I had known him for two years. Been engaged to him for a year – how did I miss the signs that surely should have been there that would reveal his true nature? I always knew that I did not love him. I was just being the good little girl I was expected to be in a culture that expected me to be happy with what my parents choose for me. I didn’t understand law of attraction. I didn’t know that fear is an indication of not being in harmony with your decision, and that when you are not in harmony with your decision, you make things worse.
It started on our wedding night. He made a speech when we were alone together basically telling me that as his wife, I should forget about my past and my family and that I would no longer be allowed to see my parents, friends and family without permission. I was horrified. If I can’t see my family then you shouldn’t see yours either I said. It seemed completely fair to me. You see I wasn’t raised in a family that treated boys and girls differently – but he was. I kept thinking that he wasn’t fair, and because I was unable to shift my attention away from thinking this way, I stayed at a low place of anger, frustration and revenge almost all the time. This just served to make things even worse, because as law of attraction says: you get more of what you think about.
He hit me – I don’t remember why, but I remember thinking what my mother used to say about spanking – she would say once a hand is raised (to spank) it is never lowered. She meant that it becomes a habit – it was something my parents never did. The second time around he not only hit me, he pushed me against the wall and strangled me. I could not scream, his hold on my neck was so tight. Someone in heaven must be looking out for me because he was interrupted by his own mother who marched into our bedroom unannounced. I had bruises on my neck and arms for days, and instead of crying out for help, I was intent on hiding them so that no one would know what was going on.
I was scared. I was scared for my wellbeing, scared of being hurt physically, scared for my life. I felt raped. I gaged when he tried to kiss me – of course that just made it worse. I could not sleep, and had gigantic dark circles around my eyes. But did I tell anyone? No, in fact I haven’t told anyone the details of what happened until now – twenty eight years later. I understand completely the power of emotional brainwashing, and how people can control you so that you lose the capacity to think.
That morning three months in when I woke up, I knew I was pregnant. I wanted to be happy about it because I wanted a baby, but I was more scared than ever before. I remember in detail how I looked into the mirror that morning and asked myself – is this the life I want? Do I really want to have this baby? Do I want to stay with this man and maybe end up with three more babies and live in fear for the rest of my life? The answer was screaming inside me “NO!” – I could not let that happen to me. But I was scared of leaving – I was scared because in my culture the idea of divorce did not exist – it was literally a fate worse than death. Then I asked myself the question – which is worse? Spending the rest of my life in fear or bearing the wrath of society? It seemed to me that the wrath of society was a better fate. So I started plotting my escape. When I made my decision to leave and lined up with it, I went up the emotional scale to a place of hope.
When you want something bad enough and you open yourself to all possibilities, and become willing to do whatever it takes, the Universe cooperates and somehow a path appears. And it did. On a peaceful day, when there was no fighting going on, I asked to visit my parents. I haven’t seen them in a couple of months I said. To my surprise he agreed. Not only that, he told me that since he had plans of his own, I could actually go and stay the night at my parent’s home. I had to hold my joy in. I didn’t want to appear too happy just in case he got suspicious. And so it happened that I did not have to run – he aided me in my escape!
I have to admit, I was conflicted – I was half ready to go back the next day. I decided to just enjoy being with my parents and leave that decision for the next day. I woke up in my old bed the next morning and realized that it was the best sleep I had had in a very long time. I realized that I wasn’t feeling afraid for my life – I could breathe. In that moment, my decision was made.
I went downstairs my mind made up. I sat on my mother’s lap and hugged her. She held me close and said “why don’t you stay another day, we haven’t seen you for so long”. I turned to her and said “mom, I am here to stay – I am not going back”. I guess she knew there was something wrong – it wasn’t like me to not call or visit after all. She held me tight – “why?” she asked. “He hit me” I told her, and started sobbing, letting all the pent up anxiety out. “Everything will be alright” she said. “All we need to know is that you are sure about your decision”. I was sure as hell. The relief of coming out into the open and not being scared anymore was worth it. The relief of letting go, took me even higher on the emotional scale and I knew that things would get better for me.
All that fear and anxiety was my own creation. I let him hold me hostage, because I thought my world would come to an end if I couldn’t make this marriage work. I made the institution of marriage more important than my sanity, my happiness and my wellbeing. I’m sure that society would have given me a medal for my perseverance 30 years and three children later, but I would have spent those thirty years living a life that is worse than incarceration. I chose a lesser evil. I chose to be a “divorcee” shunned by my culture and society at large. And guess what society and culture are fickle friends – they only point a finger at you until something else catches their attention; then they leave you alone. Alone to heal. Alone to grow and make sense of it all. Alone to follow your bliss. Alone to make a fresh start.
I know now that nothing is ever the end. As long as we are alive we can always find a way to deal with our circumstances and move on to find ways to be happy. Life has so much to offer – it’s not over until it’s over. We just have to weigh the odds and make choices that feel the best under the circumstances. The worst thing is not making a decision. When we keep going to and fro we prolong our anxiety. Going over the same thing again and again hoping that it will yield different results is futile. It is much better to make a decision and move forward than to stay stuck in one place. Make a decision and make it good – stand by it and allow new paths to open. Even when we don’t see a way, there is always a way for things to improve. If you’ve done everything you could do, made every effort that was in your power to make, then why hang around and put your life on hold?
We get stuck when we think that the evil that is known to us is better than the evil that is unknown – there is a flaw in this way of thinking because it assumes that both choices will turn out bad. I find that a better belief to hold on to is that “things always work out”.
There is power in making a decision and standing by it – as Abraham would say “make a decision and line up with it”. When you do that you have clarity again because you don’t flip flop from negative to positive. You can start moving again – you have direction. Waffling over a decision is the worst thing we can do. I could have made peace with the decision to stay, and along with that decision would be the decision to accept the life that I was choosing to live. I’ve learnt that when we accept our lot and focus on making the best of it we can find joy again. Girls in my culture make the choice to stay more often than they make the choice to leave, but those who stay find a way to take their minds off the things they don’t like and focus on the things they do like. Most of them make their children the center of their world and find joy in raising them. I was unable to find my happiness that way. Looking back now, I know I made the right decision for me. I also know that those who opt to stay don’t make the wrong decision – they make a different decision, that’s all.
The most important thing I’ve learnt is that the world never ends, that life not only goes on, it can get better than it has ever been before as long as we don’t get stuck along the way because we are afraid to make a decision. One decision has the power to change your whole life.