Psychologists know what they mean when they suggest that some events mar or make us early in life, but I know for a fact that at any age, verbal abuse (no matter how small) can still scar you deep. I recognised mine quite early and I tried putting a stop to it, but unfortunately, the little damage done shaped me in a different way than I had intended.
I was just 19 years old when I met him and although it wasn't love at first sight, I loved him regardless. Junior is the last born of his well-to-do family, and he sure acted it! I loved him regardless of his flaws, and he accepted me with mine. The relationship moved so fast and we were quickly recognised as a "devote couple". I tried quite hard to be the perfect girlfriend, too hard now that I think of it (must have been the age). The fact that Junior always called me his "wife" must have also been a precursor to my attitude because I did everything to please him. When I wasn't in school, I was with him. I fed him daily, and basically took care of him. I had to keep him in check, and monitored his affairs. I helped him whichever way I could, all the while ignoring his apparent lack of respect for me. I kept telling myself that I loved him and love does not look for flaws afterall love endures. Quite early in the relationship, I tried telling myself I wasn't his errand girl even though I cooked for his friends, and did his bidding. I lost my virginity to him and made my body his, in the bid to please him. I gave, and never complained until he started being more aggressive. He never tried to hit me (he wouldn't have dared), but he somehow became aggressive in his words or maybe he had always been like that and I just hadn't seen it.
I had experienced a near-death phase less than 6months into our relationship, and it seemed I came back as a different person who saw more clearly.
Junior kept using vulgar words at me. He kept making me look and feel stupid at every turn. He would call me a dullard in the presence of his friends and try to make it sound like a joke afterwards. He never even bothered to pretend like he respected my person in public. He would ask me if I was dumb just for trying to clarify issues with him and depending on his mood, he would ask if I was drunk or stupid when I asked questions. I mustn't forget the times he asked me if I was "sick upstairs". He never once encouraged me, but knew how to drop my morale; how to tell me "I couldn't do it". It seems like a blessing now that he never liked to comment on my beauty, because I fear I might have lost confidence in my own looks. He believed and trusted his "girlfriends" more than he did me, and when there was an issue with them, I was always to blame. On different occasions after sex, he commented on how I sounded like a bush baby in bed, and that statement made me very conscious of myself. Till this day, I don't bother making any noise in bed. Regardless of the fact that I had etiquette and speak better & fluent queen's english than he did, Junior knew how to make me doubt my own knowledge. Once, he drank so much and called me a slut, asking me how many guys I had fucked before him. That wasn't the most painful of his insults but it definitely stung and that was when i decided to stop keeping quiet. I was so used to sitting by, pretending everything was fine, and gulping as much bullshit as I was served that it wasn't easy getting back myself. Hey, I don't blame him! I grew up with a father who, although he loves me very much, is also part of the reason I tell myself I can't do anything right. A father that unknowingly insinuates that I'm useless and makes me cry by telling me I am the sole reason my mother is ageing faster than her age.
Today, I have contemplated going for my masters but I'm scared I would fail and I give up on it before even applying; I have written a billion business proposals and thought about a trillion ways to make money, but i always find a way to tell myself 'I can't do it'. Today, I don't even know if I can take care of myself because I have been told so many times that I can't!. I barely make suggestions or comments on issues as I'm scared I might sound stupid. I'm afraid someone else is going to see me, and see that I'm a dullard or that I'm dumb. Till this day, I still avoid relationships because I dread sexual encounter. I have grown taking things to heart, believing, and telling myself "they were right", inhibiting my own progress; allowing them to design my life and my attitude!