Monthly Archives: November 2014

Clarity

While in Tulsa this week I received a voice mail about a utility sink I had posted on Craigslist. The caller left her full name and it was someone that I was in college with in 2002. During the time in school, we became close friends but over the years have drifted apart and have merely become Facebook acquaintances. I grappled with the decision to call her back or not. She did not recognize my voice on my outgoing voice mail message which was obvious by the message she left about the sink so it would have been very easy to ignore the message and she would never know any different.

I decided to call her. I knew she had gotten divorced a few years ago and I had not spoken to her since to say anything to her about it. I told her I was sorry to hear about her divorce and hoped she was doing ok. She shared with me some things that led to the demise of her marriage. I shared with her that I know how hard marriage can be and that I had moved out. I shared that Matt and I had reconciled, albeit too soon as things are still not great, and that we were still trying to work things out. I expressed that one of the issues in our marriage is the repeated loss of Matt’s jobs. She asked why he kept losing them and I pointedly told her that he usually gets fired for one reason or another, typically for not doing as his superiors said or for some indiscretion on his part.

Then, she shared with me a story about the last time she spoke to Matt. It was 2004, a decade ago at a loan closing. She told the story as if it happened yesterday. At the time, she and her husband Karl were real estate agents and Matt was a mortgage lender.

Prior to the loan closing there was a concern that the home may not appraise high enough for what the borrower needed. She recalled that Matt told her he could get an appraiser to appraise it for the amount they needed. She argued that she absolutely did not want that to happen, as the home price would then be inflated and may affect the sales price when the owners tried to sell in the future. She said that Matt told her, “Well, I guess I’ll just tell the customers that their real estate agent doesn’t want the deal to go through”.
She was enraged. She said she could not believe the things he was saying to her.

Before her buyer signed the paperwork she said she had some questions. Matt said to her, “do you need me to get Karl down here and explain it to you?”
She was flabbergasted. As the primary owner and lead agent in their real estate agency she felt quite capable. She said her blood was boiling and that she had never been that mad in a business setting.

After the closing she was in her car getting ready to leave and Matt walked over to her car and wanted to apologize and said that he hoped there were no hard feelings. She was still extremely angry at this point and told him that she would never recommend him to anyone. His reply, “that’s not very Christian-like”.

That comment only fueled her anger. She said, “oh I am being a Christian by not running over you with this car because it’s taking everything I have not to do that to you”.

Why did God place this situation in my life at this moment given the explosion at home on Sunday? Is this the clarity that I’ve been praying for to show me that after a decade Matt is still hurling insults and put downs and that he may not ever change?

Is this yet more validation that I am not ‘formulating all this stuff in my mind’ as Matt tells me that I am? On a Sunday when I told him that I felt that his actions are selfish when he prepares food for himself but not for the kids he got extremely defensive and turned the wrong on me by faulting me for ‘formulating these false opinions in my mind about him and that I am deceived to believe those voices in my head; I take one situation as form the blanket statement that Matt is selfish based on ONE situation’. Once again, I find myself in the situation where I am made to feel like I am losing my mind when trying to confront him a about a behavior that I don’t like.

I am often remorseful for the friendships that I no longer have that I used to have. How many more stories are out there like this that my friend told me about? Are stories like this a contributor of the reason that those friendships no longer exist?

On Sunday I had a moment when I felt something different. It was indescribable. It was as if I was a million miles away yet I was on my sidewalk in front of our house.

I left to remove myself from a toxic situation and when I returned home Matt was still angry. I arrived home in just enough time to pick up the kids for play practice. As I was leaving to take them he was demanding that I go to Menard’s…
“Are you going to go to Menard’s? I need a valve for the sink.”
I replied that I was not going to go because I didn’t know exactly what was needed plus I needed to finish the trim I had started painting earlier. That should have been the end of the conversation but yet he continued to insist:
“It’s just like the last valve you bought.”
“You have a picture of it on your phone. Do you ever delete your pictures? Give me your phone and I’ll find it.” (He snatches my phone away from me and looks for it. It’s not there, as I not feel it important to retain photos of plumbing valves on my cameras roll.)
“My truck battery is dead and I need you to go to Menard’s.”
As I walked out of the house with tears welling up in my eyes, he is standing at the door still repeating these statements like a broken record:
“So are you going to go to Meanard’s for me?
I need that plumbing valve.
You know what kind it is. It’s just like the one I bought last time.
I need you to go to Menard’s.”

I stopped as I got halfway down the sidewalk and just stood there. He was still yelling from the doorway with the storm door wide open. His voice was getting louder. I paused and this is when I felt this odd feeling come over me. I looked around the neighborhood. No one was around. Everyone was nestled inside on this cold rainy afternoon. I thought to myself that I wish someone, anyone, was outside with me to see how crazy this sounded for this man to be getting so angry over a trip to Menard’s. I wanted someone to see my crushed spirit. I wanted someone to hear the tone in which he was speaking. I wanted someone to see a glimpse of the behavior that had spilled over to the outside of this home but is commonplace inside this home.
This odd feeling…what did it mean? I’m on the outside looking in and seeing how insane this must seem to someone if they were to witness this. Did me being outside looking in mean that I need to once again come “Out in the Open” like the article I read one year ago? I know there was a reason for this surreal feeling. It was a defining moment but I’m just not sure of its significance.

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About the Payback

I’ve been thinking about the episode from last night.

