Relationships form a huge part of our lives, so much so that sometimes people find themselves soaked up in a love that even when the relationship is toxic, they somehow remain even more convinced that it is the love they deserve.
Often people say love is beautiful, but what is more beautiful is an equally yoked love and not an unrequited, one sided love affair. There comes a time when the honey-moon phase ends and the relationship has lost its sparks with one party in the relationship unwilling to commit any longer, it is important to acknowledge it is no longer working out and let go and close the chapter. When love is forced, emotional abuse often takes over.
Author of Sex keeps a Men and the brains behind Sister Retreats, Bogadi Serumola, has initiated a monthly event that is aimed at giving a platform to women to discuss topics which build them. Here are some of the things that she says make people to stay in toxic relationship.
Emotional abuse destroys self-esteem
Serumola shared with WeekendLife that when self-esteem is destroyed, it makes it difficult to regain it. “Oftentimes, people in emotionally abusive relationships may not understand that they are being abused because there is no violence involved.
Also, many will dismiss or downplay emotional abuse because they do not think it is as bad as physical abuse. It is hard for those in abusive relationships to leave their partners after they have been continuously made to feel worthless and that there are no better options for themselves. For those in physically abusive relationships, they tend to feel that with their scars and bruises, nobody will ever accept them or love them as they are,” she said.
The Cycle of Abuse
After every abusive incident comes a make-up honeymoon phase. The flowers and chocolates always comes after every pinching incident.
“Often when an abusive situation happens, it is followed by the abuser doing something nice or apologising and promising that they will never do it again. This makes their partner minimise the original abusive behaviour. Anxiety is also involved, the abused becomes very scared of the new ‘normal’ of doing things correctly even when they wish to,” she explained.
It’s dangerous to leave
“Many times, leaving an abusive relationship is not only emotionally difficult, but can also be life-threatening. In fact, the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is post break-up. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time during the relationship,” she hinted.
It is not just hard to breakup safely, it’s also hard to escape the cycle of control
Oftentimes after breaking free from an abusive relationship, fear creeps in as it is not easy to break free from the hands of an abuser.
“People in abusive relationships often attempt to break-up with their partner several times before the break-up sticks. On average, a person in an abusive relationship will attempt to leave several times before finally leaving for good.
But questions like ‘how? Where do I go from here? Won’t he/she find out?’ are what makes the escape somehow impossible to them.”
Society perpetuates a ride-or-die mind-set
Those in unhealthy or abusive relationships might stay with their partner or get back together after a break up because they feel pressure to not give up, forgive and forget or “ride it out.”
Pop culture glamorises being a “ride-or-die” for your friends and partner, making people out to be in the wrong for leaving their partner. And while being loyal is a great thing, a good friend or partner would never endanger or hurt you.
The abused feel personally responsible for their partner or their behaviour
“After a conflict, an abuser will turn the situation around and make their partner feel guilty or as though they are somehow at fault. This type of behaviour is known as gas lighting. This then makes the abuser feel as though they are being disciplined,” she said.
They believe that if they stick it out, things might change
The notion that love is blind, truly exists in relationships, most people stick around even when they are abused because they believe one day their partners might change.
“A lot of people in abusive relationships stay in them because they love their partner and think that things will change. They might also believe their partner’s behaviour is due to tough times or feel as though they can change their partner if they are a better partner themselves. Never stay in a relationship in which you count on someone to change their behaviour for the better,” he advised.
There is social pressure to be in a perfect relationship
It could be as surprising, but most women give into abuse because they do not want to be deemed as failures while people surrounding them seem to be having things going and moving in their relationships.
“There is an incredible amount of pressure to be in a perfect relationship, and some cultures and social media only accentuate this pressure. Sometimes because the man has almost everything (material things) or maybe provides.
So a woman would want to look perfect to her family and friends and would prefer to not go back to being “needy” for lack of a better word, again. For men, it is straight forward their ego! They do not want to feel as though they are weak or that they couldn’t control a relationship,” she said.
Fear of how others will react
“People in abusive relationships often feel embarrassed to admit that their partner is abusive for fear of being judged, blamed, marginalized, pitied or looked down on. For example, in some instances, some family members or friends tend to overreact when they are told, they quickly want to report to the police to rescue their friend, not knowing that it is very risky as the abuser may do something even worse! So it’s very important that if someone confides in you, stay calm and make a plan. An intelligent plan,” she said
They share a life together
It is often hard to break bonds that that were built over time that now a lot of things are at stake. “Marriage, children, and shared finances are often huge reasons that people in abusive relationships stay in them. This dependency is heightened in relationships where one partner is differently abled.
But there are also similar factors that affect young people’s decisions to stay in relationships, including shared friend groups and living situations,” she said.
“Above all, the most important thing, blaming someone in an abusive relationship is never okay or forcing them out. There is a big difference between judgment and responsibility. While someone might have used bad judgment by staying in an unhealthy or dangerous situation, it does not mean that they are responsible.”
To conclude she said people should stop normalising the easiness of leaving abusive relationships and support anyone who might want to leave.
