Nelisiwe Masina (42yrs), A Degreed Corporate Executive, Shares Her Story Of Finding Herself In One Abusive Relationship After The Other #16DaysOfActivismAgainstGenderViolence; Share Your Story To Empower Others
I have known Nelisiwe since primary school, she is good, good peoples. She was always smart and diligent at work. After varsity she was the first to get a job of all of us and was fast rising in her chosen field of communications. She is beautiful and very likeable, so it was baffling when she eventually opened up about her first abusive relationship. And then the next. It’s always hard dealing with friends or sisters in abusive relationships who have not yet decided to leave theor abusive partners. I haven’t figured out what is the best course of action except to be there when needed and to validate the person. I have concluded that emotional abuse is just as violent as physical abuse.
Abuse has no class or race or ethnicity, it happens across. TV series like critically acclaimed “Big Little Lies” starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Weatherspoon remind us of this as we witness how Nicole Kidman’s character in the ideallyic American town of Monterray is physically abused by her husband and hides for the longest time, eventually culminating in her fighting back and leading to what ended as though the husband dies and her female friends help protect her. We see it on American reality TV, where beautiful women are emotionally abused by their partners on TV and they keep staying. This is not to blame the women but to point out how emotional abuse is just as horrific and should rebuked as much as physical abuse.
If you would like to share your story on abuse please email it to MyBeautifulLife@afro-botanics.comwe can keep your name anonymous.
Nelisiwe’s story in her own words…
It started with that occasional jeer and then escalated to barking like a rabid dog, sometimes snarling like a wolf (blood shot red eyes and all). The crazy rage attacks went up one notch to repeated spitting (kukhafulelwa) and shoving. I endured many sleepless nights of ranting, degradation, harsh accusations while pregnant for a man I did not even love. I had succumbed to lust of the flesh, now the subject of much regret. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son dearly, but I do regret that he was fathered by that monster. Anyway, Being pregnant with a second child, out of wedlock with a younger man whose life was not together, I wasn’t feeling too proud of myself I had let myself and my family down.
So there I was, working hard to take care of the household, and the added expense of my prenatal medical bills, servicing and fuelling up my car, which he drove to his never-ending ‘business meetings (often gallivanting with girls), endless loans that he never repaid, etc. Despite all my efforts and sacrifices, he continued to degrade and disgrace me, flirting in my presence and serial cheating. The one day he erotically spanked a young lady’s bottom right before my eyes while we were at a friend’s place. And then there was this Friday night we went out for drinks. He spent the whole night chatting up some lady and ignoring me as if I didn’t exist. When I protested I was told to get a life and also mingle. He refused with my car keys when I wanted to leave, so I stayed and endured the humiliation
The repeated humiliation, put-downs and sick, manipulative mind games left me feeling confused. He would do or say things then blatantly deny them, ignore and dismiss evidence of his shenanigans when confronted with it. He was also overly sensitive, reacted with anger to everything, even petty things. I was constantly walking on eggshells so as not to push his buttons. It was like living in a military camp, having to salute at every corner I turned. I lost myself in a deep dark hole from the constant second-guessing, but I stayed because I was convinced that he was the best for me and that I didn’t deserve or would never have it any better. I believed this lie and became a living example of Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.”
Living under the echo of his words, I continued marinating in the abuse, often feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of having met this monster. He was everything I am not. His values were misaligned with mine. He did not respect anyone, not even his family. He was always in some kind of altercation and getting into fist fights, even had a brush with the law several times.
And then there was the issue of personal hygiene. He would go for days without bathing or brushing his teeth, resulting in a highly offensive body odour and bleeding gums accompanied by lethal oral fumes. When he spat on me, his bloodied spit left me smelling like foul sewer. The one time he bit me on my hand during an argument, leaving shocking bite marks. Considering his oral health, I rushed to the hospital where I got tetanus injection. The doctor actually thought it was dog bite!
The days preceding the delivery of my son were the worst. He would lose it over petty issues. The one night he unleashed a rage attack that lasted 5 hours – from 11pm to 5am. I didn’t cry, I was numb, I just took it in, every heart-wrenching insult. When my helper, in her mid-50s at the time, tried to intervene he came down on her like a ton of bricks. My neighbours, a reserved middle-aged couple came banging on my door. They had been witnessing this for months and couldn’t take it anymore. They called the police but he fled into the night, returning a few days later to declare his undying love. I took him back after some sweet-talking and ‘our baby this, our baby that’ sentimental talk – much to the disappointment of my neighbours. As in Jeremiah 9.8, “His tongue is a deadly arrow; It speaks deceit; with his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbour, But inwardly he sets an ambush for him,” I succumbed.
