I love you more than I love myself

Published: September 14, 2012

She felt tears of her own slide down her face, and she hated herself even more than she hated him in that instant.

Struggling to find the right key to unlock the door, she began giggling at the doorway. Quick as a flash, he retrieved the key that had slipped from her hand and joined in her laughter. She had always had shaky hands, and he, naughty as ever revelled in testing her ability to complete tasks that required steadiness.

Finally entering the room, Laila discarded the red shawl she was draped in and began to undress. He admired her slender figure and for the millionth time wondered what he had done right to deserve her.

“Pregnancy is suiting Kamil’s wife well,” she remarked liberally spreading toothpaste on her brush.

“Hmm,” said Azhar absent-mindedly as he began unbuttoning his shirt.

Throwing his shirt down by the door, he slid in to bed, anxious for his Laila to emerge from the bathroom.

After what seemed like an eternity, she entered, brushing her long auburn hair.

Spotting Azhar’s shirt in the corner, she gave him a look of mock disapproval, and said lovingly:

“Azhar jaan, shirt is tarah nahin phainka kerain”

(Azhar my love, please don’t throw your shirt like this)

He immediately stiffened and his face turned to stone.

As if sensing the sudden change in his mood, she turned around wildly, half-bent in her attempt to retrieve the shirt. It was too late.

His fist caught her straight in the face and blood began to gush out.

“Azhar please! I’m sorry Azhar! Please bas,” she begged trying to protect her face.

Her hysterics only egged him on. Punch after punch rained down on her 100 pound frame.

*****  mujh pe rob jamati hai. Samajhti kia ho apne aap ko?”

(You *****; you think you can tell me what to do? What do you think of yourself?)

He screamed at her till he was hoarse; spit flying out of his mouth.

Her blood licked his knuckles but he didn’t stop.

Her whimpers began to fade and it was only when she passed out, lifeless and limp did he stop.

Out of breath, he wiped his mouth, left the room and slammed the door behind him.

Minutes turned into hours, and there she lay beaten to a pulp. From time to time she would stir, but the hazy cloud lay heavy on her and she would go under again.

When she next awoke, she was in bed, curtains drawn letting a soft light in. Her head throbbed, where he had kicked her twice. She wondered if she could move her arms. She tried, slowly bending her elbow to touch her bruised eyes. She felt the blood caked around her mouth with fingers that were a dull shade of purple.

Azhar had landed four punches on her frail hands as he had tried to hit the face she was protecting – the pretty face that his entire neighbourhood had raved about when he brought his new wife home just 17 months ago.

As she felt the dried blood at the base of her nose, she shook with fury.

She hated him.

She hated him for the time he slapped her just three days after they had been married.

She hated him for the time he yanked her shoulder out of its socket.

She hated him for the time he broke her arm when he threw a vase at her just six months ago.

She hated him with every fibre of her being.

Suddenly, she felt his hand on her forehead.

“Azhar please,” she inhaled sharply, recoiling at his touch.

Then, she felt tears on her face – his tears.

Mujhe maaf kar do, (Please forgive me)” he whispered and his frame shook with hysterics.

She felt tears of her own slide down her face, and she hated herself even more than she hated him in that instant.

You see, she loved him way too much to see his pain.

So, she held him while he slept on her stomach – the same stomach that now carried their dead child.

Read more by Zahra here or follow her on Twitter @ZahraPeer

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Zahra Peer Mohammed

Zahra Peer Mohammed

Former Blogs Desk Head and Senior Sub-Editor at The Express Tribune. She is a business graduate from the Queen's School of Business who tweets @ZahraPeer (twitter.com/ZahraPeer). She blogs at zahrapeer.wordpress.com

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • AJ

    Now that was depressing :/Recommend

  • Sohail Kamran

    Whoa that was intense. Sadly this tale is out of the pages of our reality. Recommend

  • Ahsan Ikhlas

    bizarre yet insightfulRecommend

  • Khawaja Faraz


  • http://www.facebook.com/stallion.pk Abdul Malik

    ver sad .. and depressingRecommend

  • Farahnaz Zahidi

    Good one Zahra!
    More common than we think!Recommend

  • Maria

    This is terribleRecommend

  • B

    this touched a raw nerve. it’s exactly how my father treated my mother. sick, disgusting mentality. I don’t blame only him; I blame her too. you see, she ‘loved’ him way too much to leave.Recommend

