But He Never Hit Me, Part Three

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Woke at four needing to get some of this down. It’s like knowing you have surgery the next day. Just spent the last couple of hours getting a first draft on paper and realized, I can’t face this again for awhile.

Usually, I get thoughts down, then sit on a piece like this for a few hours,  going back  through four or five times for clarity. Not sure I can this time around.

My apologies for the poor editing. When I’m able, I will go back and rework for clarity. It may be awhile.

My husband spent the next twenty-five years ruling our household through cultivating  fear and the *threat* of violence

Following the incident related in Part Two, things get murky. When I try to wrap my mind around the last twenty years, I find disjointed fragments, ugly memories like buried splinters clogging my thoughts, popping up in the middle of sentences to block the flow.

My original intent was to work chronologically, but that’s just not going to happen.  Some things happened so often they  became almost daily occurrences. I’ve  listed a few below in no particular order.

Pets

He beat and choked the dogs when angry. This started with our second dog, a high strung, larger breed that whined and barked constantly when outside. He held the dog off the ground by a choke-chain, feet dangling and beat the dog with a belt as hard as he could until I became hysterical. I’d scream at him to stop, he’d tell me to get back inside and not to interfere again. When he looked up, his eyes were empty. No emotion—almost like nobody was home.

This happened over and over until I talked him into selling the dog. I told him I wouldn’t ever put up  with that sort of animal abuse again—it was morally wrong. I still see that dog’s tongue hanging out of her mouth, hear her crying.  I wish I could go tell her I’m sorry.

Later, he confined his mistreatment of animals to shoves—his definition for kicking with a steel toed boot, sending the animals flying across the yard. Another favorite involved choking and dragging a dog by the chain. He would become angry at one of us and turn on the nearest animal, find some fault and let fly. Then he glared at us and stalked off. This happened so often, we learned to appease him so he wouldn’t mistreat the animals. When confronted he claimed ‘it never happened’ or ‘there was no connection to any of us and it was all in our heads’ and ‘we must have had a guilty conscience.’

Toward the last, he designated one of the dogs as mine—a small breed female with a yappy nature. He decided  he hated my dog in particular and threatened her constantly, heaping verbal insults and threatening to  throw her through a window or against the wall. She weighed less than ten pounds. I had no doubt he meant me, not the dog. The pup wasn’t the one who made meatloaf for dinner.

By the way, he was the one who insisted we have pets. For some strange reason, the idea of adding a new pet to the household met with  mixed emotion.

However despite the fact that it was his decision, we were responsible for all care and training. As we were home during the day, this was logical  however it brought an uneasy dynamic. The dogs were ‘disciplined’ for lapses in training which were ‘our’ fault because, according to him, if we had done our job and done as we were told, then the dog would be perfectly trained by now. But we were all ‘lazy’ and ‘never did anything right’ and ‘he was the only one who ever did anything around here’ and now ‘look what you did.’ Later, he simply mistreated an animal and glared at us accusingly before storming off. The message was the same. This animal is suffering because of you.

Verbal Threats

He constantly warned me and the children not to set him off because if we did, ‘he wouldn’t be responsible for his actions’. I heard this so many times, it replays in his voice inside my head. Another favorite line— ‘once I start, I will not stop.’

He seemed proud of his past and his capacity for violence, repeating the stories of unprovoked attacks against innocent bystanders who ‘had it coming.’ He said over and over that he ‘still had those thoughts’ (this with a faraway, half-crazed look in his eye) and “why, why, why didn’t God deliver him when he had asked and prayed and begged for so many years?” And then the kicker—“ But He hadn’t. You have no idea the kind of thoughts I have. You don’t know what I’m capable of.” The last part was delivered deadpan, glaring  before stalking off and punctuated by cursing and  door slamming.

He came home from work on a regular basis and spoke in very graphic terms of wanting to beat up his co-workers—of how he’d do it, how he couldn’t restrain himself forever what with them all being such assholes and how he couldn’t stand to look at them without wanting to bash their heads in. Later, I recognized the same expression on his face—the veins standing out in his neck, the purple, swollen look to his skin, the eyes bugging out—when he was angry at me for not having his laundry done or putting leftovers in his lunch when clearly, I should have read his mind and known he didn’t want that meal twice.

When I related some trivial happening by someone in the family his reply was always the same (but only if the story was about a woman.) It always caught me by surprise. I’d learned to keep most stories to myself and only related those I thought were funny. He would turn, that same furious, bug-eyed look and raise his voice—‘if my wife did *that* I’d put my foot so far up her ass she’d never sit again.’ There were several colorful variations on this one, but it always involved feet and a woman’s ass.