Last week when I looked at our checking accounts, I discovered that Matt was in the hole $179. Most of the charges were for fast food but there was one $40 charge that looked peculiar so I called the 800 number on it and it was to an online sex shop… One that he has ordered items from in the past. He will introduce the toys in bed and then shortly thereafter will say things such as, “we don’t need that kind of stuff around the house for the kids to find so I’m going to throw it away”. This has happened several times. I find it an unwise use of money to buy things such as that and then just throw them away. Not that I want to keep them but I would rather they not be purchased at all. When he was working he would have the shipments delivered to his office. This time it came to our home on Saturday. When the post man delivered it he snatched it out of my hands and said that’s mine. Since I knew what it was I didn’t ask any questions. After it was unpackaged I found the items under the mattress and proceeded to remove them. Sunday night when I came to bed at little after 10 he asked what I did with his things under the mattress. I said that I got rid of them.
Then he asked no sex tonight?
No was my reply.
Many times when he is refused sex, he gets angry.

And then the questioning proceeded. Asking, what time did you take them, where did you put them? I responded by saying that it didn’t matter and that they were gone. He refused to accept that for an answer and kept asking what I did with them. After about 10 minutes I finally said that I was finished with this conversation and there was nothing else to discuss. He continued and I left and went upstairs to sleep and my daughter’s bed.

He followed me.
And the badgering began.

Why I still engaged in conversation with him I will never know. I should know better by now. Like usual he would talk and talk and talk and talk until something really hurt me then I would try to rebut. It is a losing effort.

We did not have a good day on Sunday. After we got home from church he was very grumpy. His friend was over helping him install the bathroom sink and while his friend was working Matt came into where I was and tried to have an in-depth conversation about our financial situation. I told him it was not an appropriate time to talk about that and that we would talk about it later.

He got what I call the crazy look and continued to press me. I caved. I broke down and started crying and left.

About the financial situation… He told me that he was going to need $1,500 back of what he had previously given me to cover the concrete work. But now it had changed to the full $2,700 that he was demanding. I had already written a check for a credit card payment of $2,500 on Friday and wasn’t sure how I was going to finagle this.

I ended up putting a stop pay on my check and did not make my payment in order to transfer the money to Matt’s account.

A situation so simple that could have been handled civilly turned in to a major explosion.

There were so many hateful words exchanged.
He told me that I just don’t care.
My response was, “you’re right, I don’t”.
When he discovered that I knew about the sex shop charge last week he asked why I had to be chicken about it and not ask him about it but instead took his merchandise. “Why did you have to be so chicken? Huh? Why do you have to be so chicken? Oh that’s what made you so angry is that you found about that that’s why you been in such a bad mood”.

My response is that I’m not angry just disgusted. The behavior repeats and repeats and repeats.

I gave him another example from the week when he prepared food for himself but did not feed the children and how I found that selfish. His argument is always that everybody makes mistakes and it only happened one time that I should be forgiving. But the real story is that it happens very often and that he is often selfish, this is yet just another example.

He kept saying you’re going to get your wish. You’ll get your wish. Everything that you’ve been wishing for you’re going to get.

I asked him that he if he was so miserable and disliked me so much, why didn’t he just let me leave when I moved out instead of lying his way back into a relationship.

His response was unbelievable:
Because I thought you would change.

I had to remind him that I was the one that moved out and left him because of the way that he has treated me over the years.

And it’s not just the words that are hurtful. It’s the tone in which they’re said and the manner in which they are said.

At one point I asked him to just please leave the room so that I could go to sleep. He responded by saying oh I’m depriving you of sleep aren’t I? That’s abuse isn’t it? Sleep deprivation, right? Well why don’t you go ahead and document that write it down so that you can pin that against me?

Then our oldest daughter walked in the room and spouted off, “oh I will, because you’re keeping me up too”.

There was a bunch more said but the bottom line is that
1) he was denied sex so he became angry.
2) that I challenged him on something he had done that was inappropriate so he became angry.

It is virtually impossible to communicate with him about anything that is concerning to me, as he gets defensive and then turns the attack back on me.

It’s so heartbreaking.

Pay back

I hid his sex toys he bought and boy did I pay for it. After questioning me about what I did with them…and I told him I threw them away…the badgering began. After about 10 minutes I finally had to leave the bedroom. I came upstairs to my daughter’s room and he soon followed. For one hour and ten minutes he stood over me while I lay in bed and brought up issue after issue. He asked question after question. Made insult after insult.

I warned him that I was finished talking and then when I refused to speak he grabbed my phone and said, “I’m looking at your account.” I asked for him to give it back. He refused. And not that he really wanted to look at anything, as he could so anytime, but he knew that would upset me.

And it did.

I started yelling and screaming. I began crying uncontrollably. Sobbing. Wailing. I lost all control. I said I hated him.

And I do. Lord help me for saying that and meaning it.

Our oldest daughter came downstairs and told him to give me back my phone and that he had no right to take it. He finally gave it back to me.

I am so done. For years I’ve been saying this. Here are some of the best ones from tonight:

“Didn’t you say it takes leaving seven times before it sticks? Maybe you’ll beat that statistic.”

“When something doesn’t go your way you have to take it out on somebody.”

There were many more. After a while I asked if he was so miserable then why didn’t he just let me go when I moved out instead of lying his way back into my life? His response, “I thought you were going to change.”

I had to remind him that I was the one begging the church for help. I was the one setting up appointments for counselors. And that I left HIM and moved away from him. He didn’t leave because of the way I was treating him. because I left because of how HE was behaving. Wow, how a manipulator can twist things so.