My grandmother spent 13 years in a psychiatric hospital because she had an affair with a married man

I am sick and tired of reading comments online by anti-feminists. Every time a man like me writes anything in support of feminism, there’s a 50/50 chance some arsehole will comment about it being a ploy “to get laid” or some similar bullshit. And by the way, when you make such statements, like a dramatic monologue, your statement reveals details about yourself and your horribly misguided misogynistic view of women. You reveal that you see them not as human beings but as objects to be fucked.

The truth is, there are many reasons why my views have shifted to their current position over the years, but I have always been sympathetic to the plight of women, and the start of all this was the realization of what my grandmother experienced at the hands of society that vilifies women simply for existing and having the same human desires as men.

I don’t know the whole story, but what I do know is this: My grandmother spent 13 years in Valkenberg mental hospital for “insomnia”. The story I was told was that she was raped by her stepfather, and after the rape, she lost her memory and was committed to the psychiatric hospital for 13 years. The “rape” led to her pregnancy and the birth of my mother’s sister. Upon her release, she was raped again, leading to another pregnancy and the birth of my mother.

That was the story my mother believed, but I always had my doubts. First of all, she only went to Valkenberg once, not after the second pregnancy. Secondly, as a father who had a lot of unprotected sex before my son was conceived, I know it takes more than one time to conceive a child, and more than two times to conceive two children.

Recently I heard something that makes the story even more implausible, but at the end of the day, nothing can be proven because all the people involved are long dead. Even my grandfather died when my mother was only three years old, literally run over by a bus because he insisted on riding his bicycle after losing his hearing.

My suspicion is simply that she had an affair and was treated like nothing, treated like a subhuman because she was in love with the wrong person. Or she was indeed a victim of rape, and was punished rather than the man who raped her. I’ll never know the truth but I do know that the treatment of women was abhorrent back then, and is still bad today.

Things have improved over the years, and I do not believe that a woman in this country could be locked away for 13 years for the same reasons today. But we still have a long way to go. I used to lie awake at night, trying to imagine how my grandmother, who was one of the kindest people I ever knew, managed to cope with being locked up in an institution for thirteen years.

So don’t project your macho dudebro bullshit on me.

Regarding teaching addiction awareness to children

I just read an interesting article on this subject, and I urge everyone to check it out.

My own view on addiction awareness for my son is something I’ve been passionate about for quite a few years now. Granted, it is because of my own struggles with addiction, but I think it could be useful to teach all children about the dangers of addiction. Anyway, this is important to me because…

In rehab, I was told that addiction is 60% hereditary. I don’t know how factual that is, but if there is any genetic/hereditary component to addiction, then I must presume that there is a possibility my son has a predisposition to addiction. (i.e. The probability that should he choose to use a habit-forming drug at some point in his life, there is a risk that he would become addicted and have similar problems to those I’ve had, a risk greater than average.)

And… that’s enough for me. The possibility that he has a predisposition to it is enough for me to do whatever I can to ensure that won’t happen one day, and the safest way that I can imagine to deal with this, is make him aware not only of this predisposition, but also of the harmful consequences of addiction. If he knows well in advance of the dangers, I hope this will prevent him from ever taking that first hit. I have this picture in my head…. Josh at a party one day when he’s a teenager or maybe in his early twenties, and all the “cool kids” are doing cocaine. My objective is that if he finds himself in that position, he will choose not to do that first line. (And should he make the wrong choice, I hope I’m still around to help him. But him making the right choice first time is the primary objective.)

Of course, I did get some addiction awareness education in school, and it didn’t really help me. I vaguely remember some videos and stuff from back then, but I wasn’t really paying attention, and all it did was leave me curious about drugs. But I don’t recall ever knowing about the consequences of addiction, and that’s where my focus is when it comes to Josh.

