[dropcap]After[/dropcap] two-year intensive courtship, Uzo and I got married and we had a seemingly smooth marriage ride for over six years, way past the popularly-screamed honeymoon phase. In that time, we were blessed with a girl and a boy. We had weathered some financial turbulence and family issues in that time but always emerged unscathed. I therefore believed ours was going to be one of rarest tranquil marriages; one that would stand the test of time, as it already had for over six years. We would be role models till our old age.
On the last day of May in 2014, Uzo got retrenched with the rest of his colleagues. The company was shutting down due to financial troubles. It made no sense though; no one seemed to know the company had financial troubles to start with talk less of completely shutting down. It mattered little, whatever the case, the point is they were laid off.
After five months of taking cheap freelance work and searching frantically for a better paying full-time job, Uzo literally metamorphosed into something evil, totally unrecognizable. It first started with him picking fights where there really were no issues and being verbally abusive. Although his reaction was unusual, I approached the whole situation with calmness, knowing full well how the situation must be for him. I apologized even when fights weren’t my fault and made him special meals often to make him feel better.
It seemed the more subservient I got, the more aggressive he got. The children and I soon began tiptoeing around him. Doing everything we could not to upset or annoy him but it mattered little too. Although he had no job, he soon started keeping late nights and returning home drunk. Following one embarrassing incident, I had given him access to my savings account to ensure he had cash available to spend at all times. I was determined to help us weather this storm, to put up a united front and save face. It will be just another turbulent period that we will emerge from, seemingly unscathed.
The situation got worse. Substantial amounts were constantly being withdrawn from my savings. At first I overlooked the withdrawals but as I watched my life savings disappear rapidly, I had to raise an alarm. I waited till after I had put the kids to bed before bringing up the issue. To say his outburst of anger was volcanic was an understatement. Soon enough, he started pummeling me. All that racket woke the children and they were soon at our door. I started to scream for him to stop as I saw tears well in the eyes of my children. I can’t imagine how horrible it must seem to see their father beat their mum.
I tried my best to calm down so I could tuck my children back to bed. They were so distraught; we all ended up crying together till we slept off. The next day, I put treatment on my wounds (thankfully, my face and neck were spared) and talked with my kids. This was only the first time right? Who walks away the first time they get hit? I do! I called to tell my parents about all that had been happening; they were disappointed but wanted me to remain to work things out with Uzo.
[dropcap]Unlike[/dropcap] most DV cases, I was not asking for permission to leave. I would have preferred to move back in with family but I was prepared to lodge in a hotel till I could find a place. As a last resort, I called my mother-in-law (She and I have a healthy relationship) and told her the whole story; she wasn’t having any of that and in fact sent her driver to pick the kids and me immediately, even without packing all our clothes.
My mother in law had servants and a large home she inherited after her husband passed, so we were well attended to. She soon alerted other elders in the family and they all supported that she housed the children and I while they deal with Uzo. Was I blamed? Yes, I was. I was blamed for keeping the situation to myself and pretending like all was well. They were right. They could have helped out but I was more worried about preserving my husband’s ego, apparently at the cost of my well-being.
After two days of doing God-knows-what, Uzo finally started calling family and friends to find out where we were. Everyone gave him the run around for two days as punishment. Out of frustration, he showed up at his mother’s house unannounced and found us. He seemed repentant, and looked unkempt. He apologized to the kids and me profusely and begged that we come with him. I was tempted to follow but my mother-in-law was having none of our “sentimental crap” as she called it.
She expressed her disappointment and then went ahead to read Uzo the riot act. He was to go back home and invite his close cousin, Matt, to live with him for a while. He was to get his acts together; and actively and purposefully look for a job if he ever wants his kids and I to move back home. He was to give her a progress report every week and then with that, she would decide when it was safe for us to return.
I went to work and the children went to school from my mother in law’s house. Uzo’s uncles visited with him and I separately several times over the next three months period, counselling us and giving us words of encouragement. It was a messy period for Uzo, the kids and I.
Finally, there was a family meeting and with Matt’s testimony (undercover agent of life), we all came to the conclusion that it was time for us to live together under the same roof again. The first few weeks were awkward but we soon returned to our tranquil marriage. Have we had difficulties after that? Definitely! However, we have both learned that in handling difficulties, we have to be careful how we react so we don’t hurt one another or our children.