Month: July 2019

Dysfunctional Relationships – An introduction

When the curious case of Esther Arunga, the barrister come TV-presenter who became the wife of a mentally ill QT who murdered their son, hit the media, I was not alone to feel triggered. We expect personal development to be a positive progression of values, beliefs and behaviours leading to character development. What perplexed us with Esther is that her life progressed from beauty with opportunities and potential into a horrific decline and escalation of drama and chaos.

This escalation led to the death of her son, loss of her daughters to child welfare and imprisonment of her husband for murder. Esther is by no means the first woman or man to slide down the fanatic religiosity, dysfunctional love, toxic marriage, soul-destroying mental-illness – spiral at the speed of light. To be fair, not all dysfunctional relationships lead to the death of a child. But many dysfunctional relationships lead to someone’s death. One spouse kills the other, one spouse kills themselves, one lover kills the other’s lover etc 

Esther’s story has bothered our conscious and mental facilities because it could happen to our friends and sisters. At the same time, it is one of those stories where you think ‘WHY?!’ Why couldn’t she leave, or stand up for herself, or stand up for her son? She saw QT punching the baby’s stomach and did…what?? 

This series will be dissecting the different dysfunctions of relationships in general. It will not focus on romantic love because dysfunction such as Esther and QT must have started long before they said ‘I do’. Both were members of a religious cult, Finger of God, before they even met.

Mental health professionals agree that to become fanatical about anything, especially join a religious cult, you have to have one or all of the 3 personality disorders below:

  1. Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
  2. Narcissistic personality disorder
  3. Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCDP)
Dysfunctional Relationships

Many of us have probably been in a relationship that causes more emotional turmoil than satisfaction and harmony. A relationship that changes you negatively; from feeling good about yourself to hating your own existence. One that fills you with fear, dread, confusion and sadness. Have you ever been in a relationship where you did everything in your power, and beyond, to make it work? – and it still failed in your face and you were blamed for the death of that relationship?

This kind of relationship is defined as dysfunctional and it can be found in all settings where two people connect e.g. sibling vs siblings, parents, spouses, parents vs children, friends, dating couples etc Because dysfunction happens slowly and insidiously, we don’t  realize that we’re involved in a dysfunctional or toxic connection until we are too involved and we’re struggling to get out.

In my experience, it is definitely more difficult with parents and siblings because we are born into the relationship and are bonded by blood AND common experiences. However, it is essential to recognize dysfunction inside a family to avoid the kinds of tragedies that happen because of abuse, neglect or ignorance that goes on for too long. 

Personality Disorders

This series will be presenting the case that Most dysfunction in any connection between two people cannot fairly be blamed on one person, because it is caused by the personalities involved. Often one or more of the people involved in a dysfunctional relationship have a personality disorder.

Personality disorders in relationships mean that small conflicts that could be resolved amicably become infected, endless battles of the wills. This dynamic drains all parties of energy leading to counter-productive power games. These power games involve abuse, fear, surrender, submission and in worst case scenarios, rebellion and/or death.

In dysfunctional relationships, even a simple friendly ‘sunday lunch’ can end in bitter tears and character assassinations. 

A lack of balance and normality

Most people with well balanced personalities will find harmonious ways of dealing with disagreements, mostly by engaging in clear communication about boundaries and expectations. In *normal relationships, conflict is not corrosive because there is respect for opinions and boundaries, physical and emotional safety, mental strength or stability and consistency.

In dysfunctional relationships, conflict is corrosive because:

  • there are no boundaries or boundaries are not respected.
  • win at all costs. opinions are taken as fact and one or all parties want to be right.
    • feeling like new rules are being introduced into every interaction. the new rules are not logical or necessary, but they make sure that one party wins and keeps control
  • there exists either physical or emotional violence
  • emotionally volatile individuals are easily triggered. All other parties walk on eggshells to avoid conflict.
    • in this case, cognitive dissonance thrives.
    • mental instability ensures that any minor conflict triggers dysfunctional defense mechanisms.
    • these include silent treatment, denial, criticism, counter attacks or projection etc
    • inconsistent promises and expectations making everything a moving target. promises are not kept and expectations change depending on moods and whims.

