Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Friday, September 3, 2010

six years of semi-hell-(this is a lo-o-ong one-feel free to avoid)

I don't like arguing or fighting. I'm unable to express myself clearly, usually dissolving into tears, often doubled over with stomach pains from the stress. So I avoid saying what I feel, just seethe away quietly.

Some time ago, my hubby left me. I made him go; I'd had enough of walking on eggshells.
I couldn't tell him why, not face to face, so I wrote this and sent it to him.
He called a couple of days later and apologised for the way I'd felt all those years.

Dear L,
I have to write this down. These are some of the things I cannot say to you, because I'm afraid of your reaction.

Years ago, that night when you got so very drunk and lost control of your actions and hurt me, it wasn't the first time. There'd been other occasions that you don't remember, when you'd drank too much and did things. Smashing dishes, pushing, slapping, kicking me. Hands around my throat, squeezing, while you shouted into my face that you loved me and would never hurt me. The time you held my biggest kitchen knife to your own chest and begged me to make you angry enough to use it. For two hours I talked to you until you gave me the knife. You never remembered what you'd done when you'd been drinking. I didn't love you anymore. After that last night, I had you arrested and my kids helped me to pack up my stuff and leave while you were still in jail.

From jail, you signed yourself into the Rehab Centre. While you were there, I found this little unit and made it my home. it's peaceful and I love it here.
When we bumped into each other, (I know now that you'd been watching my workplace and arranged the "bumping"), I wanted you to know that I had a decent place to live and was doing okay. I brought you here to see for yourself. This was a huge mistake on my part.

Because then you just sort of stayed, because I didn't know how to say no. You brought your thngs here, because I didn't know how to say no. You said you wanted a better place to stay while you got back on your feet and started looking for a job. I assumed your stay would be temporary. Because you'd changed. You'd learned your lesson. You'd grown up. You were a man now; you'd learned all this at the Rehab Centre.
You'd missed me while you were there, but from what you said, I think you were happier there than you'd ever been anywhere.

So, for a few months, you were on your best behaviour. Things seemed okay.
Then came the excuses for not doing anything "right now". You didn't want to start looking for work or sign up with any job networks until your court date was out of the way. Fair enough. Then it was too close to Christmas and "no-one would be hiring". Then it was "no-one hires straight after Christmas". I stayed patient and tried to be supportive. You were assigned through Centrelink to a disability support service. There were case managers, one after another,trying to help you find work. Over time you became angrier and angrier with all these people trying to make you do things you didn't want to do. Like get a job? You said you wanted to work....

I remember all the times you said to me you'd do anything to get out of it whenever they had something set up for you. You'd smash yourself up if you had to. This upset me every time I heard it. I knew by now that you were self destructive. I worried that I'd come home from work to find the ploice here, or that you'd be cut and bleeding in the yard or house, maybe you'd be passed out after taking every pill you could find. I remember the day you smashed your hand with a brick, trying to break it so you wouldn't have to attend a job interview.

Many other things made you angry. I never could figure out what would set you off. When K wanted to visit and use the computer, you pretended not to be angry, but you were, because you thought you had to stay outside, out of our way. She soon stopped coming. You never tried to get on with my family, you were convinced they didn't like you. As it turns out, you were right.
The one time M rang up and wanted to visit with his kids, you got so enraged you threw my potted plum tree against the house wall and broke it. (the tree)
I rang M back and said please don't come and gave him some excuse that I'm sure he didn't believe. That same day we had a fight and you said "I suppose you want me to leave now" and I said "yes, you were never supposed to stay here anyway, this was meant to be temporary".
Well, you didn't leave, you had nowhere to go.

