Thursday 17 June 2021
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Kitchen Chronicles

I’ve been in abusive relationships just about all my adult life.

All forms or abuse; emotional, physical, you name it.  I had conditioned myself to a point where it seemed normal for a person to be abusive because it meant that they care… Like if a person takes the time to help you choose the outfit you should wear, the colour lipstick you should apply and the height of your heel, that just means that they are interested in the complete picture of your life right?

If your significant other tells you that their ideal person is everything that you are not, it just means they chose you ‘cause you’re special, right?

And when he tries to subtly change certain things about your behaviour, to indoctrinate you almost, making snide comments, it’s just because he is trying to maintain peace in the relationship, right? When they ignore you or block you or hold a grudge over some slight, you endure it because it is the punishment you get and you tolerate it for upsetting them.

When they make you feel like you are only good for sex, that’s just part of the romance dance right?  Right?!

I mean, of course the fact that they always want to know where you are and who you’re with and what you’re doing means that they care about you and your safety; the fact that you get that nervous feeling in the pit of your belly when you haven’t communicated your daily activity is surely not from a place of fear!

How could you fear this person whom you love and can practically touch the future you have together? What fear?!

I mean, he may be a little upset at first but last time it only took him a day before he spoke to you again and even though it was literally the worst day of your life, you can last that long, right?

We put up with so many little things in our (romantic) relationships that after a while we don’t even see ourselves anymore.  We don’t value ourselves.  Sure we pay lip service to all these conversations about I am strong and I am proud and ain’t nobody treat me wrong and convince me I ain’t.

We’re fake woke and often don’t realise that we are in an unhealthy situation. We know that they hold a grudge sometimes, we might even call it a ‘punishment’, not really listening to ourselves when we say it. Surely we don’t enter relationships to be punished by our partners or to pander to their every whim?  Surely there must be another reason. Surely.  But what is it?  What is yours? Why do you get into a relationship?

I’ve come to understand that I haven’t loved myself.  I listened to everything every other person had to say about me for so long that even before I was mature enough to be in a relationship, I had made their voices my own and so I couldn’t love who I didn’t know that I am.

According to me I was broken, I was bad, I was unworthy, I was worthless even and wouldn’t amount to much, so why then would I not accept and even expect any new person I meet to see me through the same lense?  Why would I expect different treatment, ever?  This is me, right? This is what I deserve right?  I can’t take care of myself so somebody has to be on my ‘watch’ all the time, “where are you, who you with, what time you back?” and that is even comforting in some ways.  At least they care.

The day they put their hand on you is the day you have a bit of a shock… Just a bit though, cause somehow you had kind of expected it.  The day they do it in public, you’re not so worried that he hit you but about the embarrassment of it having happened in public!  The argument is likely to revolve around ‘not even my parents hit me in front of other people, how dare you?!’ rather than the fact that you’ve been violated in one of the worst ways.

The response to that may be that you are now persuaded (forced) to perform sexual acts that you don’t want to but you convince yourself it is his way of apologising.

Of course he’s sorry.  So what if he didn’t say the actual words?  Nobody understands the bond you have with this person, nobody understands the commitment you have toward each other, nobody gets that he would die for you.  People should just stay in their lane and mind their own business.

Fast forward a few months later, you’re single, you’ve been doing Zumba, you feel and look great and you meet a person who within a week of meeting you texts you one morning at 08:00 with ‘so you’re the kind of person who doesn’t greet their significant other in the morning?’.

You’re taken aback, but only for a split second ‘cause really you think it’s cute and endearing so you respond with ‘sorry darling, I was just about to – hope you slept well’.That.  Right there.  That is our mistake.
There is this cliche that goes ‘when somebody shows you who they are, believe them.’

Our problem is that we let go that very first thing that gives us that tiny bit of an uncomfortable feeling, when that is the exact and best time for you to kick off your heels and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.  But we stay, and we tolerate, and we suffer, sometimes for years.  We make excuses, we make allowances, we don’t call out bad behaviour when we see it, we let it slide and there are only about a few outcomes to such situations.

We either end up dead, jaded, or, hopefully emancipated!

You see, there is nothing better than a person who has been through the ringer of abuse, coming out on the other side enlightened… It must be a sight to behold how someone who you might have met walking down the streets with hunched shoulders, not thinking much of themselves and somehow you being to see them move differently.

Almost as if they’ve reached some epiphany or taken off some garment that had been wearing them down. It’s the kind of thing that movies are made of you know?

Overcoming abuse is something that I think many people never really do.  It’s like grief, we wear it with us forever.  Like a jacket you feel compelled to put on everyday and even snuggle in, most nights.  It takes hard work most times to get to the bottom of the how’s, why’s, who’s, when’s and what’s of our psychological makeup that allowed us to even tolerate being treated poorly in the first place.  It takes support and often times uncomfortable conversations.

It will undoubtedly take having to release some people from your life.  Whatever it is that you as individual needs to get out of that cycle, do it. Please.

Nobody is going to magically walk in and drag you out of a situation that you won’t go back to, unless you are ready to make that change. It took me years.  Scars.  Hurts and pains that I may never speak out loud, and even when you’ve made the decision to go, there’s still doubt.

We need to begin to really be selfish with our peace and our energy and to not expend it on ANYONE who is not worthy of it, no matter the relationship. Take time to heal, take time to learn who you are, take time to love yourself in totality and just watch how you will never again tolerate anybody loving you badly.

I’m not cooking today, I can’t …

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