If we consider Esther’s case again, the best thing for her life had been to never meet QT. Or to never meet Hellon and join Finger of God. However, once she met them, the second best thing had been to recognize them for what they were and break ties early enough.

This is not to say that Esther was blameless in the events that led to the nightmarish escalation of her own life and that of her children. She was as much a part of the dysfunction as QT was.

May be, it could have turned out well if she had met and married a spouse who was emotionally and psychologically balanced. Or, maybe not. We will never know.

We all need healthy connections in order to heal and thrive. The best way to avoid being entangled in toxic, dysfunctional relationships is to recognize the warning signs, before your emotions and energy are completely committed and immersed in any relationship.

You know, just like when you are driving and there are road signs warning you of crossroads, dangerous junctions, pedestrian crossings, or dangerous curves ahead.

16 Warning signs

1. Complete disregard of the law
  • people that engage in criminal activities leading to arrests and problems with law authorities.
  • if they don’t fear or respect the law, they will harm you and take the consequences or get away with it.
2. Non-communicative and emotionally unable to handle adult conflict
  • adults who make it impossible to resolve conflicts with them.
  • irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
  • often crying when confronted with their mistakes, needs or opinions
  • behaving like a child who needs to be pacified constantly
  • act like a rebellious teenager – defiant and immature
3. Refusal to conform to any social norms – even those that are for the greater good
  • of course, we need to question norms, cultural beliefs and social rules that are harmful or non-progressie.
  • beware the individuals who refuse to conform to any norms
  • although they seem to expect the social norms to be applied in their favour e.g. spouses who emotionally/physically abuse their partners while demanding love, support and respect.
4. Addicted or Obsessive

Be careful when you meet an individual who is:

  • abusing drugs, sex, power or alcohol
  • obsessive about religion or other collective groups e.g. a sport, a tribe, training at the gym, their job etc
  • unable to let go of toxic circumtances e.g. fights with spouse>>>leaves relationship>>>comes back >>>repeats more than 7*7
5. Malicious and repeatedly deceptive
  • indicated by elaborate lies meant to harm or defraud others for personal profit or pleasure.
  • e.g. severally lying to borrow money and then refusing to be accountable for the money or to pay back.
6. Consistently irresponsible

which puts a strain on other people or/and relationships as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work ethic or honor financial obligations.

7. Constantly chooses impulsive solutions – even to problems that require thinking and planning
  • e.g. get pregnant by mistake and stop working to marry an unemployed partner.
  • or drop out of college mid-year, even though fees are paid for full-year, in order to marry.
8. Reckless with their own safety and the safety of others
  • e.g. drunk driving with the kids in the car.
  • starting physical fights they know they cannot win
9. Lack Empathy or/and Remorse
  • e.g. by refusing to acknowledge when they are wrong, when they have hurt someone, mistreated, when they have stolen from another etc
10. Live in chaos and seem to thrive in it
  • even when it causes them, you and others significant problems in daily life.
  • e.g. accepting and coming back to abuse and drama even after they have managed to leave and start new lives. 
11. Have trust issues
  • are unable to trust anyone, not even themselves
  • e.g. taking months to make simple decisions because they cannot trust their own judgement.
  • or refusing to believe that you love them, even though your actions and words demonstrate love.
12. Form and maintain inappropriate friendships
  • an alcoholic who spends most of his time with his alcoholic friends.
  • someone who ‘collects’ friends that enable their dysfunction by always agreeing with them.
  • gossipy personalities that surround themselves with gossipy peers, are also toxic.
13. Who cannot control their moods or/and behaviours
  • but by all means want to control yours
  • e.g. individuals whose moods and behaviour are dictated by other people’s moods or behaviour.
  • become irritable when you are unable to pay attention to them. Even if you communicate in clear terms that you need some time alone to care for yourself. 
  • who mirror your mood (sadness, exhaustion or anger) if you are sad, tired or angry, instead of them remaining calm and engaging in activities that could help you regain your equilibrium.
  • you end up comforting them or cheering them up and your emotions are disregarded.
  • or apologising to them though you haven’t done anything wrong.
14. Call you selfish when you do nice things for yourself
  • e.g. you spending YOUR money on yourself instead of giving them the money
  • or, you spending time with your friends instead of spending time with them. 
15. Have a history of previous abuse – as perpetrator or victim.

