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Inspirational Stories

This is my story...

MY STORY - I AM worthy of being LOVED

If you put a frog in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is heated gently, it will not realize the danger and it will boil to death.

I was so blessed - I had a lovely home, a wonderful son, a beautiful daughter, and a very attractive husband – tall, handsome and successful. What more could a woman want? So why did I feel so lonely, so anxious, so uneasy, so unworthy … so insignificant? True, my husband was often very critical of most things I did – the way I dressed, my cooking, my mothering skills – nothing was ever good enough. But his expectations were high and I knew I was obviously being too sensitive. I had so much love, hope and
joy in my heart, I could cope.

After the pregnancies I put on a bit of weight and I felt he was justified to criticize me. At work, he was surrounded by beautiful and successful women and it seemed right that he would compare me to them and find me lacking. The more he complained, the harder I tried. I would make sure I looked as good as I could and had his meals promptly on the table when he got home. I always did my best within the budget he gave me. As the years went by, his criticisms became harsher and I felt there was nothing I could do to please him, but clearly it was entirely my fault – I was lucky to have him! Before long, if things weren’t just right, he’d shout and break things. And then he started to push and shove. And still I did not realize that this was not a healthy relationship.

Everything I spent was scrutinized. He, on the other hand, could spend as much as he wanted – it was his money after all. He could come and go as he pleased, even take women out to dinner and go on business trips with them, buy them gifts, spend hours chatting to them on the phone – it was all business. But I couldn’t even look at a man without a scene. My every move was monitored and he had all the power. At first I thought his jealousy was proof he loved me, but then he would hurl cruel insults at me, belittle me, undermine me in front of my children until I was sure I wasn’t good enough to be loved. Day by day he killed the hope and joy in my heart. I had no voice. I was never allowed to have an opinion or to make even the smallest decision in the house.

My spirit crushed, I felt as if I could not breathe. I was suffocating. Dreadfully unhappy and confused, I felt alone and insignificant – but still, I could not see what the problem was.

I’m not sure when, in my 27 years of marriage, I realized I was living in an abusive relationship, certainly not in the first 20 years or so. Like the story of the boiling frog I hadn’t realized the water was getting hot until it was too late. I kept thinking, at least he doesn’t beat me! But just because the scars were not visible on the outside, it did not mean that they were any less damaging. By the time the kids were in high school I often thought of leaving, but I was also trying to be a good mother and not break up the home. I kept thinking, I’m an adult, I can take it. At least the kids are safe and have a good home. And yet, what did I teach my children by staying? That home was an unhappy, tense and violent place. I taught my son that it was ok to treat women badly and my daughter learnt that even when men are abusive, you had to stay and keep the peace.

Finally, a few years after my son left home, and my daughter got married, I realised that my heart had taken as much pain, disappointments and betrayal as it possibly could. It was time to leave. My husband did everything in his power to stop me, but I managed to find the strength to go. Unfortunately, my daughter chose a man very similar to her father and I am trying to help her believe in herself and be strong enough to make the difficult choices to break the cycle of abuse, before, like the frog, the water gets too hot and it is too late for her too.

I am now slowly rebuilding my life. Every day that passes without shouting, without violence, without fear is a day when the glimmer of hope and joy starts to re-appear inside my heart. Slowly, my dignity and self confidence are coming back. At last I can believe that I am worthy of being loved. And the hope that I can save my daughter is getting stronger. Each new day God provides me with the strength that I need. I am blessed.

This is a true story. Names have been withheld.
Leona Ellis, psychologist turned writer

Email: leona.ellis.writer@gmail.com

Born to Shine Magazine - Edition 8 (March 2014 - July 2014)

   
www.maximonline.co.za