“It became a song I sang even in relationships. Be strong, be silent, tomorrow is another day.”Rumbi*, Friendship Bench Client
My mum passed away when I was 6 and my dad was in and out of relationships from then. I became angry at him for moving on and not mourning my mum for as long as I wanted him to. I was also exposed to a lot of emotional abuse by the different women I was made to live with. I hated my dad for letting me go through all this and even for my mum’s death. Everyone I opened up to told me to hold on a little longer, work hard in school and get myself out of that situation. It became a song I sang even in relationships. Be strong, be silent, tomorrow is another day. So, as you may have guessed my relationships didn’t go so well. If it wasn’t cheating it was lying or what I later realised was abuse. And what would I do? Cry myself to sleep, forgive and move on. Or so I thought, the reality was that I was brewing anger in me and I didn’t even realise.
I thought I was alright until a friend of mine pointed out that the way I speak about myself shows low self esteem. My views on social topics like friendship, love and marriage began to reflect things that were eating me up inside.
The most difficult part had to be accepting that I needed to talk to someone. It was also the wisest step in my healing. My friend got me to Friendship Bench and I had sessions in person then online due to the national lockdown.
Having someone to listen whilst I talked about everything, from what I had been through to how I felt and why I felt it helped a lot. I forgave my dad because I realised that by forgiving him I was released from my resentments, I learnt how to communicate my needs and talk about my feelings to him. I got to understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean that people won’t hurt me again but that I will not judge them from past experiences. I left relationships that disadvantaged me and I have been better at voicing out my opinions and feelings in a way that doesn’t trigger fights but also leaves me at peace.
I am proud of myself for going through the sessions. I am at peace from within. A load I have been carrying for a long time has been lifted.
I’m thankful to Bernice from Friendship Bench for being there and checking on me.
* Names and certain identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.