Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Now Is Greater Than The Whole Of The Past???

This is really hard for me to put out, for just anyone to possibly see.... but I will do it anyway in hopes that someone stumbles upon it and relates....

I was looking through my old photo discs. Dozens and dozens of client shoots trying to pick out my favorites for an ad or website or something…. And of course there were old family photos mixed in on the discs. And of course after about an hour of seeing shots of my babies when they were babies and we were a real family, I started thinking. And of course, I ended up in tears despite desperately wanting NOT to cry like a twelve year old.... About a year into my 'escape,' a friend was flipping through old photo albums. As he came to the older ones, he flipped the pages slower, he studied each one. He was quiet for a bit, but was curious, you could tell. Curious about the man he had heard such awful things about. Obviously deep in thought, he remained silent as he turned each page until coming to the end. In a very matter of fact manner says “wow, you're good, you even made AD look like a good dad.” So today, looking through the hundreds of photos, I thought back to that comment. Part of me wants to say “yeah, I have an eye for touching moments; so good that I made him look better than he was.” But then there is the part of me that thinks maybe he was okay – to the boys. When he was sober, not hung-over, and present- he was a decent father. Maybe even a -gasp- good one?
So, which one is it? Are my compositions that good, or was he a loving father? Am I just bitter and not wanting to give him his due credit? If I say he was a good father then does that mean I made a mistake by leaving him? Of course that then leads me to wonder “could I have made it work?”
We had it all, we really did. He had a great job, money was never a worry (not until the last year anyway, when his gambling, drinking and drug habits picked up.) He had a nice home that I kept immaculate – garage and basement excluded. But most of all, he had two beautiful and healthy boys and a wife that could not have been any more committed or loyal. He came home (granted not until 10pm, sometimes 6am the next morning, or….ok sometimes not at all but he always was sure to point out that he did indeed come home) to a clean house, happy healthy children, a supportive wife, and every piece of his life in order. He didn’t have to lift a finger and it was obvious he didn’t want to…. I made sure all the bills were paid, the cars were maintained, the maintenance on the house was covered, his traffic violations were addressed, everyone had clean clothes to wear, the boys were nurtured and cared for, school applications were completed, doctor appointments weren’t missed and on and on…… everything was held together for him. All he had to do was go to work and show up to play with his kids. However I did request he stay clean, or at the very least, not to drink and drive..... Was his life at home really so bad that he had to consume mass amounts of alcohol and drugs just to spice things up, just to tolerate?
I can’t help but wonder “where did I fail him? What did I do wrong? Why wasn’t it enough? Why did he have to find solace in her (ok hers- plural) what did she (they) have that I didn’t?” I remember right after I found out about his ‘other’ life and he failed his first drug test we had an argument about trust. I still hadn’t decided if I was ‘in’ or not, if I could ever trust him again, or if I even wanted to…. He was trying to win me back so to speak, and he looked at me and blurted out “I was just thinking the other day driving to work, how boring my life is.” Almost immediately he regretted letting those words out of his mouth, the look on his face, startled and confused, almost surprised he had just spoken them.......Any explanation he tried to muster after that fell on deaf ears. That, that one sentence- hurt me more than any physical harm he could or would eventually inflict upon me through the coming years. And I would have to say that overall, it was his words that were most painful and left me with the deepest, most significant scars. His statement was an honest one. He exposed a vulnerable side of himself, opened up, and told me how he truly felt …. And it hurt. It hurt like hell. Of course there were plenty of devastating words spoken after that, but that one statement sticks with me. It wasn’t the most hurtful thing he ever said to me by any means, but I believe it was one of the most pure and honest feelings he ever expressed….. at least to me. After the secret of the abuse was out, and the questions of “why don’t you just leave?’ started, I remember confidently explaining that I would outlast him. Yes, he could inflict physical harm, but I would heal. The bruises would fade and the cuts would scab over. But I - I - was going to show him that no matter what, I was going to be there. No matter what he dished out, I would stand by him; I was the rock he could lean on. I would outlast this fucking addiction and the sleazy coke whores. I was his safe haven - I was his family- I was his wife and I always would be. No one else – just me. I would be his one sure thing. The one person he could be himself with –good-bad- and super fucking ugly…. We would get through anything and we would be stronger for it. I knew the man he could be and I wanted to be the one with him when he grew into his potential. I saw the goodness he buried deep inside of him. I saw through his façade, I recognized his weaknesses, I felt his insecurities and I loved him anyway. I knew he was worthy of being loved the way I loved him, and I believed with everything inside of me that someday he would realize it too…. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not seeing him in the photos that upset me. It was seeing what he represented. It was being privy to the amount of effort, commitment and loyalty invested that would never be sufficient. It was remembering that we were a family, the four of us. We had it all, we were together and that was what should have mattered- that’s what was important to me, but not important enough to him I guess. Being a family, that is what I miss, that is the loss I mourn- not AD the person. I miss having someone to gush over the perfect little devils - I mean creations – we made together. I don’t miss AD or the drama he reveled in, especially the drama; I feel the absence of being in a traditional family. I miss seeing my boys with the only other person in this world who will ever have any chance at all of feeling a connection as strong as the one I have with them.