Creatives take covid-19 strain…
With doubts surging as to whether or not things will return to normal after the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Botswana artists and promoters’ hopes are running dry as the entertainment industry takes strain.
The creative sector was to be aided by the Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sports and Culture development (MYSC), this was confirmed by Tumiso Rakgare, however, the funds are reported to be taking forever to be credited which has pushed entertainers over the edge, more so that their sector is totally closed.
The argument from the entertainers is that it is unfair for the transport sector to be fully operational while they are completely closed off. “The creative sector should be opened to allow the creatives to earn a living without depending on the government. A whole lot of creatives are so depressed because of having to stay for money without a salary hence all the gigs were cancelled.
In all the industries which has been opened there are protocols and the same can apply to the entertainment industry. Look at the bus services or transportation. They have protocols to observe. We can be opened as well and be allowed to observe the same rules,” said Thabang Garogwe, Botswana Afro Jazz Musician.
It is without a doubt that a lot of artists were feeding off from the sector, and now their supply ceased and they are hanging from a thread without knowing what tomorrow holds for them, some artists however suggest that the government must strategize.
“I believe that we should gradually open up the entertainment industry soonest. We can do it in phases with limited audiences and times, increasing gradually till we are back in full swing. This total closure is killing us. We have public transporters who are allowed 100 percent passenger capacity. We are talking zero social distancing and some routes, say Gaborone-Kasane, mean that people are stuck together in a bus for more than 10 hours. Why can’t I have a 5 hour outdoor event? Does it sound unreasonable for us to ask for this?” Sereetsi and the Natives said.
“I have had bookings locally and internationally cancelled. That’s a loss of income and livelihood.” The ‘Sedidi’ hit-maker, Amantle Brown also found herself drowning in anxiety as she too is sceptic as to whether the industry that kept things together in her life will open soon or not. She however calls out to the entertainment organisations to come through for their sector.
“Covid-19 has really hit us so bad, it’s crazy because when it started the first month and the second month, we were hoping that things will get to normal but when we saw ourselves going to the forth then firth month and then July. It feels like we are going to go crazy and explode. Everything is stagnant. Things have paused and panic is setting in, anxiety is setting and I’m just wondering where I am going to get money from to buy necessities,” she said.
“It is just messed up and I feel we need these music bodies to stand up and rise for this issue and figure a way to help us so that we can sustain ourselves until things get back to normal. We need help as soon as possible. We waited for way too long and we are starting to panic, lose grip and even demotivated.
MYSC relief fund has not yet come in yet. I am calling onto COSBOTS to find a way to pay our royalties, VIB to pay for our caller tunes so that at least we can gather what we could gather until things are better.”
Kabelo Mogwe from Culture Spears also established with this publication that, this has been their hardest year yet as their international shows were cancelled when international trips were halted.
“We make a living by music, especially us Culture Spears because most of the time we cross borders. Last year if I remember well, every month we were booked to perform internationally. Every month we were crossing the border.
That is where we were mostly affected. There are no shows as well, CD’s were made in South Africa and the pandemic slowed us down. Night shows and corporate shows were really affected. Things have been stopped due to travel restrictions and social distancing,” he lamented,
Lockdown cost Hamptons P85 000
Like many social events, the Hamptons Jazz Festival was also the first to be hit by the devastating COVID-19 postponements in the event fraternity. Their standing, as the biggest show in Botswana can be attributed to the growing support and loyalty of local and international customers, the ‘Hamptonettes’.
The event’s postponement meant loyal revellers could not enjoy the bawling sound of live music, the euphoria that came with the buzz that oozed from the stage and the large crowds, while sipping on their chosen potions.
The founder of Hamptons Jazz Festival, Debbie Smith established with this publication that the social event lost P85 000 after taking time building up to an event which was later interrupted by the pandemic. Despite everything, they have managed to secure all bookings on international artists for the next event.
She further explained that they are not sure as to whether the event will host or not. ‘‘We are Hoping that the event does take place on October 24th as provisionally planned, we have a few surprises up our sleeve to implore our fans to keep on the lookout for updates on our Facebook page and other social media platforms. In the meantime, while waiting for government, we encourage everyone to continue adhering to Covid regulations,” she said
As the creative industry continues to take strain amid the pandemic, it means that the Hamptons was also tampered with and many things were put on hold as well as all the engaged stakeholders.
“It also meant sending many on the team home as there was nothing left for them to do- nothing left to pay them. 50 of our consultants found themselves without an income, while an additional 100+ tasked with sales, marketing, PR and media, administration, operations, setup and maintenance, etc., the show also lost out,”
“Hamptons prides itself with its team, which comprises of 80% of youths between 18 and 35.
That, together with our commitment to always having a huge line- up comprising of local and international artists has been wrecked tragically. Local artists and band members, who stood to benefit even more from the higher rates attached to live performances have had to stay home with no lucrative income from their trade. They have lost out on an opportunity to network and form collaborations with international artists,” said Smith.