Which brings up another point. His threats were always aimed at me, but spoken as if speaking of another.

“If my wife ever (threatened to leave, spent too much money, refused to make dinner, went out with her girlfriends)—then I would (take the kids and she’d never see them, turn them against her, kick her ass, make her wish she never had, teach her a lesson she’ll never forget)”

“No woman will ever–(treat me that way, speak to me in that tone of voice, walk out on me, take my kids, refuse to do what I say, neglect the house)”

“I’ll never put up with some woman who–(disrespected me like that, spoke to me that way, treated me like scum)”

To which I’d say—‘hey, your wife is standing right here.’  To which he would glare and stalk off.

So either he had a whole boatload of other woman around or these threats were all aimed my direction. The thing is, I don’t remember ever doing even one of the things he mentioned. I never threatened to leave him, or charge up the credit cards, or take the kids away. I guess this was a pre-emptive strike. I do not remember one of these aimed at a man. When confronted, he simply said he was talking about someone else and never made any threats.

Weapons

Early in our marriage, he was obsessed with knives. He had a huge collection and carried two at all times, everything from tiny pocket knives to huge sheathed hunting knives. Later, he added throwing knives and martial arts weapons to the collection and practiced knife throwing in the yard. When he felt ‘threatened’, he would open a long blade and walk around hiding it behind his hand, blade point held down by the fingertips, handle up past his wrist and walking with his hand next to his leg. He made sure I saw.

When I protested, saying there wasn’t any danger in the middle of the shopping mall, he assured me that ‘he could tell’ because ‘he knew people’ and ‘he would protect me.’  The men I saw him glaring at were usually much smaller than him and minorities and it sure looked to me like his staring was intended to provoke a response.  I hated going out with him anywhere.

A few years later, his dad bought him his first  handgun. Then another. And another. By my estimate, he had close to forty when I left. He also had at least twenty shotguns, and an equal number of rifles of all sizes and calibers plus many duplicates ‘as an investment’ and buckets of ammunition for every gun. He obtained his concealed handgun license, went to the range on a regular basis and kept  a loaded pistol in the car, down by his feet. We had toddlers. I protested, fussed, begged but my objections to so many guns—loaded and unloaded—made no difference. He eventually bought a massive gun safe which was crammed to overflowing. It made no difference as he had way too many to ever fit inside.

For the last ten years or so, he had two loaded guns on his person at all times, one tucked into his back waistband so he could reach around and grab it easily and a tiny revolver tucked in the top of his boot. He seemed to take a certain delight in showing these off to other men at every opportunity.

On one occasion, a few months before I left, he confronted three of our grown children with a loaded pistol in our garage. He was angry because they came in late and claimed ‘he didn’t know who they were’ and ‘saw a suspicious vehicle on our road’ (his own truck.)  Problem with that? His daughter recognized the pistol, knowing it was the largest  he owned and buried at the back of the massive gun safe. It would have taken quite a while to find it, load it and wait in the garage for the kids to arrive.

 That’s all I can stomach at the moment. More later.

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11 responses »

  1. And all the while a fine, model “Christian” man in his local church. His hell shall be tailor-made for him by the Lord. I am seeing all of those abused pets, armed with guns, chasing him for all eternity. But then that would require the pets to be in hell, so that can’t be. Whatever awaits him, it will be ironically just.

    I also had a friend years ago (who has become more abusive over the years) whose life was enmeshed in guns. I own guns myself and like to shoot, but this guy had hundreds and hundreds, including fully automatic machine guns. He left them laying around the house, loaded – even with children around. Knowing what I do now, I see that the guns gave him that sense of power and served to intimidate others, including his wife. And yes, he was a professing Christian and an officer in his church. The last time I saw him, I observed him making some special dish for dinner. When his wife did something to help, I saw an evil, hateful scowl directed at her on his face. I knew then that our friendship was over, and I never went back.

    Ida Mae, we are still praying here that the Lord would soon set you entirely free of this terrorist and the fear he has held you in all these years. You need an exodus – a real Red Sea crossing with Pharaoh and his chariots destroyed forever in the Sea.

  2. I was so confused, I took each event as an isolated incident going from crisis to crisis. Putting this on record is hard because I’m seeing the frequency and enormity for the first time–all those animals.Breaks my heart and I’m feeling the weight of it. I hear all those threats again like a repeating mantra, one after the other. And I haven’t even come close to talking about his violence toward the children yet.

