I could never have believed that I was in an abusive marriage. We met, fell in love and married within seven months. I was not under any sort of pressure to marry, I simply loved him from the depth of my heart, and that hasn’t changed either. As for him, I believe he loves me too. It seems that he couldn’t live without me, like I was his entire life…. and he tells me so.
My husband is a gentle and quiet looking man. He is a professional, and has done very well for himself in his career. He can be romantic, he buys me gift, holds my hand in public, but has always been extremely possessive.
During our courtship, he was always all over me… He changed everything I knew about myself…my friends could hardly recognize me…my family too. He didn’t want me to do this anymore, do that anymore, see this friend anymore, talk with this person anymore, wear this dress anymore…watch these movies anymore….oh, even read these books anymore. I felt like I was swept off my feet…yes…but also as if the relationship was moving on too quickly, that I barely had time to think through the whole proposal.
He broke down all my defenses…. I used to think I was a strong willed and driven woman… but all that was history. He succeeded, yes in time we married….and he took over my whole life. I was just going to think about only him, his family, his likes, his preferences, his clothes, his food, his this ….his that. However, I felt happy that I was married, and that I was married to a man that I have strong positive feelings for.
But soon, things began to change…
My happiness became as fleeting as the perch of an insect…. Happy this moment, sad the next moment became my story. Indeed, my life became like a roller coaster. My happiness or sadness, were soon going to depend on his choice.
He started fault finding, belittling me, doubting my common sense, telling me how daft I was. Over time, he found fault with my family and friends, and gradually made sure that I stopped communicating with family and friends. He didn’t expressly say that I shouldn’t be in touch with others, but the thoughts of what to do to please him became the most dominant in my mind, so I withdraw into myself.
I kept makings stories for him…kept hoping for a change…kept trying to explain away why he acted the way he did towards me…. I blamed finances, work pressure, health challenges…and eventually I blamed myself for everything that went wrong in our marriage….as if the blames he put on me were not enough.
Tempers rose over minor issues. No matter what I did to make peace, quarrel is inevitable. Within my first year of marriage, I got my first slap. It was nothing compared to the verbal and emotional abuses that I had experienced within this period. Name calling was the order of the day, all my 25 years of age before the marriage I didn’t know I was a fool, an imbecile, an idiot, a good for nothing fellow…but those became my designation in just one year of marriage.
I was instructed not to work, not to have a house help, not to do this, not to do that. If living by those instructions would bring and keep peace in my marriage, It would have been a different issue… but nothing I did brought peace. I made sacrifices, but they were always not enough.
I cried and cried until there were no more tears.
Triggers to the beatings were so unpredictable. We may be watching television together…or simply discussing, and as soon as I express a concern or a view that did not feed his ego, or he doesn’t agree with…trouble starts. Many times, I vowed to remain a mute wife, but sometimes I failed.
The more I tried to resist, and explain to him that I was not happy anymore, the more hits I got. Black eyes, bruises, knocked out teeth, soon became my story. Shame and sadness became my lot. The once beautiful, intelligent, strong willed woman was gone. I was now a shadow of myself. I lost my will, my energy, my spirit and my sense of joy. I watched it happen gradually.
At a time, I wished I could take my own life.
And then, our first daughter came….
The picture of the man I married starting flashing back. He became a wonderful dad…dotting on her. But I… I mean I, became their slave, their servant. I get slapped if I didn’t tend quickly to her needs, not once, not twice…severally. My daughter… Pardon me, our daughter, became the apple of his eyes…I became very jealous, to the extent of hating my own daughter.
But I kept hoping…kept wishing….kept keeping on.
Objects were hurled my way, I was choked, pushed, kicked, but I kept hoping….for the change.
I started living in fear.
Even when he is not angry, but he talks loud maybe from a different room, fear will grip me. I would start having palpitations, afraid that he has become suddenly angry and may hit me or the kids we eventually had. His voice started giving me the shudders…I started hearing his yelling and the hurtful words in my ears, even when alone.
I felt unsafe but never told anyone what I was going through.
Even till day, I could hear the voice of my son, his cries, and his pleas on my behalf…
“Daddy don’t kill my mother”.