Interestingly, I had a recent conversation with a counsellor and Josh, and they seemed to think my telling him everything is not such a good idea, but I will have another chance to speak to them as well as a therapist this coming Saturday, so let’s see how this goes…

And although it’s been an awful year, there is one positive thing about him having seen how unstable his mother is, since she lived with us for several months. It isn’t something I wanted, but at least he has seen how crazy people can get. Sorry M, but you taught Josh something and made an example for all the wrong reasons.

Finally my life seems to be back on track

Just to follow-up on my recent personal posts…

Life has been shitty for me, but it seems to be coming right again. To briefly summarize all that happened since the end of last year:

  • My mother died.
  • I thought it would be a good idea to look after my ex and my son’s half sister.
  • I ended up struggling looking after both children by myself, sometimes for weeks at a time while my ex was away.
  • I got into an enormous amount of debt when I foolishly allowed her to talk me into taking out a large loan, wasting much of the money on her.
  • My car broke down and I spent some time without it.
  • In the time without my car, I got lifts from a family friend, but this angered another extended family member who doesn’t want me to have anything to do with his ex. (It’s complicated but I do not want to get caught in the middle of their disputes.)
  • Someone from my son’s school sent Child Welfare an email claiming I’m back on drugs, subjecting me to a humiliating drug test even though I’m six years clean. (It’s entirely possible that this wasn’t really sent from the school itself, but on behalf of the person who was helping me with lifts when I was without a car.)
  • My phone, which cost me R4000 and was the best phone I ever had, fell in the toilet and could not be repaired.
  • My ex accused me of something that is untrue. (Edit: I forgot someone in her family asked me not to say what that thing was.) But when she accused me, she seemed to be high.
  • She then ran off, with an absurd accusation about me, leaving me when the loan money had run out, while I have three years of excessively expensive loan repayments.
  • She returned at the end of a month, conveniently when I was paid, and I was stupid enough to let her back into the apartment.
  • Then she ran off again while I was at work. She stole a considerable amount of money, my mother’s wedding ring, my broken phone, washing powder, and the hairdryer (which was a gift from me to my mother). And I can’t prove it was her, but also my car. (I only realized the spare key was missing days later.)

Putting it like that, maybe it doesn’t seem so bad? But it omits the emotional trauma, especially my attachment to Josh’s sister, and the fact that a certain person has betrayed me so many times now, I’ve lost count. I ended up deeply depressed – this all felt like too much – and am now taking anti-depressants.

But now, it doesn’t seem quite so bad. I have a new (second-hand) car. Last Friday I received the insurance payout for the stolen car, enabling me to pay back the person who so kindly paid for the new car so long. And also, I am incredibly fortunate to have had someone who could do that for me. Not everybody is so privileged. (I’d say who it was but this person doesn’t want me to.)

So I used the excess of the insurance money to buy a new phone, similar to the one that was damaged beyond repair and then stolen. I was even able to send a little something to Josh’s sister in Cape Town – not a lot but something to help because most of her clothes are still here and her grandmother needs all the help she can get. Josh has my old phone, which he used to watch Fortnite Tik Tok videos while I drove him to school this morning. I’m getting old and don’t really get the point of those videos, but he seems to love them. He’s also doing well in his exams so far, so I allowed him to play Fortnite in his study breaks over the weekend, and he won a few games, so he is as happy as can be at the moment. Life is looking good again. It’s not great, but it’s OK. I’m seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

I must admit my confusion

I must admit, this year has been weird. But it’s not just that. I feel betrayed, but also confused.

I’m sitting here alone because my son is at this extended family thing, waiting for this video I downloaded (the latest episode of Titans season 2) to convert to x264 so I can play it on my BluRay player… pondering how things worked out the way they did.

She stole my car. Before that she stole lots of cash and stole my phone, after I treated her with nothing but kindness, caring for her and her daughter for seven months while asking for nothing in return. But how did she get like this? I don’t understand.

There was a time years ago when we were very much in love. I remember coming up here to Johannesburg for something (irrelevant to this post) about a year before Josh was born. She wasn’t supposed to… but followed me here a week later, because she couldn’t stand to be away from me. It was in the midst of our years of addiction but for that month we were clean… and we had a great time. She hung onto me almost every moment, both physically, and onto every word. We were inseparable and very much in love and I was convinced she was the love of my life.

