Monday, July 16, 2012

How To cope With A Different Kind Of Heart-Break

The heart does not only break when there is a loss. It not only breaks when you are dumped. It does not only break when trust is break. Agreed, hearts break when loved ones desert us. When we say Another kind of heartbreak, that means it is not just the obvious one that comes when there is a break up. Whatever brings unhappiness and agony is another cause of heart break to the one in pain.

A Story About Another Kind Of Heart break

My former neighbor and friend, before my family moved into Abuja confides in me, and I see her scarlet-red heart torn into two unequal parts.

May has five lovely kids who were all born in quick successions. Before her marriage, she had a not so demanding, but less paying job. A few years into her marriage, she gets this great bank job offer though the bank is no more. Then, it was like one of the best in the South-South, she was doing great in this job but had to leave as a result of her inability to cope with family responsibilities and  a demanding job. The job began to take it's toll on her family, as  her husband came home most nights even before her, with no food at home.The children are dropped off at her friend's place where she picks them on her way home. They star picking up bad habits and using language that is unacceptable in her home.


She had to rearrange her priorities in life and quit the  job to give more attention to her family. 
At this time, her husband begins to accuse her of being extravagant, spending too much money on material things that do not benefit the family in anyway. with this accusation, he starts doing the shopping rather than give her money seeing that she has more free time and is always at home. May's husband will rather drive from his office through the terrible traffic to the market, keep the goods in the car boot pending when he gets home. By the time he returns from the office, the frozen items like meat, chicken and sausages have all defrosted, the peppers and tomatoes are getting soft and smelly, the car is smelling of fish and crayfish, the green vegetables have become hot and brownish as a result of the heat in the car boot.


When Kevin started this thriftiness, she felt he actually was trying to help seeing that she has to manage the kids all alone. When it continues and runs into weeks, she gets angry, not only because he did the shopping himself, but because he never bought everything in the list. At the beginning he would go and buy most of what is not needed and little or nothing of what is really needed at home. She complained about that and he assured her that he will do better if she writes a shopping list as a guide for him.


She starts to write, and then he begins to complain that the list is too long. Not only complaining, he would actually tick the items he feels are really needed at home and buy those ones while ignoring the other things that she, as the one who does the cooking will really need.


He brings home this incomplete items from the market, and she refuses to do the cooking with incomplete food items, then he goes into the kitchen and prepares some noodles for himself, with an attitude that she interprets as... " if you do not cook, it's you and the kids that will starve because, I can take care of myself" 
The kids are hungry, she has no money to take them to eat outside 'cos actually that is what her plan was, to eat out with the children and let the food items rot, so that she can prove a point to him. Being unable to afford eating out, she ends up cooking just anything with the items available, and so he wins and continues to do the shopping while she does the cooking, and cleaning.


May went through so much psychological and emotional pain before bracing up to talk to me.
Shopping for the family afforded her the opportunity of budgeting and saving some money for her personal needs like toiletries, fixing her hair, manicure and pedicure, and even other things like taking the kids for picnics on weekends. Doing the shopping also helped her to save some money at the end of the day. Right now, if she asks for some money from him, Kevin will want her to say what she needs the money for, whatever she says, he will find a way to tell her that it is not a necessity.


Now, he has stopped giving her any money with the excuse that whatever they need as a family is already provided, and so, she does not need any money cos there is food at home.


She tries to explain that every woman has personal needs and that it isn't proper for her to ask for money when she needs  sanitary pads, or to tell him to buy bras and pants for her. She asks him for a monthly allowance to enable her take care of "her" but he refuses, saying that she does not need an allowance cos  he can buy whatever she needs. Every effort to get some cash from her husband meets a brick wall. She is so devastated, she even wants out of the marriage, but cannot afford to leave her little kids behind and cannot afford to provide for them at the moment. Providing for the family has been his big excuse. He always reminds her of the amount he pays for the children's school fees, and other bills, and he feels like she'd rather show appreciation to him and not include the burden of her own financial demands on his shoulders.


REASONS FOR HER PAIN AND MISERY:

