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6 Reasons Why I Stayed In An Abusive Marriage - CBT Kenya
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  • Posted by: cbtkeadmin

6 Reasons Why I Stayed In An Abusive Marriage – CBT Kenya

Guilt, shame, fear and intimidation are the weapons of choice for abusers.

I was pinned to the ground. One of his hands covering my mouth, the other strangling me. My screams were embarrassing him and I was waking up the neighbours. It was some minutes to midnight.

 He was angry that I had delayed feeding the chicken earlier in the day. He accused me of being out sleeping with other men.

I left the next day after 5 years of abuse. This time I did not go back. It has been ten years now.

How I met him

I met him in my first year of university when I was 21 years old. He was a third-year student.

 My first love was blissful. Lunch dates, long phone conversations and kisses in the backseat of the school bus. I spent most of my school days with him; even adjusting my class schedule to match his.

But in the rosiness, I became aware of a sinister side of him. He was very insecure with a raging temper. He would scroll through my cellphone to see who I had called. Any deleted call history led to accusations of cheating.

In 2004, I graduated with a degree in Psychology, but after an internship at a mental health clinic, I chose to work in another field. 

Through his connections, I got a job in a different industry.

The mask started to come off.

I was 25 years when he first beat me up.

A night out with friends had turned demeaning. He spent the night dancing and flirting with a colleague of his.

On the way home I asked him about it, I was met with silence.

The moment we walked in through the door, he started yelling, asking how I dared question his behaviour. He pushed me around, punched and kicked me.

 What the hell was going on?

I screamed in protest but that only seemed to fuel him. He continued to rain blows and kicks on me. In a rage, I looked around the house and started to smash his electronics, wall hangings and cellphone. Anything that I could lay my hands on, I broke. After what felt like an eternity the beating stopped. I walked upstairs to get ready for bed. He came in behind me, tore my pants off and raped me. 

The next day life continued as usual. He dropped me off to an early morning company training. I sat through the session in a daze- replaying the incidents of the previous night in my mind. It felt like a bad dream, but the broken items in the house said otherwise.

I did not tell anyone about it.

Two weeks later, he sent a bouquet of roses to my office. The office gossips had labelled me the pampered wife of a rich man. The flowers were more fuel for their gossip. I protested against the false display of love. My mom was called and I was reported for being ungrateful.

The Reasons Why I Stayed

1.Low Self Esteem

 I went back because I felt like no one would love me. I felt unworthy, like used goods that no one would want. The physical abuse had been mixed with insults and degrading comments. He called me a malaya, with a dirty, used body. He questioned my mothering decisions. I was accused of being a bad wife.

He blamed me for making him angry; for disrespecting him and leaving the house dirty. I accepted the blame and believed that I was the problem.

2. Time Investment

We were together for nine years. We had been through highs and lows of life. Our first jobs, first flights, first cars. He had helped me get my first job. I was there at the implementation of many decisions.

I feared that starting over with someone else would end the same way. 

3.Family and Society Expectations

 I did not want to bring shame to my family by getting a divorce. Each time I went back home, I was urged to stay and fight for my marriage. My relatives urged me to become submissive, to keep a clean house, to pamper him with love and respect.

My mother in law would blame me for the troubles: ‘umefanya nini sasa? was her oft-repeated question.

To the office gossips, I was the pampered rich wife. I had a good life. How would I explain otherwise to them?

4.Fear and intimidation

I had left in 2007, swearing to myself that I would never go back.

During that time, I met someone else; and he found out about it. One Friday morning, he came to my mother’s house to discuss a reconciliation. We closed the meeting with prayers and laughter.

 I got into his car, certain I was being dropped at the office. When we got to Uhuru Highway he turned left towards Waiyaki Way instead of going to the CBD.

That day, we ended up in the village at my grandmother’s house. When we came back to Nairobi I went back to his house. 

Nine months later I gave birth to a baby girl.

5.Financial Dependency

When I got pregnant he urged me to leave my job. He promised to take care of us as he made enough money. I left employment and became fully dependant on him.

I didn’t want to burden my retired parents with two extra mouths. 

6.The Effects of Long Term Trauma

The human brain is designed to protect itself. When you face continuous trauma it switches off your emotional and mental reactions as a way to keep you alive. The same way your phone goes to battery saver mode when your charge is low.

This process is known as dissociation.

For me; I stopped feeling because emotions were costly. The fear made me dread the night, feeling sad made me tired. 

I became an observer to my life- watching an unending horror movie.

The Reason Why I Left

I left because my daughter saw me pinned to the ground. She saw her mother getting strangled and been hurt. She was 21 months old.

I knew that she did not deserve the pain, conflicts and arguments.

She deserved better.


At CBT Kenya, we offer holistic support and maintenance for mental health challenges.

If you are a survivor of domestic abuse, we send light and love to you as you go through your situation.

You must seek counselling to help you learn different ways of coping with life. Therapy will equip you with clarity and strength to handle the effects of abuse.

Our team of professionals are trained in CBT- {Cognitive Behavioral Therapy}- psychotherapy that is effective in treating trauma.

We are located at Kim’s Court along Theta Lane in Kilimani. You can reach us on telephone: +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or via email at info@cbtkenya.org


Author: cbtkeadmin

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