Archives for the month of: July, 2013

It’s nearly time to jet off and away.

The past few days have been calm.  I’ve felt different.

I’ve been feeling strong and unaffected by anything he could try to do to me.  Because it’s been calm, I’ve found myself wondering at times whether I have been imagining everything; then I remember the stuff I’ve read and understand that this is part of the process.

I don’t know what will happen when I return home, but I’m planning on using the break to make myself even stronger.

I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman. *

And now I’m going to get ready to go dancing.

 

* As you’ve probably noticed, I love music and as I was writing this post, a song that I remember hearing as a child came into my head.  I checked out the lyrics – very appropriate.

 

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Today has been peaceful and civilised, with no mention of last night.

I’m hoping it’ll last for the next few days because then I fly off to our holiday home with my younger daughter.  I will have three weeks of being able to relax completely and the distance will help me to get a better perspective.

I wasn’t expecting my holiday reading to include The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to stop being abused and how to stop abusing by Beverly Engel, but to counter this I’ve also downloaded my favourite novels of all time, which I’m looking forward to re-reading.

More than anything, I’m looking forward to spending some lovely quality time with my daughter.  She’s so easy to be with and we always have a very special time together.

I see blue skies ahead.

When he returned home last night, he opened the door to the living room.  I looked up and said “Hi!”  He gave me a look of disgust and loathing, said nothing, closed the door and went to bed.

In the past, I would have followed him, concerned at what was wrong, begging him to tell me so that I could make it right.  This would lead to an argument or silent treatment, with me agonising over what I had done, running through potential causes, beating myself up for doing or saying the wrong thing.

But last night was different.

I understand that this is his way of trying to destabilise and control me; it’s not about anything I have or haven’t done or have or haven’t said.  So I let him go to bed and I got on with reading my book.

I’m apprehensive about what will happen today, but at least I got a good night’s sleep last night and didn’t toss and turn with my mind spinning.

There was a point yesterday evening when I was wondering whether I was imagining it all; the he really wouldn’t emotionally abuse me.  I began to doubt my perception of the situation; perhaps it is my fault.

His look confirmed that it isn’t.

 

You can tell I’m feeling good!

Why?

Because now I understand what’s happening thanks to www.mythoughtsonapage.com.  She suggested I was being psychologically bullied so I looked it up and found an illuminating website, www.drirene.com.

I never thought I’d say this; I never thought anything like this would happen to me; and what is so shocking is that I didn’t have a clue; I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that I was being emotionally abused.

All the time, I’m treading on eggshells, waiting for the next blow-up.  Every time it happens, I curse myself for saying what I said or doing what I did, basically for making the wrong choice.  Consequently, I’ve become more analytical, more cautious, more wary; I doubt my judgement because I always get it wrong.

In the past 24 hours, I’ve become more aware.  On numerous occasions, I’ve caught myself assessing something to ascertain how he will see it and whether it might make him mad.  I do it automatically, without even realising, and it causes me so much completely unnecessary stress.

For example, he was out earlier and I was downloading some audiobooks for my holiday.  When I heard his car pull up, I leapt off the sofa and into the kitchen where I picked up a cloth and started wiping the surfaces.  Why?  Because he makes me I allow myself to feel guilty for doing something pleasurable, something he would use as evidence of my selfishness.

Tonight he’s gone out, even though he ‘never’ goes out the day after he’s finished work.  I know that he’s gone out because I stay in on a Monday evening.  It’s an evening we can spend together (although he usually gives me the silent treatment on Monday evening) and he’s ‘punishing’ me for going out last night.

However, because I understand the situation, I’m not bothered.  I watched a TV programme that I like but never get to see now because he rules the TV, I’ve downloaded another audiobook, and I’m writing this.

In the car on my way to work, this song came on the radio.  It sums up how I feel today.

‘I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive

I can fly, I can fly, I can fly

And I’m loving every second, minute, hour

Bigger, better, stronger, power’ *

 

*From #thepower by Will.i.am

I feel exactly like I did last September, the worst month of my life.

I feel worn out, defeated, like I’ve been tossed and turned and battered in a storm and now the water’s calm again but I’m damaged and can’t sail on.

Last September, I spent two weekends in bed: I couldn’t get up, I couldn’t do anything.  It was all such an effort, a pointless effort.  The struggle wasn’t worth it and it was easier to give in to it, to give up.

And I feel like that today.  I want to go back to bed: to cry, to sleep, to blot it all out.  It’s tempting, so tempting.

So I’ve forced myself to write about it here, as therapy, in the hope that getting all these negative thoughts out of me will allow space for the positive thoughts to return.

I can’t understand how he can be so vicious and nasty in an argument, make me feel like I’m a selfish, worthless individual; then refuse to speak to me; then act as if nothing has happened and expect me to do the same.  I AM HURT, DAMMIT; YOU CAN’T TREAT ME LIKE THIS.

