When Love + Marriage = Violence + Fear
When I met my husband as a teenager I thought I loved him. Why? I barely knew him. I thought I loved him because he didn’t approach me with the same lust that the other guys in the neighborhood did. To me that meant something. I have no idea what I thought it meant. I guess that he respected me, thought better of me, or just really, really liked me. Turns out, he was a virgin and was just too nervous to approach me in that way. He was shy and quiet. Soon I found out that this quiet guy was harboring his own demons that I would learn about over the years and once that seal of silence was broken and he had taken over my mind and body the demons had their way with me.
There was always an excuse for the anger, an excuse for the violence, and no matter how things played out from day to day he would be able to come up with a story line that made him seem like the victim of circumstance. Just a pawn. I had done something wrong and he was the one person that needed to teach me a lesson. Somehow he always knew exactly what I did wrong and the lesson usually resulted in a beating. If I was super lucky only name calling. Usually hours worth of lectures and being repetitively told that I should never do “it” again otherwise future punishment would be far worse. What I needed to do was learn my lesson so that he would not have to teach it again and again. The next time I may not be able to get up off of the floor. When all else fails violent threats will work for sure as outlined in Threats and Wires and Hangers…Oh My!
There’s something about a tough guy. A street thug. They have this confidence about them. No one is going to tell them what to do or how to do it. No one is going to back them up into a corner and make them feel unworthy. There is not one person on the planet that will lay a hand on them and walk away to tell the story. Never gonna happen. It’s all about the upper hand. They have it. Even if they don’t, they will bluff their way through whatever they have to until the other person is crouched in a corner begging for their life. I’m pretty sure it’s quite arousing for them. It must really turn them on to see a woman, their wife, the mother of their children to look at them with such fear and anguish. Is that what being King of the Castle means? I am just a lowly peasant? Step on me if you must, Sire.
I must have deserved what I was getting, right? I mean at least from his perspective. He yelled at me, beat me and threatened me and I still had the audacity to do whatever it was I was doing wrong. So let’s take it up a notch. She’s sure to listen and be a good obedient wife if I threaten her family. Remember when my parents were separating (Here We Go Again) and I got scolded because he said I was going to try and do the same? The main reason why I acted all aloof when I acted as if I had no idea why he’d even think that, “What are you talking about?” was not only because we hadn’t argued in a couple of weeks but mostly because he threw in a nice juicy threat in between his accusing me of being just like my mother. “If you think you are going to do the same thing to me and walk out on me after all these years and waste my time you better go now because you are not going to get another chance. If you try leaving me again and taking these kids I will call some people that owe me favors and have your sister raped and your grandfather murdered. You think about that and then make your decision.”
Uh, okay. So I guess I’ll stay. Who threatens these things? Someone rational? I think not. Something is most definitely wrong. If I didn’t know it before, damn sure I knew it now. He went from threatening to slice my face up to having my sister raped? Are these things that are thought out. Like, serious plans? Or are these just thoughts off the top of his head?? Either way…I’m screwed. How can I walk away and not have him come after me? There were no real laws to protect women at the time. If there was a domestic “quarrel” the police (if you were lucky) picked up your husband and drove him around for a little while until he cooled off and then he came home. If you were still in the house….shame on you. I had no money and no time to go into hiding. Not a real hiding where I would not be found. At least not with two kids. So I stayed. I know, it’s ridiculous. Believe me, I know. I’m not just saying that. I’m far from disillusioned. I just felt like…keep your friends close and your enemies closer…made a shitload of sense. Especially at this particular moment.
What always baffles me is that throughout it all, he always said I love you. I stopped saying it. Very early on. Maybe around the same time we stopped kissing. Couldn’t have been more than two years into the marriage. Nevertheless, he would always ask, “Do you love me?” And I would respond, NO. He would follow-up with, “That’s okay, I have enough love for both of us.” That right there would become the basis of the marriage. It makes no difference if your wife doesn’t love you, trust you, or feel protected when she is with you, as long as you love her that’s all you need. In my mind, all I could think of was that in this case the old saying may actually come true…till death do us part.