When He Goes Too Far

You get married. You're madly in love. You just know it will be forever. 

And then, sometimes, little cracks start appearing in the framework. They appear over time, so that you don't often notice the onset.



At first, it's the little things...
When you see the first ones, it's kind of like seeing veins that appear as you age. At first it is a little scary, then you tell yourself: "Well, that's just part of life."

And then those cracks started spreading.

How did this happen? I asked myself a thousand times. How had I found myself in such a place?

How did I go from looking forward to his walking in the door, to feeling something akin to fear as soon as I heard the creaking of that garage door going up? 

It is the little things. 

It starts with a bad name being thrown out. And you excuse that as his being tired from working such long hours. 



So he takes weekend trips by himself to decompress. 

Then one day you dare to open one of his credit card bills. And your world starts spinning. 

Charges while he was out of town. To clothing stores for women. 

You pick up the phone and call one of them. And ask what you purchased, as though you're having a problem understanding the charges on the bill.

"Remember, that pretty dress...and a jacket..."

And you thank the salesperson for their trouble. You apologize. You must have forgotten. 

Except you never bought a dress or a jacket.



It's the little things...

Over time, those little things become one big thing. And suddenly it's crushing down on you like a boulder.

You find there's not much to talk about anymore. When you go out to lunch, each of you stare over the other's shoulder into space. 

This is not wedded bliss. Not when you feel the need to rush outside just as he's walking through the door. 

No more: "How was your day?" said in passing. 

You don't want to know anymore. Because you know most of what he says will be lies. 

And the cracks in the framework widen until you worry you might just fall in and not be able to ever climb back out. 

I want you to know that those little things are really big things from day one. You just can't bear to admit it. 

It's called "denial."  

One of the steps in grieving a loss.



So my advice to you, or your daughter or sister or friend, is: You may think it is you. At first it's easier to blame yourself. 

But when that first "little thing" happens; whether it's a name you're called or a sudden shove that comes out of nowhere, get real and start making a plan. 

Don't spend years telling yourself: It will be okay. He was just irritable. He didn't mean it. It will get better.

It. Will. Not.

If you're in that situation, I can promise you right now that it will never reverse its direction and go toward "better." It will only barrel like a freight train toward "worse."

I'm sure you once felt such pity for women in this type of situation. What is wrong with them? How could they choose such a man?

I did it too.

But what you don't understand is that their charm is so dazzlingly bright that they are way ahead of you. 

When that little voice inside all of us begins to softly murmur, you think it is just insecurity on your part.

They somehow make you feel like the most special woman in the world. You feel like you've wandered into a fairy tale.

And you have.

But one day you will look in the mirror. And that woman that you used to pity? 

She's you.

54 comments

  1. Great post Brenda. Abuse can come in many forms not all of them physical. I escaped a bad marriage where I really think my ex was crazy and about to take me out with him. Scared me good. I'm happy alone now. It's not for everyone, but it works for me.
    hugs,
    Linda

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    1. And sometimes that's exactly what they do: take you out with them. So glad you got out and are now enjoying life.

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  2. Very beautifully written, Brenda. So true that it brings tears to my eyes. My ex was abusive, but the other woman was the final straw. Not the abuse. I sometimes wonder how much longer I would have tolerated it...

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    1. Isn't it sad that it was the other woman that broke the camel's back?

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  3. Great post Brenda-I have never been there but feel for those that have and are there now.

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    1. When we look away, because we don't want to become involved, it just further proves to the woman in question that she should feel shame. So we must let her know that that isn't true. So if you ever do meet such a woman, look at her situation head on.

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  4. Verbal abuse is so evil. It sneaks up on you and you don't see it coming.

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    1. Yes, it's quite insidious. We tend to think it isn't as bad as being hit. But in fact it's even worse. Your soul is bruised.

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  5. Words that need to be spoken. I sat and watched things spiral out of control for a loved one. But, I couldn't help until she was ready to help herself. Fortunately, it's now been 25 years since we all gathered around to help her.

    I was worried about the things her son had seen and feared that he would be like his father. But, the horrors made him grow up early and he chose to emulate his loving grandpa rather than his mean father. My nephew is now a father himself and I am filled with joy watching him with his precious children.

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    1. And all too often, what the child sees in the home is what he becomes. You are so very lucky that did not happen!

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  6. What a wonderful wake up call to any women out there who may heed your words, Brenda! As always, your writing is so eloquent. I truly am so sorry you had to go through this pain but perhaps your words will help another.

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    1. Sometimes I think that's why we have to go through things. So we can come out the other side, and have the wisdom to help others.

