We’d only been dating 5 months but had known each other for a few years. When we first met everything in me said, “HE IS TROUBLE”, but his charm and kindness towards my weak, broken, and vulnerable self upon returning to Ghana was everything I “needed” at the time. I had just come off the heels of heartbreak from a previous toxic relationship, and thanks to a recession, my financial independence as a babysitter had come to a screeching stop. I was terrified to start my new job as an elementary teacher, but this guy made it ALL BETTER by sweeping me off my feet and taking me into his home after only a month of dating. I finally felt like “THIS IS WHAT LOVE IS SUPPOSED TO FEEL LIKE!” The passion, the laughs, the deep conversations, waking up to breakfast every morning before going to work, and arriving home to flowers because of how proud he was of me.
“The excitement he felt knowing that I was going to be the mother of his children…”
He told me about the diamond he had that he couldn’t wait to put on my finger. The excitement he felt knowing that I was going to be the mother of his children… All these romantic gestures and impressive words of affirmation, as well as his friends and family confirming that they had never seen him this happy with a woman, gave me the green light to dive right in, despite observing and hearing stories of mistreatment towards other women. My body and mind started sensing things weren’t right a few months into the relationship, but my trusted best friend kept assuring me that he was head over heels for me whenever I would bring up this negative feeling that I was sensing. Was I just projecting past heartbreaks on to him? No, I can’t be, because this was different …In my previous relationships, I never felt like I was being lied to about minor things, like their whereabouts or who they were with. Heartbreak was familiar to me, but cheating and deceit were never part of the equation. My paranoia escalated over his suspicious behavior as the months unfolded, leading to ugly fights where I was repeatedly told I need help dealing with my “demons”, and that there was no reason for him to hurt me.
“I allowed myself to quickly get sucked back into his life”
The guilt and shame I’d feel for creating such “crazy” scenarios about the man I loved frightened me, and I felt I didn’t deserve his love for being so distrusting. So I continued on, driving my friends insane about how I felt, and proceeded to over-post lovey-dovey pictures on social media as a sad attempt to convince both the world and myself that everything was great! On that freezing Monday night, a week before my 20th, everything WAS great. He had just kissed me goodbye, told me how much he truly loved me, and I was at ease knowing he was exactly where he said he was going for once. It was a rare moment of relief, cozying up with a glass of cranberry juice and looking over the invites for my birthday party… on his computer. You’ll have to believe me when I say that never in my 20 years had I invaded a boyfriend’s privacy. And when he left that night I had ZERO intention of snooping because after all, I was feeling relieved and loved. Looking back, I now see it as a divine intervention when I “innocently” clicked on the little white envelope at the bottom of his screen and found multiple emails to his ex.
“It took everything in me to leave..”
Your voice made me miss you way too much…. Sorry, I replied late babe, I was at a wedding, which of course made me think of you the entire time. (A wedding we were at together, and where I had taken care of his puking, hung-over ass the next morning) My stomach dropped. I could feel my heart pounding. And my clothes that I’d been trying to keep warm in, immediately drenched in sweat. This was the first piece of evidence I found that confirmed my instincts were accurate, despite his efforts to convince me how damaged I was to believe he would hurt me. He came up with the most ridiculous excuses I desperately wanted to believe. Got down on his knees, crying actual tears, and begged me to forgive him, reminding me how much he wanted to put that diamond on my finger. It took everything in me to leave, but the truth is I allowed myself to quickly get sucked back into his life.
Without him, I felt what I imagine a drug addict would feel going through withdrawals. He had been my external source of love that I wasn’t able to give myself. I was so desperate to get things back to the way they were in the beginning, that I did my best to accept and forgive many of his explanations in order to move forward. But I’m sure it won’t shock you to hear that things continued to get worse. He surprised me with the cutest puppy one night, it wasn’t for me, it was for US to bring us closer together. Again, my body said Bullshit! But I never said anything, considering we were working on our relationship to last a lifetime.
Then I found a pair of underwear that wasn’t mine. More excuses and I let it go.
Then I discovered he bought the same dog for another woman. More excuses and I let it go.
Then a second pair of underwear appeared in his cupboard… The universe was repeatedly serving me the ugly truth on a silver platter, but I kept pushing it away. I was so far gone to the point that I’d much rather believe I was the crazy paranoid insecure woman he painted me to be than have him be a description of a narcissistic sociopath that I felt incapable of NOT loving. I had already been convinced by him and trusted loved ones that it was me who was the problem. So I became a shell of a person, ten kilos underweight, breakouts on my face. My physical appearance got so bad that people at my job were always asking me if I was okay. I felt so much shame teaching my preschool kids about love and peace while I literally felt like I was dying inside.
“His tangled web of lies unraveled through more acts of divine intervention..”
Another blowout in my relationship in June after more shady behavior unfolded. He texted my best friend to say, “Take care of Kimya. She is crazy.” I collapsed in her apartment and said, “for once this man is telling the truth, I have gone absolutely crazy.” And as I embarked on a challenging road to recovery, desperately searching for who I was again, his tangled web of lies unraveled through more acts of divine intervention, confirming that all my instincts and fears over the year were 100% valid. He was indeed keeping me separate from the women he got the puppy for(different women from the emails) because he’d been dating her for over four months while he’d been dating me. The layers upon layers of lies and manipulation he pulled on myself and the other woman inspire a Lifetime Movie script. The insidious layers of deceit and self his innocence were beyond measure, even with all the hard evidence that proved his guilt after it all came out in the wash. Not only do sociopaths go to great lengths to manipulate you, they hook into all of your weaknesses, convincing you that you’re the crazy one, but they also defame you to mutual friends, co-workers, and anyone you both know. Making sure they all learn how “insane” you are.
One afternoon while he was away on a business trip, I finally decided to leave that house and leave him for good and made sure I never looked back.
Years later, I can safely say that I’ve gotten to a place where I’m actually GRATEFUL this nightmare happened. During that horrific time, I tried multiple therapists and would leave sessions feeling worse. I had finally found a church that a friend attended, the first time I assisted in Sunday service, the preaching was so powerful that I felt so much peace and forgiveness in my heart at the end of the service. I could have never called myself a spiritual person but over the months I truly started praying and had a personal relationship with God.
I now have the ability to say “NO” without an apology, creating more room for my yes’s. I ask for what I need and want to know in all of my close relationships, without shaming and labeling myself as too needy or unworthy.
Did you enjoy reading this? Can you relate? How did this make you feel? Leave a comment down below….