When the bogey man hides under your skin nowhere is safe….
Am I his warden or his wife?
His carer or his spouse?
His keeper or his friend?
Half of these things I don’t want to be…….
All of these things are difficult,
all need to be worked at,
all need strength.
Im afraid Im too weak..
Ah Saturdays, they use to be the day of relaxation and fun, now they are the day of tiptoeing and arguments, trying to reconcile, avoiding social events, moping about and misery.
“This week has been an absolute nightmare”, his words, used to describe a week in which I have apparently tried to knock him down. It started with last Saturday and has slowly but surely declined since then, all of it my fault.
On Monday I told him during a discussion that people take advantage of his kind nature and that we are the ones to suffer, especially in situations involving money, he didn’t agree but instead took umbrage and told me I was saying he was a mug, I tried to tell him that its just a fact that he is too kind & there are some people that take advantage of this fact. He says I made him feel like a pushover, a weakling. My fault, he says I was acting on a subconscious level and that the materialistic nature of mine came to the fore and that I wanted money and therefore was nagging him to get some off a person he has lent some to. This person has owed him money for months, he’s not the one that has to pay the bills and has sleepless nights over massive credit card bills, yes I worry about money.
Tuesday, I can’t remember what happened Tuesday! Oh yeah, I made things out of felt on Tuesday, Tuesday passed quite calmly.
On Wednesday he came out with me to the theatre to watch my son in a Shakespeare festival where my son had a part in Hamlet, I had pre booked seats that were on the end by an exit and with room around us, always s consideration when goingvto the thestre ir cinema, We have to sit by an escape route & have a plan. We went, he’s good at going to things if he can focus on it being about our son and not us. He’d do anything for our son. We watched the performances and was all ok until one of the schools decided to do Romeo & Juliet in the Welsh language, which completely misses the point of doing Shakespeare and also reinforcing the NAT’s he has about Welsh speakers hating him and having an attitude of superiority. Its a deep rooted thing he has from his childhood. So he was upset by it, angry they took something & bastardised it for a language, turning it into West Side Story performed in the style of an Eisteddfod piece (Eisteddfod, google it!). As we sat there waiting for the auditorium to empty & before we got up to leave a man that had been sat behind us walked past and commented, not to us but to his wife, that he never thought Hamlet was going to end, my husband heard this & reacted and shouted ‘Fucking Prick’ at him. The man didn’t hear him, thankfully, but it was just my husbands reaction to someone having a go at my son, all be it in a round about way, I calmed him down and we collected our son and came home. I needed a drink, our neighbour came around with a bottle of wine, I had a glass. Our neighbour started talking about the neighbours Xmas dinner, the one night of the year my husband usually enjoys, it usually involves a meal out and a long walk home. My neighbour was asking about us going out this coming weekend and I , with a loose tongue lubricated with wine, replied “It depends what mood he’s in”. That was a very wrong thing to say on my part. I instantly take on the role of his mother in his head, thats the type of thing she used to say to him, so he bottle it up and didn’t say anything to me about it until the next day, Id fallen sleep on the sofa at this point anyway.
Thursday I woke up dreaming I was chewing glass, grinding it between my teeth until it was fine enough to swallow, I woke thinking its OK, that it wasn’t a lot and not as much as I swallowed last time! Trying to process that I was awake I heard the chaos downstairs, my son’s tie had broken and my husband and son were rubbing off each other like flint and steel. There was an incident with my lost purse and we collected our car from the garage, I the suggested we went into town as it was Fair day to go and see what food trucks there were. We went, they were all greasy burgers and hot pork rolls, same old crap, he wanted a burger but I said I didn’t think it was a good idea, this was the match to the cloth, ‘stop treating me like my mother, you are not my keeper, you can’t tell me what to eat’, a whole barrage of hate towards his Mother directed at me. We went home.
Friday, all seemed ok until I made him a roll for lunch. Id made him the wrong thing, he wanted to make his roll, how dare I make him a roll of my choosing when he wanted something else. I was being his mother again, making his decisions for him. I wasnt I was just making a roll and thought Id make him one so he didn’t have to make one himself as he may be hungry after chopping wood, but the problem was he didn’t go out for long, something had annoyed him in the garden or he was starting to add all the mood lability into a huge lump and it was gaining momentum. I had to go out, he told me to Fuck Off out again. I didn’t feel like going out but went out because it usually calms him if I just leave him alone for a while. Our son came home, he went out to meet him, the kids on the bus flag him and put their middle finger up at him, our son is telling him how the same kids are giving him abuse on the bus. BOOM, he goes off. The last straw, he hates the place, wants to move, hates society, hates me for letting this happen. Hates himself for not being able to protect our son, I in the meantime have rang the school to talk to the head teacher and sort the bus situation out. He is just venting, getting more and more wound up. I make dinner and we sit in different rooms all night, I just don’t want to wind him up anymore, but I know I don’t even have to be there for the mood lability to take a grip and he’s angry about something that happened 14 years ago. I went to bed early after being woken with a stet on the sofa, dreaming I was being pulled down a deep hole by me bound feet.
Saturday, today, I got up early, alone, with ear ache, Ive not slept much and the sleep I have had has been restless, full of dreams of good things going bad. I left him in bed. I made us a cup of tea, I took his up, he’s lying in bed staring at the ceiling. I go back down stair and start playing Destiny on my sons PS4, my son gets up and hears me playing and runs downstairs to help me as I am not very good, my husband comes down and witnesses a scene he has tried and failed to produce. He goes into auto magic pilot and makes breakfast, it lovely and we thank him but its just a routine, a program of commands he knows how to follow, post breakfast he goes upstairs and locks himself in our room. I go up to see if he is ok and he lets it all out, how I have made him feel crap this week, how I have belittles him, how I have made him a prisoner in his own home, how he’s given up so much for the family to be family and him not leaving us. But mainly how much he hates me, hates that when he’s feeling good I knock him down, how its all my fault, how society perceives him as a retard, a mug, and how I think the same way all the other NT’s think. How Im mean and never tender, how I nag but don’t encourage, how I press buttons not give support. How I prefer the company of new made friends than him. Anything and everything from the past week gets dragged up, then things from before, I ask him what he needs? What can I do? He tells me to leave him alone, so I come down stairs. He comes down 10 mins later pulls on his boots and takes the dog out. I start writing this.
He’s back now, I don’t know if he’s calmer I daren’t look at him just in case he glares at me, I have a headache and stood in the bathroom for ten minutes earlier trying to remove the black circles under my eyes thinking it was mascara, when I discovered they weren’t coming off I realised how tired Im looking, how washed out, how hollow. Im tired, Im beaten down but I can escape, I can leave the house and mingle in society if I need to, he can’t, he is a prisoner, he has made it so he is his own judge, jury and executioner and I am his warden. Im his wife not his warden, Im his carer but Id rather be his wife.
Last night he calmed, this morning a different person. We went out, we had lunch, we came home. He had a coffee, this was a mistake. Within an hour of drinking the coffee he started to disappear, started to become spiky, started to change again. The coffee raising his adrenaline levels, poking at his insecurities, pressing the button to call the beast. He appears just for a brief moment but is then subdued after a short rant about complexes and subconscious and seeing our failings. I deflect these rantings with humour and recognition of repetition.
I have fed him a carefully crafted meal, a dinner of foods that can help him feel better. High protein, loads of Turkey with the extra tryptophan to get those neurones firing on target, to calm and relax. Lots of green veg and comfort food of roasted potatoes, mashed carrots, swede and parsnip, drizzled in a real gravy. He ate and thanked me. I know the thank you was for more than just the meal.
It really works, avoiding the processed foods he used to cram in his body to get hits of sugar, he is calmer. He is nearly him again.
Bye bye him, hello you….
24 hours have passed,
We’ve not spoken, I have left him alone.
After all the Fuck Off’s & screaming,
stomping and glaring, anger & hate he’s crashed,
another bit of him lost forever, frailer, more lost he hides under the sheets in the dark, weighted down, secure, safe.
He’s feeling guilty, remorseful, ashamed and even more broken. I now have to try and glue him back together, there is always new bits missing, new holes where he used to be.
One day there’ll be nothing left but the memory of the shape of him.
My husband is a prisoner,
a prisoner in our home,
a prisoner in his head,
a prisoner in our relationship,
a prisoner in his family,
a prisoner in life.
He wants so much to be free but the longer he’s a prisoner the less able to reach freedom he is.
“F*&K Off” he yells at me, sat on the stairs, glowering black eyes, bared teeth, he is not there. What sits on that step is not my husband but an outline of him filled with a fury and rage. I take the verbal abuse, Im not scared, Im just sad, sad he has disappeared again, he’s like a time traveller, one moment he’s here the next he’s gone, left in his place is this shape of uncontrollable rage, blackness and despair. A visitant…
Ive been thinking lately about how I have become the type of person that I am. The type of person who constantly falls for the man with control issues, conditions, how I put myself in these situations where Im vulnerable, or the scapegoat, or the victim. I realise it all stems from conditioning by my brother.
I am the youngest and only girl of 3, in Bowenian family psychology this labels me with the position of the little star, the baby and the princess. My middle brother taking on the roles of the black sheep and the clown for attention. My oldest is the achiever, the experiment, thinks he’s better than us, distances himself, there is a 10 year age gap between him & me, we are worlds apart. My mother went into labour with me on my middle brother’s 5th birthday, something he has never forgiven me for, I took his mum away from his birthday party and took all the attention off him, not only that but I now have a birthday the day after him taking away the specialness of his day forever. From that day on he resented me for stepping on his existence and he did everything from that moment to make sure I knew I spoiled it all for him.
My Mum would tell we how she would just get me off to sleep as a baby and he would scream at the top of his lungs to wake me up for no reason at all. I remember being about 2 and him putting me in a cardboard box and taping me in telling me he hated me and was going to get rid of me & was going to send me to the rubbish dump, leaving me in there until I was exhausted from fear & crying and probably starved of oxygen. He used to try and drown me in the bath pretending it was a game of who could hold their breathe the longest but really he was holding my head under trying to make me stop moving. One afternoon he and my older brother and their friends had built a den in a tree in the woods behind our house, he and my older brother were babysitting me but the den building was more fun so they left me in a bush while they built this den. To get me up into the den they rigged up a bucket on a rope, stuffed me in the bucket and tried to hoist me up to this badly built platform, of course the bucket tipped over and I fell into a particularly angry patch of nettles. He told me if I ever tried to go to the den or the woods on my own that the crows would attack me and peck out my eyes, I could never walk the woodland path, I would always have to run it with my arms covering my face. There are a million scenarios like this all traumatic to a small child.
I would sometimes go into his room for comfort to go to sleep and he would use the torch to make animal shapes on the ceiling, but they were never nice animals that would protect me, they were always huge scary ones that were going to come after me and eat me, leaving me even more terrified than I was before I went in his room. One night when I was about 5 I had a polyester nightdress on and I had gone in his room because I was scared and he had shook the man made fabric of my candy striped nighty in the dark making the static of the polyester crackle and spark in the darkness and told me that I was going to catch fire in the night, that those sparks would make me go up like a bit of dry paper so Id best not move just in case, I didn’t move or sleep all night. My Grandmother would give us cod liver oil capsules and he would hit me making mine pop in my mouth, the rank fish liver oil covering my tongue making me sick. When I was 7 we had moved into our new house he begrudged me having a bigger room than he so he told me that the rats and snakes would find their way into my room and while I slept they would make their way under the duvet and eat me! Or that the hues was full of ghosts and monsters that lurked in the shadows and fed on little girls. I could never get to sleep in that room and from then on would cry for my mother to lay with me until I went to sleep and only after I had lined the edge of the duvet with an army of stuffed animals making sure there were no gaps for the snakes and rats to get in. He would spit in my food, knock over drinks, belittle my ideas, steal and hide my toys. He told me everything was poisonous, everything would kill me or hurt me or he would. My respite was my grandmothers house where I could stay alone with her, safe from him.
Im terrified of sharks, not helped by the movie Jaws, and facilitated by the actions of my brother on a family holiday to Greece. I was 9, he was 14. He always had to look after me on family holidays, something he loathed doing as he always had me tagging along with him. He would bury in sand, covering my face and laughing at my distress. If we went in the sea he would throw seaweed at me and tell me it was poisonous and after the release of Jaws in 1975 he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to tell me there was a shark about regardless of if we were in a public swimming pool or an ocean. This particular holiday we had been given a dinghy to play in he begrudgingly let me join him in the dinghy and he rowed us off out into the clear blue sea. We got about 500mtrs out when he demands I get out of the dinghy or he was going to punch me, so I jump out and as I hit the water he yells “Shark!” I hear shark & swim like an olympic swimmer to the shore only to hear his peals of laughter behind me with the odd “come back” as he rows back to shore fearful I was going to drown and he’d have the blame. Anytime I went near the sea with him there would be a shark incident and I would be petrified to swim.
That same summer he took me camping, he and one of his friend had erected his tent in a clearing of ferns on the mountain, so my Mum asked if he would take me with him one night, so she made me a sleeping bag out of two old quilts and off I went camping with him. He told me to go to bed as soon as we got to the tent and to not make a noise, so I did, when it got dark he told me he had to go back to the house for some supplies and left me in the tent on the side of the mountain in the dark on my own. Minutes later there was something clawing on the tent and a silhouette of a huge man with an axe loomed on the canvas accompanied by a gruff voice whispering he was going to kill me, I started screaming, I wouldn’t stop, of course it was him but I screamed so much and wouldn’t calm down he had to take me home.
As we got older it didn’t change much, constant abuse, he used to threaten to tell on me, blackmailed me, belittled me, ridiculed me for how I was growing up, offered no brotherly advice on relationships or being a teenager and would try and cause as much of a problem he could if he could anytime he could, we fought constantly, ignored each other as much as possible, I would hide from him. At 13 I foolishly borrowed a shirt off him one afternoon and as I walked up the hill from our house he drove down in his car that I never ever had a lift in, I didn’t ask and he didn’t offer, he spotted his shirt, stopped the car and ripped it off me telling me never to borrow his stuff again. I had to run back to the house in my bra covering myself and crying.
I snapped not long after this and one day having been given the chore of sorting the family washing I took a kitchen knife to his pile of clothes and stabbed tiny little holes in everything, he blamed my Mum, who could only imagine the little holes were caused by something in the washing machine. I started giving a good as I got. He hated me even more. But I had my small victory and the kitchen knife, from then on he always had holes in his clothes.
He traumatised me my whole life until he moved out when he was 21.
Now as an adult am I looking for that trauma? Looking for the constant fear? conditioned to be traumatised? Is this why I choose damaged broken men because their behaviour mimics my brothers treatment of me? Do I like the fights, the battles, the drama? Is it a normal state for me?
I am going to profile my partners, see what you think…..