Recently, the not so single Miss Gidi and I had an interesting conversation about self and the effects of relationships on you as a person. That conversation made me go back to the self-reflective notes my therapist made me write when I was in counselling. I know what you think; seeing a therapist is such an oyibo behavior abi? Eh, well when I kept getting involved with men that had no respect for me, I had to look within, and maybe the fault was mine because the common factor in all of this was me.
Can you believe, the day I returned the unlucky guy’s ring, was the same day he proposed to a girl he lied about for two years with the same ring and plastered the pictures all over social media. I swear, I almost went crazy, this is someone I gave my life and to think he had another option on standby was what even upset me the most. He had given me the keys to his house, but out of respect (after all it’s his house), I sent him a text that I was coming to get my things. On getting there, I found my things outside and he also changed the locks of his house.
That was the lowest point of my life, I was ashamed but didn’t want people to see me falling apart. See, I grew up with this bloated self-esteem thanks to my grandparents filling my head with how great I was and how I could achieve anything I wanted in life. So as an adult, I have this positivity that is almost delusional; no matter gloomy things may appear, ImaRose believes tomorrow will be a better day. It’s a good thing right? but when you have such mentality, handling failure is a huge struggle. My exterior may show this confident opinionated talkative woman, but on the inside, I’m shy and is often quiet in the mornings, when I’m upset, feel insecure or maybe when I feel inadequate.
Pardon, my scattered thought processes, today I really just want to reflect on myself.
Mind you this was at the peak of the rainy season and he lived in Lekki, so imagine meeting your things outside like a refugee who got kicked out of an asylum shelter. This was a guy I had a joint savings account with, don’t blame me, we were almost married, even that house, I looked for it with him, I am not ashamed to say I added money to the rent and we even did up the place together, after all we were getting married. I believe in financial accountability between significant others so I still don’t see anything wrong with that. Besides, I know married guys with no savings because their working wives do nothing to help and they kill themselves to provide, sometimes refunding her when she does stuff with her money for their own home, to me that is absolute rubbish. It shouldn’t matter how much a man earns, a woman should contribute to anything no matter how little, if she is earning an income.
His neighbours looked at me with pity as I sat on wet floor looking lost and confused. So I tried to move on, by then Mr A was my emotional support, see how easy it was for a baseless relationship to develop? The unlucky guy had always suspected me of liking Mr A, but really he was just that guy I could talk to, he listened to me, talked to me not at me; everything the unlucky guy wasn’t. After Mr A’s mess, Mr B was next in line as the transition guy, with only difference being Mr B was a good friend of over 12 years. Because of the friendship, walking away was so hard even when it wasn’t working. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in burning bridges, but it’s harder with someone who was your friend before being your romantic interest.
Because men are creatures of habit, Mr B always reappeared every now and then with things like “I miss you” or “The day you have sex with another man, I will kill you”, followed by “I’m sorry, you are frustrating me” then to “I just can’t believe you sometimes, that you loved me yet moved on already acting so cold”. He used to abuse me, and I would say nothing because I am the “whatever girl”, I don’t trade insults, it’s too low and I am too old for that nonsense. Whenever any of his friends got married he would send a text saying “I really wanted to marry before 30, now you are messing up my plan” or say “all my friends will laugh at me, if you are serious about this thing, reconsider” Mr B is the height of a toxic man; nothing is his fault, everything is an attack, proud, condescending and entitled, then whenever he is ignored, he acts like world is coming to an end, toxic. By the way, when he eventually said “we are not dating”, it was his way to make sure I don’t feel big-headed, imagine that?
Did I ever say I studied psychology for my first degree and forensic science was one of my favourite module? A good detective will tell you to keep surveillance of the crime scene because guilty criminals always return there. Their crime scene feeds their ego and is an avenue for them to control and make sure you don’t move on. More often than not, people come back because they realised it’s a wicked world out there and you are a safe haven. Interestingly, ALL my exes always come back begging, but, I lock them out, criminals are selfish and love the attention, you have to starve them of it, it’s the only healthy way.
Once he called me persistently , said he was struggling to sleep if I could come with him to therapy. At some point, communication between us became war; he threw daggers and I threw some right back. Eventually I agreed to go; this person was my friend, so it was hard to see him suffering even though I too was in pain. He offered to buy my ticket, I declined, even though I was broke at the time, I bought my own ticket and stayed with friends for accountability.
When I got there, I realized he had booked a relationship counsellor with the hopes that we could fix things. See, if something is broken, a micro-wave quick-fix won’t do. So to his surprise, after much yelling and tears, from Mr B and I, the therapist goes, “my only job here is to help both of you communicate your feelings without fear (on my part) and as adults, but on repairing this, I will have individual sessions with you on personal growth and how respect and co-dependency works in relationships, at the end of the sessions, one of two things will happen; both of you will either see that you really want to be together or one person will outgrow the relationship and not want to continue”.
To be honest up until that therapy session, the part of me that loved still wanted to make it work if he tried and was serious. I watched Mr B cry after every session, it was so hard, but, heck, I cried daily for four months. In the end, I became aware of the patterns I had developed since unlucky guy’s rejection that made me make terrible choices. I was the common factor, I made those choices, I had let my previous experience affect who I was, my positive outlook on life and almost destroy my self-esteem. I had become needy, moving from one relationship to another, not giving myself the chance to heal and love again.
True to what the therapist said, I knew Mr B was not for me so I thanked him for the free therapy session and returned home with a better outlook and plan towards my life.
I believe it was Oprah who said “once we understand that we all go into relationships with certain level of brokenness, we will handle each other with care, love, kindness and grace; because the people we choose, may represent something we have been looking for and vis-visa, so help each other heal”.
While talking listening to Miss Gidi talk about her experience and its effect on her, she said “I have learnt that the consequences of having a large heart is people will take advantage of you but you must NOT change who you are; you must continue to be yourself, God rewards a large heart with greater and a more superior love with time”.
Can I hear an AMEN, church?!