Many of us will genuinely try to avoid a known abuser, because, self-preservation. However, many of us also think that a victim of abuse is OK to build a relationship with.

We forget that once we stay in an abusive connection for a while, we develop toxic defence mechanisms that we carry over to the next relationship.

Let people heal from their traumas before you build close relationships with them. 

16. Shut you down, making you feel that you can’t be emotionally honest

Which means you can not discuss important things or set boundaries with them, without triggering their anger. E.g.

  • an individual who rolls their eyes as they tell you “you sound like my mother!” when you question his behaviour.
  • though he/she already told you he/she hates their mother.

Personality disorders

Starting next week, we will be breaking down the personality disorders to look out for when forming deep connections with other people.‘Personality’ refers to the pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviour that makes each of us the individuals that we are. In the post Awareness – the simplicities and complexities, we write more about values and beliefs.

Below are some of the most personality disorders to look out for which makes it complicated when we are establishing new connections. Future posts will dive into each of the 10 disorders below.

  1. Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
  2. Narcissistic personality disorder
  3. Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCDP)
  4. Paranoid personality disorder
  5. Schizoid personality disorder
  6. Schizotypal personality disorder
  7. Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  8. Histrionic personality disorder
  9. Avoidant (or anxious) personality disorder
  10. Dependent personality disorder

* Remember that most relationships have a level of dysfunction within them – because we all have a level of personality disorderliness within ourselves. Here, we are talking about damage control – safety, stability, consistency and holistic-health for us and for our loved ones.

The Cowardice of Ghosting

In the 10 months Growth Catalysts has been active, we have received 11 messages regarding ghosting. Ghosting as a mental health question. One message last week caught my heartstrings: “I feel soo desperate that he doesn’t reply, so I keep contacting him. I cannot seem to be able to stop myself. Can you give some advice on how I can stop myself?”

A few weeks ago, another person wrote “today, I woke up with the decision to go to her work and confront her! I can see she is active on WhatsApp and posted on Insta. I don’t understand why she would just ignore me, even if  have done/said something wrong! Can’t she just say what I have done and we can sort?”

The history of Ghosting

This has reminded me of mama Vinnie. Mama Vinnie arrived in Komarock one December morning with her 2 children. She had travelled from Busia on the night bus. Her husband and father to her children had been silent on her for over a year. He used to send parcels, messages and visit every 3 or 4 months, and then he had suddenly stopped without warning. After 10 months of silence, she had eventually sent her brother to look for him – see if he was still alive. Maybe he had lost his job and was homeless. If he had been attacked by thugs, and ended up in a hospital – alone, penniless.

Mama Vinnie was not prepared for the reality of him being alive, healthy and at a new job where he earned more. She was definitely not prepared to hear that her very own husband had met Wanja, a beauty from Embu, and moved in with her. They were expecting their first child. Mama Vinnie’s brother did not spare her when he told her that her beloved husband had told Wanja that he had never been married – had never found the love he was looking for until he met Wanja.

Mama Vinnie’s husband had ghosted her and the children but that is a story for next time. So, you see, though ghosting was identified as a social and communication disruptor and mental illness trigger in the mid-2000s, it has existed longer than that. The shape of it has changed due to technology’s speeded reply loops, but the process, intention and outcome are still the same.

People ghost you by breaking off a relationship without notice or explanation. They stop all communication and contact without any apparent warning or justification. This is often achieved and sealed by ignoring the partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate. It can happen with friends who just disappear, family members who even move towns and stop all communication, but it most often happens in intimate relationships

The Psychology of Ghosting

The reason psychologists started to interest themselves with ghosting, about 10yrs ago is most probably because they met a new kind of patient, one who had been ghosted and did not know how to move forward with life. Or a ghoster who treeated people as if they could be discaded without explanation. Ghosting has been described as emotional cruelty, and compared to other forms of emotional abuse such as passive-aggressive behaviour.

However, some ghosters have explained that they used ghosting as a self-defence mechanism; especially by women who have tried to reject a mate and the mate does not take no for an answer. Ignoring messages and all contact attempts from this kind of person is a way of saying NO, without having to face a potentially harmful personality.

