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Posts Tagged ‘wife’

black hole

Yesterday my husband told me that he does not recall one happy memory from our marriage. Could there be any words in any language from any time to follow that? I had thought that the day I woke up had to be the lowest of my life, but it turned out to be the first step down the long winding staircase from my tower into a dark netherworld I had no idea existed.

How did I feel: There are no words for that either, just a picture; the CGI swirling black hole which always features at the low point of the disaster movie, only inside him, inside me, inside our relationship, pulling in the light, the warmth, the joy, sucking in everything. I didn’t feel. A black hole is a region of space-time from which nothing can escape, even light: I was gone.

Imagine throwing something into the air. The harder you throw, the faster the object is travelling when it leaves your hand and the higher it will go before turning back. If you throw it hard enough it will never return, the gravitational attraction of earth (or me) will not be able to pull it back down. The velocity the object must gain to escape is known as the escape velocity. I think he is throwing his cruelty at me, harder and harder, to try to reach his escape velocity – eventually he’ll throw something so cruel so hard that he’ll break free and never come back.

But in space,as the object travels it is crushed into a smaller and smaller volume, the gravitational attraction increases, and so the escape velocity gets bigger. Things have to be thrown harder and harder to escape. Eventually a point is reached when even light (which travels at 186 thousand miles a second) is not travelling fast enough to escape. At this point, nothing can get out as nothing can travel faster than light. This is a black hole; this is where we are.

Of course, you can’t see a black hole in space (because it absorbs light); science can only tell us that there are good reasons to believe they exist – which, if you are not a scientist, puts black holes high up on the ‘don’t discuss at dinner’ shelf along with deities, ghosts and conspiracy theories. I’m more a believer than a sceptic by nature (otherwise I wouldn’t be going through this!) but in the depths of my darkness, a thought whispered in my ear like a naughty fairy:
What if I just didn’t believe him?

Not believing people isn’t nice. Relationships are built on trust and respect and that involves a commitment to accept what people say at face value, more or less. But there are times when we accept, for good reasons, what someone tells us without actually believing it – when Grandma says she still sees Grandpa sitting by the fire, when your child tells you they have stomach ache and can’t go to school. It doesn’t mean it’s true, it means it’s true for them and it lets you know where they are at that time. Grandma misses Grandpa, Charlie is feeling anxious or afraid;

my husband is a very depressed and angry man.

I need help.

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rock-in-water

After feeling cheerful and positive yesterday, back to reality. It is Monday morning and he is getting ready to leave again, his mind already elsewhere, a note of tension in his voice. To be fair, he is trying to make polite conversation in the kitchen – but it isn’t going well. Then he asks me a question which makes me cringe inside; it’s an apparently innocent question about the young friends I saw yesterday but I know there is no answer I can give which will not wind him up and set him ticking like the clock on a time bomb. If I don’t answer, he’ll be furious, so I do my best; I fail, the rant starts …

Eventually he notices that I have stopped trying to think of responses and so he turns the sharpness on me. How can we talk when I’m crashing around the kitchen? (I’m filling the dishwasher) How can he be expected to talk to me when I’ve been so rude this morning? His words bruise me like stones but I know better than to react or show my hurt.

Have I been rude? I’m no saint, but I’ve been trying so hard to stay calm and polite. I stop doing chores, turn around, make eye contact (which makes me realise how often I avoid that) and try- really try – to be soothing, gentle, positive. It’s just so demoralising knowing that his bitterness is crouching there, waiting for a tiny excuse to pounce, even an imagined excuse.

I think when we get to a certain point on our downward spiral we begin to see the world in such a dark way that no-one can make a situation happy for us. Insult lurks in every comment; the life experiences of the sweetest young people become a contemptible heap of errors. We lose perspective, humility, generosity and joy.

And so a dear, dear man, who was once a laughing, loving boy with a thrilling appetite for life becomes a bitter, angry, spiteful old man, hoarding his hurts like a miser’s gold. I say old, although he is the same age as me, because nothing seems to age a person like anger. Anger’s stern grey lines mark his face like time’s mapmaker, but none of the journeys have happy endings.

If you want to be happy and stay young, learn to let time wash away life’s scars; be a rock, steadfast in the river of your experiences, feeling life as a cool caress as it laps and tumbles against your gleaming skin.

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silence

This week I have been on a journey and I have discovered that, like Alice, I have well and truly lost my muchness. There’s no sign of me, no sign of my relationship. The one good I can get from this is that, since the past is completely broken and lost to me, I have to start from where I am now.

I know I said that I would be terrified of a New Year resolution list at the moment, but I have been thinking about how strongly I need to do something to initiate change, and finally I thought ‘I need a list’; so here are the things which I would like to change to improve my relationship. Because I cannot make changes outside myself, this list is about me.

There are ideas here which might make some people very angry; I do know that women have fought hard and in many places are still struggling for the rights which I seem to be planning to give away. But I am a long way into this relationship and have succumbed to the temptation to use short cuts when I deal with and speak to the man I love.

So the idea behind this list is to make myself focus on ways that I have overstepped the boundaries of respect, kindness and polite behaviour – to remind myself to walk carefully without treading on another person’s feelings.

Things I will change to improve my relationship with my husband

1. My insistent opinion. It’s not till I try not to disagree or contradict that I realise what an argumentative person I am at the moment. It is anti-modern and personally almost impossible to give up my right to express my opinion, but I can see him flinch and close up every time I indulge myself, so enough.