  • Jaffar Ali

    The guy is a sick freak!Recommend

  • Javeria Mahmood

    OMG!… If I were her I would have beaten him the same way… moronRecommend

  • Shoaib

    Beautifully written Zahra! :) Keep at going at it. Recommend

  • Mustafa Hanif

    Whats the point of this!? .. Who does that?Recommend

  • Bismah Irfan Butt

    Such incidents are extremely common. Not only in our society but in other society’s too. I’d just want to say that where there’s a will there’s a way. Some way or the other, the woman (the victim) always has a way out. She can leave! What is holding her back? Her kids? Who will pay for their education? The society will judge her? The usual sentiments. Well, she can always walk out the door. Take her kids along. Go earn a respectable living. Give a hoot to the society. But for the sake of the “life” that God has given you; Donot disrespect your own being! Previously known to be common in rural areas and the homes of jaagirdaars, such incidents are common in metropolitan cities. Such incidents only lay stress on the importance of education and the empowerment of females. I am not being a feminist here, but such issues have an impact on our generations to come. It is in the hands of the victim to choose to be free which i agree may not come easily or to be a victim for life. Recommend

  • Adil Bawany

    Maana ke these men should be hanged to death (or maybe, all men!), par aisi bhi script nahin hoti domestic violence ki. Gives an obvious feeling that both the man and woman had been narrating the incident to the author! Very very lame! #exaggeration #bollywoodMaterialRecommend

  • Haq

    Worst piece of fiction writing ever, as if we don’t have enough things to worry about.Recommend

  • Waqas Farooq Khan

    I am totaly unable to understand, what the auther wants to portray out of this write-up, its pathetic. This has been dramatized to an extreme level. ET should scrutinize the blogs before publishing.Recommend

  • http://abeerrehman.wordpress.com Abeer Rehman

    The story is way far than reality. I wonder why is she bearing all this beating and abhorrence? Is she maniac or what? I strongly disagree with the ending. she should teach him a lesson. Recommend

  • Zahra Haroon

    May Allah Pak save us from such people and also give mental health to the ill. AMEEN SUM AMEEN Recommend

  • Waqas Malik

    A depressing non-sense blog with nothing in it rather than full of trash just . Now a days anyone can spoil one’e thinking by writing such immature articles from the house of liberals and fundamentalists, This article sucks :(Recommend

  • imaan.sheikh

    Great piece, Zahra, I love it! I don’t understand why people are having a problem with this. Domestic violence of this sort is quite common. Just because it happens in the privacy of home doesn’t mean light should not be shed on it. This does not just happen in movies, people!
    Very intense piece of fiction. Looking forward to reading more Poetic License treats from you.


  • deedee

    Well said!! i agree!!Recommend

  • Raheel

    Darn! I never wanted to waste 1 more minute writing this comment, while I had already tortured myself for 7 minutes reading this ‘senseless’ things.

    But I need to tell Express Tribune to grow up!Recommend

  • Saira Zain

    No. 1: If a husband or any man treats and beats the woman like that, only shows that he never respects his mother, sister or any female at all. That he is just a low-life mentally unstable person.
    No. 2: He knows deep down inside that SHE will never leave him anyways, so lets have fun beating her up!! I’ll do whatever and i’ll ask for FORGIVENESS later. She will do as i say because she loves me, right?.
    The 1st day that he ever raised his hands on her, the wife should have taken some action. No matter how much YOU love him, HE DOESN’T LOVE you that way!! – We don’t live in illiterate society anymore, we live in modern times !!. GET SOME HELP!
    No. 3: Do you freaken think that her parents/siblings would have wanted her to suffer like this, Get her un-born child killed like that? just because she LOVES him!!. Do you think or beleive that you for one milli-seconds allow your own child to go through that?
    No. 4: STAND UP for your rights, woman!! – you can’t just let anyone hurt you, degrade you, disrespect you, beat you up every time HE is angry!
    No. 5: In Islam or any religion for that matter DOESN’T allow such actions at all!. Recommend

  • Wahab J

    depressing nonsense! Recommend

  • Hasan

    I always wondered how such men are able to get girls, while I am always getting struck down. Does that mean I need to get a mean streak as well? Unfair! Reminds of the saying:

    “Tumhari berukhi par bhi luta di zindagi hum ne
    Agar tum mehraban hote, humara haal kia hota.”Recommend

  • Mangoman

    Typical Khawateen digest stuffRecommend

  • ali

    too much expurgated now the girls are don’t tolerate anything and men are not beast….still looking for sympathy and to show the girls are deprived of and they have to face such cruel things…… May Allah bring out the girl of this generation out of this state of mind….. now they create more panic situation, don’t compromise and also look for sympathy….. I don’t mean such tings are obsolete in our society but they are rare infact very rare….. perhaps we like tragedies……Recommend

