WHAT LOVE IS & WHAT LOVE IS NOT!
To love another with all of your heart can be seen as a work of art. My name is Angelica (Not her real name), from when I was 16 years, I had my life figured out. I knew by 25 I would be married with at least one child. I had a fascination of the features of my type of a guy, his looks, height… And so, on and so forth…a checklist of some sort of the ideal soulmate for me! I was concerned on how he should treat me, and how he would make me feel, alas! Please don’t think that am the kind of person who only thinks of myself. Deeply I knew I would treat him like a King and make him feel he cannot resist my charm. At the end of the day, I was very clear on how this relationship should look like, feel and who to have next to me. Sigh!
In my search for my Mr Perfect, I most certainly kissed a few frogs. That was until this man, Jerry, captivated my heart in a way I have never felt before. With him everything seemed right. He was perfect. Almost too perfect to be true. I loved his warmth, his sweet affection; I loved how he looked at me. I loved how he always sought my body to be close to his, reaching out to hold my hand every chance he got. He wrapped his hands around me showing me how much He cared.
My love for him was uncontrollable, my feelings for him were unstoppable. I could not go a day without thinking Him, without Jerry I felt I was not complete. He was my drug of choice; I could not live without him. At that point I felt he was the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I had ever known and even that is was understatement.
He made me fall so deeply in love with him. Our first year was awesome, quickly moved in together and that is what two adults in love do. Blissful life filled with love and romance, just like those fairy story tales we all watch and read about. Truly honeymoon period in our relationship. I mean Jerry most certainly ticked all the boxes and I was enjoying every minute of it. And of course, along came a baby, we both wanted to start a family, after all we were a solid unit madly in love. It felt the right thing to do, and so we did. I would look after our son, do some part time work, and my Jerry would cater for the house bills, rent and other needs (entertainment, clothing etc)
And then it begun…still living in the literal ‘cloud nine’, the small typical behaviors begun…coming home late once in a while, extending his chill out time with the ‘boyz’ and coming home drunk! Come our third year I started noticing some changes in my beloved. More and more often my Jerry would not leave money for food, neither did He want to contribute to our general upkeep as he did before. The caretaker would take it upon himself to remind the how many months, days we were overdue with our rent, which came as a complete surprise to me. Jerry was in a well-paying job, an Executive with a huge mahogany desk that had our family photo on it. Surely there was no way paying rent and money for food was a burden for him to risk leaving his family hungry and homeless…surely not!
‘You useless woman….’ That is the much I heard as a hot slap landed on my left side of the face leaving my ear ringing. What unthinkable mistake did I make…I asked what was going on, why he hasn’t paid rent for two months now and why he is always with his ‘boyz’, hardly at home. And from then on it was an everyday occurrence. Every morning, night I would have terror rained on me by my beloved Jerry. I became so good at blending expensive foundation on my face to cover my black eye from the beatings. But those scars didn’t hurt as deep as the pain I felt in my heart, this betrayal hurt I totally could not fathom! What could I have done to go through this? I have loved the man, bore him a son, he was the apple of my eye, my soulmate! He checked all my boxes. Where did I go wrong?
Things went from bad to worse. I would get back from visiting my elderly mother shagz and would come back to the scent of different perfume in the house, an strange underwear in the bathroom. My Jerry was bringing women to my house, not honoring our marital bed. This, was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, that being my self-esteem. Can you imagine with all this I was still madly in love with him, my beloved Jerry. Who falls in love with an abuser? I did.
My pillow could tell the tales of the abuse I went through. Sex in my marriage was no longer pleasurable, border line marital rape in hindsight. I remember the shame I went through, abusing me even in the presence of our neighbors, Why Me Lord! ‘ I cried inside’
I needed to breath. Being with Jerry literally suffocated me. My son was growing up seeing his mother being beaten, strangled, insulted day in, day out. Jerry had convinced me to drop my friends because they were all envious of my stable relationship, and I did. That’s what you do for your beloved, and I did. At this desperate point, I had no one to turn to. I had all but just one friend…she noticed I am no longer myself. A stolen brief afternoon visit to my house with her, I realized at that point I had reached a point of no return. I had seen it all! I poured my heart our and cried a river. I wished the earth would swallow me alive and forget my chaotic world! Have I told I had fallen into depression and attempted suicide 3 times? Of course, Jerry my beloved insulted me when he found me and hurled at me how I should have died. I felt such a failure that even killing myself I could not succeed! But maybe heavens was saving me for something better? Who knew?
My friend understood me; I confided in her. She introduced me to a therapist at Rehani house, Wema Counseling Center, LVCT Health. She told me how they can offer tele counselling at first, incase leaving the house would put me in additional risk of Jerry hurting me further. One afternoon, resting from the drama in my marriage, I made the call…that was a brave, scary step. How will they handle my situation, I wondered? Will the therapist judge my situation, understand why I never left my beloved Jerry Give me and my son a way out of this toxic relationship?
They say every situation has a silver lining….my silver lining was the therapist at Wema Counseling Centre. It took a few sessions with her, and I can tell you for a fact my life since has never been the same again. I went through healing, gained self-awareness, emotional intelligence, gained my esteem back and realized I had forgotten who I was. I decided to fall in love with myself again… It took a couple of sessions; I can attest that indeed my life transformed.
Was it easy to leave my beloved Jerry? No. Infact that was the scariest moment of my life. Jerry blurted out how I would not survive without him, how he was my everything and I would fail miserably in life. But the Therapist took me through some deep sessions where I was able to face my fears, the real monsters in my life. I finally decided to leave my abusive marriage. Therapy helped me gain courage to make informed decisions that were best for me. I was able to understand what unhealthy relationship was and how to attract positive energy and there is no justification to gender-based violence! I was able to determine the right environment for my son to grow up in, with an empowered mother! I did not give up on love, but I gave myself some time to heal. The Therapist stood by me, within reach for a session incase self-doubt creeped in. I understood the right things to have in my checklist for any future relationships, how to identify red flags in a relationship, and appreciate my . That is the only way to live!
I met a man. I fell in love again. But this time, wiser, self-aware of what I would like in a relationship. So far so Good! No rush…and my son is thriving!
And that is my story.
By Teresia Muthoni.