Make no mistake; I have changed since then too. I have grown, older and smarter, grown into a better person, now with six years plus sobriety, but at heart I am the same person. When I see her face; when I hear her voice, to me she is still that girl who loved me. And for that reason, despite knowing that she changed years ago, somehow I always forget, somehow I have always been weak around her, always refusing to see what a monstrous narcissist and user she is. That’s why I gave her so many chances. That why I always gave her the benefit of doubt.

But still, there’s a part of me that can not comprehend how she changed so much. How could someone once so devoted to me become so hateful, spiteful, and selfish? How could she lie to the face of even our son? How could she not even care that he has grown to hate her?

She has accused me of so many things, making as if I was somehow the one who was wrong… she even accused me of running her down to Josh. If only she knew how many times I stood up for her over the years, how many times I defended her to Josh. And for what? He always saw through her even when I didn’t.

I really don’t want to write about her any more, so I’ll try to make this the last time. In the last two weeks, Josh has had nightmares. He dreamed that she came back and stole money from me again. It didn’t have to end this way. I tried. Oh Megan, what have you done and what have you become?

If you don’t want people to know you did bad things, don’t do bad things

… especially not to me.

Life is strange. I’m sitting here pondering it at home today, having taken two days leave because tomorrow is my birthday. Actually I applied for the leave when my depression was leaving me feeling rather hopeless and desperate for a break, but after weeks of anti-depressants, I’m feeling much better now. But it is good to have a break.

I received a perplexing voice message the other day, from someone who accused me of cyber-bullying… this because I wrote on Megan’s Facebook wall about what she did, having come back here the weekend I was paid… only to rob me of all my cash for the month, my mother’s wedding ring, and the spare car key. I didn’t even know about the spare car key, but would find out last week when my car vanished from my home.

Let’s make this as clear as I can: I can’t prove that she stole my car. But whoever stole it managed to get into the complex, which requires having a gate remote, and then stole the car without breaking anything. And this is a car that always had the battery disconnected. So, whoever stole it then ignored the other cars in the complex and stole the one that wouldn’t even have run without the thief opening up the hood and reconnecting the battery. Then they drove it out of the complex without being seen. What are the chances that it was anybody other than her, who has a gate remote, and who had the opportunity to steal the spare car key weeks in advance?

I’m not looking for revenge as it was implied, and there is no malice here. I could easily tag a post with her full name and ID number, ensuring that anyone searching the internet for her name find out about her past, but I haven’t done that, and I’m not going to. Nobody who reads these posts knows exactly who I am writing about, except for her family members of course. And this isn’t about the money I gave her or spent on her. I know I wasn’t the only one to do so. It is about the betrayal, the lies, and what she stole from me. It’s about how disgusting that is, to leave me and her own son without means of transport or money for the month, not to mention the harm she has done to her daughter.

The bottom line is this: You have no right to be angry that somebody tells about the bad things you did. If you didn’t do bad things, there would be nothing to tell.

Edit: I keep writing variations of this post and then either not publishing them at all, or deleting them. I just want to get on with my life and not hear from Megan again.

Things are looking up

I’ve been taking the antidepressant for a few weeks now, and am at last feeling more like my normal self. And quite quickly, everything is turning around.

Someone close to me has been a great help… from driving me to the police station to report my car being stolen last Sunday, to driving Josh and I to school/work and back every day, to helping me find a second-hand car…

The insurance should pay out soon, only dependent on my deregistering the old car, and then I can go on with my life, back to normal more or less.

At the same time, my employers have noticed that I’m struggling with my vision, and have spent money on everything other than myself, especially glasses for myself. So they’re sending me for an eye test today, and will get me new glasses. I’ll have to pay them back of course, but not in one go, and this is also a pleasant surprise.

So… it’s amazing how quickly things can improve.

Edit: Last week an old school friend called me, and now I have somebody to talk to, which really helps… and an old friend in the UK, after seeing my posts about my woes, has decided to send me R10 000 to help, out of the blue. This is incredible.

