Devil’s Advocate

Entertain me for a moment while I take this opportunity to clarify a little bit of my abuser’s story.  Not for any other reason than to have a more clear picture of who I had married.  It took me years to get the entire picture, for you…minutes.

The oldest of four children.  Living in a poverty striken neighborhood in the 1960’s.  His parents came to the US in hopes of a better life.  His father, an alcoholic, was a constant provider for the family, and immediately landed a city job which he held for over 30 years.  His mother, for most of their early years, was a stay at home mother who maintained the house and took care of her growing brood.  Good, decent people.  Hard working, yet struggling family.  The children were born one year after the next, and due to circumstance, shared from the same jar of baby food, the same can of spaghetti, the same bag of potato chips, and maybe once a month, the same Hershey bar.

As the oldest, he was always by his father’s side.  He craved the affection and attention a son should automatically get from a father, instead he was told to go run and play while his father sat and drank.  They were no more together than he was with a stranger crossing the street.  Always with a sense of responsibility for his siblings he helped to take care of them and be alert to their needs.  He was their protector.  Their second parent.  Their young mother, who most likely suffered from some sort of postpartum depression, dealt with being in a new place, with four kids and an alcoholic husband the best way she could.  Aggressively and with a short fuse.  The children got beat for not keeping things neat and clean, behaving badly, and for crying for getting beat.  The father got beat for coming home drunk from work yet again.  And when bringing home something special for the family on payday, no matter how squashed the cake may have been, or how upside down the pie was held, it wasn’t even slightly appreciate and was immediately thrown out and he was scolded for bringing it home in such a condition – due to his condition.

With such a relaxing and nurturing home life, you’d think school was no problem for the oldest child.  On entering the public school system, grades were just as they should be.  Until second grade.  I don’t know what happened.  Heck, he doesn’t even know what happened.  Whether or not something went on that has been stored away deep in the crevices of his mind which caused him to get left back or whether it was actually getting left back in and of itself, he became damaged.  With getting left back, his reading basically ceased (teachers passed him on to the next grade straight through high school).  Simultaneously, a skin disorder developed.  He started to get picked on and teased by other children.  His mother’s answer to this dilemma…if they hit you…hit them back.  So. He did.

That my dear readers…is the beginning of the end.

Aside from internal issues and familial issues, there was the neighborhood.  Like I said, it was not the best.  One day (age 8-9) when he was going to throw out the garbage, in the shared area that all of the occupants of the apartment complex used, he lifted the lid only to find a head staring back at him.  When he screamed the superintendent came to see what was the matter and found that the rest of the body pieces filled the can.  This should be a traumatic experience for a child.  Any child.  No one at any age in my opinion would be immune to having some sort of psychological reaction to seeing that.  Moving along a few years later (age 11-12), he was fishing with his best friend in a local pond.  He went to dig for worms in the wooded section and found a girl who had been murdered and buried in the bushes.  Ever the tough guy, even in childhood, the images were filed away.  

He moved past it.  With time, the neighborhood changed.  Drugs and drug dealers were the every day.  If you didn’t want to be on the wrong side, you stayed neutral, which he did well.  He made friends easily.  Always showed respect for the thugs and in turn they gave the respect right back.  On the streets, that is the number one thing.  The only thing that means something.  Along with the drug dealers came drug wars.  With war came death.  As a teenager standing in front of his building, one of the dealers came out looking for their target, who he happened to be standing next to.  With a shot to the head, the victim’s blood splattered on his face.  He wiped it off and went about his business.  A few years after that, his best friend, who had been there for him during family quarrels, during educational problems, and all the other goings on, fell to his death from the roof of their building.

Even in understanding the type of person he would one day become, you would have to agree, this is too much for any one person to handle.  There is so much more to add to this list of unfortunate, and for the most normal person, psychologically crippling events.  The list almost warrants it’s own blog.  What other way to act out but to become a neighborhood thug?  The resident bad boy.

Eventually, the family moved and left that crime filled neighborhood behind.  The four children were now young adults just exiting their teenage years.  Their parents wanted to move to a better neighborhood.  And they did.  My neighborhood.

Luckily, we eventually met.  A quick passerby on his bicycle as I was walking to the store with my friend.  I was a young teenager and thought…who is this cute guy?  He’s new.  I eventually found out who he was.  Yep.  Lucky me.

Don’t get me wrong.  In no way, shape or form am I giving excuses for his future actions.  I’m just breaking down the monster.  No matter how scarred he was as a child it does not excuse him for becoming the adult he did. Eventually, you know better. You know you are doing wrong to your wife. But, there are reasons why we all have become who we are.  Everyone has a story.  And this is his.

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16 thoughts on “Devil’s Advocate

  1. it must have been tough seeing and experiencing all those things as a child. you are right, it doesn’t excuse what he has put you through. it does however, give a glimpse into what formed him into what, not who he is. I say what because what he does is a choice. who he is, would probably completely different if he got some help.

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    • Absolutely correct. It’s a shame because in deciding to become what he is he in turn wasted all the years of his own life -whether with me or not- which could’ve been happy for him. We’ve all got demons it just depends how we let them take us over. Thanks for reading.

