Broken - The saga continued..

My family’s reaction

I couldn’t sleep all night and in the early hours of the morning, I called my uncle to inform him exactly what had happened. My uncle came straight over and stressed, how I needed to speak to my parents and this was now a serious matter. I just let my tears fall and agreed for him to break the dreadful news to my parents.

“Laa Haula Wa Laa Quwawata il la Bil Laah”, was my mother’s tearful response when she heard I had been given Talaq. I associated this line with death and tragedy and the immediate feeling of gloom struck me, my life was over. I couldn’t understand how he could end it so easily - the spiritual side of me understood that he was officially haram for me, but my heart could not accept it.

My family went over to resolve the matter, and from their account, I understood that he said absolutely ‘nothing’. His mother and brother spoke and I was told his mother declared that this marriage was over. My father and uncle were insulted verbally, and his brother even attacked my father. After coming back from seeing my in-laws, my family had come to the conclusion that this man had married me for my assets. I refused to accept this and came to my own conclusions; one of the problems was that my husband had everything handed to him, because of this reason he did not value anything that I had done for him. I also realized that it was my husband’s job to look after me and if I took away everything - he would step up and be a proper husband. With this epiphany, I felt like I knew how to fix things, so I went on a mission to get my husband back. I knew my time was limited according to the ‘Idaah’ period (3 months).

The very first step of my mission was to get my dad to take them out of the house, as legally they were just tenants and I had faith that this would resolve everything.

The Flat

I also understood if I wanted to make things work between us, we would have to start a life away from his family. So, I rented a flat, naively believing that if I gave him the option of splitting his time between his family and I, things would get better. The flat was a small one-bedroom prison, on a gloomy estate just 5 minutes away from him. When I moved out, I tried to contact him on numerous occasions to tell him of my new circumstances but no answer. I had hope that he still loved me and he would come back to me, so I spent a long 6 weeks in this cold flat with blank walls and nothing more than a bed and sofa. I secluded myself from everyone for his sake, I also feared being scrutinised and just wanted him back in my life so I could get rid of this ‘damned divorcee’ title. The only person I shared my pain with was my best friend because I felt she didn’t judge. She was my only saviour and I would spend most of my day telling her I was okay. All I needed was for someone to listen, and she did exactly that.

I would spend most of my time calling him - every morning and every night. I messaged him essays, and eventually one evening, he agreed to listen. I drove up near the house and sat in the car for 6 hours only to be told that he would not see me. He bounced me around like a ball and as I had my first period, I was getting impatient - I couldn’t afford for another period to pass. Finally, a week later, I received a call from him asking for my postcode, as he was coming to see me. My happiness could not be expressed in words, but he he wasn’t willing to come in to the flat, so we spoke in the car.

The Conditions

He said he was willing to take me back if I adhered to the following terms:

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I agreed to everything..

because subconsciously I was already defeated.

  • I would not have any connection with my family or friends.

  • I had to listen to him mum, and it was HER house.

  • Support his brothers, in every single way. They would take priority over everyone.

  • Be an OBEDIENT wife. I would have to live and breathe on his terms.

I agreed to everything, because subconsciously I was already defeated.

Even though I highlighted that I did not want to go back to 'that house’, he took me there as this was now HIS house as HE paid the bills. Before we entered the house he dictated that I had to beg his mother for forgiveness. I dutifully apologized to his mum, to the point where I was practically begging. Even in my own eyes, I had stooped to a low level and felt like I was betraying who I was – a fighter. Despised everything that had happened to me, I was on my knees. My tears dropped and they assumed they were of guilt. It was far from guilt, in fact it was pity for myself - I mourned the death of my identity.

According to him, his mum had best intentions for us and the only reason he took me back was because his mum told him to. I had to show my appreciation for this by: Waking up before his mother, and do all the housework, making breakfast for her and act like this was her home. I would have to ask her for her permission to leave the house – this even meant waking her up every morning to say I was leaving for work.

Even though I had become submissive, I was still sticking to my plans of getting them out of the house. Thus when the eviction order came through I acted like I had no idea of what was going on and made out that this was all my fathers’ doings. I was so adamant in making my relationship work that I didn’t care about his relationship with me dad. I also felt that it was valid to not stay in my father’s house if we had cut ties with my family.

