Reid on Abuse: Part III
Author of the book, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, Lundy Bancroft, said it best when he revealed, "The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious. In fact, even among women who have experienced violence from a partner, half or more report that the man's emotional abuse is what is causing them the greatest harm."
In this our final chapter, we pick up from where we left off last week. Kai Reid found herself in a sticky position. She was faced with two choices - either stay and continue to work on her marriage, or call it quits and walk away. But before she even got there, she decided to pull the plug, as far as living with him was concerned.
The Last Straw
After constantly saying it, Reid took his threats as a sign that she should in fact move out. When she finally made that decision, her husband actually supported her by assisting her move.
She took this to mean that he could not wait to get rid of her. But to her surprise, it seemed absence made his heart grow fonder. She saw her husband a lot more than she did when they lived together, and made extra effort to doll up in the bedroom. That fondness, however, turned out to be a case of having his cake and eating it too.
With the pressure of his whereabouts and the 'curfew' which he always broke now lifted, he was given the freedom to come and go whenever he desired. Handed his 'get out of jail free' card, he transformed to become the modern day Casanova.
Despite their past, Reid continued to receive him with open arms.
It wasn't until she heard from one of his 'other' women that she was due to have his child that she was brought back to the harsh reality of her world.
"I remember that day like it was yesterday. She had sent me an email. When I opened it, what followed was a tremendous amount of tears."
Why was she so heartbroken? Cheating was bad enough, but to engage in those activities, unprotected, not only putting her at health risk, but producing a love child, with one of his regulars that she absolutely despised, was all too much to bear.
Despite this catastrophic news, she tried to make it work, "I told him we could make it work, blend our families, especially for the sake of our children. He agreed, apologised for his indiscretions and had even suggested that we lived together again." Things were falling back into place.
But in a matter of months, he revealed that he was about to be a father once again, with a fourth child, second out of wedlock, set to be brought into this world by yet another woman.
This was officially her last straw, "I wanted a third child and he told me we couldn't afford it, so I went on contraceptives - for us, and there he was having two children, so that really hurt me. I knew that I had to get him out of my life once and for all."
Reid filed for divorce two years ago and has never looked back since.
Picking up the broken pieces
Since then, the single mother of two has been coming to grips with reclaiming her individuality, "For a long time, I didn't cook. It wasn't until recently that I started, and I now enjoy doing it, so do the children. Mommy is smiling again, so they are very happy for that."
He ex husband still tries to exert control over her through the children, insisting that he needs them to spend quality time whenever he wants. "I nicely told him that this is not how it works and will work from now on. Our children need stability in their lives. And while he has tried to ruin my life, I won't let him tarnish their lives. So we have now worked out a system, which he tries to break ever so often, but I put my foot down."
She still questions herself and wondered if she went the extra mile, would it have helped. But she now knows what she experienced was abuse, "I still believed I was as big as a house, and I didn't feel attractive, so I hid my sensuality. To this day, while I am bubbly and appear to be happy, I am very uncomfortable when people look at me because they are seeing all of my insecurities. But I am slowly but surely learning to tap into my sexy, and loving every minute of this new lease on life."
Her advice to those going through the verbal abuse she did, "Accept that what you are going through is in fact abuse, understand that you deserve better and act accordingly- stop making excuses, and get out as quickly as possible."
Counselling Psychologist at Family Life Ministries Andre' Allen-Casey gave us a few pointers on hoe to overcome verbal abuse:
-Meekness, does not mean weakness. So not because you refuse to do something means that you are incapable of doing so. You have the power to make choices for yourself, not because you fear the outcome, but because you respect yourself. A person's bad behaviour should not dictate your response.
-Practise the Art of saying no thank you. The victimiser, If he/she sets out to hurt you, you can choose not to retaliate. You can choose to empower yourself by saying, no thank you. You can decide to not (Spiritually, Emotionally, Psychologically, and even Physically) take it.
-A greater sense of your core values will give you more confidence that you can detect the very early warning signs of abuse. Listen compassionately to the faint messages of your hungry heart. Then it won't need to make the kind of desperate outcries that suspend your best judgement-scare off appropriate matches, and attract resentful, angry, or abusive partners.
-If you develop self-esteem, spiritual discernment, you won't find yourself making someone else responsible for your happiness or responsible for your pain. Manipulation, control, jealousy, neediness, and selfishness are not the ingredients of a thriving, healthy, loving and lasting relationship