Friday, June 05, 2009

And I Thought My Marriage Was Just A Pain In My Ass

The training session was even harder than I had assumed. With an hour to go, I started to get a migraine.

I used to get migraines ALL the time. After two thousand types of meds, I ended up going on atenolol everyday and for about seven years or so, I've only averaged two or three a year. Thankfully, they are merely uncomfortable and miserable as opposed to debilitating with a need for medical intervention.

But today, my body said "ummmmm. no." It was when I heard the presenter talking about abusive relationships and it was laid out in front of me that physical bruises are by no means a necessity of an abusive relationship that I started getting a little veklempt. Then, when I heard her say, word for word, a phrase that STBX said to me early in our marriage when I tried to explain to him how hurtful his behaviors were.

"I don't know what your problem is, I don't beat you."

It was at that exact moment that I looked down at all the behaviors listed for an emotionally abusive relationship and saw my entire marriage. Seventeen years. The early years being lived in isolation in Oklahoma, told that anytime I was unhappy about the way I was treated that I was in the wrong and being a bitch. As long as I didn't have bruises, I had no right to complain.

And all the years afterwards of putting up with it. Why didn't I leave? Why didn't I stand up for myself and say "You are a horrible horse's ass and I hate the way you treat me and I despise you."

Have you ever had the sudden realization that you are no different from a lab rat? That, like a lab rat exposed to an electric shock at their food bowl, you learned to go to the other corner of your cage, sit alone, and starve yourself. Even after the electric shock had been removed. Even after his level of overt hatefulness turned into sullenly ignoring us, with frequent spikes of making it obvious that we were the bane of his existence (after doing the math, this attitude started after he stopped molesting our daughter). Even after being called a bitch stopped. Instead, he physically and psychologically sat down one day in front of the computer and just never got up again.

Too many things for his selfish, childish personality to get involved with. Porn. Online games. Cheating wives with young daughters, willing to offer them up as jailbait.

His world was all about him. We were just the inconvenience. Oh yeah, and the cooked meals. And the only way he could keep this roof over his head. And his personal secretary...and an orifice to fuck until I got sick of the sight of him..

The overt knowledge that he was sexually abusing my daughter is the most devestating thing. The creeping knowledge that he was psychologically abusing us all is yet another crumbling piece in the foundation that was our life.

So, this is what I learned this afternoon. And then I had a migraine. And I puked my guts out. And I curled in the fetal position on the floor and cried until my dogs were howling downstairs.

Every day seems like a thousand little deaths. Thankfully, I have a fuzzy possee to take care of me.


Anonymous said...

Dear Debbie,

I just wanted to tell you how much I admire you and your strenght. Me and my husband Ricky met a number of years ago and it was love at first sight. I think he'd say the same. The relationship started out great but got pretty rocky because he was sexually abused and had not gone into therapy. He also had health issues which didn't help either. One time we got into and we had a fight that turned into a bad and regrettable scene. He separated and he finally got into therapy and began healing. I asked him why he reacted the way he did, because I was very confused and did not know where his anger was coming from. He learned in therapy that he saw shadows of his abusers in me, or some of the ways I behave or treated him and it frightened him. Two years later we got back together and we are much happier and are still very much in love, but it was a tough journey for the both of us. He says getting into therapy made his health issues go away too (talk about miracles and mind over matter!) but, I won't sugarcoat it was hard for him to admit he was sexually abused and even harder to get his butt into therapy. To all of our surprise he really liked going but he said it wasn't always easier. Anyway, l.s.s., he's a great guy, it just took me awhile to realize that magnitude of what he'd been through and not personalize it when he saw "ghosts" of his past in our relationship. Also it's worth saying that I realize sexual abuse is often passed down from one generation to another in family systems. Obviously you saw something in your husband when you married that maybe you'll see again if he's able to get the help he needs. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea for you to see a counselor too on how to navigate it all. Love is hard work, but boy is it worth it!

Best wishes to you and Sincerely,
Barbara K. in Lansing, MI

Debbie said...

Trust me Barbara, I've been in therapy. Both group and solo. What I saw in my husband to begin with was someone to take care of me. I was twenty one, my mother had just died, I was sailing in the merchant marine and I was incredibly alone.

He worked hard to sweep me off my feet, I was the reluctant one. I didn't listen to my gut and I just thought it would "all work out" even though I had my reservations.

My therapist thinks that once he stopped abusing our daughter, all we did was remind him of what he did, everyday. And he hated us for it.

I'm very happy that your husband got help, that's a hard thing for guys to admit that they need. Best wishes.

Debbie said...

Wait a minute...I just read your comment again and perhaps you don't know my whole story...

My husband cheated on me and molested my daughter. You say:

"Obviously you saw something in your husband when you married that maybe you'll see again if he's able to get the help he needs."

My husband fucked with my daughter. His daughter. FYI: He asked me to call him "Daddy" while we were having sex at the exact same time he was molesting his nine year old daughter.

Funny thing is this: once you learn that your husband was fantasizing about banging his nine year old daughter when he was having sex with you, it kind of makes you not really want to take him back.

Maybe I'm just overreacting.

It kind of makes you want to send his ass to prison.

And change your name.

And change your social security number.

And hope that when he gets out of prison, he won't be able to ever find you again.

As I said before, glad your husband got help, glad ya'll are happy.

And for your sake, I hope he never tried to fuck small children.

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie,

Gosh, I didn't know he did all that! I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm speechless right now and very embarrassed. I didn't know he was doing that to your daughter. That's awful. Yes, prison sounds reasonable.

No, my husband never sexually abused others. But I remember there was sexual abuse in his family. I knew this because they all walked around their house in their underwear in front of each other and the mother and father would ask him questions like "so what do you and your girlfriend do when you're having sex". My husband's therapist told him that these are red flags and signs of incest in the family. They were also VERY religious, fanatical almost. I guess it was all about control.

Anyway, what you wrote also reminded me. I once dated a man who swept me off my feet but in a few short months, he was into trying to control me and I found myself jumping through hoops. Well guess what? The first I jumped through was O-U-T! haha. But seriously, what I learned is --beware of fast friends. It's like you suddenly made a new best friend and when they get what they want from you, they're off to their next one. They seem to come out of nowhere and the next thing you know they are trying to play you like their puppet on strings!

I hope you and your daughter are moving quickly from "victim" to "survivor" mode of living. Sounds like you are!

Barbara K.