Regardless of how ghosting is executed, it is especially hurtful for those being ignored because it leaves the feeling that you have been disrespected, ostracised and rejected. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us are used to rejection, but almost all of us would like to have an explanation for the rejection.

I think this is basically because at first, ghosting feels like silent treatment. In relationships, we all know that the silent treatment and/or stonewalling are used to punish us. We all hate being put through silent treatment because it is it as a form of manipulative punishment and manipulation often drives us crazy with worry, confusion and resentment.

  • What did I do?
  • Can I change your mind?

I have been running the question of ghosting on Twitter and the replies have been eye opening:

Karena in SA:

“The first time I was ghosted, I thought the person was injured or sick or something awful had happened to them. So I made an effort to go check on them and make sure everything was ok. I was totally surprised and confused to find them well – healthy, laughing – you know, going about their daily business as if nothing. That is when the hurt came. I felt so stupid! Like I did not matter at all? I made nice for the hour I spent with the person, but when I got home, I cried.

I had never been ghosted before. People always had replied to say no when they couldn’t meet. Guys had broken up when they were no longer interested. However, once I was ghosted for the first time, it continued to happen and I realized it was the same kind of people who ghosted.

You know the flaky insecure types who never commit to things and who cancel last minute because they cannot really commit to things?Those are the same ones who ghost. I realized, it may be easier for flaky individuals to go off the face of the earth than confront and explain face-to-face.

Nowadays, I am glad when someone ghosts. The ghoting tells me that it would’ve been a difficult relationship anyways. Prone to miscommunication or total lack of communication.”

Lincoln in KE:

“There are multiple reasons for ghosting,” Lincoln writes and goes on to list:

  • Cowardice
  • Peace of mind
  • Changeof fortune
  • Death
  • Avoiding responsibility
  • etc

Lona in UG:

“Maybe people ghost when they lose interest and they want to avoid confrontation? Or maybe they are busy and would communicate when they were less busy if we gave them time?”

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I am old fashioned and would like to be surrounded by old-fashioned people when it comes to relationships. Tell me in words when you:

  • are no longer interested in our relationship
  • have to cancel our appointment
  • are too busy to be kind
  • change your mind
  • lose respect
  • are afraid
  • feel overwhelmed
  • Etc

If a person ghosts me, I lose respect for them. Because what they are really saying is: “I cannot defend, explain or stand up for my feelings, choices, decisions, time, failures or relationships.”

That is exactly the kind of people I avoid. It is hard to accept when you are in the heartbreaking midst of ghosting, but it is important to remember that it is not about you who is being ghosted, it is about the ghoster.

What do you think of ghosting?

What do your physical scars say about your life?

All our scars do not make us Jason Momoa…

All scars are a sign of a healing or a healed wound, right? Or they are a Jason Momoa signum. Some scars are sensitive – the body still remembers the injury, itchy sometimes, a little painful in the cold or in the heat. Many scars are silent – the body has forgotten the injury, only the scarred skin remains as a reminder. Ever notice how some people get cute scars that don’t bother anyone except their own selves? While other people get those ugly scary scars that bother the whole world including their own mother?

One summer day

This week, I have been going through the scars I have on me. On a warm day, I went to the lakeside in our neighborhood for a swim, to be in the sun, to be with people and nature. Swedish summer is temperamental – 1 summer day where the weather and the water are warm at the same time. Sometimes, in the middle of July, you don’t know if that summer day has already come and gone.

Carpe diem is the phrase you are looking for. Sieze the summer day.

On summer’s warm day, I want to be outside so I don’t miss it. And on this day, I wear something that exposes my skin so it can meet and know the sun – which almost always makes me think a little extra about the scars on my legs. I often wonder if people are staring at my legs, my scars, the deformation – the un-beautiful bits of me. If the sun’s beams are shining extra bright on the scars, to expose them. Because when my mind focuses on my scars, it believes that everything and everyone, including the sun, have no interesting things to think about on summer’s best day – except stare at my scarred legs.

In my youth, my 1st instinct was to hide my legs, hide the scars, I loved long skirts and trousers. Youth is not a loyal friend, and life catches up with us fast. On this year’s summer day, I just walked out in my red shorts and when I arrived at the lakeside, I realized that I had not oiled my legs. I had both scars and dry legs. In public.