But my father taking legal action against them really and truly brought my husband and his families true colours out.

Abuse at his mother’s hands

After agreeing to all his terms and following them, things did not get better, if anything they got worse - his mother was now physically abusing me. This may sound wrong, but I felt she was jealous or felt threatened any time my husband gave me some affection. If he decided to stay in the room with me instead of being downstairs with his brothers, she would call him down. Once he came home after work and asked me to make him tea and toast. She got angry and said she had made pasta for him. Her anger made me shake with fear and I didn’t know what to do when she stormed upstairs shrieking. I froze in the kitchen as I heard things bang in my room. He came down and demanded to know what I had done to upset his mum, when I swore that I hadn’t done anything, she stormed up to me and called me ‘Fucking Bitch’. At this point he told me to go upstairs, and as I ran up the stairs she ran behind me. I entered my room where I was met by a crime scene – my belongings strewn all across the floor, but I didn’t get a chance to react to this, as she also came in and started kicking me to the ground, she then picked up a picture of my husband and I, tore it up in front of me and spat in my face while throwing the ripped up pieces in the air. I thought she was going to kill me, but my husband came in at this point and managed to get her out of the room. As I sat injured in my room, I could hear them both arguing.

This was not the only time my mother-in-law abused me, the worst occasion was when my husband and I were watching T.V and for some reason she couldn’t stand us doing this. She started off arguing with him and then turned on to me. She suddenly lunged at me and started kneeing me in my private parts till I was on the floor screaming in agony, but all my husband could do was tell me to shut up, or else the neighbors would hear. Once he could restrain her, she started hurling verbal abuse at me. she screamed that I was impure for him, as he had divorced me, and demanded that he never touch me again. She wouldn’t let me escape so I sat on the floor of the living room curled up in a corner, while she called her middle son crying and claimed how we were going to kill her. He came home, and completely violated me saying he does not know what his brother saw in me and I was the ugliest girl he had ever seen. He then claimed how he knew I had connections with my family and how he had contacts – so my phone was being tapped.

When I managed to get away, I ran to my room and she started to chase me, but I managed to lock myself in the room and sat behind the door while she banged on it. I actually thought she was going to kill me that night so I called up my best friend and whispered what was happening, she could hear my mother in law in the background and told me to record the ordeal and send it to her as soon as possible. After a while she went downstairs and he knocked on the door, in a soft voice he told me to open the door, he walked in and locked the door behind him – he hugged me and said “I never wanted this for you”, he then touched my face and said “Tell me honestly, have you been speaking to your dad, because my brother wouldn’t just say that”, when at that moment she banged on the door, “Oi, how dare you go near her, open the door right now!” My body was trembling, but he ignored his mother and told me to answer his question. When I said that I had not been talking to my parents he asked if I could prove it, I confidently answered “Yes”, as I knew I had covered my tracks well. He seemed to have bought it as he said: “Lock the door when I leave”.

I cannot tell you how scared I was at this point, not because I didn’t want to die, but because I was thinking in what brutal way would I be killed.

The next morning, he called me from work, I assumed he called to check up on me, but that was not the reason for the call. He was calling me to tell me, that I had to ask his mother for forgiveness and fix this. It was my fault again, and when I said I was scared he told me he didn’t care: “Fix this mess by the time I get home from work or this marriage is over!” I couldn’t find the courage to speak to her, so I stayed in my room for the entire day. Several times she would come outside my door, ranting and raving. She even made a call to someone while she stood at more door, telling them how I was preforming voodoo on her son - as if it couldn’t get worse, now I was also doing witchcraft!

It was coming up to 7pm, he was due home, so I found a bit of courage and again prepared myself to speak to her. I entered her room and I just grovelled and begged for forgiveness. She put her arm around me and declared she had forgiven me – and how she understood me.