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  7. Beautiful post Brenda... like some others it wasn't the mental abuse that pushed me out the door, it was the other woman. Funny story now...got a phone call from a resort not far from home asking if I had enjoyed my stay... I hadn't gone anywhere. To this day he still denies anything was going on, even though he still sees her. Can't believe how much happier I am since I left. Like you I live in a smaller place and watch my pennies but it is such a better life. Hugs!

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    1. I wonder why they bother denying when the truth is staring them in the face?

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  8. That was a very brave post to write. I hope it'll help someone as I find very inspiring that you had the guts to take control over your life.

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    1. I didn't have the guts to take control for years. The longer I waited, the more I thought I couldn't do it. And they keep telling you that you can't make it without them to keep control. But when I was out, I couldn't believe I waited so long. I wish I hadn't.

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  9. You wrote this without a lot of drama but it's very powerful. I'm sorry you had to go through this and I really hope any woman who has doubts about her physical or mental well being gets out the door as soon as possible.

    Jane

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    1. To some it sounds so easy. Why doesn't she just leave, people ask? I used to ask the same thing. I once wrote an article about a battered woman, and I thought: Why doesn't she leave him? But it's much more complicated. As I found out later.

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    1. Thanks! It was so easy to drape vintage linens over a tension curtain rod.

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  11. Great post! I have been there & it is a gradual erosion of your life until one day you ask yourself how did I get here. Life is so much better now.

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    1. You're right. You slowly go downhill and you don't even know you're doing it until you get near the bottom. Fear is so debilitating.

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  12. I remember when you posted about your phone bill. You had some really low times. But look at you now. It took awhile but you came out better from it all. So many stay in these conditions because they are afraid of what life will be like if they leave. I am sure your insight will help someone. It can happen to anyone. Thanks for sharing Brenda. Hugs

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    1. I think that the last four or five months, I have gotten much better. It took four years. I still have nightmares. When I have one, I will typically have four or five in a row for that many nights. I don't know why. But I do think I am now on the right path of healing and have found happiness in solitude.

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  13. Thank you for sharing. I think the realization that they will never respect you moves you to action. Good for you! Keep moving forward.

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    1. For me it went way past the fact that I knew he didn't respect me. But he wouldn't let me near the finances, and I couldn't save money with his controlling ways. I wasn't going to a shelter and leaving my dogs. My oldest daughter told me that she just knew one day she'd get a phone call and they would tell her that he'd killed me.

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  14. Brenda, so well written. It can speak to those in an abusive situation and to those of us who know someone in an abusive situation. It helps us better understand why a woman stays.

    I first typed a "bad situation." Why do we understated what happened or is happening? We need to call it what it is - abuse!

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    1. But we all seem to do that, don't we? We hesitate to call it what it is, like "abuse" is a dirty word.

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  15. Thank you for your honesty. It must certainly give other women the courage to "plan" and "act".

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    1. I left once. Five years prior to the divorce. But I couldn't find a way to make money. Had no resume. So I went back. At least I got in enough years that I can get social security now. But those were five damned long years.

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  16. Brenda, very well said. I was only married for 11 months for my first marriage. He was so physically and mentally abusive. I knew it was not for me and got out. The best thing that came out of it was my oldest daughter. I was a single mom for 8 years before I remarried. My husband has treated my oldest daughter as his own from day one. He was the one she chose to walk her down the aisle for her wedding that he paid for. God is so good. I am happy for you that you are out of that marriage. He did not deserve you.

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    1. Yours must have been a real brute. Usually right after getting married, they have a sort of "honeymoon" period when they don't show their true colors. I'm so glad you found happiness and so did you daughter.

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  17. Amazingly well written Brenda it really hit me in the gut since I can relate to this as if it were the other day. Even when you are out of the relationship those bad memories stay with you for life. thank you for sharing what is so hard for a lot of women to talk about.
    Julie @ Love My Simple Home

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    1. Do you have nightmares? I do. Usually have them 4-5 nights in a row, then they go away for awhile. I will never date or see a man like that again. With the Aspergers, I'm really perfectly content alone. And after him, I know I could never come close to trusting one again.

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  18. Brenda, The horror of it just never can be understood, I'm sure. It just boggles the healthy mind. I cannot empathize......maybe I don't belong here, commenting.....but I do have this to offer....My husband, of 34 years yesterday, made it our major goal in our child rearing (one daughter, one son) to raise our son to first be a good husband and father and so it came to pass. He is 28 years old with a family of his own and has the kindest, most nurturing spirit. There is one young, safe woman we contributed to being loved and honored and treasured. And God Bless your oldest daughter.

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    1. Oh yes you belong here! If only more parents would teach their sons as you did yours, we might not have nearly so much abuse of women today. The "boys will be boys" reasoning needs to be done away with.

