It is no longer news to hear or read about a woman in an abusive relationship. Everywhere one turns to, there is at least one person ‘speaking’ in hushed tones, about someone they know going through a traumatic relationship.
I have also observed that in the case where there are children in the relationship, not much focus is given to the children and the effect that situation could also have on them.
Having grown up in that kind of atmosphere, I have chosen to share my personal experience for three reasons:
I grew up in a home where I watched my mother beaten physically and I must tell you it wasn’t a pretty sight. I probably didn’t understand much when I was younger but as a teenager, I watched in fear that my father would eventually beat my mother to death. On the days he didn’t strike her physically, he used heavy words that were capable of making any woman commit suicide. It is over 35 years after and I still remember some of the words so clearly like it was yesterday.
As young as I was at that time, I wondered why my mother hung on to such a life.
I remember a particular time he stripped her naked and chased her out of the house and I watched our neighbour clothe her.
What I didn’t understand then. .well and even now, was that she would return to beg him to take her back. She was counselled by everyone around during her to keep taking the beatings and ensure more for her ‘children’s sake’ whatever that meant.
There was the day he beat her so badly that my younger sister had to stand between them to prevent him from stabbing her with the knife he wielded. I stood by watching if he was finally going to kill her that day.
Finally, after one more beating that looked like my mother would eventually die, he sent her packing for the umpteen time and this time my grandfather did not allow her to return to live with my father any longer and that was the end to the nightmare.
An end to the physical assault on my mother but that period had left a terrible mark on my life and I will like to share some with you.
In my secondary school days, all my friends had their families together and they seemed to have lovely stories about their parents. Since my story couldn’t be shared, I made up stories that my family was just as perfect as theirs.
If I heard any of my friends talk about a gift her father got for her mother, I came back with a story of a much better gift my mother got.
I remember once being asked why my mother chosed to see me in school when I would still go home to meet her, and since I couldn’t tell my friends my parents were separated, I lied about my mother being transferred to a far place and that she only stopped by to see me on the way from/to the airport -stupid lies that probably didn’t add up.
Oh I lied!!!! I lied so much that I started believing the lies I told. I lied about the imaginary holidays we took as a family. I lied about my father putting me on his laps while my mother read stories to me.
I remember one of my friends telling us about how her father shouted at her mom and her mom burst into tears and the father also crying, hugged her and promised he would never do that again. I lied about my father never raising his voice at my mother.
Oh, and when my mother was sent packing, I lied more. I lied about being in school when I hardly attended classes. I spent more time out of home than being there so I lied to my father about where I had been to save myself from being beaten. Since I knew when my father would be home from work, I could go out and be back home just before he returned.
He gave us strict instructions never to see my mother ever again; so I lied about never seeing her even when I saw her at a side street every morning on my way to school as she always brought breakfast for my sisters and I before she made her way to her work place.
After a while, the lies just became a part of me.
I looked for love and peace outside home. I would rather hang out with my friends than stay at home. I remember so vividly one of the homes I used to visit and how I would wish I could live with them forever.
It was easier to wander around after my mother left.
I got more into my friends, male and female.
I was desperate to have someone love me more than my father loved my mother. I hoped in my young messed up mind that some guy would just come and marry me so I could get out of the house of horror.
I craved for compliments from people to clear my head of all the abusive words my father used to say to my mother. I lapped up compliments like a cat would do to milk.
Many took advantage of my desperation. Female ‘happening’ girls who knew I wanted to ‘belong’ made me their errand girl.
My self esteem was lower than zero.
I didn’t think I could amount to much in life because compliments were scarce and so I didn’t think much of ME. I wanted to disabuse my mind from the fear that all men were like my father, so even as a teenager, I ‘loved’ any male who as much as looked at me twice.
I felt resentment towards my father and men generally.
I was resentful of my mother for marrying my father and getting herself and me into such rot and bringing me into the world to experience the rot.
As I grew older and got my fingers burnt in my foolish quests, I got more resentful.
I started seeing all males as being the same as my father.
At a point in my life, I vowed I would never get married. I decided I would have two children but for different men (married or single), so that neither of them would have a hold over me. I believed that in doing that, the fathers of my children would see themselves as rivals and so if anyone would get beaten it would be the fathers of my children slugging it out with one another.
I pause from my story to share this. There was this 5 year old boy in a school where I worked. The class teacher reported to me that he was in the habit of talking down at the girls in his class and that each time she corrected him, he looked at the teacher with a scornful expression on his face. When I called him to my office, the 5 year old recounted to me that he is acting like his father. He said that is how his father talks to his mother. He went on to add that his father had warned him “never to take any rubbish from a woman”.
The boy at age 5 had grown resentful. …. shows it is not just female children that suffer in an abusive relationship.
Schools or studying was the last thing on my mind.
I was either daydreaming in class or would just skip classes. Of course I repeated in my 3rd form in secondary school. Since there was no one to ensure that I prepared adequately for my final exam, I flunked badly. I remember my mother would try to look through my school notes with me while standing on a side street and I would steal glances over our shoulders to ensure that my father did not catch us. I’m sure you agree with me we couldn’t have achieved much in such circumstances.
In the midst of all this, my mother’s favourite hymn was “Let Us With A Gladsome Mind…”
Men!!!!! Praise who???????
How could a loving God stand by and watch a woman plummeted and not strike the man with thunder?
How could a loving God have allowed her to marry him in the first place?
How could? How could?????
Oh no! I just couldn’t praise God for anything because there wasn’t anything good about my life/family.
How did I end up eventually? How did I end up where I am today? That’s story for another day.
Do you know anyone in an abusive relationship?
Do you personally relate with any of these?
Would you like me to share your story on this platform? You may chose to write under a pseudonym. Please send me an email.
Your story could help save a marriage, a life or more.
Please feel free to leave your comments.
This will be concluded in the next post. I will like to hear your comments before then. Please feel free to share this on all your social media platforms until everyone in an abusive relationship gets this.