Fast forward to the following year, there was another spitting episode, which marked the turning point for me. It was December and he freaked out that I came to my house late from a Christmas party hosted by a friend for her business. He clutched my hands so tight, and repeatedly spat on my face, and when he could no longer take the smell of his own venomous spit, he baptised me with a bucket -full of cold water.
By this time my son was 9 months old, I had moved to another apartment. Something just snapped inside of me. The ice cold water baptism was something like an exorcism that cleansed me of all the demons that had all along possessed me to stay in this toxic relationship. My body heart and soul agreed that ‘this was it!’ I silently wrote the final episode of this horror movie.
The rebellion was brewing within me. I started mobilising my troops – my friends, family, exposing him to everyone and anyone who cared to listen. But being the empath that I am (abusers and narcissists target empathetic people), I couldn’t bring myself to staging an ugly, dramatic closing scene to this nightmare as planned. I instead took the polite approach, sat him down and told him I was done and there was no turning back. He simply ignored me in the days that followed, not barging an inch. He didn’t take me seriously, never had. I don’t blame him. How do you take seriously someone who has forgiven your atrocities over and over again?
Now it was time to unleash my initial plan. I now went full force, calling for backup, my family, bo bhuti bami (my brothers) to send him packing out of my house and life for good. He asked for it. It was around noon on a scorching Sunday. He was relaxing, unsuspecting of anything when they pounced on him. The rest is history.
So about 11 months later, I meet this ‘amazing’ guy. I had been praying for a good, loving man and he appeared to be just that until the red flags of abuse started rearing their ugly head. It couldn’t be. I brushed it off as my mind playing games on me and regurgitating what I had just come from. I rebuked it, turned a blind eye to it until I Ianded in hospital with a broken nose, four stitches and swollen face due to perforated sinuses. My little boy called me a monster from the swelling and bruising. This man had punched me in a jealous fit of rage. He didn’t want me to have any male friends. He was even jealous of my dad and brothers. He was very handsome, I mean sizzling hot and I was smitten. You can imagine the conceitedness. He was convinced that he was God’s gift to womankind! Strangely though he was very needy, demanding endless attention, yet nothing I did made him happy. His tongue was also as sharp as a serpent. He was hard work and he was draining. An outright narcissistic who was outwardly abusive.
How could I attract another psycho? This really started bothering me. I started thinking something was very wrong with me and that I wasn’t a good enough woman. I started sinking into depression and self-loathing. I couldn’t be a mother to my kids nor lead my team at work. My life was falling apart.
I started seeking answers, reading, researching and consulting. I realised that I wasn’t the problem. My abusers were. My kindness and empathetic nature made me vulnerable to these predators. Narcissists prey on kind, empathetic people that they can easily control and manipulate. Through self-empowerment, prayer and meditating on soul-healing scriptures, I was able to free myself and forgive myself, and ‘them.’ Yes, I have forgiven them. I don’t hate them, I don’t love them, I don’t talk about them, I don’t talk to them….I just don’t ANYTHING. I evicted them from my psyche. It hasn’t been easy but I have made strides, and with every day that passes by the painful memories are being erased. I’m falling in love with myself all over again.
As for the man who fathered my child, I limit any communication with him to a text massage – straight to the point, no sentimental small talk. For visitation, he would pick up my son at my gate. My helper would hand him over and collect him. In the last couple of months he went AWOL. I was OK with it, I enjoyed the peace. I did not bother him about maintenance. It was worth the sacrifice of paying exorbitant crèche, medical, nanny etc fees for my toddler’s upkeep. He resurfaced last month. It is 01:33 (am) on Wednesday 22 November 2017. Having personally experienced physical and emotional abuse for the past 5 years, I have been unable to shut my laptop and find myself typing away into the wee hours of the night. Writing this piece has really forced me to re-examine my own behaviours and experiences. I have renewed my vows to NEVER allow myself to be a victim of abuse again.
To my sisters out there who are in the thick of abuse right now, I feel your pain and agony. Fight my sister, fight with your body, mind and soul. Refuse to get consumed by the psychological warfare tactics used in committing domestic violence. Get on top of the roof, shout, name and shame. That’s the only way you will break free. You need all the help and support to escape from this ‘Egypt’. As long as you’re still breathing it’s not over, it hasn’t even begun. Strength, love and light to you my sister.
#WomensAbuse #GenderEquality #GenderedViolence #365DaysOfActivism #MyBeautifulLife #FindingMyBeautiful #MyBestLife #Sisterhood