  • Amna

    I dont get what this story was all about?
    What the author has tried to convey?
    It is undoubtedly the worst piece of fiction, i have ever read……
    Writing is not an easy stuff, i hope the author do realize it.Recommend

  • http://www.myfrequentranting.wordpress.com Farwa

    Women of our society are hopeless. They’d sacrifice their kids for their beloved who don’t even respect them. A bit dramatic but isn’t far from reality. Recommend

  • CommonSense

    This is absolute bullcrap. When will these feminists realize that not all men are rabid cavemen who beat their wives 12 times a day? Recommend

  • Guestgirl

    Nothing but CrapRecommend

  • Need Unconditional Love

    Seems like husband is psychotic or pre-psychotic. If you know any one who behaves like that it is important that person gets serious treatment. Don;t accept it as light Islamic beating.

    Drug addicts or alcoholics can do such things too.Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/430/faraz-talat/ Faraz Talat

    This is one cancer-diagnosis away from being the most depressing piece ever written..

    But the real reason it’s so depressing is because it rings with the bitter truth about our social structure – something that we try so hard to block out, thus enabling such abominable behavior.Recommend

  • yousaf

    Those who have commented that this blog is depressing,nonsense,crap,cheap and suchlike other things are very lucky-ones.They should be thankful to their circumstances which have not allowed them to see the real face of the world.I can quote hundreds of examples from my personal experience where I have seen women being treated worse than what the author has mentioned hereRecommend

  • Parvez

    It’s called ‘Poetic License’ and you’ve just earned a lifetime’s renewal.Recommend

  • A.Y.Khan

    Mostly its happened in two situations In Love Marriages & Arrange Marriages when parents & girl her self gives priority to High Profile Status, High Salary & Job Status etc. & they less count ether guy is morally & naturally good enough.

    Sound Like “Larka Engineer Ya Doctor Hai”
    (Guy is an Engineer or a Doctor)
    Modren Sound “Larka Software Engineer Hai Ya Bhar Mulk Mai Rheta Hai|”
    (Guy is Software Engineer or Doing Job in Abroad)

    as Productive Muslim our 1st Priority should be “Guy & Girl both Should be DeenDar”
    Our Deen is Masha’Allah Amazing We’ve to teach our Children to Children…!
    This is only One Noble Book instead of Thousand others book we are giving to our
    Children & our self we reading many book.

    very precisely there is one book “The Nobel Qur’an” If we want to know “Rights” of women & society etc.

    I am wonder our “Religion” is skip in our thoughts, conversation & Comments. :/ Recommend

  • Nobody

    To the people writing this off as over dramatic, or claiming the author makes all men seem like rabid beasts and women helpless weaklings, how on earth did you get there??
    I don’t think the author at all implies that ALL men behave this way, simply that too many do behave this way, globally, not just in Pakistan (although the reactions that follow such behavior in conservative societies is often quite a bit different than the reaction in more developed socities).
    And it may sound over dramatic on paper, but we can’t say anything until and unless we’ve lived in that situation. Although I have not, nor have I seen it close-up, I have heard from people who have and it’s painful to hear. And this is not an exaggeration; some situations as hideous and brutal as this exist, tragically. Instead of attacking a nicely written piece, why not simply appreciate it… Stop enabling monsters like this by staying put!Recommend

  • IceSoul

    Only an idiot will act like the girl in this story. No place for idiots in this world anyways…Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    Horrible! Whatever that is…. it seems a psychological desease. It is dangerous to live with any such person. tooo dangerous! Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    If it is fiction then u should not have written it in such a great detail.you have made it soul quivering!Recommend

  • http://en.gravatar.com/kashifjamal Kashif Jamal

    WOAH! This. is. frikkin’. beautiful.Recommend

  • Raza

    The point of this article is??

    ET’s feminist writeups are reaching prolific levels.Recommend

  • dua goh

    A good story should contain the background (profession, occupation, living place, and the like) of the characters. Mind it.Recommend

  • curious

    **You see, she loved him way too much to see his pain.**

    NO I DO NOT!

    What I see is a Masochist. A glutton for physical abuse who richly deserves her sadist partner. If she is so much ‘in love with’ what is happening to her,let her be. I see no reason why I an being told this sick story.Recommend

  • J.

