Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Long Haul

Abusers are masters of storing away their resentment or anger to unleash on the unsuspecting victim days, weeks or months after the actual incident that has pissed them off.  Well, according to most things I've read and my dh is no different.  Obviously this sort of behaviour is a total mind-f*ck because usually they never let on what has initially started it all off (probably because they can see how unreasonable or childish their actions would be in the cold light of day) so for the victim it's totally 'out of the blue'.

I've been (obviously) thinking over so many things lately with my new 'clarity goggles' to cut through the fog of confusion that he's built around me.  I thought it might be useful to put down on paper one of these 'long haul' incidents.

This is quite recent and is actually the incident that lead to our separation and I mentioned it before but have been giving it more thought.

The initial incident.
Was Christmas just gone.  As usual we had both families due to visit and stay for the whole holiday period.  From the 23rd December to the 1st January we were scheduled to have a variety of visitors. 

Unfortunately we had a nasty flu-y sort of virus going round the children and lo-and-behold I got it on the 23rd December.  I tried to avoid being ill.  I continued shopping and was up til 11.30pm on Christmas Eve wrapping presents while feeling dreadful.  Dh got drunk and did nothing because he apparently is rubbish at wrapping presents.  Really, he just didn't want to do it.  My sister was there and was appalled and told him how lazy he was being.  We have 4 children... there were hundreds of things to wrap.

Gradually I got worse until on Boxing Day I was laid up in bed all day.  Dh came in and out asking me if I was going to be laying in bed all day.  He was obviously annoyed because it meant he would be doing all the hosting and cooking etc for a change.  (He did always cook Christmas Dinner - he is a 'show cooker' - only doing it when there is an appreciative audience (not us))  On the 27th - 31st I was still ill and came down when people were visiting but needed to regularly lie down to recuperate.  I looked and felt awful.

My sister got really angry as she overheard him moaning about me to his family saying he'd had enough of 'looking after her' now and implying I just couldn't be bothered to have to do anything.  Bearing in mind his idea of looking after might have been 2 or 3 drinks over the course of the two weeks that I was ill, it's hardly like he's been Florence Nightingale.

However, he didn't really say anything - just complaints and comments here and there to family, statements to me that Christmas 'wasn't enjoyable at all' and then when everyone had gone we got back to normal, I thought nothing more of it.

The build up.
Once I was better again dh started making comments that he could feel a bad time coming on between us.  I was surprised as I had thought that we had been getting on relatively well for a few months.  I said as much.  But every few days he made little comments and started saying that we always have a difficult time at this time of year etc. 

Now I think that he obviously was building himself up to a row to get out all the anger about me 'selfishly' ruining HIS Christmas by being ill.

First Attempt at lighting the touchpaper
Ten days or so into the new year dh suddenly started saying he wanted another baby.  I was stunned!  During every pregnancy and for the first year his abusiveness has always been at a peak, and each time I have been left devastated by the lack of support and downright nasty behaviour at a time that should be filled with joy.

My last pregnancy put such a physical strain on me, I was so ill - we decided that it would definitely be the last.  I have been pregnant or had young children since I was eighteen-years-old and am now in my mid-30's.  For me, that's enough.  I can just about cope happily with the children I have and have no desire for any more.  This is one of the very few topics that I am unswayable on.  And dh knows it.

So, out of the blue one night he says he wants another baby.  I laugh, because I think he's joking.  He looks seriously at me so I say, of course I don't want any more children - for me, four is enough.  He says "don't you think that's really selfish".  I say no and start to list reasons, wondering 'didn't we have this conversation?  Didn't we agree?'

So he says 'what if we won the lottery?'.  I say that doesn't change anything, for me it's not about the money.  It's the fact that for me I can't have another baby and go through another pregnancy, that I'm enjoying the children growing up and being able to be there for them and do things that we couldn't do with another baby etc etc.  So he starts saying how I'm being really selfish.

I now see he was trying to pick a fight.  He really believed I was being selfish when I was ill over Christmas, this is what this little conversation was about.  However, I was so stunned by this sudden turn of conversation that I just shrugged and left the room so he didn't get to let out all those built-up emotions tell me what he thought of me.

The successful attempt
He continued his 'we are going to go through a bad time' routine, which I was totally baffled about.

Then a week later - touchdown!  In popped the credit card bill which dh could convince himself in a very roundabout way that he knew nothing about.  Result!  And of course the bare facts of this (him allegedly having no knowledge about it) would mean that his actions would be easy to justify to himself, me and if necessary anyone else.  It doesn't matter if he had twisted the bare facts (because we'd agreed to spend this money on the credit card) because I didn't have proof of that decision we made together and he could talk it around so that he knew we decided that, but then thought I wasn't going through with that decision.  Hmmm. Clear as mud, yes?

When I got home he was holding the statement and going through the roof about it.  I've written before what happened, but it culminated in him screaming about me doing 'F. All' around the house, 'F. All' to contribute to anything, him working hard for me to lay around doing nothing and reading all day.  Now these things are total rubbish, couldn't be further from the truth.  But they are true about what happened when I was ill at Christmas.

And thus, it took him a while - around 2-3 weeks after the initial 'incident' but he got his anger and resentment out, supposedly justifiably, in the end.

Of course, this time it backfired, as I found the book and saw in all truth what he'd been doing and what was going on - but for fourteen + years this tactic has worked perfectly and he's managed to abuse and insult me to my face but then somehow twisted it round so it's my fault he's done it.

Quite clever, I suppose.

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