When Olumide and Rayo began dating, you know how we girls get sometimes; we were all envious yet happy for her. Olumide was smart, sensitive, funny, athletic, very good-looking and with a very good job. For the first couple of months, Rayo seemed happy and we were all happy for her. But then after a while, Rayo’s behaviour started to change. She became distant, insecure and she lost interest in the things she once enjoyed. She became secretive and was moody more often than not and was “afraid” of Olumide – “What he might say, what he might think, she doesn’t want to offend him or annoy him.” We all became worried but whenever we ask her if everything was fine, she would say yes.
Last week Friday, Rayo called me at about 2 am and was crying over the phone. First thing I asked was if anyone was dead, she said ‘No that it’s Olumide, I don’t know what I have done or I am doing wrong’; I asked if he cheated she said No, I asked did he hit her she said, No. I calmed down to listen to her and she started telling me she feels she has no value; she has lost her self confidence and her self esteem… she went on and on about how she is hurting inside and as I listened I got sad with every word spoken amidst Rayo’s tears.
I felt and still feel really sad for Rayo as I sat at the other end of the phone speechless and listening to her, but you know when the say experience is the best teacher – I learnt a lot from the sad tales of a broken heart. As I sat there all I could think about was to look out for a rat poison seller on my way to the market tomorrow. But then I was shocked when I told Rayo to dump the ingrate and her reply was “No I can’t … I just need to be better for him.” What???? I was gobsmacked; I thought my friend had been bewitched (yeah yeah I’m a Nigerian)… This is definitely not the Rayo I know. Evelyn Salt + Jason Bourne = Rayo, but now the person talking to me was the direct opposite. What could have gone wrong?
When we are in a relationship, there are many things we mistake as meaning ‘Oh its because he/she loves me’. Love is blind. In every facet of its interpretation, whether in a good way or a bad way, this is one of the grandest truths I would ever know. Nevertheless I am not a believer of “Love covers a multitude of sin”.
Emotional abuse can be difficult to recognize and this is simply because it’s not physical. In my own opinion, I would say an emotional abuse is by a mile more detrimental than a physical abuse and both of which women are the major victim.
Emotional abuse is like slow poison, it’s like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching”, or “advice”, the results are similar. Eventually, the victim of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value.
I know it is said that all relationships are different and what may work for Peter may not work for Paul but then again there are certain signs you cannot ignore to examine if you are in an abusive relationship or not. I am not an expert and I don’t have a PhD is relationship issues but I know that:
* When a person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs;
* When someone demands for constant attention, or a requires that you spend all your free time with the person, but no matter how much you give, it’s never enough;
* You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don’t fulfil all this person’s needs;
* When a person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others;
* The person may be “addicted to drama” since it creates excitement;
* If a person wants to control your every action, they have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it;
* When a person trivializes everything, when someone is suggesting that what you have done or communicated is inconsequential or unimportant;
* When you are with someone who has drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts, Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behaviour from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next;
* When you allow someone else to dominate you;
* When someone plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other “hot buttons” to get what they want: This could include threats to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon you, giving you the “cold shoulder,” or using other fear tactics to control you;
* When you begin to feel you are not good enough.
My dear Ladies and Gentlemen, I think it is safe to say you are being abused emotionally.
This is so complicated because some of us are involved in one form of emotional black mail just to have our way sometimes, but when this become constant and is no longer ‘cute’ you need to start recognising the red flags.
It’s also complicated because most times, the abuser might be unaware of what he/she is doing. But if you are fortunate to read this today, I think it is only necessary that you check yourself and help yourself.
Emotional abused victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.
With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim’s self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically.
My friend has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to Olumide.
When you feel you have had enough, talk to your partner as responsible adults and if symptoms continue……………….. WALK AWAY!!!
Never let another’s estimation of you depress or bring you down. People (being human) will degrade or uplift you falsely to show they are better than you. No, look into your own eyes and see the trust, uniqueness and power The Creator has placed in you, Dump the ingrate then go about your day with awareness and thanksgiving.
Ps: By the way the rat poison is for the rats in my house