Scarred by Love and passion

In my youth, I would have gone back home to get oil for my legs. No doubt about that. This year though, I got to thinking – my scars do not hurt. They do not shout: “look at me!!?”

My scars do not smile insanely at passerby or scare children. They are silent. Infact, the scar on my right leg reminds me of my childhood years with my older brother Peter. I got the scar from him. By mistake. As a child, I felt that Peter was the coolest bestest young man/boy alive. I spent most of my day seeking his attention. This one day, he was busy doing something with a sharp object. Knowing myself, I was definitely running towards him the moment I saw he was ‘busy’. He did not even realize I was there before my leg was bleeding, and we were both screaming.

We do not remember the hours between the blood and screams and me coming home from the hospital. However, I do remember Peter carrying me everywhere on his back for weeks after the hospital visit. Or was it months? He was very attentive and sorry that my leg was injured. By the time my leg was healed, we had a totally different relationship Peter and me.

Why can’t remember feeling angry at Peter for the injury, and how is it that I have never been afraid of him? I remember his attention turned on me, he saw me, he knew I was there, he knew I craved his attention and he knew that I could get injured. He became protective of me. At school, if you wanted to fight with Peter, you just had to look at me the wrong way. We created a bond that would last till today, which has been good for both of us as adulthood complicates life into absurd levels. Both of us still reach out to each other, even when we are too exhausted to reach out to anyone else.

Scarred by fear

I have a 15-year old scar on my left eyelid. It is almost gone, invisible. But I sometimes stand in front of the mirror and look for it. This scar is from a boyfriend who pushed me into the corner of the living room cabinet-door because…I cannot remember why. When the blood run down my eye, I was afraid I had injured my eye. I must have looked frightened. He had smiled as I started crying and he rolled his eyes and left.

“You are so sensitive,” he had said as he left. 

Because our brains are selective rememberers, I remember his smile. How come I remember how angry and fearful his smile made me feel?

Obviously, we broke up that day because I got scared and when I get scared, I run. I am not scared anymore. However, I still remember how it made me feel to stand beside someone who did not join me in my fear, when blood was running down my face.

Scarred by life savers

Since he was younger, Seal has suffered from discoid lupus erythematosus.

I have a 6-year old scar on my lower abdomen from an operation performed with the intention of saving my life. The invisible that was eating me inside would have killed me withing ten years if it wasn’t removed. To remove it, I had to sign a paper saying “I accept scars” on my tummy-skin and inside my belly.

I slept through the operation, obviously, meaning I don’t remember pain, or fear, or worry. Why do I remember the restless worry in the months leading up to the operation? Plus, the depressive relief and anticipation of health that came after the operation?

Nowadays, I see the scar as the place where life, hope and health entered me.

What do your scars tell you about your life?

For me, to be the possessor of properly-healed-scars is a confirmation that I was nurtured. Someone was present to care for my wounds when I couldn’t. It could as well have been the opposite. These scars, our old healed scars, they are not just scars – they are:

  • life-saving operations
  • a challenge accepted
  • moments shared with someone
  • lifetimes spent alone
  • a journey completed
  • declarations of love and loyalty
  • a child neglected
  • seconds when attention turned away
  • fear defeated
  • lovers who are a little too rough
  • an abusive spouse
  • a seeker of control
  • a fight you won
  • one who uses fear to get what they want
  • parents who hit to punish
  • lacking empathy
  • a fight you won
  • inadequate love
  • games gone awry
  • a tree climber fallen from the mango tree
  • a farmer with tools sharpened too sharp
  • drivers who forgot to brake
  • cyclists on a rainy day
  • trauma survivors who self injure to relieve pain
  • >>>>>>>>>

What do your physical scars say about you and your life?

Good Health is the Greatest Blessing of all

The entrepreneur and author Phineas Taylor Barnum said:

“The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well, or seek happiness when he/she is sick.”

