Not only was I a victim of domestic violence, this unexpected tragic life of pain and suffering, but now on top of that I was about to bring a male child into this world. There was this overwhelming burden of keeping my life a secret from friends and family and now on top of everything, I somehow needed to figure out how to break this cycle…while still living in it. Prior to my son being born, my husband basically laid down the law letting me know HE didn’t want to continue this lifestyle in front of my son. In which case it was MY responsibility to make sure that didn’t happen. Point being…if I don’t provoke him, he won’t have to be an a-hole.
What I love about these warped handouts of kindness is they somehow always paint me as the perpetrator. If I don’t sneeze too loud and make him miss what they just said on the news…he won’t have to go nuts and scream like a lunatic. C’mon, that is totally understandable. Aside from living inside of this tornado that would twist and turn and destroy at the blink of an eye, sometimes it was quite astonishing to witness how this man’s mind worked. He truly believed he was acting the way he did because everyone around him did something to cause these outbursts. And by him “nicely” (psychotically calm) explaining to me how not to speak to him the way that I do (with an attitude) it meant he was doing his part in the marriage by COMMUNICATING with me. Letting me know how he feels.
This is always amusing. At this point in time…about 10 years into the marriage…his physically abusive ways started to dissipate but now the strange psychological games started. He truly, truly believed he was doing his part. Explaining how when he would tell me things and I snapped back at him HE felt “attacked”. Can you imagine? He felt attacked. Amazing. And he TRULY believed what he was saying was reality. Forget about if I rolled my eyes when he tried to speak to me. Big mistake. During pretty much every argument he needed my undivided attention and eye contact at all times. However, the threat of violence did not end. I should not mistake his slowed physical abuse for weakness. He was just giving me a break since we were both getting older and now a third child, etc. Who knows what he may have really been thinking. Maybe that one day soon I may snap and he would be found mangled in the dishwasher? I should’ve researched postpartum depression when I had the chance. Oh well.
So now here we are, my son is born and I can only be perfectly behaved (in his eyes) for so long. Who knows how long it took before things went back to normal (my sense of time is mush at the point). However, it was explained that he tried. He tried to tell me how to act, how to speak, how to do things the right way (his way) and that if I did everything properly (his way) then he wouldn’t have to act the way he did (like an a-hole). Of course, I don’t listen. So we’ll just resume our (abusive) way of life. After all, I must like it since I always want him to act that way. In the big picture I can say “luckily” the kids were never dragged into arguments. The physical stuff never really happened in front of them. My kids are not stupid but you have to give thanks for the little things. My biggest concern was not bringing another abusive man into society.
As the years went on and my son was old enough to know his father was an a-hole, after arguments I would go to him in his room and talk to him. Apologize that his father was the loser that he was. That I did not know this when I met him. And that something is not right with him in his head. I would explain that this is not how you speak to women – in general – and most especially not to your wife, mother, sister, girlfriend, etc. So that when he gets older he knows right from wrong. I would throw in there that if he ever treated a girl the same way his father did that I could not be on his side. That may have been slightly dramatic for me to tell him but in the younger years kids really take to that fear of possibly disappointing their parents. So far, so good. As the years have been passing, my son is a mellow, kindhearted boy. He plays well with others and is respectful to children who are different from him (special needs, etc). I am proud to say he is well on his way to breaking this chain.
Since blogging, I have read stories and people have commented to me on how terrible it is to stay with or for the sake of the children. Believe me, I am well aware of that. I know how much worse my kids could have turned out. Thankfully, I can say thus far, my kids are amazingly strong and resilient. My daughters are also confident and strong minded individuals who are not afraid to use their voice and say how they feel. No matter what has happened over the years my children have flourished. Smart and social people with bright futures. They do not “love” their father in the traditional sense and surprisingly none of them have ever asked me to leave. Strangely, something here was meant to happen for a reason. Lessons for both myself and my husband, who knows. My guess is that these kids were meant to come into this world and be prepped for whatever may come their way. At the very least, I can say that has been done.