Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Insults and Actual Domestic Violence

You are a terrible driver, you would say.
But I never had an accident.

This food is too salty/spicy/watery/gross/bland, you would say about my cooking.
You mean, thank you for cooking?

Do my thighs look fat in this? I asked.
Yes, you said. You asked. Don't you want me to be honest?

You have terrible taste in music, you told me.
I listen to all your music and just because I also like different things, doesn't make it terrible. It just makes it different, I said.
But you said, No. You have terrible taste in music.

You called me crazy.
You didn't see what I did for you. I worked. I supported you through 2 career changes. I took care of the house, the doctor's appointments, the kids, the money, the jobs, the vacations, anything, and everything that wasn't video games and TV. I eventually stopped asking for help. Because it wasn't worth the grief you gave me. I even agreed that it was ok if you don't work and I would if that's what it took for you to heal from the problems that you said you had. I agreed to take care of everything. And you didn't thank me. You told me I was unfeeling, uncaring. You ditched me. You ditched your family. Daily. And eventually, you chose your friends over us. You moved to be closer to them. And you ditched your kids to do it.

And then the physical violence that I had blocked out for years.
When we first moved to the Bay Area 10 years ago, it was rough.
You kept me from seeing and making friends because of your "anxiety." Isolation.
I would beg you to do things with me, but you would only stay home and play video games. Stonewalling.
I asked you about your job search and you got mad. Rage directed at me.
So mad that you yelled and grabbed me by the shoulders and pushed me down. Physical violence.
More than once.
You punched the walls and slapped my face. More violence.
And I sat there, confused and sad.
Thinking I'd pushed you over the edge. Self-blame and guilt.
Maybe I did.
When you went on medication and got a job it got better, the physical violence didn't happen again.
And I blocked it out.
We'd been married for 3 years. I was 26. I thought it was my fault I'd made you so mad that you would push me down or hit me.
I never told anyone.
Or, if I did, no one ever told me it was a bad thing.
Just that I needed to care more for my husband. Be nicer. Pray more.

I wish someone would have told me it wasn't ok. We should have addressed that right then. But I didn't know it wasn't normal. I didn't know it wasn't ok.