Being raised by a single mother, who had to leave her abusive husband, made life difficult for Eniola Adeniji’s family because they had to start from the scratch, but Eniola was determined to make it in life.
She worked so hard that few months to her 20th birthday, Eniola got her first car. By 21, she had over N2million worth of shares. At 23, she got married.
Sadly, that was a mistake, because at 26, she was divorced, having faced three years of torture with the man, who claimed to love her.
Today, Eniola is encouraging women in abusive marriages to leave, start again and make a better meaning of their lives.
In this interview with Sola Abe for woman.ng, Eniola shares the details of her abusive marriage with her ex-husband.
How she met him
I was dating my first boyfriend when I met my husband. He asked me out but I chased him, I wasn’t interested because I was with someone else. Five years down the line, I was no longer with my first boyfriend, and then I just received a mail when I was in Ghana because I lived in Ghana for some time.
The mail came from my ex-husband reminding me how we met and all. So, we started dating but it was a long distance relationship because we were not in the same country. The closest time we spent was about two months to the wedding, and in those two months, I saw a lot of things. He was mean and vindictive. I saw it but I was young, naïve and silly. I was worried about every other person. The aso-ebi had been distributed; the invitation card had gone round, so there was nothing I could do.
I didn’t have a good support system. I had nobody, I was worried about what people were going to say about my mum, and so, I sucked it up. I decided to go on with the wedding with the thought that I would change him and love him into being a better person.
On our engagement day, he didn’t buy 50 per cent of what was in the list given to him. He gave me an empty box. My family was really angry. That day, I cried to bed. I didn’t sleep until 3am; he was begging me on the phone because I told him I wasn’t going to show up on the wedding day. I wish I had somebody; I wish I had true friends, the two friends I had then were just envying me that I was getting married before them.
On the wedding day, when I was walking down the aisle, I was sad and gloomy. He never held my hands nor told me I was beautiful. Never for once did he tell me I was beautiful for the three years that we were married, he said things to put me down instead.
As married couple living in the same house, we never talked. He would sit away from me with his laptop, while talking. In those three years, I never saw him read his bible nor pray. In all of this, I was determined to make it work.
I was sexually abused everyday because after sex, I was always bleeding. He knows nothing about foreplay. Gradually I became depressed and at a time, everything I was thinking about was just death. I got to a point that all I wanted to do was to die because I didn’t see a way out.
Because like everybody else, I thought that, where would I start again? I had no money again because I spent a lot of my money for the wedding with him saying he would return it but he never did.
I was so depressed that I went from size 6 to size 12 and I had no clothes. In three years, he never bought me any clothe or slippers. On my birthdays, he gives me a card and the smallest plate of Supreme ice cream. He shops for all the things needed in the house.
My phone was stolen during the wedding and so, I couldn’t tell anybody what I was going through. He doesn’t want you to have money because he thought that I might go out and call people. So, I talked to my family whenever he calls them.
I couldn’t even afford money for my hair. There was a time that if he didn’t give me money for pad, I’ll have to cut some of the wrappers my mum gave me. It was that bad. I lost my self esteem; I lost who I used to be.
Then there was the fertility issue, I wasn’t getting pregnant and as usual, it was my fault. At a time, I took about 23 injections for fertility treatment, which worsened my depression because I felt if I took in and have a child, he’ll be nicer.
The focus was always on me until we traveled and we met a specialist who tested the both of us because prior that time, I was the only one, made to go for the fertility test.
Then it was discovered he had no sperm count. I wasn’t surprised because in minutes, he was done and he wouldn’t be able to go another round of sex until days later.
How she left
My mummy and sister were having dreams of me dying but they didn’t know what was happening, so, they started praying and it was then I started coming to my senses and I started rebuking the thoughts of death that had formed in my head.
Two months later, he was transferred to Lagos and I was happy I was going to get a job. I wasn’t even thinking about leaving yet. I was just happy I won’t be depending on him.
By then, I was really sick and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. When we got to Lagos, I was still sick and he wouldn’t take me to the hospital because he didn’t want to spend his money.
One Sunday, we got back from church and I wanted to make him food and there was no water running upstairs, so I took one pure water to cook. He saw me putting the water in a pot, and he launched at me and started abusing me till I finished cooking the food.
He abused me so much that when I got upstairs, I removed the wedding ring and threw it over the fence and said it was over. I cleaned the house that day despite the fact that I was very sick, I didn’t know where the energy came from, I just cleaned. I was the slave in the house and he was the boss.
On Monday morning after he left for work, I packed some of my stuffs into my smallest box and I left. I called my sister that I needed to leave my husband’s place or I may die. She sent me money to come to her house.
Meanwhile, he had told the gateman not to let me leave the house but I lied to him that I was going to a tailor’s place, so, he let me go.
The following day he went to my mum’s place and was shouting, “she’s my wife and till death do us part, nobody can take her away from me.”
He came to my sister’s place and dragged me to the keke he brought as he didn’t come with his car. I was still very sick and the driver of the keke he brought was cautioning him on how he was dragging me. So, I told the driver not to let me go with him and I was dragging the baba’s cloth that he was going to kill me. So, I was taken to the hospital and he was there with me that night.
The next morning he dropped N1, 000 and never came back again. I was there for weeks and referred to a psychologist and psychiatrist. His family didn’t call at all. Until a revelation came that he wasn’t supposed to fall in love with me and that the marriage was a farce.
I didn’t remember all these until I became well. Three months before we got married, the mother called me that I should come to Osogbo, she needs to see me, she took me to Ede with one man to go wash my head and I never remembered. They wanted to use me for a ritual.
You know all this rubbish that they say that your son would die, so marry somebody, transfer the death to the person you marry and then, move on. So, I was the scape-goat. So I understood why he had to be mean because I wasn’t supposed to come out of that marriage alive.
So, when the truth came out and my family called them to come and explain their reason for taking me to Ede, they didn’t show up till date. I filed for divorce and he filed for divorce too, so, I dropped mine.
The turning point for me was when I realised that I would die if I stayed in that marriage and that nothing else mattered except my life, which was more important than the marriage.
Her process of healing
It took me time. I heard people mock me. I dropped a lot of self-centered and self-righteous friends who thought I had failed. I read a lot, I prayed and I developed a stronger walk with God.
Jumping into a new relationship is not the solution. Give it time because often times, the next man might be a good person but you mess it up because you’re still hurting. Just take your time.
How she feels about all she has been through
Over the years, I no longer feel sad about it. I feel everything we go through is for our purpose. I’m happy I went through it, now I can help other people not to go through it. Sometimes, we are stronger than we know.
It’s better for someone to go through one thing so that five thousand other women will not go through it. So, when I look back now, I feel fulfilled to be able to share my stories and tell other people that they are not alone.
I have some women call me and tell me they want to leave but they don’t know if they can survive it and I tell them they can. There is no greater message that if I can survive it, then, you can survive it.