It would be really convenient to set this mess of a marriage at his feet and say, your fault buddy. You figure it out, I’m out of here.
Unfortunately the world has very few, true victims. Most volunteer never realizing they have a part in the mess that is their lives. Our lives are a compilation of every choice we ever made or ignored. I’m responsible for me, and where I am.
From the outside, I’ve got a charmed life. I’m a home maker with two grown children. The house is more paid for than not. There aren’t piles of debt weighing on us. My husband isn’t cruel and I’m free to move through the world pretty much the way I want to. Who wouldn’t want to be me?
Gratitude is a double-edged sword. I’ve allowed myself to use it, to stay in a painful situation. My fault, entirely.
I believe I can say with full certainty, I’m no victim. Okay, so that sucks. Where’s the drama? How does one suck sympathy out of being a volunteer? Short answer? One doesn’t.
The first phases of failure started when our children were very small. Very subtle at first. He would ask me to change this or that. Small things, really. Marriage is about compromise right? Well, sort of.
When he started trying to control when I went out and who I saw, I stood my ground in no uncertain terms. No one tells me who I can have for friends or where I can and can’t go. No One.
First round, he backed down in a hell of a hurry and I thought it was understood I was my own person.
A couple of years later, I’m doing what I have done since before we got married and he accuses me of having an affair. WHAT? You’ve got to be kidding! I was dumbstruck. What do you say to that? It came out of left field and for once in my life I was completely left speechless.
My shock didn’t seem to register and he took my silence as confirmation. He punched a hole in the wall. Our small son was so suitably impressed by his dad’s strength he showed his friend. My husband was mortified and asked why I’d let him do that.
Let him? I didn’t know what the kid was doing. (Please note, our son wasn’t present when it happened. And no, I wasn’t afraid, my husband has never and would never hit me.) I told him if it bothered him he should fix it. His answer? He hung the Serenity Prayer plague we have over it. All righty then.
A couple of weeks later when he accused me of having an affair; I came unhinged. We don’t often fight, or get loud, but when we do~Lord have mercy~. This time my indignation drove home that I WAS NOT having an affair. How dare he insult my integrity? And he could bite me if he thought I was going to change who I was to placate his insecurities.
The affair business was dropped. His insecurities continued. At one point he got mad, hit a door frame. The phone on the wall next to it fell. In his fury when he went to hang the phone back on the bracket he pushed it into the wall. My response? “Please don’t get angry in the living room. We have a lot of expensive equipment out there.” Oh, and no I’m not going to lie when people ask me what happened to the wall.
I’m not one to cower or suffer in silence. Stupid man, didn’t he know that? Perhaps I was the stupid one, thinking that if I stood my ground he’d change. He did for a while. Actually we went into a really good phase after that. Of course it didn’t last, but long enough for hope to be restored. My mind stopped telling me, “When these kids grow up, I’m so out of here.”