2. My desire to be right. I’m no more likely to be right than anyone else, so why do I assume that I am correct? In order to be right, I make him is wrong; I can see how that must hurt.

3. My criticism. When you’re with someone a lot they get on your nerves; the mannerisms you used to love, how much they snore, whether they work too hard or not hard enough. I have slipped gradually into the habit of letting many little things annoy me and worse, of commenting on them. That must be debilitating. I’ve also been so hard on myself that I need a drop of mercy too.

4. My sexuality. I love my husband and I feel a strong attraction towards him. It’s increasingly painful that he is unhappy to be close to me, to be touched by me or to accept any gestures of affection, but I have to respect his boundaries. If I reverse the scenario, if he – a man – was pushing unwanted attention on me – a woman – the rules would be clear.

5. My lack of patience. I am frustrated, I want things and I want them now! But other people don’t always work to our time schedules, and I am aware that pushing to get what I want, the way that I would in business, is not appropriate or helpful, or kind. I have to wait.

A short list but how far I can succeed in restraining myself and keeping to it I don’t know; I just don’t know. But I will try, so don’t be angry – wish me luck!

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beach 027

A traditional walk on the beach on New Year’s Day is a fascinating opportunity for watching people in their relationships. Here, of course, are the self-absorbed young lovers, arms entwined; the happy, noisy families, scooping children out of the surf; the teenage tribes, walking off their awesome rave; the quietly satisfied old couples, secure as their interwoven fingers.

And us. Two separate figures walking the tideline, each of us the only person on earth. The day is breathtakingly beautiful; after weeks of gales and rain, the crisp blue sky which frames the sparkling sand and sun-bright spray is a glorious miracle. For a moment I remember summer and turn carelessly to share my happiness, but no, there is no shared moment, no smile returned; just a man alone with his pain.

I don’t upload images usually, but New Year, new idea, and this shot caught a moment; for the briefest time the beach ahead of me was completely without people, and as the spray blew across the sunlight, the momentary glory and emptiness of this image was exactly as the day felt for me. It was like looking at the first day of the world before the arrival of man, and of hope and sadness.

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Last night I got very drunk, today I will be so, so sorry; I will probably read this and be very sorry indeed. But we all need a break and it doesn’t look like one is coming my way any time soon so I have taken the easy option for now; a bottle of wine, a lot of crying and a night of self pity and oblivion. Happy New Year.

I have tried so hard. I have been understanding, I have been patient. I have made myself as near what he wants as I can be. I was so pretty and I smelled divine and I kissed him – and he held me a little too firmly by the arms and said no, behave.

No, behave.

The Samaritans, he told me, have a support group for despondent men and my despondent husband is part of that. This dreadful disclosure filled me with guilt and pain for him – until he explained how he has to remain in control to ‘manage the damage’. Then I realised that it is this control which is orbiting our marriage like a cold, ominous Death Star, crushing it with restraint and fear and threat.

I’m alone and desperate and drunk enough to fall down. The Samaritans intervention on one side of this relationship has left me unchampioned and alone, their support system has creating a monster, giving an implacable justification to the distance, the denial, and the cruelty of everything he does; permitting him to step back and abandon me, to save himself rather than our marriage.

From somewhere nearby I can hear Kermit and Miss Piggy singing ‘Love led us here’ … Ha Ha.

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New Year’s Eve is surely the loneliest day of the year. What to do this morning but stand alone on the miserable, windswept plains at Year’s End and look backwards on desolation, or strain tear-stung eyes into the gale to catch a glimpse of an empty, awful future? Behind me, the virgin mistletoe hangs withered and dry, the Christmas cupboards are bare, the Yule fire lies cold ash. The present is bleak and comfortless.

Yes, today I am sad, and more than sad; a night lying awake with my partner’s snoring ringing in my ears and my head ringing from that knock has left me too much time to think. I am overwhelmed with sorrow and regret – the things not done, the things I will never do, the many things I wish undone, all crowd my thoughts until no room for positive thoughts remain.

I know I should raise my head proudly to look into this rising sun and visualise my future, to remind myself that I have within me all I need to achieve my dreams; I am a burgeoning seed waiting for the promising spring, a sleeping flower waiting for the warmth of a helpful sun. But I have woken from the comfort of my dreams into a harsh reality, and as I stand on the porch watching a stern, grey day break over the exhausted, wind-whipped garden, I cry.

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We are discussing the fact that he wants to watch a war film and I would like to flip channel to catch a weather report. A polite, quiet conversation – I see no signs, I miss any warning – yet suddenly he is roaring, the tv remote flies across the room and punches into the wall behind me, some sharp thing rapping his message against my head as it explodes.

Stunned, speechless, reduced to nothing, I stare as he breaks from the room, far from silent now and looking both wild and shocked. I am left alone in the debris, thrown back into my memories; a child standing on a lonely staircase at Christmas, listening to a man’s anger and a woman’s tears. I hug my fear to myself, holding tight to how very much I do not want to be that child again, and how entirely ill-equipped I feel to be this woman.

Ever helpful, Google tells me how new figures today show that one in eight emergency calls made to the police relate to domestic violence. The pressures and privacy of Christmas increase the likelihood of violence in the home for too many of us, with at least one in four women falling victim to abuse. A badly aimed tv remote hardly counts as abuse, but I feel the blow to my confidence as sharply as the knock from the broken remote. And I wonder, if we are failing so obviously to communicate, if we are losing control of this situation, what next?

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