When Oceans Rise is talked about as a dark fantasy, and it’s comped to the grimmer Hans Christian Anderson version of The Little Mermaid for a reason. This story depicts a mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive relationship. The main character, Malaya, is gaslit by her boyfriend, who slowly gains power over her while isolating her from friends and family.
There is a social stigma to abuse victims because many people say, “I would never let that happen to me.” This is harmful because it causes many people to stay silence for fear of being ridiculed.
For people who have been abused, some may find this tale cathartic, while others might feel too triggered to read it. I am okay if you cannot take this journey. In fact, I insist you don’t if you are not ready. It took me fifteen years after my own experience with abuse before I was ready to write this story and seventeen before I was ready to sell it.
I’d like to use this space to do two things. One is to say that if you are being abused and need help please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 800-799-7233
Or go to their website: National Domestic Violence Hotline
The other thing I’d like to do is show readers where these triggers might be found in the book. Be warned that the following will contain spoilers! Each chapter might be considered a trigger as a whole, but I will try to narrow down specifics to my best ability. I hope I don’t fail you.
The gaslighting starts in chapter one with the abusive boyfriend changing plans they had, and then acting like the Malaya knew the plans all along. This may seem like a very subtle form of abuse, but what is really happening here is that the boyfriend is using this tactic to make Malaya question herself. When this happens enough, power is stripped from the victim because they cannot trust their own instincts. (Pg 15).
In chapter 2, the boyfriend starts driving a wedge between Malaya and her family by saying, “Because I’m there for you when no one else is.” This may be viewed as romantic, but it is (in this case) a tactic meant to pull one away from any other support. The people who love you will want you to have as much of a support system as possible in addition to being there for you. (Pg 19).
Later in the chapter, the boyfriend does something bad and instead of letting Mayala leave him, he convinces her to stay with him. This is shown as the family curse working its dark magic, but it’s meant to be an analogy of the way gaslighting abusers manipulation their victims. (Pgs 24-25).
In chapter three, the boyfriend doesn’t invite Malaya to a party, but he again manipulates her into believing that he did, and that she just wasn’t listening to him because she’s too busy for him. He plays with her mind, in addition to using guilt to make her look like the bad guy. (Pg 31).
The boyfriend gets frustrated with Malaya for not forgiving him and yells at her, evoking fear. (Pg. 33)
The boyfriend uses affection to try to get her to ignore a serious issue between them (Pg 35).
Malaya stands up to her boyfriend and because he can’t manipulate her, he turns to violence. The physical violence is not graphic (in my opinion), as in no blood and nothing sexual and no outright degrading name calling (though it is suggested)— however, the physical abuse is two paragraphs. (Pg. 54).
In this chapter, the boyfriend pretends he’s going to hit Malaya to intimidate her. (Pg 345).
This book is not in anyway meant to romanticize abuse. This page is meant to be a living document. I may have missed triggers here. If so, you are welcome to message me, so that I may add them here. Thank you 🖤