Here’s the first of what probably will be many posts from my journal prior to starting my new life.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2010
After 20 years of pretending that everything is ok, how do I suddenly start telling family and friends of our real relationship? What are they going to believe? That I’ve gone off the deep end? That I’m crazy for staying? I’m already hearing some comments that tell me they do not understand what I’m saying even. Let me tell you this – women in abusive relationships do not confide in family and friends until they are ready to leave. Otherwise they will be nagged to do something that they aren’t ready for. Perhaps they are also still trying to protect the man. Remember this when a woman you know starts to open up about a problem in the relationship. She is also likely leaving out most of what is going on to protect you from the reality and worry.
Abuse starts out as something most people don’t consider abuse. Its a snide comment made to someone when they want to do something good, its a put down when someone is vulnerable already, its a shove when someone is angry, its a demand to never see someone again, to never speak that way again, to never go to that place again, to not inconvenience the man again. Its starts out small and insidious. It starts to impact the way the woman thinks and acts without her realizing it. She is just trying to keep the peace or make the man happy because she thinks that his unhappiness is someway caused by her or just to get through the day without a blow up. Before you know it you don’t know who you are any more. You are not keeping in touch with people because its easier not to pick up the phone to call a friend or family because you know he will be in the background talking trash or throwing things at you. Its easier not to see people he doesn’t like because you’ll pay for it later. You are doing all the housework so that there are no more confrontations about contributing to the housework. You are letting your man spend money you don’t have because it appears to make him happy and you don’t feel like fighting about what we can and cannot afford anymore. You aren’t dealing with a reasonable person. He doesn’t consider the needs of others equal to his. Somewhere along the line he got the impression that he is more important than everyone else in the world.
So really how do you explain all this? I can’t. I can’t even understand how this has gone on for so long how can I expect others to.
Until two months ago, about a month post my eye opening experience my life was a living hell. I was so unhappy. Things had escalated to unbearable. I was constantly yelled at, talked down to, pushed around and treated like a slave. This was my day. Get up at 4:35 and wake him up for work. He wants 5 more minutes so like every day I am the human snooze button. Lay back down for 5 minutes then get him up again in 5 minutes. Make the bed. Get out his clothes for the day. Take the the dogs out. Cook his breakfast. Make his lunch and thermos of coffee. Pray to get through the morning without him getting pissed off that there is not enough supply in the shower, my voice isn’t loud enough when I talk to him, that I remember not to speak to the animals, that his breakfast is cooked properly, hope yesterdays lunch was ok (cause I will hear about during breakfast if its not). Constantly trying to think ahead and keep him happy. This is all before 5:20AM. I’m still doing most of this stuff but with a clearer mind. I’m just trying to survive right now. I won’t go into the rest of the day its tedious to me.
Each one of these tasks arose from more than one terrible fight where he couldn’t find his clothes, couldn’t find stuff for the shower, couldn’t stand to sleep in the bed with sand from the dogs dragging in, he can’t find stuff to make his lunch, can’t make his own coffee right, can’t hear the alarm, can’t use the snooze. I did try to resist, to point out his foolish behavior, to reason with him, to get him to contribute, to make him want to be a better person, to see that he was being unfair and unreasonable. One by one I’m worn down until it all becomes my responsibilty. After all, is it worth getting something thrown at you because he can’t find socks that are in the same spot they are always in? Getting your arm pinched till there’s a huge bruise you have to hide for weeks because there is sand in the bed? Getting punched in the the head when he doesn’t get out of bed for work on time? Not really. Just take over the task and its one less thing to go wrong in his day, one less thing to be punished for.
So maybe you try to leave him. You tell him you can’t live like this anymore and you are leaving. Then the threatening behavior really starts –
“I’m going to drive up and kill your mother”
“I’m going to take the dogs and leave YOU”
“I’m going to call your work and tell them things that make them fire you”
“I’m going to tell your familiy that you had an abortion”
“You are hopeless/helpless you can’t survive without me telling you what to do”
“I will find you and kill you then myself”
“I will kill myself since I have nothing to live for”
Or maybe its begging and promises to change. You name it I’ve heard it. I used to believe all this stuff and care. I don’t care anymore.