Regardless of her ‘forgiveness, a line had been crossed, and as many time as I had endured abuse, I didn’t expect his mum to do the same! Not an ounce of remorse was shown from either her or my husband, which gave her more ammunition to abuse me, both physically and mentally. Sometimes she would just sit outside my door calling me all the filthy Bengali names under the sun. I had not even heard some of these vile worlds before, but it was in my ‘fate’ to accept it and live with it.

 Loosing two and a half stones

I had never been a big eater but living with these day to day commotions I not only lost myself, but also a huge amount of weight. In the nine months I was married to him I dropped from nine stones to six and a half.

I constantly battled with myself, I tried so hard to remain positive and bring harmony into the household. But my husband was never satisfied; he always had a negative comment lined up to bring me down. I practically made my life revolve around him up until the point that I would stand at his beck and call. But if there was one day that I did not get up earlier than his mum, I was never up. If I didn’t iron his shirt on time, I didn’t do any housework. If I was in my room when he got back from work, I was always in my room. I was literally fighting a lost battle.

And as if the criticisms were not enough, the emotional abuse was always on stand by;

“You are the worst wife any man could ever have."

“I should have known then that you wasn’t worth it – my ex-wife was better”.

“I could bring a women into this room and fuck her in front of your face”

“My mum can get a line of girls for me”

With all these emotions, who can even think about eating? The comments were sufficient.

Losing my Job

The only lifeline I had was my job. I had a chance to get away and concentrate on something else, but that was soon taken away from me, along with everything else. Covering up for the lunch time beatings and taking time off to heal bruises took its toll and my managers could no longer put up with my absences, so I was fired.

Now I truly had nothing and the prospect of having no money or job put me deeper into depression. I could not tell him that I had lost my job, I would then have no reason to leave the house, so every day I went out as I usually did, but I went to my parents’ house and sat there - at least I was able to see them! But I knew I couldn’t do this forever, so I desperately applied for countless jobs. But one day, when he couldn’t get hold of me, he called my old work place, who told him I no longer worked there. To my relief, I managed to convince him that I had been too ashamed to tell him and how it had just happened. 

Making me beg my parents for the house

The courts granted an eviction notice and they were asked to leave the property, and even though this was what I was waiting for it then became the biggest regret of my life.

At this stage it was quite evident, he did not want me, he wanted the house. My beloved declared that if I wanted to be married to him I had to prove my love. This meant I would go to my father and demand the house or in his own words and say: “Oi Bastard, why are you trying to destroy my marriage! Give me the house and sign it over to my husband.” He even started using emotional blackmail, he would say things like, “think about your unborn children, would you want to see them on the streets”, to which I responded that it would be my responsibility to put a roof over their heads, not my fathers, to which he responded: “You’re a dumb bitch! I would go down on my knees to ask for it.”

He was getting desperate to keep a roof over his head and made me set up a meeting with my father so I could demand that the house is put in his name, because it was my ‘Haqq’, and that my father was cheating me out of what was rightfully my inheritance. I prepped my father beforehand, so he knew that I wasn’t really saying all these things. As calculated as it sounds, I used this event as a way of cementing the theory that my father had washed his hands off of me, so that he would believe that I had left my family for him, just as he had asked. Can you imagine this? He wanted me to verbally abuse the man that had worked so hard to give me everything in life. This sheer audacity made me despise him. He disgusted me. But regardless of this, in my head all I could think of was that he was my husband and I had to make it work.

So, I told my father to act like he didn’t care that I would be homeless and make it clear that he would never sign the house over. When we left from this ‘meeting’, he sneered at me, telling me how everything he said about my father was true, that he only cared about money and didn’t care at all about me.

To hear him say these things about my father pained me, but I agreed with him to convince him that my father had abandoned me, so that he would believe that I no longer had my father’s financial support.

The stress of knowing that they had to move out, was an excuse for him to abuse me whenever he wanted, and for his family to verbally abuse me as they wished. Life was pretty bad, and I was a walking zombie, but I was still trying to make it work, even though I no longer knew what this was anymore. My sabr was strong, and I kept telling myself that marriages are hard – I had to make it work. My denial and determination made me immune to everything that was happening around me – all I kept think was it will get better, we just need to move out and start fresh.