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  2. THANK you so much for writing this-my abuser also had a very tough childhood-he was forced to be the drug courier for his parents (went between their houses transferring money and drugs). Again it does not permit them to act the way they do to us, but it explains a lot! Do you think you abuser hates his mom? I think mine did and that pretty much had him loose all respect for all women in general….just a thought…

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    • Wow that’s rough to have to do that for your parents! He doesn’t hate his mother or his father. More of just disappointed that they didn’t seem to care much about him – at least in his eyes. However, after our first child was born he did apologize to them for being trouble for them in his later years. The fear/love of parenting swept over him. He changed a lot (from the street thug) once we got married and became parents. It’s ashame because to the outside world he’s this really good guy who has always provided for his family and the first in his family to buy a house – but inside the house is where the bigger problems are. In observing their mother, the daughters grew up to be abusive towards men…and the sons did the same with women. They all mostly grew out of that phase but the lack of respect they’ve had for themselves was clear over the years. There are so many layers to this vicious circle.

      Thanks for reading.

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  3. My father had a really rough childhood too. My mother always tried to explain away his abuse of her and I because of his past. As a child I never understood….as a mother – only to a point. I ended up marrying a severe alcoholic. He had a childhood of reasons for being the way he was too. We all do don’t we. He never laid a hand on me but he made the lives of me and our children miserable and after giving him every chance on earth to change (I even married, divorced, and married him again after treatment) I still left because I refused to make my children have their whole childhoods taken in this way. I didn’t want the cycle to repeat itself yet again. I left five years ago….our three sons are 13, 10, and 7 My only regret is that I didn’t leave sooner. Thank you for sharing. I wish you peace and happiness.

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    • Thank you for sharing. You obviously loved your husband if you married him a second time. So it must have been that much harder to see him relapse and fall back into the same habits after treatment. Luckily he never touched you. I believe that instills a whole different level of fear. But being around an alcoholic and their mood swings and ups and downs is no piece of cake. I”m glad you are away from that madness and hopefully you and your children are thriving. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading part of my story.

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  4. While it’s understandable that there are explanations for how your husband became who he is, please do not ever let his trauma be an excuse for his treatment of you. Many adults who have been abused and seen atrocious things do not grow up to be abusers, instead making a conscious decision not to cause other people the pain they’ve suffered. He has a choice in all of this, and no one expects you to be a martyr to those choices. Stay safe!

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    • I completely agree with you. He has chosen to be his own victim. He has a fall back excuse for every scenario. I don’t allow any of his trauma to be an excuse for the way he treats me. Just merely wanted to put his BS side out there. After all, It is a part of my story – in a way. Thank you for reading, following and your kind words.

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      • It’s important to understand the motivations, so that if you are able to leave, you don’t find yourself in the same situation with someone else. Analyzation is always a good thing. Take care and stay safe.

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  5. Sorry, i must have missed this one while i was up in the mountains getting away from everyone. Sadly, there is no place to get away from myself. O.K., i get it from a psychosocial reference, how the horrors of childhood influence and direct the behaviors of an adult. But i feel this is also the kool-aid our society has blindly drunk to make sense of abuse, and in doing so exhonnerates (sp?) the abuser, or somehow tries to redeem him because as you know, “they too are children of god!!” (Feel free to note my sarcasm). So, we go on rationalizing how misunderstood and in need of our pity and help they are. No!!! What they are in need of is the courage to behave like a decent human being and exercise the right and responsiblity inherent to all human beings to choose to stop the madness and not inflict their inner turmoil on the innocent. And failing their willingness to choose to do right by others, the alternative should be the choice of a blindfold and last cigarette.

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    • It’s a bizarre and twisted circle…the “kool-aid” is so strong the abuser get’s looked at in a sort of “poor baby” way when justifying why he is the way he is. No wonder he acts out – look at all he has been through. It’s almost textbook. How about a rehab facility for these dopes. 28 days of getting a taste of their own medicine. Graduating out would be when they cower in the corner begging for their life. Although a blindfold and cigarette works for me too! 🙂

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      • a rehab facility? excellent idea! i would prescribe immersion therapy where his wildest fear is force-fed to him non-stop until he’s choking on his own blood and vomit. treatment would be deemed successful when he committed himself to spending the remainder of his life in sackcloth and ash, begging forgiveness. why aren’t physical and emotional abusers forced to publicize their crimes the same as sex offenders.??
        in my counseling training, we are taught to regard each client with “unconditional positive regard” and to subscribe to an ethic of “do no harm”. therefore, i flatly refuse to counsel abuseres because a) i don’t like the smell of shit, and b) waterboarding as a counseling technique is generally frowned on. peace, and laughs where you can find them.

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      • probably so. any danger we could put this on t.v. and you get fabulously wealthy on it? i suppose not. american t.v. viewers are only interested in “reality t.v.” that is ridiculous and unnecessary, and don’t want to be bothered with inconvenient scenarios such as the one you daily live. alas, what will we do?

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