Reflection Journal,  Storytime

The Engagement That Changed My Life

The Engagement that changed my life. Hey everyone, I hope you are well. In this post, I will be sharing a storytime about the Engagement that changed my life. I have not done a storytime in a long time and felt I should share one. Before I start, I want to say that this Storytime is about Domestic violence and Sexual Assault. You all know me and know I like to keep things real, so please do not expect anything other than genuine.

The Engagement That Changed My Life

The Beginning

When I was 21 years old, I was introduced to a man by my sweet mother, who had always had my best interest at heart. Since my 21st birthday, my mum has been emotional because I am growing up and have reached adulthood. She believed it was time to start thinking about settling down and preparing to start my own family.

On the other hand, I was starting to live an independent lifestyle. I had just moved out of my parent’s house and got my first apartment. I was living the dream life, young, free and still in college. Due to my beauty, I was chased around by boys who wanted to date me, which gave me a nice feeling. Marriage or Settling down was nowhere near my mind. So everything my mum was saying or suggesting went in one ear and out the other.

However, she eventually got my attention when she came home with a man and introduced me to him one day. I was being respectful and friendly when I met him. He was young and handsome. He just wasn’t my type. My mum was thrilled, and I loved seeing her happy, so I just played along. Chris and I immediately started dating, and I was very unsettled. It was more like Be the good girl and go along with the flow type of thing, even if I had to pretend to be happy because my mum and the rest of the family were very excited about the news – Sonia had found someone.

The Engagement

One day, Chris called to take me out on a date. For some reason, my mum was very excited and asked me to get dressed. My mum and I went to the bedroom to get dressed, and she dropped a bombshell. Chris was about to propose, and she asked me what I would say. I said, ‘I don’t know. Then she said, ‘Maybe just say Yes, you know, just to make everyone happy.’

I tried to explain that I didn’t have feelings for him, but she told me,’ Love will grow when I spend more with him. My heart dropped. I became numb. Due to my respect for my mother and being the ‘Good Girl’ I was, I agreed.

Chris and I went to a cafe, and he went to place our order at the bar. The whole time all I could hear was my mother’s voice telling me to say ‘YES, to make everyone happy. So anyway, he came back, and we started talking about stuff..until…our drinks came in. He had asked the waitress to put the engagement ring in my glass. As I started drinking, he went down on his knees, and I immediately stopped drinking. Guys, my heart started beating very fast.

I Said No!

Chris purpose ‘Sonia, Will you be my wife?’ I already knew my answer, which was no, and guess what? I said ‘NO!’ Still on his knees, Chris wouldn’t take no for an answer and said I was embarrassing him and people were watching. I told him we don’t know each other, so why should I say yes? He said because he loves me.

Then my mum’s voice played in my head, and I said, ‘Okay, yes. I will marry you.’ I wanted to run out of the place after that. Chris was happy and phoned everyone. The ring was too big for my finger, so we returned to the jewellers to resize it. Everyone was delighted for us. When we got home, my mum had already called everyone back in Africa, telling us about the exciting news. Although I was not happy about it, it was nice to see everyone happy. Little did they know this was the start of my nightmare.

Beginning Of The End

So there I was, at 21 years old, engaged to a man I barely knew. Things were kicking off well. We did everything together, and our friends and family were happy. Until..one day, everything changed forever. Chris started showing this odd behaviour. He would get jealous and stop me from talking to other men. At first, it was flattering, but then I never knew he was serious until he started being controlling. He would take my phone away from me, demand my password to my Facebook and Emails account, go out the whole day with the keys and not come home until late at night with my phone.

I was so confused about what was going on. I didn’t understand why he was acting like this. When I asked him, he would shout and tell me to mind my business. I started feeling scared. I couldn’t call or talk to anyone about this because Chris had access to everything. Sometimes when my mum called, he would be beside her and hear our conversation, even telling me what to say to her. She sounded so happy thinking I was happy.

The act became too much for me, and I felt like I was in prison in my own home. I didn’t want him to sleep with me anymore, and he would threaten me by saying, ‘I am your husband. It’s my right to take it when I want it. At that point, I felt numb as I had no control over my body. Sometimes I threatened to call the Police, but he got it in his head that the Police couldn’t do anything because he was in the process of joining the Army.

Depression Leads To Suicide Attempt

I have never felt so depressed that I wanted to kill myself before. I felt the only way out was to die and rest peacefully. My parents couldn’t help out because they were celebrating, I had lost contact with friends, and even the Police could not save me either. I threw a bottle against the wall and told my so-called prince charming I wanted to die. To my surprise, he offered to help me by spreading the broken bottle pieces and telling me to lie down there.

My whole body was hurting and weak. Sometimes after sexually assaulting me, I would try to get up and have a shower. The upper part of my legs was sore, and my vagina was aching and bleeding. I would spend a few hours in the shower, pretending I was having a perfect storm, just because I didn’t want to come out. Then soon after, he started following me to the toilet and watched me pee or poop. And all this time, he was calling me his wife, telling me he loves me so much and doesn’t want anybody to take me away from me – that was why he was doing it.

Finally, A Way Out

Eventually, Chris finally gets to go into a training camp with the Army. I felt so happy that this was my way out of the ordeal. Before he left, he apologised for everything he had done and asked for my forgiveness. At that point, I just wanted him to go and never return. So I just said I had forgiven him.

As soon as he left, I went straight to my parent’s house, who was upset with me for not being in touch with them. I sat them down and explained everything. My mother did not believe me as she was asked questions, trying to make it look like it was my fault that all this happened – You could have run away, called the Police, called us, or done something. It was confusing because one minute, she was saying she was angry with him and wished him dead, etc.; the next, she was asking me questions about why I did not do anything.