There were other things that I didn't understand. On washing days, you'd ask how many loads I was going to wash, you were convinced that we'd get into trouble for using too much water if I washed everything in the hamper. Somewhere in your mind, you knew the restrictions were only for gardens, but if I washed more than two loads.....I could feel the anger coming from you.
Shopping days- you'd say don't spend all the money, we need to save some. I'd feel guilty wanting to buy things we didn't really need. But then you'd be wanting treats bought home from work almost everyday. Donuts, things brought home for lunch, pies, or fish'n'chips, because you refused to eat yesterdays perfectly good bread, even as toast. I remember the times I sneaked extra cans of coffee and packets of smokes into the house and hid them, just to be sure that you would never run out. You lived on smokes and coffee most of the time. If I wasn't home you wouldn't eat, at times you seemed to be afraid that you'd get into trouble for taking food. Something from your childhood? I was always bringing home extra milk. You'd go through 6-7 litres a week just in cups of coffee. Meat had to be the cheapest available, because you didn't like me spending money. What you didn't know was the money you gave me every fortnight was always gone long before your next payday, and all the extras were paid for from my wages. And fair enough too. I could afford to top up our supplies as well as pay the rent and utilities. you never seemed to understand that I was earning enough; you were terrified that one day there'd be no money to pay the bills, even though I told you every single week, that I had enough to cover the rent and the bills.
Cooking was another problem. I love to cook. But to you cooking meant planning, (work),preparation (work), smells throughout the house, (who doesn't love the smell of things baking?), cleaning up, (more work). Yet you insisted on cooked meals. You'd pressure me to cook enough so that we could just reheat leftovers the next day. No cooking involved. But how many times did you refuse to eat leftovers? You'd worry that maybe they'd "gone off" and I'd have to cook again or you'd go out and buy hot chips. I got so sick of hot chips. I'd try to have simple meals, until you demanded a "proper dinner". The kind that involve planning, shopping, cooking; all the things you didn't like me doing.
You didn't like me doing housework, you thought I worked hard enough at work. Really it was the noise and time taken that irritated you. (let's not annoy the neighbours by vacuuming on a sunday). Leave it to me you said. I'll do it while you're at work. The vacuuming, the bathroom, the dishes. So I left them. But you didn't do them. Except for the dishes and those you only washed, left the drying to me. Sometimes I knew you'd been angry by the dishes that were missing, broken somehow. I remember the day I came home to find a thick chopping board broken in half, a plastic jug slashed with a knife and the knife itself broken at the tip from being thrown against the side of the house. That was the night I packed away all my favourite coffee mugs.
You spent your days "gardening". Moving potted plants all day, every day, because they had to be in full sunshine. Pulling up things I'd planted and putting them in pots, because what if we were asked to move suddenly? got evicted? We'd lose all our plants if they weren't in pots so couldn't take them. This fear of being evicted was always with you, I've no idea where it came from. Then my favourite plants started dying. heat stress you said, but I knew you'd sprayed them with roundup. Even the tough old lavender that was here when I moved in, dead suddenly. Heat you said, but none of the other plants in that bed died. The lavender died because I loved it.
You built me a shade house that grew wonderful vegetables, but only for one season. After that you became convinced that people thought we were growing marijuana and you destroyed the shadehouse. You built a beautiful little garden shed, a year later you smashed it up with a hammer because it was a fire hazard.

You tired many different medications, but they didn't work; antidepressants made you angrier than ever. Many times you'd mix medications and make yourself sick. I worried that I'd come home one day and you'd be dead from overdoses.
I tried not to show how stressed I was, clearly I succeeded, because you never knew.

In the last two years, you complained more and more that you couldn't even have a beer to get a bit drunk and forget. (forget what? you'd never say)
I reminded you that not drinking was your own rule, you'd promised from the beginning that you wouldn't drink if you could only stay here with me. You started with one or two light beers, just on your paydays. Soon enough this became six, eight, a slab over the weekend. Still light beer, but you complained all the time that it didn't give you the buzz that full strength beer did.
I was walking on eggshells everyday. Hiding behind the computer (hello lovely internet) reading in bed to avoid the lounge room.
I came to realise that you were using my home as a place to hide away. You didn't go anywhere, or do anything. Except to buy your beer and smokes. You weren't happy when I visited my family; you'd be convinced that maybe I wouldn't come back and then what would happen to you? Of course I came back; this is my home.

