Friday, March 18, 2016

The first time we broke up

I recently came across my old journal I kept with my therapist. I would write her an entry, and she would respond, in-depth and amazingly, to each one. Here was something I wrote in September 2014, when I first realized that I actually didn't deserve to be treated the way he was treating me. I share in hopes that it will help to spark that recognition in one of you who may be experiencing something similar. Let me tell you bluntly what it took me two years to realize--being verbally abused is NOT OK, NOT SUSTAINABLE, and it's NOT YOUR FAULT.

September 4, 2014, 11:50 am
A lot has changed in the last week. There is an aspect to my husband that I've always realized but only recently really admitted to myself - he is verbally and emotionally abusive. I constantly feel like I'm walking on eggshells around him, trying not to upset him, yet many days, any little word I say (or don't say) or thing I do (or don't do) sets him off, and he begins screaming at me. When he explodes, he's generally over it five minutes later, but I'm not. It devastates me, and sometimes takes me days to get over. I've been reading a lot about verbal and emotional abuse, and he really displays almost all of the signs, especially the more subtle ones. I mention this because everything came to a head over the weekend. I was at my parents house (honestly,because I didn't want to be alone for another holiday weekend, because I knew I would get sad). Saturday he asked if he could skype with my sister and brother in law to say hi, but we were out at dinner and then going out for drinks after that, so I told him it wasn't a good time but we could do it tomorrow. He was angry. Sunday when I called him and said "Hey, do you want to skype now? We're all around!" 
I apparently interrupted the commentary on the soccer game he'd just watched, and he EXPLODED at me "I'm watching the commentary! YOU KNOW I LOVE THIS! DO I SERIOUSLY HAVE TO JUSTIFY WATCHING THIS TO MY WIFE?!" 
I said no, and that it was fine, we could talk later. Then he said he could turn skype on, but he wouldn't talk until the show was over in two hours, and at that point I was going to be leaving, so I said "No, it's fine, this is your priority right now, watch your show." 
So I said "Ok, you're making that clear."
We hung up, and it was all I could do not to cry. I knew I didn't deserve to be treated that way. Since I was at my parents house, I did my best to hold it in and not talk about it (they already hate him, for a lot of reasons--I didn't want to give them one more). Then my dog threw up, and I started uncontrollably sobbing. My mom said "You seem really stressed..." and I told her everything I'd been holding back. I sat on the floor--literally, on the kitchen floor--crying for 3 hours, and my parents said if I hadn't mentioned it, they were going to talk to me. They saw that he's verbally abusive and controlling and on top of that, seems to never consider my feelings in his decisions, and they urged me that it won't get better, and they fear for my safety. I didn't sleep at all that night. Monday morning he texted to say "Hate to argue, but i'm sorry if I made you sad last night." I asked when a good time to talk would be, because I didn't want to interrupt again, and he called me immediately. I said "I'm really hurt and confused...last night I had a breakdown, and I don't deserve to be treated like that." and he immediately jumped to "So, what, do you want a divorce? Are we separated? HERE, I'LL TAKE MY WEDDING RING OFF RIGHT NOW!" and I said "I don't know, I just need some time to think," and he said "No, things are either working or not, I don't give anyone time...I'll just take my ring off and put it here, and you let me know what you decide." I was devastated. I never intended or imagined things would go downhill so quickly, or over the phone. It seems like he just wanted an out. 

September 8, 2014, 2:18 pm
So, I talked to him last night (I know, I know.) It was his "deadline" he so generously gave me as to decide if I wanted a divorce or not, and I wanted to tell him, in no uncertain terms, that I wanted a divorce. It didn't go well. He said he can't believe that I don't have the "respect" for him to just wait until he comes back. I told him my plan all along was to wait for him to come back, but then he put in question if he was even coming back, and then when I told him that I wanted to wait and see how things went prior to this current conversation his response was "So what, you'll make me spend $600 on a flight and then just dump me?" Everything gets turned around. The truth is, I'm having such a hard time because I DON'T want a divorce--it's the last thing I ever wanted. But I don't see any other way. I know he's not going to change and magically become the sweet, caring guy he once was. I know it's not just an issue of distance anymore. And now I can't even picture myself wanting to be in the same room with him. I don't even think that therapy would help him. When I point out to him that he's verbally abusive, he laughs at me (the irony is that he's currently playing a physically and verbally abusive husband on the soap--and getting rave reviews, I might add). He says he's researched all about it, and he's not that. I said there are different degrees of it, and it doesn't just mean men who call their wives "pieces of shit" and who hit them (that's his concept of it). And when I told him that he manipulates my feelings and emotions, again, he turned it around and said "NO I DON'T!" (dismissing me right there!). I know there is no hope for him and no hope for us. I know I will never be happy with him. I know I won't ever get past the hurt that I already feel, and I wouldn't be able to be in a relationship with him and trust him ever again. Plus, now that I've realized that what he has been doing is actually abuse, I'm afraid of what it could turn into. I know he's beaten our dog--the poor puppy used to pee in fear when he'd see him, and I watched him hit him (and then yelled at him and told him it was the most disgusting and unattractive thing I've ever seen--he stopped, as far as I know). I know he's hit ex-girlfriends, and I know that his dad told me that one ex had a restraining order. I just don't know what he's capable of, and i know I'm not special. I know if he felt justified, he'd hit me, too. I don't know why I would even think about letting him come back. I know nothing will change. But there is a big part of me that DOES feel awful about doing it over skype/the phone. Plus I know it gives him more fodder to tell people what a horrible wife I am for dumping him from abroad "while he was just trying to work for money for us." I told him I needed more time and that I would let him know when I've come to a decision, and I said it might be weeks or months. I know what I need to do, but when I talk to him, I just lose my resolve, because I remember how much I love(d) him and how he can be reasonable from time to time, and then I feel like the jerk. In the meantime, I've cancelled the wedding we were going to have here (lost my $2000 deposit). I took him off my insurances today, so that will be another $300 in my check every month. I'm doing everything to protect myself. I just need to strengthen my resolve to not let him come back, even though prior to this past week it's all I ever wanted.

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