But he does.

I spoke to my friend about it, even though he’s said he doesn’t want me discussing it with anyone.  I told her I’m worried about making myself and the girls homeless.  I told her he says it’s his house.  I told her he’d said he was going to withdraw his financial contribution to it, which puts me in a vulnerable position because the household expenses come out of my account and I rely on him to give me his share.  I told her … and then I stopped.  She had a look of horror on her face.  And I realised what I was saying.  I realised that he keeps telling me it’s his house and, even though both our names are on the deeds and even though I pay my half of the household expenses and even though I know I have a 50% entitlement to this house, I am starting to believe that he’s right and that it is his house.  I don’t see it as part mine.  I see it as a place where he allows me to live.  I’ve bought into what he says.

I explained about our financial set up.  We don’t have a joint account.  We pay 50% of the household expenses each and whatever is left over is ours to do with as we please; that’s the way it’s always been even though he earns five or six times more than me now.  She asked what he did with his money.  I said I didn’t know; I have no access to it; I never ask him for money – I’m good at budgeting and I have my pride.  Her look of horror didn’t diminish.  Obviously, my situation isn’t quite as normal as I thought it was.

I started thinking about other things.

I don’t have friends or family round.  Why not?  He doesn’t want people round; he makes it difficult.   I go along with it.  Why?  Because I’m buying into the fact that it’s his house and it’s easier for me to go to them than to have a battle with him.

I’m selfish.  I go out without him (he won’t come).  I didn’t invite him on holiday (he’s got angry in the past when I have).  I don’t do enough housework (but I do – the house is clean and tidy).  And I realise that although I know deep down that these accusations are ridiculous and not true (hence the comments in brackets), I DO feel that I am selfish and lazy and whatever other label is being applied to me.

For the last few days, I’ve not done any of the things I had scheduled, apart from see my friend (because I knew he would be at work at that time and wouldn’t know I’d been): I didn’t go to my six-weekly writers’ circle; I didn’t go ballroom and Latin dancing; I didn’t go out with my friends last night; I didn’t go the gym.

I get to the point where I just give up.  Trying to assert myself doesn’t seem worth the battle and perhaps it would be better to go along with the way he wants things, if only for a quiet life.

And so I give in and feel low and go to bed to cry and sleep and wonder what’s the point in living such a joyless life.

But not today.

I’ve got it out of me.  The sun is shining.  I want to read; I want to write; I want to work on my art journal; I want to try my new project of pastel drawing; and tonight I want to go dancing.  AND I WILL.

I am strong again.

Thank you for listening to me.

 

 

 

After an evening of arguments, during which I was criticised and blamed for everything, followed by a day and evening of the silent treatment, I was told “You need to decide what you’re going to do by this evening – I want an answer when I get back.”  Why can’t we discuss the situation?  Why is everything left to me?  Why?  Why?  Why?

I spent the day with a friend, dreading my return home.  I’m so tense these days, wondering what kind of mood he’s going to be in, trying not to say or do anything to provoke him, although everything I say or do seems to provoke him.  I don’t know what to expect anymore: aggression or silence?

Neither.

He came back and acted as if nothing had happened.  Did I imagine it all?

What’s going on?

English: Lady Gaga performing "Speechless...

English: Lady Gaga performing “Speechless” on the UK arena of The Monster Ball Tour (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was so much I wanted to write about – it’s been buzzing round in my head all day but now I don’t have the energy.  I keep getting flashes of the things he said to me yesterday but I’m just too tired to defend myself.

I remember him saying I’d made him so unhappy.

I remember him belittling my friends and my sister.

I remember him complaining that I fell asleep on the train the other day.

I remember him saying I should have told him there was something wrong.

I remember him saying how angry he was that I’d removed my wedding ring.

I remember him saying he wouldn’t be making any more contributions to the household finances.

I remember him saying it was all my fault.

I remember him saying I was going to give him a heart attack.

I remember him saying I didn’t do anything for him.

I remember him complaining that I go out.

I remember him saying I’d made him want to hit me.

I remember him saying all these things.

Today he didn’t say anything.

It’s the silent treatment…again [sigh].

It’s all kicked off again.  I don’t even know where to start with tonight’s events.  Relating and making sense of them feels like an overwhelming task and one which is too long to complete tonight, but I need to get some of it out of me before I can go to bed.  Here goes:

“What do you do all day?” he asked.  It is a loaded question, the implication being that I do nothing.  So I reeled off my list: cooking, cleaning, washing, paperwork, work, etc, etc.  He then complained that he had had to hoover and clean the floor (it was on my list for tomorrow as I have a free afternoon).  Incidentally, although he occasionally hoovers, he has never washed the floors here.  I was extremely busy today: I had to go over to my sister’s to sort some paperwork, then run some errands, then go to a client (who rearranged while I was doing the errands), then come home and do a few bits before going to see another two clients, then prepare dinner, then wash up after.

