I once blackmailed my sister for months or maybe even years sef. Then she called my bluff.
Our parents came to England to school after having me, Yemisi and Seun. They left us behind with my maternal grandma, Maami at Akerele in Surulere. We were the ajebutter kids of the neighbourhood, I am proud to say.
I was a very very introverted kid. I know you might not believe that but I was. I was socially awkward. My sister, Yemisi, on the other hand was a butterfly and a parrot hybrid . She attended Mainland primary school and I attended Fountain primary.
This was our routine. We would get home, change our clothes and then eat (from the same bowl or plate) with Maami. Then, I would go and curl up on the couch with mags and books like Archie, Bounty, Richie Rich, Famous Five , Secret 7, Little women, water babies… Yemisi on the other hand, would be running around all over Akerele. There was a big field in front of the row of terraced bungalows and bang in the middle of the field was a massive ‘fruit’ tree. Yemisi would be throwing stones at the fruits or pushing car tyres up and down the street or ‘cooking’ with sand inside disposed tins of Derica. Her best friend was Basira, a very local girl. Yemisi would only come home for dinner.
Anyway, one day, I was told to go and call her to come home. I went to look for her at Iya Basira’s. What was she doing with Basira? Mooning each other and saying things like ‘e ba mi fadimiya o’ – I am sorry but this is too vulgar to translate. I dey shy. She froze when she saw me. And so did I. Then an evil thought morphed in my mind. I had the perfect tool. You see, Yemisi used to ‘chance’ me. A lot. With food because I was a slow eater and she practically inhaled her food. So, from then on, whenever I wanted to chance her, maybe eat her meat or you know how they give two kids one bottle of coke or fanta to share? If they told us to share one bottle, where before, Yemisi would have made sure she got more by gulping down her own and showing Maami the tiny amout left and claiming that was all I gave her. And Maami would then give her some more to stop the wailing.
Now, I would just take her meat and if she attempted to make a fuss, I would just wisper ‘fadimiya’. And she would just schtm. Or I would say ‘fadimiya’ and just gulp all the coke. This went on for God knows how long? Maybe 2 years? Anyway, my mum had come back and she heard me say again ‘fadimiya’. She then asked what that meant.
And I froze. The thing was this – I loved Yemisi and would NEVER have told Maami or Mummy about fadimiya. I did not want her to get into trouble and I had absolutely no intention of ever telling. But I loved the power I had over her. That was the ONLY way I could get Yemisi to do whatever I wanted. So, I froze. Yemisi kuku used her own mouth to tell Mummy what fadimiya meant. And Mummy just kissed her teeth and walked off. And that was how I lost the power to blackmail Yemisi anymore.
I once knew a guy – not in the Biblical way o. Just as a friend. He had broken up with his girlfriend but was still in love with her. He had however, sworn off her. Why? Everytime they had an argument, she would tell him it was over and he would start begging her. This went on for a few years till he got tired and called her bluff. She was still begging him back two years after they broke up when I met him.
A Facebook aburo asked me for advice. Her boyfriend had broken up with her and she had been begging him and he had refused. When I asked for more info, she admitted that everytime they had an argument and wanted to win, she would tell him it was over. And the guy would then start begging her. Till the last one that he agreed to a break up. Then she started begging him. She really did not mean those breakup ultimatums. She just used them to win the arguments.
I often get inboxes from woman whose abusive husbands threaten divorce everytime they have arguments. They tell the women that if they go and get a job instead of staying at home not earning, they would divorce them. Or if they do business, they would divorce them or one thing or the other, they would divorce them. I always tell them the same thing my late sister told me… call their bluff.
If someone really wants to go, they will go eventually no matter how much you beg. In the meantime, they will continue to make you miserable and blackmail you. If someone does not want to go and they keep threatening you with a breakup or divorce, by agreeing to the divorce, they will realise that you are tired of the blackmail and that way, will look for a win-win situation for you both.
- Call the blackmailer’s bluff. But only do it if you are ready for the outcome. Prepare for the worst. If you are not ready for someone who is really tired of being with you to divorce you, don’t say na Bunmi say mek you call bluff o. Kontinu to be doing suffering and smiling.
But if you are truly tired of being blackmailed with threats of seperation and or divorce, call their bluff.