The time I made dh a sandwich for work. I didn't often do it because 1. he left before 7am for work and 2. he was incredibly fussy and always complained about something. i.e. that I hadn't dabbed the sliced cucumber with tissue to stop it being too wet.
Anyway, I was up early one morning. I made dh a sandwich and even dabbed the cucumber with tissue! When he got home from work this was our conversation:
DH: Thanks for making that sandwich for me, it was so nice.
Me: That's Ok.
DH: I even told <colleague> about it. I said "look at this sandwich my wife made for me. Isn't that nice". Well, he just shrugged and said "My wife makes me sandwiches every day". He doesn't even think about it.This was a deliberate backhanded jibe, that left me just feeling bad and wishing I never made the sandwich.
The medium things:
My dh was picking me up after work one day. I finished teaching my class and carried all my stuff out (4-5 boxes/bags of stuff) and loaded the car. I got in the car and said hello to dh and to my youngest who was in the car - he was around 12 - 16 months old at the time. My DH was just staring at me. This was our conversation:
DH: Aren't you going to say sorry?
Me: What for?
DH: Being late.
Me: But I'm not late.
DH: You said you were finishing at 12.
Me: I did finish at 12.
DH: It's 12.15 and we've been sitting there for fifteen minutes.
Me: You know I have to clear up the room and pack my stuff away. I finish teaching at 12.
DH: (Shouting) YOU SELFISH BITCH! YOU CAN NEVER SAY SORRY CAN YOU?
Me: (Shouting back) WHAT'S GOING ON? WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING AT ME?
DH: YOU ARE SUCH A FUCKING SELFISH BITCH! YOU CAN NEVER ADMIT YOU'RE WRONG AND SAY YOU'RE SORRY! YOU'RE SO FUCKING SELFISH!
This carried on all the drive home, with me asking him not to shout this stuff as he'll scare the baby. I got out of the car at home totally shell-shocked, hugging the baby to me and running in the house. I didn't know what the hell had happened.
About 4 hours later, dh said "sorry I got angry, I forgot you have to clear away and it takes 15 minutes" Nothing about the horrible abuse he yelled at me, nothing about the fact that even if he did forget, or even if I was 15 minutes later than I'd said it wouldn't have justified what happened.
He must have felt bad for him, because this is one of only a handful of times that he has spontaneously apologised for anything he has ever done.
The big things:
One particular incident happened when we'd been living together about six months - together for under a year. I was working in an office and had gone out for a drink with three or four colleagues. We all got quite drunk and a couple of them came back to our house, as you do when you are 20 or 21. One of them was this guy P. He was hilarious and I got on well with him. He was a bit of a rich boy, with a girlfriend who was a model, and went to Henley and Ascot and so on. We didn't have anything in common, I didn't fancy him but he was funny and we got on really well.
So, back at our house, dh was there with a couple of his friends and we came in. One of my colleagues instantly lay on the sofa and fell asleep. I carried on drinking with P, and we were mucking about on the computer. Just being idiots. Computers were new then (mid-late 90's) and we didn't really know how to use the internet and were drunk, we were just arsing about and laughing our drunk heads off. At some point dh and his friends disappeared.
I now know that they were 'calming him down' because he wanted to punch P's head in.
At some point I wobbled up the stairs to go to the loo (in fact I think I vomited) and as I was coming out of the loo dh came and grabbed me and yanked me into our bedroom. He shoved me on the bed. I was so drunk I started to pass out and couldn't talk. He was saying something about P and about me flirting with him and wanting to have sex with him.
I was too drunk to respond, in fact I couldn't move. Then dh undressed my bottom half and started jabbing his fingers inside me, making lewd comments. I just froze. I was too drunk to get up and do anything about it, or jump up and yell at him to stop. My reaction was to 'act dead' and I didn't move. I thought that once he'd realised I wasn't really conscious he'd stop.
He didn't. He proceeded to have horrible, jabbing sex with me, his face screwed up with hate. I knew that I'd be blotting it out or minimizing what happened in the morning, I knew that if I said anything he'd say I was drunk or he was drunk or whatever. I tried to get it into my head that I needed to leave him in the morning.
Instead, in the morning he was indignant and devastated that I was flirting and wanted to have sex with P, and somehow it was twisted round until I was reassuring him that I didn't want anyone else, that I loved him, that I didn't flirt with other guys, apologising for getting drunk and everything else.
All these things are running through my head all the time (along with hundreds of other incidents). I'm trying to think about them more clearly, use them to bolster my confidence that I've done the right thing, and probably a little bit to prove to myself and others that he really was abusive... it's not a figment of my imagination or sign of my over-sensitivity.
It's difficult. Really difficult.