You don’t think straight when going through a relationship full of anger, control and jealousy. You want out, but then he tells you that even the Police can not save you. What would you do? Especially when everyone thinks he is the perfect ‘Prince Charming. The sad thing is that I helped by pretending to be happy and spoke highly about him; behind closed doors, he was a ‘Monster’.

The Final Goodbye

Chris phoned, and my mum was yelling on the phone at him. He acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about. He completely denied everything. My mum apologised when she introduced me to him and set up the Engagement. I was hurt, and yes, I blamed her for everything that had happened – if only she had listened to me when I told her I was not ready to get married or him or anyone. None of this would have happened.

Later, I got home. And Chris called, tried to talk to me and apologised, saying he doesn’t know what came over him or why he treated me like that. I told him it was okay. Just stay away from me. I blocked him on all social media and my phone contacts. He wanted me to post his clothes over to the camp. And I did along with the engagement ring.

The Aftermath

My mum and I relationship was not in a good place up until Now. We are still working on the relationship because so much more has happened after this ordeal. But I believe it’s getting stronger each year. I have forgiven her and Chris and myself too. Even though this was eight years ago, it left me scarred for life. I try to get on with my life, and I think I have done an excellent job at it, but this is part of why my dating life has not been strong.

Sometimes I still get nightmares about it, especially when I get into a relationship with someone. It gets to a point where sometimes I feel like they are trying to control me, and I would immediately do or say anything that will break the relationship only because I don’t want history to repeat itself.

So yes, I have changed. This ordeal has ruined my friendship. No one was willing to understand what happened. I had lost friends and myself. I became terrified of everyone. Although, I had to push because I had gotten My First Job straight after Chris left. So there was no time to cry or heal. I just had to get up and get on with life with my new job. I suppose it helped me by stopping me from thinking about it.

Advice

One Word. RUN. You can’t change an abuser. Nothing you do will stop them. Contacting a domestic violence defence attorney is also advisable for some extra support to gain your freedom and life back. The fact you are still there makes the abuser think this behaviour is acceptable. And they will continue. So just RUN. I don’t care if you have to break a window or the door to get off the house. You have to RUN and never look back.

Thank You

Look at that. I have written over 2,000 words on this post. I hope you have enjoyed it and learned something from it. I decided to report the post because I finally want to let go of it. I am about to be 30 years old, making it nine years of silently living in pain.

I want to be happy and live life to the full. I want to meet a man who loves me for who I am. This can only happen if I give space for it. And this is me letting go and creating that space.

Talk soon

Working with Strong women, I help empower women not to give up on their goals and find true happiness within themselves. #lifestyle #womenempowerment #selfcare

23 Comments

  • Thuy

    I appreciate that you had the courage to share your story like this! For people going through a similar situation, it helps them feel not so alone. You really do keep it real and I absolutely adore that!

  • Alexandra

    I have to tell you I wasn’t expecting a story like that. And yet I totally admire your honesty and willingness to share your story. I am also so very glad that you were able to get away from him. I had similar experiences as a child and I understand that trapped feeling. Like there is no way out and no hope. You are very brave for continuing to try to get help for yourself despite no one being there to help you. You really are brave, you know?

  • Aryanne Padilha

    Wow! First, I love your courage to be vulnerable, we need more people like you! What a story, I’m so glad you finally got out. The biggest and brightest red flag was when your gut was telling you no, you actually VOICED no and this guy didn’t accept it. That’s really scary and of course, wouldn’t end well. But I’m glad it did because you are gone from his life. I wish you all the good things in this life. Keep climbing!

  • Ivana Mearns

    What a fascinating article, you can inspire so many people by sharing your story, well done, I am sure that lots of people have been in very difficult situations and can relate to your story.

  • Daphne Takahashi

    Wow! that was a horrible and difficult situation to be in but, i’m really glad you were victorious and can be here telling us your story to advice other women going through similar situations. You are a really strong and brave woman. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Britt K

    First, I want to thank you for opening up and being so vulnerable with this. While I wouldn’t wish an experience like this on my worst enemy, I am so glad to see that you have taken this and allowed yourself to grow and discover your own personal strength as you put this chapter of your life behind you and moved into the next. By sharing this, you very well may be helping someone else in a similar situation to find the strength to leave.

  • may palacpac

    Oh wow. I’m so sorry that you had to go through all that. Having been in a physically daunting relationship myself, there really is no way out of it but to run. Because once damage has started, it will continue. Not that i’m saying the other party doesn’t have any possibility of changing his ways, but just not with you.

  • Rikki Ridgeway

    First of all, I just want to say that I am so sorry that you had to deal with this. It is really scary to think a beautiful and positive person such as yourself went through something so terrible and traumatizing. You are an incredibly strong woman for sharing this post with the world, and I’m hoping that your bravery will help others if they are in a similar situation. I hope that now that this is out in the open, this is the beginning of you being able to heal and move forward.

  • Scott J DeNicola

    You did the right thing for sure and were brave to do it! That relationship would not have changed. Once an abuser always an abuser. It’s good that you can share this story now to hopefully help someone else who may be in a similar situation and think there is no way out. I’m glad you and mum are getting along better together now. Family is always the most important.

  • Beth

    You are such a brave, strong woman! I’m so sorry you had to go through this and that it affected your relationships. Your story will help so many though! I wish you all the happiness in the world!

  • Mama Bear Finance

    Glad you eventually learned to let go and move on from the whole ordeal. This particular phase rings true though, “When you are going through a relationship that is full of anger, controlling and jealousy, you don’t think straight.” I hope more can overcome this toxic trap. Thx for sharing your story.

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