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  19. Thoughtful and insightful, so well written, thank you Brenda.

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    1. I write this because I know there are many, many women out there who are dealing with this right now. They may be you best friend, your sister, your daughter, your mother. We act like we should avert our eyes, but those women need help. They may be embarrassed and say they don't need help, but letting them know it's there means a lot.

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  20. You write so well! I can listen to you all day.

    Kathy

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    1. Well, compliments don't get much better than that!

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    1. We're like this private club, huh? So private that we don't even know one another. That's about as private a club as you'll ever find.

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  22. You are so right; things will not get better. I stayed for years because of the cycle of things being a bit better, hoping he had turned a corner. Even after being away from him for almost 3 years, I see him behaving in the same ways towards me, and the kids. Took me 23 years to realize. The surprising thing to me was that so many around us saw it, but never told me.

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    1. It is the "code of silence." People tell themselves: "It's a private affair. I don't need to stick my nose into it." I get that. But keeping the silence perpetuates this terrible societal problem. I know they're also afraid, but people need to open their eyes. Let her know help is out there. That you care.

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  23. Oh AMEN Brenda!! I am a BIG believer in change, because in some cases my own included I have seen people change, however, when it is a relationship, and we hope the other party will miraculously change it is an exercise in futility! You see, I am an exception to the rules, I like being a conquerer, but in these cases of spousal abuse and infidelity, a leapard really doesn't too often change their spots and it can be downright dangerous.
    I can't be a dreamer, and no one should pin their happiness on dreams of what will never be. If a man is abusive, if they are cheating, get out, and watch from afar to see if they change..chances are they will (if they care) proclaim they have changed, chances are they will do all they can to prove it but, it never hurts to observe again, from afar. If they have truly changed it will last and they will be (if they care) perfectly happy to do whatever it takes to win you back.
    I have made mistakes in this myself and I lost everything I worked for, emotionally and materially. One time there was an order of protection involved, and I was told by the parents on social media (before I blocked them legally) he had really changed. In truth they wanted him out of their house as much as i needed him out of mine. As a part of the legalities I had to put several items in the garage for him to retrieve with a police escort. While standing in the kitchen with the police officer we could hear him verbally assaaulting and berating his parents for their attempts to assist. The officer (who knew much of the history) assured me I had finally done the right thing..

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    1. Thank goodness the officer spoke up. Unfortunately where I lived, the police were not much help. What they wrote on their reports (which I later would go down and pay to get copies of) were usually far off the mark. That good old boy network. And he was a doctor.

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  24. This is so well written Brenda. I'm certain you will help someone reading this post today.
    Take care

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    1. I just want her, or the many hers, to know they are not alone. They feel ashamed. I know that. They shouldn't have to feel that. But they do. It's society's way. And we need to strive for change. It is the abuser who needs to feel shame!

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  25. I could have wrote this, but instead I lived it for far too long. It has been two and a half years since I found my freedom and peace and quiet. The stillness of a home is priceless.

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    1. Truly, truly priceless. I'm just now getting to a place where I feel okay about myself. He tried to take all that from me. He told me I was unlovable, and since my parents abandoned me, I tended to believe him. He said that's why they left me.

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  26. Brenda, you might want to check with SSN. The spouse with the lower income (in our case, my husband) can file for SSN from their spouse (and ex-spouse). If he made good money, you may be eligible for half of his ssn payment allowance. So if his is $2000, you would get 1,000 and so forth. This is even if you were married before. If you had more than one husband, you can take the one that gets you the most money. The spouse has nothing to say about this and it doesn't affect their payment. Hope this is something you can use - if you didn't already know about it. :) God bless.

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  27. I've been meaning to get back here and comment sooner, but better late than never. You are a strong person Brenda, and an amazing writer. Bottom line, you are a survivor of domestic violence and abuse and by sharing your story, others in the same situation can read it and act on it. I just read what RondaL wrote above and what she said is true. If you haven't already done so, please check with SSN. But I believe you must still be of retirement age to collect (62+), but I could be wrong.

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  28. Hi Brenda,
    It's certainly a good thing you were able to gather the strength to leave the man. It truly saved your life. Abuse destroys us, whether it be verbAL or physical abuse. I suppose there is also financial abuse too. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership, isn't it?

    I always wonder in these cases what happens to the new woman in the picture. Does she have any idea that the 'man of her dreams (married, no less) could become the same man he is to his current wife? That man may seem wonderful now but as they say, "a leopard can't change his spots!"

    I also wonder how these men are raised. We're their own fathers like this too?

    I'm certainly glad you took the steps you did to leave him and are now safe and happy with your pups. We're looking forward to the spring season with you. It will be a time of growth for our spirits and gardens.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

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