Saturday, July 5, 2008

It Goes Beyond, "I Love You"


Most girls grew up reading stories about Snow White, Cinderella and what have you. The image that grew in our minds is that, "one day we will meet the prince of all prince", this guy with physical and mental abilities will sweep us off our feet and take us to a palace where we will live happily ever after. 19 years or more later, many are still seeking, some have found a prince, many have married princes turned toads.

This week was one in I had to re contemplate on that word, "marriage" - what does it actually mean? What meaning has it taken in today's society?. I was really saddened to read a couple of sad stories on blog ville. It made me ask again, "how do we know that love is over?". "How do we know that it is time to cut the knot?". "When is it okay to take that plunge and move on".

A couple of months ago, I made the mistake of calling a good friend of mine at home when her husband was around. For months, I will ask 'how hubby dey?' - She will avoid my questions. I thought maybe it was a little patch, that most people in relationships have. I called her that day and I heard her husband yelling on the phone. Now, we know that our African men can yell (pls, women talk true) but this yelling wasn't a normal one. You could hear that this man did not hold her in high esteem. He had no respect for her. It made me wonder what else could be taking place in that home. I wondered why she was in such a relationship? Why didn't she cut out? Go for marriage counseling if this man was the love of her life - I know he isn't but that is a story for another day. Or then, maybe I am over reacting.....

I know for many African women (particularly West African women), there is a badge that we hold proudly in being a Mrs. Somebody. We say , 'oh yes', that is our husband with such pride as if we won such a huge battle or something but there are times to go it alone and times that it is okay to start afresh again. Moving from being a Mrs (in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship) to starting afresh as a Miss or Ms is fine, as long as you can look at yourself and just breathe.


Question For You?

What will you do if you had a friend in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, will you just be there for them or will you try to get them out of it?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's understandable to be concerned where a friend is in such a relationship. However, it is essential to always remember that there are two sides of the story. I have said this in many of your articles and blogs Pammy, and i'm gonna say it again - women aren't always the victims in relationships. There are substantial cases where women are actually the CAUSE of such aggressive behaviour in their homes. These women push their husbands right to the edge. We have to understand that nobody really enjoys yelling at anybody. While some men, ofcourse, have violent tempers, others yell as a genuine natural response to being extremely annoyed. It all comes down to knowing your partner and what irks them the most and then trying to avoid whatever that is. That's how people leave in harmony with each other. I say this because i know there are people who just can't alter their behaviour without being yelled at. But having said that, i agree it is unpleasant, inhuman...and far from the 'lived happily ever after' misconception. ISSA.

pamela said...

The joy of being married to a person is that you can be yourself and you do not have to put on masks. Women aren't always the victims, I do agree but in many cases - men are often the perpetrators. To be quite frank it comes from a society in which men can do whatever they want to and get away with it.

To be quite frank you jumped over the point of this post - at what point is it advisable to leave a marriage and what will u do if your friend is in a situation in which they are being abused.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

HHmmm, Aunty Pammy, I have learned that when it comes to marriage, sometimes less is more. No matter what i think, I do not live in the house with a married couple and thus I limit my comments when I am asked for advise.

I know someone going through a rough patch in their marriage and in fact this person has checked out of the marriage mentally and emotionally and spiritually. Now, before this person married their spouse, I KNEW that marriage to their eventual spouse would fail. I knew this because of their history together and the way the partner carried themself. Did I advise them to not get married? No. i simply asked them if this was something they knew they wanted to do and had thought through. Of course they said yes and within less than a year of marriage the "D' word has been thrown around so many times and basically, I pray that if divorce happens, it is done amicably.

I guess I am trying to say, when it comes to marriage and married people, you can only let them do what they want to do and hold their hands whatever the result might be. An abusive relationship would require me to gently encourage a police report or some other intervention but other than that, what can one do? I'm sure other readers might not like this response, but speaking from experience (having learned to keep my nose out of married people's wahala), I look at things very differently.

I wish your friend the best. Please hang in there with her because if she leaves her husband, she will need a good friend to get her through it. And, if she chooses to stay in her marriage, she will also need a good friend to get her through it. Sorry for the convoluted answer...

DiAmOnD hawk said...

ditto everything Solomonsydelle stated...

gishungwa said...

Solomonsdylle has said it best!

Naapali said...

Marriage and raising children are the two most challenging things we are least prepared for. It requires hard, hard work and unfortunately the fairy tales don't tell that.

I will not support anyone being in an abusive relationship, be that emotionally or physically. Life itself is hard enough without the extra bits we put into it. Better be alone and probably unhappy than be with someone and be definitely unhappy.

What should you do? Depends on how well you know this person and how bad things are. Whatever you do let her know she has someone that cares for her and that she is worthy of love and respect.

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Zahratique said...

I am one of those pros vs cons people. I totally agree with what Solomonsydelle said about letting the person decide for him/herself. Although sometimes it's painful to watch someone you really care about being abused in any way.

pixgremlin said...

I can definitely agree with what Solomonsdellye has said. Someone close to me was an abusive relationship, (physical, psychological, the works!) and seeing that said loved one was actually considering suicide, I had to intervene. Suffice to say she left the dude, and her life has turned around.

It's a toughy...

Tears said...

Some times people being abused don't see themselves being abused...i would try my best make them SEE!!!

Jinta said...

to each their own, i say. if a friend is adult enough to marry, then they must be adult enough to spot when its not working. it is always a grave mistake to get involved unless invited (and even when invited, to tread with caution). when things are patched up - and they often are - you may find that you're not the flavour of the month

playing the devil's advocate here, you dont know the cause of the man's irritation and apparent disrespect. women are not always innocent, you know

pamela said...

Thanks Guys!!

Not getting involved. If the husband is around when I call, I wrap up the conversation really quickly.

Don Thieme said...

It is wonderful that you are so concerned and involved in the lives of your friends. I think that you are probably doing exactly what you should. Ask leading questions that make her think about the good and the bad of her marriage. She must decide on her own which is the stronger.

guerreiranigeriana said...

...hmmmnnn...tough question...i disagree with first anon about women causing men to act aggressively...you and only you are responsible for your emotions and how you choose to react...

...as for friends in abusive relationships, there are two sides to each story...i will advise based on what i know...if it gets to the point where it seems like the person just wants to rant and not solve the problem, they'll have to find someone else...i try to be careful with these situations because you never really know what is going on in relationships...

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