He should know. Many of us have many blessings. Some blessings we take for granted because they have always been there; we never needed to fight for them, or miss them. Parents, siblings, friends, spouses, homes, an education, a job, nice bodies, good looking faces – health. Some people get a limited number of blessings, sometimes, some one only gets one blessing. One. Good health. What happens when the only blessing you have, your good health is snatched from you in the prime of life? This happened to Kagendo in January 2018, at 27yrs old, she found out that she had a kidney disease. The news, of course changed her entire life – current and future life.

The Lucky ones

27yrs old is the age when young women feel they have definitely, point-of-no-return, left the “young girls” club, and are enjoying being women. The teenage yrs are over with their depressing unrelenting confusion. Early 20s are over with the panic of finding a boyfriend and making him a husband – by force and pregnancy if need be. A lucky woman has her 1st child before she turns 27yrs old. She has parents who love and spoil their grandchildren, and siblings who dote on their nephews and nieces.

If lucky, a 27yr old woman has an acceptable mother in-law – a mother in-law who dislikes her just enough to keep a deep friendship at bay, but respects her enough to bring her arrow-roots and a hen from the countryside when the 1st baby is born. Hopefully, the mother in-law loves, respects and fears her son enough to keep her opinion to herself when it comes to his wife. Lucky women have a man who comes home every evening even if he is sending funny albeit disrespectful messages to other women on messenger and whatsApp:

“I love you!”

“you are so beautiful!”

“darling”

“babe”

“slay queen”

“you need Jesus”

When you get nothing, and then it is take away from you

Kagendo and her brother did not have these luxuries or blessings. Their mother died in 2004 when she was 13yrs old. Dad was long dead so the death of their mom ultimately rendered them orphans. Mental health questions began here – grief and abandonment trauma. When both your parents die when you are young, you feel like someone is working overtime to mess your life and you wonder what it is you did to deserve it. For some time, you notice the rich man/woman of your village and see all his/her sins and wonder why God blesses him/her, and not you who tries so hard.

You watch not only your life, but your sibling’s life getting lost in the maze of relatives who cannot help you because they have no idea how to help you. Or because they have nothing to spare. As a young woman, you walk through your small town in your old falling apart shoes, and notice every girl your age who has bata shoes. White shoes. Brown shoes. Heeled shoes. Flat shoes. Shoes everywhere. Because your hair is a birds’ nest for the birds of your county, you notice other women’s hair. Braided. Permed. Expensive Brazilian weaves. How can they afford this?! How does God send that to them, and a bird nest to me?

But she persisted

Still, you persevere. Move on. Shut down. Trusting few, or nobody. It is hard to even trust life itself – why would you? Hustle continues non-stop. You’re building a personality that could survive anything.

Eventually, your entire focus goes to yourself and your surviving siblings if any. So, I imagine Kagendo’s hustle gears kicking in to keep herself from homelessness, and to leave no man behind, she watched out for her brother. As she started to hustle for stability, hoping to find a job and possibly a husband and hopefully a decent mother-in-law to build a love/hate relationship with, and sisters and brothers-in-law to celebrate Christmas among – her body started to work against her.

No one ever tells you that your body may disappoint you in your twenties, right? Imagine her shock and sadness! Mourning for the health she had lost, people she had lost, opportunities never given, love never declared or received. And grief for the future that may never be.

Chronic illness messes with our mental equilibrium

After a period of sickness and countless hospital visits, doctors finally gave her the name of her next trial. Kidney disease. Chronic illness is a major trigger for mental illness (depression, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic worry etc). If her parent’s death hadn’t affected her at all, this diagnosis could not leave her untouched. Kagendo is now 28yrs old and 2 times a week, she has dialysis. Dialysis costs money but we will not speak about that today. We will speak about the long term of this young woman who got almost no breaks in life; whose life is now hanging on threads with the dialysis machine as a puppet master. She needs a kidney transplant valued at 2,5million shillings. She needs the transplant today if she is to survive, thrive and build a life for herself.

We are raising money for the kidney transplant and we need your help! Kagendo needs your help!

Are you in Kenya? Please contribute to the Paybill or Mpesa number above.

Are you somewhere else in the world? Please contribute to our Paypal Account – paypal.me/GrowthCatalysts – and tag the donation “Consolata”.

Are you on Facebook? We have a Fundraiser on Facebook

Thank you.

