Though I had just spent another perfect night with my boyfriend, my mum had seen us and I knew things would not end well. It was a very long night for me and I had to listen to my mum’s words of anger and disappointment. I kept thinking, “I have lost her trust in me and now she will never allow me to go out any more, let alone date him! She did not like him from the moment she set eyes on him.”
Nevertheless, there is nothing like a new day. I walked into the living room the following day, believing that I was grounded for life but my mum surprised me. She looked at me and asked me whether I wanted to date and I told her I did. She agreed to be open to it but, on one condition. “If you think you are ready,” she told me, “bring this guy over tonight so I can talk to him.” A huge smile spread across my face. Finally, things were going my way!
I immediately called him to tell him the good news and, to my surprise, he was not as excited as I was. He told me he had not seen this coming, which made me start to doubt whether or not he wanted to truly date me. Anyway, he ended up coming to meet my mother. After her attempt to convince us that things between us had failed, she laid down her terms for agreeing for us to date. He was allowed to come to my house every Wednesday and on weekends, unless we had other family commitments. She ended her list of the terms and conditions by telling him, “If you really want to date my daughter, remove that earring from your ear!”
Although it initially felt like I had gotten what I wanted, it all started going horribly wrong. My mum’s rules placed a heavy burden on me, , to the point where it felt like I could not breath. To top it all, my boyfriend became very possessive and jealous. He wanted to control where I went, whom I spoke to and what I wore. He displayed signs of aggression and was even suspended from school for three days, because he threatened a teacher and scratched her car. One day I made him so angry that he started punching the wall. When I asked him why he was doing that, he told me that it was to avoid doing the same to me.
However, despite all these warning signs, I still believed that he loved me and his anger was just a way of showing how much he cared. After all, no one had ever paid me this much attention, although being with him came at a high price. I had no peace at home and no one to talk to but I didn’t dare tell my mum what was going on. The only person I could talk to was him so, one day, I plucked up the courage to speak to him but, he ended up grabbing my arm and squeezing it in the middle of the street. He angrily asked me whether I was trying to break up with him. I had never been so shocked in my life! What had happened to the sweet guy I had met a few months ago?
I knew I needed help, but didn’t know where to go and I was afraid to speak to my mum. After trying many times and failing, I finally managed to break up with him. It was a mixture of relief and sadness, because, although he made me go through hell, I missed him. My depression came back and, with it, many defeating and guilty thoughts. “See, you will never be happy again. You have given up the best thing that ever happened to you. You did not try hard enough. The problem is you, not him.”
Once again, I became the girl with a plastic smile—smiling on the outside, but broken inside. I started having trouble sleeping and thoughts came for me to end my life, so I could finally have the peace that I wanted so much.
At this point, my mother was in her fourth relationship, which was also about to end. As an escape, she became heavily addicted to bingo and spent most of what she earned on it. She would come home very late at night.
One day, my stepfather saw a TV programme speaking about a place, which could transform lives. He asked me to accompany him to the place, to which I agreed, not knowing that the course of my life was about to take a drastic turn.
Join me next week for more of my story!