Men­tal and emo­tional scars harder to heal, abused wife says

Stabroek News Sunday - - GLOBAL GOSSIP... -

“I want a di­vorce. I don’t know if he is go­ing to give it to me, be­cause I be­lieve he may want to give me a hard time. But I am not go­ing back there.

“You see when peo­ple think about abuse they think of phys­i­cal, but abuse is not just phys­i­cal it is emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal and that is what I have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dur­ing my mar­riage. As strange it might sound I pre­fer if he had hit me at least those wounds would have healed but with the men­tal and emo­tional scars, those don’t go away.”

She was poised as she spoke, not emo­tional. We had agreed to meet at a quiet lo­ca­tion, sug­gested by her and even though we only con­nected via so­cial me­dia she wanted to speak to me in per­son. She is 29 and sep­a­rated from her hus­band. They have one child.

“I just had to like sup­press my feel­ings and de­tach my­self from ev­ery­thing to get to sur­vive. He never wanted what was best for me but for the sake of my child I stayed and tried to cope men­tally,” she con­tin­ued, her back arched as she looked into the dis­tance.

I asked her what she meant by men­tal and emo­tional abuse.

“He tried to kill my self-es­teem. If I put on some­thing it is al­ways ‘you don’t look good.’ Or if I go to the sa­lon and he picks me up, he would be like: ‘Is best you didn’t do your hair, look how that thing look,’” she an­swered.

“And then, I know peo­ple do things dif­fer­ently, but he would al­ways like telling me how to do house­work. I never did it to suit him. I don’t know if it is be­cause he is much older than me, but it is like he wanted to have a sense of con­trol over me like if he was Dad.”

I asked her how things were be­fore they were mar­ried.

“I had some hor­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ences prior to the mar­riage, but my mother liked him. I went to my mother and I told her I don’t love this guy and she said even­tu­ally you are go­ing to grow to love him. A cou­ple of weeks be­fore the wed­ding I had called it off and my mother did not be­have too nice when I told her, so we still got mar­ried,” she said with a shake of her head.

“Be­fore we got mar­ried and we went out I would have to pay for my meal and one time we had a mis­un­der­stand­ing and he put me out of the car and drove away. It is a good thing I had money to get home.

“Look, all the signs were there, the night be­fore the wed­ding we were not even talk­ing to each other. Imagine at the re­hearsal, three times the guy who was prac­tic­ing us for­got to tell us to walk up the aisle, that prob­a­bly was a sign.

“Let me tell you, a mar­riage is over long be­fore a per­son moves out. A per­son doesn’t just one day pick up and move out.”

I asked her if she loved her hus­band.

“I never loved him as a hus­band, but I loved him as a per­son. Maybe I would have loved him if he had treated me bet­ter. We got mar­ried in less than a year after we met, but it was like after we got en­gaged that it all started,” she said. And if they needed more ev­i­dence that they should have not gone ahead with the mar­riage, she said, it came from the pas­tor who coun­selled them.

“Even the pas­tor who coun­selled us re­fused to do the mar­riage, he sent another pas­tor be­cause he ad­vised us not to get mar­ried,” she shared.

“And after we got mar­ried I was not work­ing and he con­trolled me. I could not buy any­thing un­less he said so. At one time when I was preg­nant he lived over­seas and if we get a mis­un­der­stand­ing he would say apol­o­gise or I would not send any money for you that is how he had me.

“When he came back, we lived to­gether, and I moved out a few times, but I would re­turn. The last time he put me out. He called my mother and told her to come and get us be­fore the week­end and he ac­tu­ally did me a favour be­cause I wanted out. He asked me to come back sev­eral times, but I said this is it. That mar­riage was hell.

“I re­mem­ber one time I was think­ing about killing my­self and I said to my­self ‘you need to get out of this mar­riage.’ At that very mo­ment my son came and put his hands on my neck and kissed me and the thoughts of sui­cide just went.

“I have seen happy cou­ples and I still be­lieve in mar­riage, but I am not go­ing back to that mar­riage, this is it. One time my mother told me to go back and I asked her if she wanted me to die and she did not an­swer.

“After I was not go­ing back he started to get ag­gres­sive and he some­how knew my ev­ery move and he would call my mother and send me texts. Right now, he is not con­tact­ing me be­cause I got peo­ple in­volved even the po­lice, but he is walk­ing and telling peo­ple all kinds of things about me, but I don’t care.

“We share cus­tody of our child and we only talk in re­la­tion to our child no other con­ver­sa­tion. I don’t want to keep my child away from him… I don’t ask him for any­thing for the child and he gives noth­ing. I stand all the ex­pense when it comes to our child.

“We went to coun­selling sev­eral times with dif­fer­ent pas­tors but he did not want to change, there was no hap­pi­ness there.”

She ap­pears to be strong and over the mar­riage. She did not come across as an an­gry woman and is open to be­ing mar­ried again. I asked her what she wanted to say to other women and why she chose to speak to me.

“Well, if my story can help one woman to leave an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship then I want to speak,” she an­swered.

“And women if you are in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship be it phys­i­cal, fi­nan­cial, emo­tional or men­tal there is al­ways a way out. It will be hard but make up your mind and the key is to never give up men­tally. You can give up phys­i­cally some­times, you know, like get some rest and so on. But once you give up men­tally then you will lose. And never stop look­ing for av­enues to el­e­vate your­self,” she ad­vised.

“I am much hap­pier now, I would love to get mar­ried again but I would not be do­ing like I did the first one. I have to get to know the per­son.

“Sadly, there were no good times in my mar­riage, I am mov­ing on,” she said and sig­nalled the end of our con­ver­sa­tion by check­ing her wrist­watch.

It was time for her to re­turn to work and we parted with a tight hug.

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