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.
- 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.
- 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.