    He kept saying I was over reacting, overly sensitive, or being a weak, whiny woman. This is just how it is with men. Any man who didn’t fit his rough, macho ideal, he considered effeminate (although his language was more colorful.) The few men he had anything to do with *were* of this variety so its been a real revelation since leaving that most men *do not kick their dogs.*

    I have no problem with the second amendment. Actually, I’m a great shot. But this is different than *a* gun kept for personal protection or someone who hunts (he did not) or a marksman. This is accumulating and stockpiling. Also his method of carrying bordered on the paranoid– almost looking for a chance to shoot someone if he thought he could find a way to justify his actions and get away with it.

  3. If he doesn’t deal with the kind of anger that he has been displaying for years, eventually his body will absorb it all and consequences will happen. Maybe his own anger will be the death of him, and not the ones he rages at. We can only pray that his chariot, as Jeff described it, will be smothered by the Sea.

  4. I have come to the conclusion that we must have been married to the same man. Either that, or these guys are ALL SO MUCH ALIKE. Not very original, are they?

    The pets, the verbal threats, the guns…it’s all there. I was just remembering an episode with my poor little dog I used to have (triggered by that same stupid cartoon). And now you mention it…

    It’s been majorly triggering, yet I am grateful for it, because I have been in danger of forgetting and being so painfully lonely that I thought for half a second I might want him back. Thank you for reminding me, Ida Mae (and God)!!!

    • Amazing, isn’t it? I use to worry the beast would find the blog and recognize himself. Then I realized that the patterns are so similar he’s likely to read someone *else’s* blog and recognize himself.

      I’ve had that same thing happen so many times. Once I was dropping my son off, pulled away and looked up to see him in the rear view mirror. Still haven’t figured out why that one triggered me so bad but I couldn’t see to drive for the tears. And I just can’t bear to get close to a pet. Always loved animals but I told someone the other day that I’d never have another. That may not be true though. Who knows what the future holds once the healing starts?

      That’s the good news 🙂

  5. Oh, Ida Mae! In an earlier post, you said you weren’t sure if you had enough to get a restraining order on him. I’m no lawyer or cop, but reading this, it sounds to me like you do!

    • I’m sure things are different in different places. I did ask a couple of times. But when someone is constantly so careful to make sure *you* know without actually saying ‘you’– does that make sense? His threats were almost always silent or aimed elsewhere while glaring at me.

      One of these days, I’ve got to get the post on crazy making written. And gaslighting. That was another of his favorites.

  6. Dear Ida
    this was three posts in one. I don’t know how your nerves could stand it, putting so much down at one go.
    joining the dots is good, but seeing how many join up is scary…. [but good]

    We don’t have so many guns in Oz, and this is unimaginable for me. I am scared about coming to your land of the free. That’s pretty silly, I know, but I’m just a country bumpkin from the colonies…

    His threats-that-weren’t-threats; his insults-that-weren’t-insults
    [because they were directed at ‘someone else’]
    they are so creative in dropping their turds on the doorstep, and then denying they did it!

    Just curious: what is the picture? I clicked on it and it went full screen and it’s haunting me.

    • Its a peaceful scene of a castle with trees in the background and a river up front. I found it on a blog that posts free images and thought it was beautiful. I’ll post it over on FB so you can get a look.

  7. My ex is taking me to court again after we went through a lengthy trial where I got sole custody, supervised visitation because of his long history of violence with me and the children. God , when will it be over, he wants to modify his parenting time to unsupervised so he can physically and emotionally torture my 16 and 13 year old. He is also back to stalking us again. Police say they can’t do anything because he claims he didn’t know we were in that restaurant..my car was the only one out front and picked it out and he doesn’t know it’s there? We live in a nightmare and im beginning to realize it will never end until he dies.

    • Yes, I heard that song and dance too. We caught him driving through the parking lot of the grocery store where we shop regularly but, they said he didn’t actually stop or confront anyone, we had no picture, and he was probably just looking for groceries. A hundred miles from where he lives? Really?

      It’s disheartening.

      The Lord gave me a scripture once, dropped into my spirit, “Thou preparest a table before me, in the presence of my enemies. My cup overfloweth.” (Learned that one back in the good ol’ days of King James only.) The Lord emphasized, *in the presence of my enemies.” At the time, all I could do was hang on by the tips of my chewed-off fingernails to that promise.

      It didn’t happen overnight but God is making good on that promise. My children are hurt, but they were hurt already. They are learning wisdom and the ability to discern. They’ve developed empathy and compassion for others. I’m healing and learning to forgive myself. God has this amazing way of working things that the enemy means to destroy us into good.

      What your ex is doing is *so* wrong! I’m praying the judge will throw him right out on his butt where he belongs.

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