I tried so hard to outlast him. I tried so fucking hard to save our family, I really did. I put in the time as well as my whole heart - going to therapy and a priest- to try to improve myself. After all, I believed if I bettered myself, if I made a change for the better – he was bound to follow. That’s what all the relationship self help books said, even Dr. Phil said it. But that back fired on me. The more forgiving I became, the more mistakes he seemed to make. The more understanding I tried to be, the more extreme and irrational behaviors he indulged in. The more supportive I was, the more distance he created between us. The more of my faults I pointed out, the more he blamed me. The more I gave, the more he took - because he could. Had I finally proven to him that I wasn’t going anywhere?

I will never forget the last time he hit me. Usually I fought back. Usually I smarted off, threatened to leave. But not that time. “This time,” I thought as he grabbed me and threw me down, “this time I am going to show him nothing but love.” And that is exactly what I did. I tried to see him as he was - a scared, desperate, and tortured soul. I quietly begged him to stop as he pressed his knees into my chest. I cried as he slammed my head against the bathroom floor. I said as loudly as I could, “It’s okay Adam, it’s okay, I love you,” coming out instead in a raspy whisper, being all I could muster as I gasped for breath underneath the weight of his body on my stomach and the pressure of his knees on my chest. I tried to cover my face using my hands or arms or elbows… but he squeezed my wrists and pushed them towards the floor. “Please stop, “ I cried softly. The more I tried to raise my arms or turn my head in an attempt to escape inevitable blows, the more he used his elbows to contain me. That’s how I ended up with the fat lip, a mouth full of blood, bruised and swollen cheeks, and the infamous black eye- all from his fucking elbows.

That night on the bathroom floor was different. I didn’t resist and displayed nothing but love and reassurance. That time was different and I knew it. I knew after it was over and he descended to the kitchen to fetch me a couple of ice packs, that unless he got help – serious help- it was over, it had to be. I knew that night I had reached my limit – he had gone too far, taken it to a whole new level – he had left marks on my face. There’s no going back after you reach that point. You can predict someone’s future behavior by examining their past actions. He had reached the point of no return? More importantly how would the pattern of escalation proceed now? Would he put me in the hospital, kill me, or even worse – turn on the boys? I knew him; I knew that once he crossed a line, he would only take it farther the next time, there was no going back- he would and could not retreat, that would mean failure –or worse still- that he was wrong.

But I knew that you don’t just stop patterns of abuse, you have to acknowledge it and figure out why you turn to violence/drugs to deal in the first place. There was never any acknowledgement of a problem on his side. And of course Adam, he had figured it all out on his own. After a week, he claimed to know his problem and how to stop it. He had sold himself on the idea that he was in total control; I on the other hand, was not buying it- not anymore anyway.

I wonder if he knew how easy it could have been. If he just would have said ‘yes’ when I calmly asked him to get help. I wonder if he knew the future of our marriage –our family- was balanced so delicately on his answer. I wonder what else I could have done, what it was that he needed from me – from his life - that I had not provided to him. I don’t regret leaving – not in any way. I may question if it was the best decision for the boys – however I don’t regret the decision. I felt as sure about leaving as I had felt about staying all those months as everyone begged me to leave. Just as I don’t regret leaving – I don’t regret staying as long as I did either. Sure, looking back I feel foolish and gullible and naïve and stupid and….. But I don’t regret my decisions.

I do however, wonder what it would have taken and how close – or far away – we actually were to saving our family….. I also wonder if he ever wonders these same things.


  1. That was a very brave post. No jokes, no sarcasm from me. Just thinking you are very strong and very brave.

  2. I'm with Domestic Goddess 100%. This was incredibly brave. And honest. And it isn't my place to decide how close or faraway you were from saving your marriage but I'd say you were very close - and he left for another planet. I wonder when, or if, he'll ever wake up. What a very sad day that will be for him if he ever truly realizes what he threw away.

  3. Hey there! Found you thru Robynn. I was very touched at your courage in sharing such intimate and private moments of your life. I am so thankful that you are ok and safe now. God has a reason for everything we face. I know that he must have much bigger plans for you and your kids.

    With the courage you show, you should consider participating in Vlogemotions at Fort Thompson. It is about sharing raw emotions like this regardless if they be good or bad. It gives us a chance to vent our feelings and share with others in the same way that you already are. Please stop by and check it out. You are always welcome at Fort Thompson.

    Love and Prayers,