As the time came closer to leave the property, his brothers began breaking things and his mum began taking of the fixtures for the new house, even things that probably couldn’t be used again – as if she just wanted to damage the house out of spitefulness. This hurt me so much as even though it didn’t matter, it really showed me the reality of my life – I had worked so hard to make us a home and now it was all just in tatters – my entire life ripped apart, piece by piece.

Every night, I would sit on my prayer mat and ask for some relief from the pain and I ask for him to put some mercy and deen in my husband as Allah could only fix him. I thought about all times my mother had told me to marry a man that feared God, but instead I married a man that picked and chose aspects of his religion to strengthening his twisted reality and I learnt this very early on. On the second day of our marriage, when I didn’t agree to something he wanted, he came home after seeing his ‘Sheikh’, who simply said that a wife must be a ‘obedient’, and he would use this several times to get his way, as he knew that I feared Allah. He would taunt me and say that he is ‘Iblis’, and tell me that the Angels were cursing me because my husband was not happy with me. According to his twisted belief, paradise was under his feet.

Attempting Suicide

Every day, I would go to sleep praying for death and every morning I would wake up thinking ‘why am I still alive.’ My feelings often got too much for me and I find myself attempting to overdose. I remember the first occasion, his brother had insulted me and when I looked for acknowledgement in his eyes I saw nothing – his mother wanted to call a meeting with my entire extended family to tarnish my father’s reputation, she was telling me to call everyone and I had to do this if I wanted my marriage to work. I could not do this to my family, so I went upstairs and swallowed 32 paracetamols and read my Kalima. He came upstairs and wondered why I was in bed, as I couldn’t control my tears he started to cuddle me, and this slight bit of affection made me feel weak. For the first time in months, he was that same guy I fell in love with, he looked at me and said “Babe, what have you done”. I told him about the pills and asked him to hold me, as I wanted to die in his arms. He looked really concerned and shook me to wake up. My face was wet and my pillow was drenched. He went downstairs and told his mother, who began shrieking and saying this was all a scene. He came into the room and started crying and said, “Why do you do this to me! Every time I try and convince my family that you will listen to me you mess up, now if you die the police are going to think I killed you”.

Again, I blamed myself for hurting him – so I found the strength to write a note: ‘I am taking my own life, because I do not want to live. My husband loves me very dearly, but I am not good enough for him. Please Dad give this house over to him. I am sorry’. When he came back, I showed him the note and said “You are in the clear, now please just hold me, if you ever loved me, just hold me!” He stroked my hair and made me sit up saying “I can’t lose you, even though you hurt me so much.” I held onto him and cried. For a split second, I felt like I wanted to live again – but it was too late, I had swallowed the pills.

This peaceful moment was interrupted by a bang on the door, his mum walked in and he jumped up away from me. She began shouting that I had psychological issues or that I was possessed, and then told my husband that I had only done this to save my dad. When she left the room, my husband suddenly turned on me and agreed with his mother, but this time I had no energy to react. The day came to an end and I didn’t die, but I didn’t feel right, so he came up with a few different remedies, like pouring yogurt down my throat and made me throw up. For the next couple of days, he was extremely affectionate, but that didn’t last very long - he was back to his normal self soon enough.

I later attempted similar acts to take my life but in secret to avoid the commotion. However, nothing seemed to work and I was convinced that God hated me, that is why he was making me suffer so much.

Now that I looked back, I see the full force of the emotional abuse I had suffered at their hands – but why didn’t I leave?! I didn’t leave when I overheard his mum telling him to lock me in the house and get a gang to rape me, or when he responded: “Mum, you have to keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”, I just pretended I didn’t hear anything. I didn’t leave when he justified his mum’s physical actions against me with: “She’s allowed to hit you, and you made her do it”. I didn’t leave when I realized my husband had lied to me about his actual salary, I just put away the hidden payslips and pretended that I had not seen anything. I didn’t leave when he taunted me and said that I shouldn’t pray to Allah - it wasn’t going to help me anyway. I was sharing my bed with a monster every night but I didn’t leave. I just stayed… But I died a little every day.

Marzana Rahman