I know I shouldn’t have responded, but I was angry at the implication.  I was being attacked so in defence, oh dear, I attacked.  And we all know that’s a downward spiral – I’ve said it before.  I feel he demeans what I do whilst raising his work to a pedestal and it grates.  “I was only asking what you do all day” he justified, implying my response had been unreasonable.  I don’t know a lot about passive aggression but I’ve been reading a bit recently and think this might be an example.

A two/three (I didn’t note the time) hour argument ensued.  I didn’t want to argue but every time I spoke calmly, he said I was being patronising (more passive aggression?), so I kept erupting in little bursts at each new attack, some of which included:

“You didn’t ask me to go to the holiday home, it would have been nice to have been asked”. He knew I was booking the tickets.  He was there and I was discussing it with him.  I’ll admit I didn’t ask him but if he’d wanted to come, he should have said.  For the past three years, he has become angry when I’ve kept asking him.  Last year, when I was at our holiday home, I spoke to him on the phone and told him to book a flight and come out.  He complains that I keep nagging; that he doesn’t want to and won’t come.  Consequently, I didn’t say anything.

“What do you do between working and having fun?”  I just wanted to laugh at this.  To my mind, there’s nothing else apart from work and fun and I don’t know if I should admit this but I find work fun a lot of the time, although I didn’t point this out.  He kept spouting on about my “hedonism”, which was a bit galling because I taught him that word.  [Smiles at the irony]  How can I smile?

“You went dancing last night.  You should have suggested we go out instead.” Excuse me?  Ever since I have know him, he has refused to go out the evening before he goes to work, the evenings he works and the evening after his last day at work.  If I’d asked him, he would have said: “Don’t you realise I’ve been at work all day.  I’m tired.  I don’t want to go out.  You’re selfish.”  I’ve accepted and respected this situation from day one (more passive aggression?).

“You’ve created this situation.  It’s all your fault.”  I didn’t argue this one but it takes two, in my opinion.

“You never make any effort.” (referring to our relationship).  This is just not true.  I’ve been trying so hard for years, trying to get him to do things, trying to get affectionate: I’ve been constantly rejected.  When I stopped earlier this year, it obviously had an impact, but honestly there’s only so much you can do with no response.  It hurts to be rejected – as he is now finding out.  Even now though, I do still try, just considerably less often.

He said he hates me, I’ve hurt him so badly and that when I’m away I need to make a decision about what I’m going to do!  I can’t help but feel he needs to make some kind of decision.  He needs to stop provoking these arguments – and I need to stop responding to the provocations – so that we can move forward calmly and rationally.

There was more, a lot more – a lot can be said in two or three hours.  He was, well, downright nasty, verbally aggressive, and he was drinking, which didn’t help the situation.

And so now I’m left wondering if I shouldn’t just admit this marriage is a completely lost cause and resign myself to whatever the future holds.  My daughter said we should split up.  “Where would I go?” I asked.  She said she didn’t know but that she would come with me because she didn’t want to stay with him.  My other daughter has previously said the same thing.  This makes it challenging because I would be responsible for making our living conditions difficult.  I don’t want to do that to my girls.

But I don’t know if I have an alternative.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

 

In the UK, there’s a lot of press at the moment about the divorce of Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson.

A couple of weeks ago, he was photographed in a restaurant with his hand around her throat.  He claims it was an innocent gesture and one of fun but it’s hard to believe him.  No matter how much I picture myself in that situation, I can’t see how I wouldn’t find it threatening.  (if you haven’t seen the photo, google it and see what you think.)  She obviously felt the same and they’re now divorcing.

To justify his actions and protect his image, Saatchi published a statement, part of which reads:

“She remains the most wonderful woman in the world.  I feel very fortunate to have had such a lovely wife for so many years.”

Analysing the statement, Alison Boshoff comments:

“Note his use of the phrase ‘I have…had a lovely wife’ rather than ‘We had a lovely marriage’, for example.  Possessive to the last, Saatchi’s interpretation of the marriage is one of ownership.”

In one of our recent argument-discussions, husband said he didn’t want our marriage to end.  I asked him why; asked him what he got out of it. The only answer he could give me was “Because you’re my wife”.

That explains a lot of things.  If he sees me as a possession, no wonder he doesn’t want me living an independent life without him; that’s not what possessions do.  Possessions have no other purpose than to satisfy some need for ownership in the possessor; to be at their service.

In the same edition of the newspaper, my new champion, Janet Street-Porter, also commented on the Saatchi divorce and divorce in general:

In any marriage, women have to pretend to be needy, to be listeners when they are bored, to feign interest and to put up with huge egos, tantrums and silly moods.  If they have careers, they combine all that draining effort with working flat out, making sure they look good, and summoning up the strength to push themselves on.  No wonder we sometimes can’t face another minute of it.”

After all, we are human beings, not possessions.