This blog began with two objectives. Be honest, Help others. Seems straightforward enough but just for funsies, let’s make a few clarifications.
In the spirit of self-disclosure, I curse sometimes in rough draft. Those spicy little words are not intended to make it to the blog. Years ago while writing fiction, I learned that allowing the subconscious to speak brings wild-eyed revelations, particularly for someone who locked away her feelings for so long. Sometimes it indicates anger or bitterness. I’m not afraid of anger anymore and considering everything that happened, anger is a reasonable response. Bitterness on the other hand, sends down roots and defiles many. I do not want to be a bitter person. Therefore, I treat these posts the same way I treat counseling. Everything goes to the Father. Writing gives me plenty to pray about.
If you find a word or two offensive, it probably got skipped over in editing which might in itself indicate a need for extra prayer sessions. I’m not ashamed of calling the estranged a jackass, I simply don’t want to turn others off who might possess more delicate sensibilities. Once upon a time, I was very delicate myself, an outwardly holy armor to keep from having to think too much. If you find the entire post offensive, then you and me have a problem. I can’t change who I am or what I’m going through and while my natural tendency’s to stay quiet, stay in hiding and lick my wounds, that helps no one.
One day, I hope to write about these issues in my own name. Therefore, every word on this blog is mine and I own it. Someday, when the Lord and circumstances release me, I’ll out myself. I’m not hiding behind anonymity to write any old thing I want. I’m hiding because my family is still in danger.
This is my Angry Face
I have feelings—good, bad or indifferent, they are mine. In my fifth decade, I’m finally learning to identify emotions like anger, sadness, humiliation. In some ways, my emotional health is woefully immature and its liable to peek through from time to time.
Everything you see here is just me, struggling with those nasty little emotion thingies. You’ll find no self-censoring, no judgment calls about the rightness or wrongness of any feeling unless, of course, I’m feeling guilty in which case I’m likely to beat myself about the head and shoulders whilst waxing eloquent on my many moral failings.
I do try to be honest but honesty took a turn a few years back. From the moment the I-do’s were said, I took sole responsibility for any and all marital problems while the beast took none. I didn’t realize this was the case for quite awhile but once it became clear he blamed me and me alone for anything and everything he said or did, I knew I just couldn’t carry this burden any longer.
Did I make mistakes? All the time but I’m learning, not so many as I once thought. Do I share some of the blame? Indeed, but not in the ways I always suspected.
So you won’t see much groveling here. I spent way too much time groveling before someone helpful enough to grind me in the dirt. Frankly, I’m done.
Assumptions Make an Ass
If you’re wondering, I’m not given to making assumptions. So when I say he blamed me, he did. Literally. It isn’t nice to pretend to know what’s going on in someone else’s head and I will not write something here unless he said it himself. Sometimes I may qualify things—he seemed to think, he acted like we were, I got the idea that he—but if there’s no qualifier, it’s straight from the jackass’s mouth.
Laying on your back at the bottom of the pigpen, its hard sometimes to find the diamonds in the muck. One blessing in disguise occurred because I stayed so very long. The beast began to say the most astonishing things. He said out loud things I suspected but never quite believed, at first only to me, later in front of our grown children. I’m guessing he got so comfortable with his level of control and my submission to his every whim, he literally thought he could get away with saying anything simply by denying it loudly later. I could list a few dozen examples but perhaps it’s best to let those crop up organically in the stories.
Beastly Man, Really
I’ve had a couple of comments about calling the estranged the beast. It’s much nicer than anything else I’ve called him for awhile now but this will probably not make the critics happy either.
A husband, by definition, loves and protects his wife. He should be proud she’s his, think she’s awesome, want to see her grow and learn, nurturing her gifts, gently living out his life with her while they both become more like the Savior. The two grow together in grace.
Living on the other side of the Looking Glass hurts like bloody hell.
Discovering you’re married to someone who hates you, who wants to dominate, control, manipulate your every thought and action—that’s a tough cookie to choke on.
Since the day I found out just how much my husband despises me, I’ve had a hard time admitting we’re married (which we are, by law even if the marriage is zombie-fried.) Sitting across the table from someone for seven days and listening as they outline how much they truly hate you cannot be described. Forget my heart, felt like someone blew away my entire chest cavity.
The problem went something like this. I thought I married someone flawed but somewhat reasonable, someone with similar values, goals and beliefs. I didn’t. I married someone lacking in things essential to personhood—things like a conscience, empathy, reasoning skills. Because of this, he didn’t see me as a person either which made any sort of cooperative relationship impossible. For him, it was all a contest. Win or lose, me or him.
When I call him the beast, I’m not trying to be mean. It’s simply a fitting description.
At some point, I intend to write about some really bad days.
Writing is cathartic. I rearrange things, place them in their proper spots, look for patterns, find the beginning, middle, and wrap it all up. It helps process things I might otherwise internalize. For example, when the Going to Hell email arrived, I literally felt a sensation of flying apart. I couldn’t read, couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t think. Then the numbness set in. Hurt gave way to nothing. Nothing at all. In case you’re wondering, kiddies, this is not good.
I set the email aside, prayed like crazy, showed it to a friend and let her tell me what it said, called another friend the next day and ranted for over an hour, then sunk into a blinding pit for several days. Only then did I feel strong enough to reread the missive and only because my original email asked questions about financial things and the answers were somewhere in that mess of damning my soul.
It wasn’t until I hit the keyboard that relief oozed in and the absurdity in his demented raving became crystal. That post helped heal my spirit.
A dear friend does the same with her art. She loses herself in the colors and shapes, stretching beautiful scripture around her pictures like windsongs. Another plays the piano, pouring herself into the melody, the throbbing, pounding chords of the old spirituals and hymns. Our creativity is a direct reflection of our Creator, a living gift. We cannot heal ourselves but the Spirit of the Living God, working in beauty and harmony with his creation can partner with us to pull us right side up again.
I did not write the day I fell apart. I wrote on the upswing. I do believe to be truly helpful, I need to let you peek into the anguish that overtakes my soul, the pit my enemy dug just for me. It won’t be pretty. By God’s grace, I don’t live there anymore.
But if one dear lamb can be helped by my honesty, then it’s what I have to offer. If one other can recognize my brokenness through these words, maybe they can recognize the wreckage in others. Maybe they can begin to see their own.
Maybe we can stop trying to be so perfect and just be.