    Too depressing. When I was reading, I wanted to be the girl in the story, so that I could throw a vase at him. but, very nicely written!Recommend

  • Shuja Ul Islam

    a.m.a.z.i.n.g great writing..!!Recommend

  • yousaf

    Remove the fetters placed by the society for women and then see how strong willed our women are.The undue and unnecessary restrictions (in context of present day and age) in the name of taboos,traditions,’culture'(I have yet to find-out what it means here) and ‘values-laid-down’ by elders are the excuses we use to keep almost half of our valuable workforce from entering the mainstream of struggle for survival in the world.We have not been able to realise till today that the age of MUSCLE POWER has long gone.It is the age of MIND POWER and women have proved that they do not lag behind if given freedom to work.The sooner we realise it the better that the days of HAREMS and HAREM MENTALITY are over.Recommend

  • Saleha

    well my father used to thrash my mother same way and she is still living with him and even at age of 70+ he cannot control his hands at times, even though he has become better.Recommend

  • Vikram

    I love you more than I love myself

    I don’t think you love yourself at all. Why would you love a man who is borderline psychotic?Recommend

  • Shan Nasir

    It is a great piece of writing.Recommend

  • ***

    I’ve been through worse.
    Nothing can shock me anymore. I guess.Recommend

  • Mano

    You know what? I disagree with everyone here. This isn’t love. No woman should tolerate torture in the name of love, compromise or security. The guy isn’t the only one sick. The woman is sick too.Recommend

  • umer

    eeegh what the hell?Recommend

  • Sajjad Shaikh

    I love you for writing this piece…Recommend

  • Rija

    great work. but reading the comments i am only coming across the condemn and the questions tht y she is being so nice and why she doesnt leave this psycho person. what we fail to realize is tht there are a lot of things beyond our control which requires love alongwith help from a psycho social center. i have a friend whose husband was like this but she was determined to help herself not by becoming selfish and leaving him—BUT by saving herself by saving her husband from whatever he was suffering from. he was diagnosed by a mood disorder and thru therapy and medications he has become a completely different loving person. thru the doctor she got to know tht her husband cannot control his behavior and hence requires medication. its not the hatred or ‘sick mentality’ tht made him behave tht way…it was a condition tht was beyond his control. im glad she was mature and understood the situation and had the determination to save herself and her life partner. its very easy fr us to judge and condemn and giv the solution to run away from it all. but very difficult to make effort and understand the situation. i dont know when we will start acknowledging mental health problems in a healthy way..just lik we acknowledge all other physical diseases. ppl still laugh and make fun of people with mental diseases. there is much more beyond what they make fun of. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Mano: “The guy isn’t the only one sick. The woman is sick too.”

    Lot of time women are totally dependent (financially) on their husbands. Some time her paternal family is not in a position to support. If she has kids it become even more difficult for her to leave. On top of everything Islam allows beating and control of woman.

    Education and empowerment of woman can help stop this. Community level women organizations can help. Some women can get killed if they try to leave.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @A.Y.Khan: very precisely there is one book “The Nobel Qur’an” If we want to know “Rights” of women & society etc.I am wonder our “Religion” is skip in our thoughts, conversation & Comments.

    Religion may be part of the problem. All Pakistanis follow the same Quran, pray 5 times and fast during Ramadan. I HAVE A FEELING THE WORST ONES ARE THE ONES WHO PRETEND TO BE MOST RELIGIOUS. JUST STUDY ABOUT IMAMS AND QURAN TEACHERS. A lot of these terrorist organizations are being led by these so called religious leaders. Mullah who tarpped Rimsha added torn pages of Quran to trash pile. Deep down inside he knows that nothing is going to happen to him when he tears up Quran and traps and kills the girl. He is mainly interested in terrorizing Christians so that they will leave the area and he can expand his business by opening a madrassah there. Islam allows men to beat their wives, have multiple wives even without telling his wives he is already has. A man can divorce his wife, saying talaq, talaq, talaq, three times. Parents try to find the best boy by inquiring about his job, education and character.

    Would you like a woman relative of your marry a moulvi, because he knows all the Islam?
    One moulvi (youtube) married and divorced his wife 6 times and each time before marrying her, he made her do a halala (sleep with) with a friend of his.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Saira Zain: “If a husband or any man treats and beats the woman like that, only shows that he never respects his mother, sister or any female at all. That he is just a low-life mentally unstable person.”

    Some times husband’s family also join him in beating his wife.Recommend

  • Vikram

    * I’ve been through worse.
    Nothing can shock me anymore. I guess.

