What happened that made you decide to leave?
I was married for 8 yrs to a man who believed he was too good for me, despite the fact that I was financially responsible for running the house. I was always scared of him. He was so manipulating and egocentric and he loved 24-hour attention. If he ever noticed I was close to someone and that I might be sharing some of my experiences with him or her, believe me, he would do all that he could to turn the person against me. He posed as an enemy.
He was always calling me fat and ugly, and one day he said I looked like a sack of beans. He never stood in public with me. If a friend or an outsider came around, oh my God that is trouble because I was the object of fun for him. He ridiculed me to make them laugh. He was having fun, and I was forbidden to get angry with him.
The day I made my decision was the day we got into a nasty fight and he went down and hit my car with an iron rod to get our neighbor’s attention in the middle of the night. He had threatened to strip me naked, so I locked myself and my son in the house until the next morning when I had to call family members to come around. After the issue was resolved, of course I repaired my car and sold it, but he never felt any sense of guilt.
In Nigeria, a woman is blamed for any form of abuse she suffers. He would tell me that I should be grateful that he married me and that he would not have if he knew I was thirty years old. I knew he would kill me one day if I did not leave despite the stigma of a single parent that is frowned upon in my society. I knew it was time to leave.
All that I feared he would do when I left, he did. From begging to blackmail, stalking, lying, insulting text messages and threatening. But I stood my ground and never looked back. I took my son with me. Today, I am more relaxed, beautiful and doing well for myself and my son.
How did you feel about your abuser and/or your relationship in the days before you left?
I was filled with hatred. I knew it was only a matter of time before something terrible would happen. I felt strong and ready to have my life back.
What three emotions did you most experience in the days closest to leaving Abuse? How did you deal with them?
Depressed, so I smoked heavily. For the hatred, I concentrated on the bright future ahead and thoughts of my son. I felt brave, too, knowing it was now or never.
What planning did you do before you left? Who knew you were leaving besides you?
Well, I had to lie that my office wanted me in another state and ask my colleagues to find me a flat over there. My colleagues and family members knew my plan.
What were the one or two BEST things you did before you left?
I believed I could outsmart him…just like that.
If there was anything you wish you had not done before you left, what was it?
I wish I had not been so trusting with friends.
How long ago did you leave? How do you feel today?
It’s been two years now and it feels like he was never there. I am grateful to God for his divine support. He did all he could to destroy me but God held me.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
If there is any one out there going through this, you are not alone. Don’t be scared. You are better off on your own than with a man that makes you feel inadequate.