After a long time of being single l had finally met someone that l loved and l already saw the future, our future! In all this, how could l have noticed what he was doing to me? How had l gotten myself to the stage where l was scared of my own shadow? I am left all alone with only bitterness in me. Will l ever be well again? Will l be normal after this? The funny or rather scary thing is that despite everything, l still love him.
I thought this was what love was supposed to be like. He would come to pick me up after work every day and walk me to where l got my bus home. There was no day he would not do this! For five consecutive days during the week he would be consistent with his routine and on Saturdays we would go out. He had no friends, so it was just him and I. I didn’t see anything wrong with that. He loved me and l was his everything…..
He allowed me to go to church in the beginning and after some time he started saying he didn’t like the fact that l was going to church and meeting people. l brushed it aside but he kept on with the idea of me not going to church to the point where I actually conceded and stopped going to church. Little did I know that his demands had only just begun….
Telling him that l was at a relative’s place would result in me being blocked on all communication channels with him. l would hide my caller ID, text and call begging to be unblocked. l was then told l was no longer allowed to visit any relative or friends and that the moment l so much as thought of defying that directive I would as well forget about him! Being the person I was, l stopped visiting anyone, friends, colleagues and even relatives….. My routine was as monotonous as God knows what! From home to work and from work back home. In all this, the only person l would see besides my my work mates was him!
Who will you be talking to on WhatsApp so late in the evening who is not me and why? These were his questions. He kept asking me until he made it clear that I was to go offline the minute he went to unless there was someone more special than him that l needed to talk to. There I was being barred from communicating with those very people I was not allowed to visit! I watched my social life go down the drain. I somehow thought he knew what was best for me, for us….
I started choking on that weird lifestyle. l had no one to talk to. l had no means of reaching out to them because he made it known to me that I was under surveillance. It felt like one of those dreams where you scream but your voice gets stuck on your throat. My life had turned into one big nightmare I just wanted to snap out of! Before all this, l was a very happy person who was very outgoing. l loved clubbing and drinking. I had just been turned into someone I was clearly the opposite of.
Speaking of drinking, he had also made me choose between him and alcohol. “If drinking gives you happiness, then what do l give you?” he had asked. “If l am your happiness then l should be all that you need in this life,” were his follow up words.
I told myself that he was not violent but his anger sometimes took control of him. His anger was justified every time he raised his hand on me. l would have provoked him in some sort of way. l vividly remember the day l went over to his place to surprise him on his birthday. l didn’t tell him l was leaving the house and yet we had agreed that l must not leave our house without telling him. So, for not telling him or rather for ‘lying to him’ as he rightly pointed out, he got angry and he gave me a few slaps. Yes, I did get slapped for ‘sneaking up on him’…..
He often took away my phone and would return it after a week or so just to make sure no one was calling or talking to me. Thinking of it now, he had people following me around because every time l thought of disobeying his rules or go against what we would have agreed on, he somehow found out about it and it always got me into trouble. l would sneak out to the bar and messages would start flooding my phone even before my second beer. It would be him cursing, insulting me and reminding me of the consequences of my actions. I had no choice but to just obey my ‘master’ hence stopping the bar trips completely.
The last straw was pulled when he asked me to quit my job. How could he ask me to let go of the only thing that made sense to me? I knew right away that agreeing to his order was my ticket to the psychiatric unit. l could not take it anymore. l loved him but my job was the only thing that gave me strength to wake up every day and look forward to life. Quitting was like committing suicide. It kept me sane for heavens’ sake! That was it! l told him l could not quit my job. Why was it always him making demands? My voice was not heard in the relationship! It was always about him and what he wanted and never about me or what l wanted!
He indicated that this was the end of the road for us. I concurred. I was tired! Now l am wondering all alone if I will ever be the same Lance who had all that life in him. l had lost all the zeal to live, where will l start to pick up the remains of my life? Why didn’t l break free earlier? I know why. I kept telling myself that every relationship was like ours but never realised that some people were enjoying theirs….