    Do you have any suggestions…….Recommend

  • curious


    Mood Disorder

    Read the Blog again. We are talking about a stillborn child here. And for what? A bloody shirt? Stop justifying this monstrosity.Recommend

  • Alam, Fahad

    Ziada ho gayee, thora kam karden please.Physiological thriller. Recommend

  • Alam, Fahad

    @Alam, Fahad: oops Physiologica* = Psychological Recommend

  • Salman

    @ Author:
    This beating practice is more common in lower class and lower middle class, they won’t bother to read this, so if ur objective is to aware people in order to keep them from doing this then better become some influential person like bureaucrat after passing css and u can bcoz normally people get fail in english and u can pass it!

    So the point i wanted to make is that…aho!Recommend

  • Laila Dharamsey

    damn girl, you got some skills..However that was really very sad, and kinda bummed my already bummed day!Recommend

  • Morning Glory

    Domestic violence is common in our society. Fullstop!

    The story depicts a man who has a dual personality. This does not fit well with the domestic violence issue. Its more a story of Double Identity Disorder !Recommend

  • waqas shahid

    keep writing Zahra . you captured social picture of our society.this is a sign of uneducated societyRecommend

  • Myda

    Wow that was beautiful piece of writing. This indeed is the reality for many women in our country. But to be honest this really isnt love.LOVE DOESNT HURT. Most women stay becuase of the belief that this is the best that they can get,becuase they dont really have standards.Most women stay out of fear,out of dependance.Recommend

  • Vigilant

    Depressing but trueRecommend

  • waqas

    but i like bossy girls :PRecommend

  • Ms. Ras

    Sometimes even the financial autonomy cannot give the woman the power to separate from her physco husband. Money is not the only thing for which the victim will continue to put up with such behaviour. Imagine a financially indepedent woman who is divorced once and the second time she gets married she realizes that she is in a relationship with a pshcyo case.

    Now to live with him is miserable ; to live without him is miserable too if they have kids. After all he is not that phchyo when it comes to the kids. A woman who has had two interfaces of irresponsible, rash and physcotic men ; probably shall not want to go for a third trial hence she is practically left without any hope in her life whether she be with him or without him and can just linger on with a physco husband for the rest of her life

    The man painted in this picture is far too phsically wild. These physhos could be far too emotionally wild also which is equally hurtful.

    I guess the wild emotional abuse coupled with light physical abuse is more common in metropolitan cities and the suffering women do not willingly escape this trauma ; not becuase they love the man but beucase they stope loving themselves. Recommend

  • Ms. Ras

    Please will appreicate if you could describe how your friend got her husband to agree to see the doctor for his treatment. Most such men do not in the first place accept that they have a pschyotic disorder or they suffer from dual personality syndrome.

    If your friend was able to do it then she defintiley has done a very good job for herself. Recommend

  • http://www.bajka.po19.eu Zenaida Torrance

    This really answered my downside, thank you!Recommend

  • http://hammadsiddiquiblog.com Hammad Siddiqui

    There are many mentally sick people in our society!Recommend

  • Bisma

    can relate to this very well Zahra Peer!Recommend

  • Zarmina Ahmed

    To hell with such LoveRecommend

  • Me

    Zahra, cant appreciate you enough for writing this piece. Just loved it.Recommend

  • Rija

    @Ms. Ras:
    thats wher ppl need to direct their ‘intelligent advice’ and ‘solutions’ to! but intelligence is something tht is lacking here! anyway she got the doctors to come to their house and use their training to convince and deal with such special cases. they have injections and special medicines to control aggression. got help from her hsbands friends also. Recommend

  • Fatima

    This is too bitter to be true. Doesn’t even sound real.Recommend

  • Ms. Ras

    Thank you Rija.

    Well ppl who dont beleive this to be true , trust me this could be actually happening in your surroundings and you would not know about it because the victim hardly tries to publicize the events. As I said earlier ,more common instances are is where the abuse hurled at woman is mentally wild and physcially mild especially in the educated segments of society. Yes some of the so called educated and liberal man when they take off their mask ; that is what they are like. Recommend

  • NNi

    This is explained well by Ali Sina in faith freedomRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/asmaa.khalid.jalapeno Asma Khalid

    Alas..we are still so backward, backward then Arabs like. Brutal and violent like native tribes.Recommend

  • Samira

    This is fake compromise….such monsters should be punished for their evil deeds… Forgiving them will merely make them more stronger the second and third time … It gives them liberty to treat woman as punching bags.Recommend

  • Madiha Mansoor

    i lyk it:) nyc one:)Recommend