One Day I Will Write About The Love I Lost

By Camistare

She loved me enough to walk away, loved me so deeply to let go for that is how she put it. I always thought if she ever left I would die and I was right because when she left I died to all that I ever lived for. It all sounded like a joke or maybe to her it was it must have been just another text,

“Hi! I think we should take a break”

That’s where we began.

I didn’t know it then but was to soon find out first hand that the girl of my dreams actually loved me enough to know that we had no future together. She could not see it, we could not be, and she was right. It was her last self-sacrificing act of unrequited love. How could I be right when she knew what was best for both of us? The worst part of it was that she kept telling me it had nothing to do with me, it was all about her.

Soon I found myself hanging in the balance; dangerously swerving at the edges of the stiff cliffs, tittering on the brinks of total destruction, failing at all attempts to hold it together. I was officially caught between a rock and a hard place. Doomed if I communicated, doomed if I didn’t. Judged if I reached out and judged if I didn’t. Before I knew it, everything went South and my whole life went with it. I remember the countless nights I would sit in my dark room with lights out and stare at my phone, endless days I locked myself indoors, beneath the blankets, because even daylight depressed me. Constantly hoping, praying, craving, longing for just a text from her, battling within myself whether to send her one and offend her or hold it still and die a little more inside for that love.

Those days when a “please call me” text would have meant more than a million pages of love poems or a million shillings MPESA message yet they never came, all I had were blank screens and painful aches that no medicine known to man can treat. For days I lived, ate and slept, walked absent mindedly in the streets hoping for that vibration from my phone, checking it every time if maybe she had called and I didn’t hear but she never called and I was damned if I called her. The further we grew apart the deeper my heart craved for her arms or even just her voice. Even harsh abusive words from her over the phone would have healed my rotting wounds. I waited and waited for my dreams to come true but as the clock ticked only my nightmares became more profound.

Reality finally dawned on me that she had actually left me, maybe for the love of a better man. That is, if men really love. People tell me about hell but I have been somewhere worse. I don’t think hell scares me. Desperation became my most reliable friend, company and ever present companion. Loneliness was more faithful to me than our undying love. All because I loved her and she was right when I was wrong. The light within my soul went out. I ran in shame from the light, retreated to a dark corner where my dead spirit could rest in peace away from the prying eyes but those eyes, damn the eyes, they always found their way to me.

As I lost myself, everything else went with the man me that I was yet I was stuck. I was in a dilemma because even had I found the words, how do the dead speak to the living? Can the living really understand what death feels like even if the dead man found words to accurately relate his dead state? How do you explain losing your mind to people who have theirs intact? How does a dead man survive in the world of the living? Yet there I was, every rising sun trying to act warm and okay, swift and agile with my dead cold corpse and stiff remains incapacitated by rigor mortis. Man must live, I kept telling myself every single day.

One day I will talk about this pain but not even words can express its depth, ferocity and magnitude, those words are yet to be found. I am however wrong. I am still a child and a stupid one at that, a spoilt little kid without control of his own emotions. That’s why my broken pieces would still plead within: “Oh God but I love her!” Kneel my broken being and scattered pieces and pray fervently to a God who had either gone on a honeymoon and switched off all his communication lines or plugged his ears with sound proofed headphones blaring loud music yet I never stopped.

My broken pieces kept pleading my cause even in their state of nothingness, the bleeding mess and scattered pieces kept asking God: “But God I love her, please bring her back!” He never answered me. Oh poor silly me, how was I supposed to know that men never love? How was the naive me supposed to understand the gravity of the statements; “all men are………” “you men are…..?” I guess only the love experts know it too well, so I keep right-wrong with me to save you the agony of feeling a man’s internal turmoil that should not even exist in the first place.

I am yet to find closure. It has been tricky because I still don’t know exactly why she ever left. Maybe I will never know but I will right my misled outlook and thank the heart that bled and healed, gift the soul that rose from the ashes, grease the bones that rose from the grave and salute the heart that recollected her broken pieces. Thank her for being whole again. I owe my heart this story so I will let her tell it when she – my heart- finally gathers the guts to speak about what she went through. One day I will talk about the love I lost.

#TheMusingsOfAMadMan #TheLoudThoughtsOfASilentPen #Camistare2019 #WoundsAndScars #UnfinishedBusiness

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