So many more things made me wish I'd never brought you here. Many times I wished you'd leave, like you said you would every time things weren't going the way you thought they should.
Then you started saying you hated living here, that I should start saving money to move, that I should start looking for a new home. Forget it, I like it here and I'm not going anywhere.
The day you were raging that you really hated it here, I took the opportunity to make you leave. We had that huge fight, OMG the fight. I handled that part badly, but you did leave. obviuosly fault is not one sided and I've done things wrong too, but you're gone now and I can't have you back. I think we're much better off apart. You'll have to face the world and stand on your own two feet; do things for yourself.

There's more to this, I haven't written everything.
Last week, in the room he's living in, he got very, very drunk. He phoned me in a rage, swearing and smashing things in his room, I could hear him kicking things, punching the walls, then he dropped his phone and couldn't hear me trying to calm him down. I heard other voices, maybe someone else came in to try and help him. I hung up. The next morning, he phoned again, he didn't remember any of the previous day, wanted to apologise in case he said or done anything. I told him I was fine, although he'd scared me enough to alert my kids and pack a bag in case I needed to run if he'd said he was on his way here.
Now, he's back in the Rehab Centre. I don't think it will do any more good than the last time unless he agrees to psychiatric help. I'm pretty sure he won't.
All of this makes me sad, because under all this, he's a good person, there's a tortured soul desperate to be free and happy.
But I'll never have him back. Never.


  1. Stories like this make me glad I'm single!!
    Stick with your last sentence. (And maybe stop taking his phone calls...)

  2. geez I don't know what to say. Sounds to me like you have the right attitude now, so stick to your guns and don't let him sucker his way back into your life again. And GOOD FOR YOU to have the courage to stand up for yourself!

  3. Frogdancer; With his last apology he promised he wouldn't contact me again. It's been almost a week now, with no contact, so I think I'm safe in saying he means it this time. Plus, I know how to hang up.

    Toni; It tokk me a while to stand up and say I want you to go, but I'm glad I did. The straw that broke the camel's back was him telling me I had to find somewhere else for "us" to live, because HE hates it here. I LOVE my little home and I'm not leaving. And I'm not letting him back in either.

  4. He'll try to come back.

    Don't cop it, he's no good, worse than a pimp.

  5. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink - none of it is your fault because he has learnt how to manipulate other people into behaviour that he can twist, turn and use against them.

  6. R.H. this time was already his second chance, there won't be another.

    Jayne; it took me a while to realise I was being manipulated, the day I walked home from work as slowly as I could was a key trigger here. I realised on that day that if he'd taken something, anything, I'd said that morning and stewed over it all day, getting in a mood, that wasn't my fault. I began to see him differently then.

  7. The last line, don't ever forget it.

    He will try and come back again, so stick to your guns and don't let him. And always let the police - and your kids know, too; as well as any friends or workmates you trust. You must never, ever blame yourself or ever have to live in fear again.

    L is damaged and broken, but you don't have to be.

    Thank you so much, dear River, for sharing that with us. I'd crush you in a bear hug right now if I could. Kath xo xo xo xo xo xo xo

  8. Kath; he has promised he won't come back, but really that's a wait and see thing isn't it? I do know that I'll be saying no. Thanks for the hugs, they're just what I need.

    Kim; thanks, Hugs are always welcome.

  9. River, do let the police know about him, on an informal level so that if anything (God forbid)does happen, even him approaching your front door then they will know to get there fast.
    His problems will probably never be resolved and he will revert to the drink and ignore his medications.
    As you say, he's had his chances so never let him put a cloud over your sunshine again.

  10. Oh River, I knew you'd had a tumultuous marriage but never anything like this. So sad but you're an incredibly strong and brave soul to hold out and manage on your own. Many women just don't, they put up with it. Be strong. You don't need him back in your life at all.

  11. JahTeh, I have the local police station number on speed dial and I'm certainly not afraid to call them if necessary. I did it once before, but I'm hoping I never need to again.

    Baino; Thanks. I'm finding the inner peace that used to always be mine is coming back. Now that he's not here to pull me down into his depressed moods, I'm a lot happier.

  12. Which is why that lemon chiffon cake rose so much.

  13. I was looking for something else on your blog. This must have been just before I began reading your blog. I kind of guessed something like this had happened but I did not know how bad it was. And look at you now in 2015 :)