but didn’t now he is going to spend the next 10 years in prison for home invasion me and my son are free I have custody so I feel like karma came justice came for me yet I have to live with the trama I hope I inspire other women to get out while there is still a chance you are worth it❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I just finished reading the book because I felt the film would be more emotionally stirring(and it was $14.99 to rent).
    I related to Rachel in a lot of ways. And Tom was so much like my abusive ex it’s scary. The book perfectly described what psychological abuse/gas-lighting was and how manipulative abusers can be and how good they are at it and lying. How good they are at making people believe they’re a decent person.

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  3. I read the book and was surprised that I couldn’t just see it as a story, it sadly made me feel things and look at things that I’m trying to lock away for now. Strange how the mind works.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can really relate to this post because I was in the same situation. Out of an abusive relationship (with an alcoholic/sociopath). I had never read the book. But I had so many emotional responses during the movie. My friend was concerned it would retraumatize me, but it didn’t. Like you I left feeling grateful that I didn’t get to that point and also having some empathy for the “other woman” he left me for.

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  5. Just finished watching the movie. .. and had to search Narcissist & the girl on the Train….scary…. i felt exactly the same way. … thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dear author, I am in the process of NO CONTACT since one month and slowly I start realizing what happened to me in the last years… the strange thing is, that I watched this movie with my gaslighting-me EX-NARC and didn’t identify the pattern. I was blind for the similarities… how can that happen? that means to me that if anpther person would have tried to warn me these days…. I wouldn’t believe that person! that’s hard to understand in my situation. thats means there is no faster way out… how can we sensitize other people when I myself wasn’t aware of it-in the middle of my inner tornado…. feels very strange…..


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