Another edit: My brother just showed up at my work with the vehicle deregistration form, and the form for the new car that I haven’t even paid for yet. We’ve had our differences and issues in the past, but he really is going out of his way to help me here. I am beyond grateful.

And life goes on

It’s the second day treating my depression after this recent incident, the second day taking an antidepressant; can’t say I’m feeling that much better. But at least I am managing. Yesterday was a nightmare… after going to the doctor, I changed the lock on the front door – it seems the police can’t serve Megan with a protection order barring her from entering my home (she has keys) because I don’t know her address. But I could not go for as long as 30 seconds without losing something, be it a screw, the screwdriver, the duct tape I used to try holding the outer door latch in place while I fitted the inner one, or whatever… I was not thinking clearly at all. At least that is better now.

What gets me is that they left without even a goodbye. Well, that’s one of many things that gets me. Megan left chaos in her wake. I can’t even find one matching pair of my own socks, yet there are clothes of Aishah folded on my bedroom table, more of her clothes on the bed, and more on the clothes stand in the lounge. The washing basket that’s supposed to contain dry cleaned washing has wet washing on the bottom, left there for days. There’s breakfast cereal missing, and even two minute noodles. I also can’t understand how the police can’t make a case against her for my missing cash, when she was the only other adult here.

It’s clear she only came back for the weekend because she knew I was getting paid. She went shopping with me, leaving me puzzled that she only wanted to buy toiletries, and food for the day… now I understand why. All her toiletries are of course gone, but she also put a T-shirt ready for me, hanging on the back of my chair. Bizarre behaviour is the norm for her though.

Someone asked me, “Why did you leave cash lying around?” As if I should not be able to leave cash in my wallet in my own home! Way to blame the victim, but if I can’t leave my wallet with cash on my own table inside the privacy of my own home, then the person who was in the home with me can not be trusted.

Someone says Megan is strong. No, going from one relationship to the next, always claiming to have been a victim of abuse at the previous one… that’s not strength. Besides burning this bridge, I wrote this to vent, and besides that, I wrote it to make this crystal clear… whoever she is with now is no doubt hearing the same bullshit about how she was abused before, and when it doesn’t work out (and it won’t), that person becomes the next abuser in her narrative. Mark my words, she will want to come back here, but she can’t.

Her mother also seems to believe her denial of being on drugs… Let’s make one thing clear… This was not the first time she stole from me. When she stole before, she was using… with me. That was back when I was still using meth too. The only time I have known her to steal is when she’s on drugs. And taking some money out of a wallet while leaving the rest so that it isn’t obvious unless you count the money… that’s something she does. So sure, I did not witness her stealing anything, but put two and two together, for fuck’s sake.

Edit: I have no evidence that she used drugs, but she was drinking. I’m even finding empty bottles behind the washing machine.

A couple of months ago, in one of those rare moments when Megan actually spoke to me, she said something along the lines of, “I don’t lie, right?” When I replied that she lies all the time, she responded, “No, I always tell the truth when it’s from the heart.” What does that even mean? I always tell the truth when I’m not telling lies?…Newsflash: If you lie so often that you have to define an arbitrary, moveable exclusion for when you tell the truth, then you are a liar.

Excuse the rant… Again. It’s hard to get over this while there is still stuff left from her being here spread all over the house.

On the other hand, I have now experienced first hand the frustration and hurt that one experiences when trying to help an addict. My advice to anyone who wants to help an addict, someone they care about… Don’t. Just cut them off. Don’t give them money. Don’t get attached to child who is not yours, and mostly, never give such a person the benefit of doubt. If you have a bad feeling about them, listen to that feeling. If they are acting strangely, do not think that you need evidence like a drug test to prove them to be clean. When someone is clean, there will be evidence of their sobriety, signs that you can pick up in their words and deeds. But when someone acts strangely and has strange stories to explain their behaviour, assume everything is a lie because it probably is.

Edit… Also this: