Sunday, April 21, 2013

From the Yin to the Yang and Back - Chapter 1

Five years ago, I was on the fast track to a crisis point.  This is the story of me -  a woman whose life was crumbling around her, piece by piece.  And how, piece by piece, she reclaimed the good parts of her life and learned how to accept the bad.

Chapter 1 - Marriage

All human beings are complex.  I don't believe that anyone can be accurately described as a "simple" person. My husband, however, pushes the boundaries of complex.   When we first met,  I had all of the dating and relationship experience of a 10 year old.  He was the first man I had ever met that I could actually talk to...... and talk to....... and talk to.   He made me laugh constantly, and he mad me feel desirable and good about myself.  I was not an emotionally mature individual and he was someone who was already very comfortable in a paternal role at the age of 25.  In the year 1990, we were a good fit.  We were very happy...... and we were walking down the aisle.

As the years passed and our daughter arrived and grew, my employment remained stable, but he gravitated from one job to another.  They were all smaller, family-owned companies and he was either a senior accountant or the controller.  Every time he switched jobs, there was enthusiasm and hope that ended in disillusionment.  In one case, he found out from a sympathetic co-worker that the owner had paid a consulting firm to find his replacement.  The best part was that he had to pay the consultant's  bill.  He managed to head them off at the pass and quit before they could fire him.

As one job melted into the other, with each switch, his mood swings grew more frequent and more drastic.  When he was down, I literally could do nothing right, say nothing right.  I was not emotionally mature enough to handle him properly.  My usual "modus operandi" was to become defensive and loud.  I guess I thought that if I could out-shout him, I could get him to recognize and acknowledge his behavior.  Wrong.  I could literally call him on the phone at 4:00PM and talk to a happy and joking man, but by the time I arrived home at 5:30, he was angry and irritable.  He could never tell me what was "wrong" or what had happened in an hour and a half to cause the 180 turnaround.   I think it was the language that bothered me the most.  I simply did not know how to handle being told to "go to Hell" or go F*** myself, etc, etc.... by the person who was supposed to be in love with me.  When trying to explain how much this hurt me didn't work, I would often resort to copious weeping.   It didn't take him too long to become immune to my tears.

To be perfectly clear, my husband has never laid a finger on me.   But, if there really is such a thing as verbal or emotional abuse, however..... this would seem to be it.    What I finally realized was that he was a less severe version of his bipolar sister.  How else could someone be so obnoxious and then the next day, be in complete denial even after I repeat his own words back to him?    She was always so off the wall, and her moods were long-term.   Each manic or depressive episode would last for months.  His episodes lasted for hours - literally.  For so many years, I didn't see this because I never thought about the genetic factor and I never knew that the episodes could be that brief.

The culminating episode involved a dress rehearsal and a cup of coffee.  I texted him to let him know that I was going for coffee after the dress rehearsal.  He texted back - "ok".   After the dress rehearsal was over, we headed over to Tim Hortons.  My phone was still on vibrate and was buried in my purse.  Unbeknown to me, after I had been there for about an hour, the text messages and voice mails began to pile up on my phone.  As I got into my car to come home, I pulled my phone out of my purse and saw 3 text messages and 2 voice mails, each one more angry than the last.  As I was calling him, the phone rang - him....  I tried to talk to him and figure out what I had done,  but he screamed at me through what sounded like gritted teeth and informed me that I was a "selfish bitch, a selfish fucking cunt...."  and that I'd better get my ass home",  and <click>.  I sat in the car for five minutes trying to collect myself and decide what to do.  It was the first time that I was actually afraid that he would hurt me physically.  I had to go home, because I would never leave without my daughter.  I remember walking into the house and telling him in a low voice that I had almost gone to my mother's house because he scared me that bad.  He looked me straight in the eye and told me that he hadn't said anything offensive, that he was afraid something bad had happened to me, and that I should have texted him if I was going to be out that late.  I had been at Tim Horton's for one hour.  Days later he did not remember saying those horrible things to me and he flat out denied it.  I guess I must have been lying, even though my daughter told me that she had been cowering in her bed and heard the whole thing.

So, the question of the hour became - where was the man I married?  Where was the person who could make me laugh at the drop of a hat, who I could talk to for hours?   I no longer wanted to be with him - physically, mentally, in any way.  I would spend hours fantasizing about the day when Mandy was out of the house and I could tell him that I was done being screamed at and then I would walk out.  I think I realized that I did not have the emotional tools or the maturity to fight for my marriage.  I was in a holding pattern... but for how long?  What would our future be?

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