An event which is known for bringing the hottest line up, by engaging international artists said they are closely interested in the state of ‘all things COVID’ in the SADC region as their line-up has international artists from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique. Hamptons remains relentless in providing what it is known for; a good mix of quality local and international live jazz music.
“As a promoter that appreciates the need for public health and safety, we realise that social distancing at large events will be a challenge. We do know and trust, however, that the public knows how to carry themselves amid such conditions. Despite the anxiety and fear around the effects of COVID, there is a lot that we can do as events promoters to ensure that precautions are taken when attending events,”
“We anxiously wait to hear from government on any recommendations as far as large gatherings are concerned and the opportunity to brainstorm and suggest around how we can take the necessary precautions. We have been patient; we have been co-operating; we are hungry; we need to fend for ourselves. We humbly plea to the government, through the Covid Task Team, to consider us, when making decisions. We live in hope,” she said.
Artists and promoters were promised an allowance by the government, and it seems like the payments are taking time to be credited which is putting more strain on artists as well as promoters.
“Promoters were promised a relief fund and BEPA (Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association) has tried several times to get updates from MYSC. However, finally the update is that promoters and artists will get a relief fund next week or the week after. As the Hamptons, we did not apply for any subsidence funds as we feel there are other companies who deserve them better than us. It’s a difficult time for everyone,” Smith concluded.
When your friend falls in love with your man
When it comes to love and friendship, it is often a girl code of sorts to know their limits especially when it comes to dating each other’s partners. In some instances though, some find themselves smitten over their friend’s love, to an extent that they walk down the aisle with their friend’s former lover. This then begs the question; is it okay for to find ‘true love’ in my friend’s man?
As immoral or shocking as it may be, the scenario is all but too common. A typical example of this can be found in the South African television and radio personality Bonang Matheba and renowned music personality Dj Zinhle. The two are said to have once been best friends before their feud. The two separated after rapper AKA who at the time was dating Dj Zinhle, went on to have a romantic relationship with Bonang Matheba, whilst Dj Zinhle was pregnant with baby Kairo. While some saw AKA and Bonang as a match made in heaven, bottom line was AKA was initially her best friend’s man.
There are so many reasons as to why someone, would secretly crush on their friend’s man, even after the said couple go their separate ways. Some guys however feel that, it is an issue of finding a partner that completes you rather than someone being your partner’s friend. Meaning, if their partner lacks a certain trait, and their friend has the exact trait which was sought after, then why not go for someone they feel they are more compatible with.
While women are more emotional about the issue, they believe a friend has no reason to date their man even if it is a former lover, unless of course they were never friends in the first place. Even so, loyalty can’t be overruled in friendships and it comes first.
Although hesitant to reveal more, Archibold Letsatle who found himself in a similar situation, said that this messes a person up, which is safe to say even men feel the hurt that comes with friends dating their lovers.
“Been there but on the receiving end, it destroys your partner more than you. You are not that evil. So either confess so that he leaves or you give them equal opportunity to fight for you. I can only say it cost me a lot. I couldn’t focus at school, dropped out of CIMA, went on a revenge spree and I got depressed. I just got back my life after 3years of depression. That whole thing messed me up my life,” he said.
In an interview with WeekendLife, Psychologist Tshepo Shoshong, highlighted that this is caused by a creation of whole lot things that can open a door for someone to fall in love with their friend’s lover.
“Sometimes we rush to tell our friends what is transpiring in our relationship, to an extent of citing that they are good in bed and all those things. Being an open book and your friend get to know what kind of person your partner is. The moment they meet your partner, they already feel they know them. We are too quick to introduce our partners even in the early months of the relationship. When we introduce them, a bond is being created. Then your partner and your friend can turn into more of a sexual understanding and undertone. Which can make your friend think they are more deserving of your partner, more especially when the friend is cheating and undecided about their partner,” he said.
While friendship means a lot to many, he said when it comes to understanding the kind of friendship you have with your friends, that means also understanding how the two of you define that friendship because most of the time people who we call friends do not consider us to be their friend, that is why they will go after your lover because sometimes they are doing it with a clear conscious that you are not friends.
“Some do so because of their malicious intentions, they are just being spiteful. You are happy in a relationship and they just want to destroy that. Sometimes they fall for each other because your friend has more things in common with your partner. They get to bond on small issues. They have most things in common that they spend most of their time discussing it and when they hold such conversations that is when it clicks that there is a lot going between them,” said Shoshong.
Most of the time we beat ourselves up for losing our loved ones to another person and we feel we were never good enough or we were lacking in some aspect, Shoshong however advised that when something like that happens to you, you should never think to beat yourself up about it.
“You come first, so if someone steals your partner, do not blame yourself for anything, even for bringing the two together. Do not take the blame by thinking you did not meet the expectation. We tend to be hard and harsh on ourselves for the decisions that others took. Then we feel it is not right for us. This means also that the friendship was never legit or worthwhile. Which is why you need to understand the purpose of your friendship and how you classify it,” he said.
In conclusion, Shoshong said people should not allow their friends to openly chat with their partners to an extent of even meeting up. “Do not be too relaxed without boundaries, so that they know when to draw the line.’’