Until this day…. I had taken in without knowing it, so I couldn’t wake early to prepare breakfast. I felt ill though, but not like my previous pregnancies, meanwhile I was on a contraceptive. So I didn’t even think I was pregnant, neither did he. He came to the room after being up for a while and saw me still lying down. He kicked me hard out of the bed and started abusing me and the lazy woman I had become.
Oh! I felt this…honestly I felt this one… this one pierced right into my heart.
I really felt bad, miserable and sad.
I started screaming, Yes I shouted at him, this once, just this once….with a mustered up energy,
I cried out…..Why! Why! Why are you doing this to me? …………………
The next time I realized, I was in a hospital bed.
And just what I was muttering to myself is….Oh, so, I could have been dead!
Credits – Nigerianfilms.com
Many violent relationships follow a common pattern or cycle. The entire cycle may happen in one day or it may take weeks or months. It is different for every relationship and not all relationships follow the cycle—many report a constant stage of siege with little relief.
This cycle has three parts:
Tension building phase—Tension builds over common domestic issues like money, children or jobs. Verbal abuse begins. The victim tries to control the situation by pleasing the abuser, giving in or avoiding the abuse. None of these will stop the violence. Eventually, the tension reaches a boiling point and physical abuse begins.
This is a subtly difficult phase. In this stage of the marriage, nothing has gone wrong already but you are sure they will. The victim is just not sure exactly what will be the straw that will breaks the camel’s back but . Everything thing the victim does to ensure peace will prove futile, its like walking on an egg shell, it is bound to break. If you talk less with the abuser, problem will ensue….if you decide to withdraw a bit from the abuser, problem is still inevitable.
The rage mounts like a plotted graph till it reaches its peak and then deflates…..this sets the stage for yet another tension building phase
This phase can last for a few weeks, months, or anything in between. The longer it lasts, the more inescapable it seems.
Abusive Episode — When the tension peaks, the physical violence begins. It is usually triggered by the presence of an external event or by the abuser’s emotional state—but not by the victim’s behavior. This means the start of the battering episode is unpredictable and beyond the victim’s control. However, in some cases, the victim may have provoked the abuse unintentionally even by just disagreeing on a minor issue.
In this stage, the tension finally breaks, playing out in many different ways (name calling, shouting, slapping, pushing, spitting, choving, forces sex, hurls objects at victim, breaks things, punches, hits, batters, yells at kids, denying the victim access to funds, credit cards, throwing away loads and changing door locks).
The Honeymoon Phase — First, the abuser is ashamed of his behavior. He expresses remorse, tries to minimize the abuse and might even blame it on the partner. He may then exhibit loving, kind behavior followed by apologies, generosity and helpfulness. He will genuinely attempt to convince the partner that the abuse will not happen again. Promises and agrees to get help. This loving and contrite behavior strengthens the bond between the partners and will probably convince the victim, once again, that leaving the relationship is not necessary. During the honeymoon phase, the abuser may apologize, buy gifts, or be extra affectionate to “make up” for the abuse. Many will promise to change, promise to stop abusing, or promise that it will never happen again. These assurances are intended to persuade the survivor to stay in the relationship.
Not all abusive relationships have a honeymoon phase. For some, the abusive incident is immediately followed by increasing tension before the next incident.
Once the honeymoon phase is over, the tension building phase begins again, and the comforting promises the abuser made will be broken.
This cycle continues over and over, and may help explain why victims stay in abusive relationships. The abuse may be terrible, but the promises and generosity of the honeymoon phase give the victim the false belief that everything will be all right.
Beware of the honeymoon phase of abuse. In some cases, abuse is followed by a “honeymoon phase,” a period in which the abuser treats his victim nicely. This may last for a few minutes or a few weeks. Do not fall for this, as it is just a ploy. You will very likely be abused again in the future if you stick around. In particular, in the honeymoon phase your abuser may:
Be extra attentive to you
Help out more around the house
Make promises to change his abusive behavior
Give you gifts
Spend more time with you
We thought if we made everything perfect, the cycle would stop but nothing i did was ever good enough.
As told by Susan*
*Names have been changed
Beware, Your Life First! Speak Up….Speak Now…Get Help!
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