  • Kevin's monthly income is in the millions 
  • He is acquiring landed property all over the place
  • He buys every trending posh car for himself,and sells off whatever brand of car he is using at that moment, she still drives the old car they both contributed to buy when she was still in her bank job.
  • Whenever he travels out of the country for an assignment, he fills a whole box of clothes, shoes, belts, undies and other accessories for himself, while he gets a smaller box for her and the kids. Her little cheap items are put together with the children's because his box is full and there is no room for her few items
  • He gets home and says "you people should come and take your new box" YOU PEOPLE stands for his wife and the kids. She hates being bundled together with the kids but he will never change his methods of managing the home.
  • When Kevin travels out of town, maximum amount of money he leaves with her in case of an emergency is #1000 ( one thousand naira) per day. In case that amount is exhausted and  she gets money from her friends to solve other family problems before he returns, he will ask for the receipt of payment, or a written agreement to show that she actually got goods on credit. To him, women always look for ways to lie and get money from their husbands. If she does not provide the receipt or an agreement, he does not pay back the loan. She tells me that sometimes, it is not really a loan, but her little change,  piggy bag savings that she keeps to enable her make her hair without having to beg him for money. This she spends in the case of an emergency. If she says it is her money, he will definitely not pay back, that is why she always comes up with the story of "my friend's money" and even at that , he insists on evidence before paying back the money.
She explains further that if he was a struggling or poor young man, she will not bother. Her problem is that he can afford to buy the world for himself if he really wants it, but will never think of making her happy with his money. Forgetting that when she met him, and even some years after their marriage, they both had no good jobs and could not afford even a set of furniture as they had just plastic chairs, a Ceiling-Fan in the Living Room alone, no carpet, no car, and they lived in a poor neighborhood. 

Three years into their marriage, just a week to the Third Marriage Anniversary, She gets the bank job and he gets this great job. Then all of a sudden, he begins to see every body as a problem, as wanting to impoverish him. Even his friends begin to complain about his forgetting their good-will during his trying periods.

He begins to abhor even his parents calls saying that everyone wants to take from him as if he is The Central Bank.

"I wish I could put down everything we discussed." May's story opens my eyes to Another Kind of Heart Break. May didn't lose any one but her heart was so broken. She was in pain, she felt so disappointed in her marriage.and could not talk to her husband because he will surely raise his voice even before she concludes, and will call her an ingrate for not "dancing"  over the fact that he is paying school fees for five kids and feeding the family without an income from her. Kevin never sees her Home Making and Management of the kids as anything worthy of appreciation, because, he keeps reminding her that there are after school programs where she could have registered the kids and continued to Earn Money from her job.

May has Plans to get a job when her last boy is five at least, so that when he returns and there is no one at home, he will be able to open the door himself and do do some basic things himself without supervision
Before her resignation, she had bad experiences with House- keepers, including child abuse in two occasions, so , I guess she took her time to think and plan before deciding to quit The Banking Job.

May's pain is another serious Kind of Heart Break. She needs someone to help her Counsel him, none of his few remaining friends can do that because they all feel that he sees himself in a different Class and Status right now and treats them like " we are not equals" so no one will. agree to go and face embarrassment. His parents are also disappointed and always complaining to her, to see if she can talk him into caring for them at this Old Age. There is no Counselling Center here, where she can take him even though she feels that he would not have agreed to follow her as he feels that he doesn't have any problem. 

The church he used to Take his family to, he now calls it a Money Making Venture and thinks the the leaders are only interested in their members Bank Accounts, tithes and offering, so he stopped going there, long ago. May takes the kids all alone every Sunday, so, he won't  agree to go there for any counselling.
She cannot go out with friends and always finds excuses because she can't afford Decent Clothes like a lady. Her outfits are always the Jeans trousers, Tops and Sandals he buys for her when he travels out of town. The wears she got while working do not fit anymore, so she prefers to stay at home.

There are times he gets invitations to attend some parties and wants to take her along, but will not care about what she wears on her body. He can take her out even in old and worn out clothing, without minding or complaining. What ever she puts on, he tells her that she looks gorgeous. I could imagine the level of her heart break and pain because I know that "a fish should not die of thirst while swimming in fresh, clean and deep water.

MY SOLUTION TO THIS:
I gave her some tips with my little or no experience in life.
  1. That she should travel out of town for a weekend and leave him with the kids.
  2. That she should stop complaining, seeing that it makes matters worse and should continue to manage, pending when her last son gets to five and she gets a job.
  3. That she should try, if she can, to forget about the fact that he is rich and begin to imagine, and to see him as a "poor man," because, actually, I feel like he still has that poverty mentality right inside him.
  4.  I advised her to cry whenever the burden feels too heavy.
  5. That she should try taking money without asking, and informing him after spending it, to see his reaction.
  6. She should continue to pray about him, since she believes that there is nothing that God cannot do.
  7. Finally, that she should find time to remind him about where and how they started.
  8. Get professional help. In a country like ours, where and how can one really get professional help? When it seems like nothing is working, all we can do is pray to the almighty and trust that he will definitely hear and answer us.

2 comments:

  1. How very disturbing this story is....my heart goes out to May. While each couple individually takes care of their own in their own way, we all need to come up with our definitions of "abuse"---and decide to what extent we're willing to bear to either make the marriage work or simply bear marriage to simply survive or decide that "enough is enough". I know this: it takes two willing hearts to look within and change to have a growing loving relationship. I hope and pray she finds peace in the best way it suits her and her family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Natalie, you write like a marriage counsellor. I pray for her always, and I look forward to hearing that he has changed. She has a right to be happy.

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