Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'm standing in the kitchen looking at this man I do not understand at all. We are having yet another stupid argument.

Me: All I am saying is that on my birthday weekend I would like to go to the karaoke place. We went that one time and I really liked it. I would like to go again. Every Saturday the kids stay with your mother and we go to trivia. I don't like trivia. You like trivia. I would like for one Saturday out of the year to do something that I want to do. I don't think that on the weekend of my birthday that is asking too much.

Him: I work all week long. I am tired. I started going to trivia before I met you. Trivia is my thing. I am not giving up trivia now. No. All I get is one day a week.

Me: I work, too. I only get one night out a week, too. I don't see the difference.

Him: I already said no.

Me: You are being really...

(I get cut off by him putting his fingers in his ears and singing lalalalalalalalalala)

I look at him like he has lost his mind. I walk over to him and wave my hand in front of his face. He closes his eyes. I talk louder.

Me: You are being very immature.

He sings louder.

Him: Lalalalalalalalalala (fingers still in ears).

He opens his eyes to see if I have stopped talking. I have. I am looking at him like he is nuts.

Me: I only get one birthday...

Him: Lalalalalalalala (fingers in ears)

I give up and go to bed. There is no point in trying to have an adult conversation with a child in an adult's body.

The Next Morning

I wake up, get the kids off to school, and then get me ready for work. The husband is already at work. His shift begins very early in the morning. I am out of the shower, with wet hair, and no make-up on when the phone rings. The caller ID indicates that the call is coming from his place of employment. I answer it.

Me: Hello.

Him: You were being a real bitch last night. When I tell you that something is no. It is no. Do you understand me?

Okay, so this is how we are rolling this morning.

Me: You are not going to talk to me that way.

Him: I can talk to you however I want to talk to you.

Me: No. That is why they made the Off button on the telephone. If you don't change your attitude, I will use it.

Him: Don't you dare hang up on me.

Me: (Click)

That was me hanging up.

Ten seconds later the phone rings again. Same number. I answer.

Him: How dare you hang up on me!

Me: I told you that I was going to hang up on you if you continued to talk to me like that.

Him: I want to talk about what happened last night.

Me: No, you don't. You want to yell at me. If you wanted to talk, you would have done it last night. (He is calling me from a common area at work where lots of his buddies can listen to him yell at me on the phone. This is an opportunity to show off what a man he is in front of his friends.)

Him: Why do you have to be such a bitch?

Me: I'm not. I am just trying to get ready for work and I don't have time to talk right now. I have an appointment that I will be late for if I continue to have a pointless argument with you.

Him: So, talking to me is pointless? I am pointless?

Me: Not what I said. This argument is pointless and I have a work appointment for my job.

Him: You treat me like shit. Why do you always treat me like shit? Everything is more important than me. Your job. Karaoke. I am your husband. You are probably out there fucking all of your customers. That is what your job is.

Me: I don't have to take this abuse from you and this conversation is over. (Click)

I hung up again.

He called back again. This time I didn't answer. I really needed to blow dry my hair. He was making me late for my appointments I had at the military base. My first appointment was a fairly new (but big) account and I didn't want him to blow it for me. Commission sales is thrilling, but it can be hard. You have to fight for every account and keep fighting to maintain the account and I did not need this shit. Of course, there is never a good time to be treated like crap, but I needed to be mentally preparing to go into "the game" and he was screwing with my head.

I walked into the kitchen to listen to the message he left on the answering machine.

Him: Pick up this phone. I know that you're there, dammit. You better pick up this phone goddammit. You think that I can't get to you? You are fucking wrong about that. I can get to you. I can be at that house in fifteen minutes. You can't get away from me before I can get to you.

I felt like I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. For at least a minute, I couldn't move. My blood ran cold. He had never hit me before, but there is always a first time. Verbal abusers usually become physical abusers. I always knew that. Get out now. My brain was screaming it over and over. It was all I could think. Forget about blow drying your hair. Just put on your shoes, get your work stuff, and go. I was out of there in about seven minutes.

I got to my first account, opened up the car where my laptop should be, and realized I left it at home. That was the one critical thing I needed to do my job. I was rattled. I was panicked. So, I went in and sat down with this Army officer who had I been working with; he made the decision on what maintenance supplies they did and didn't need. Of course, he noticed the missing laptop right away and the fact that I looked like I might pass out at any given moment. There was also the wet hair. (In other words, I looked GodAwful.) And then he said, "Are you okay?" That is a terrible question to ask me if I am not okay. Because it only results in a cryfest. I can't answer. I just sit there in a chair and cry. He handled it with grace. Kudos to him. After it was done, we worked out an order on a piece of paper, and I told him I would email him a copy of said order.

I decided that I had to go back to the house at lunch for my computer. I couldn't last the day without it. I didn't expect the husband to show up because he never came home for lunch. I wasn't home two minutes before I heard the front door open and close. It was him. He knew he crossed the line with that phone call. He had gone from angry to contrite. So, I wasn't looking at a man ready to do me bodily harm. I was looking at the humbled man. I had seen this man before.

He apologized (repeatedly). I told him that I didn't love him anymore. I told him that the only people I loved in that house were C-Man and H-Girl. I told him that I knew that he was an abuser. The only difference between him and the person who actually hit women was that the scars were on the outside. He promised to change. I told him that I would stay only until Easter and then I was out of there. That was March 2004.

I filed for divorce in January of 2005.

I should have filed that day. You have to do it when you have momentum on your side. You have to do it when the apologies are bouncing off of you like a wall. If you wait, he will work you.

Why is this on my mind? Chris wrote a blog yesterday that broke down in detail how abusers work their "magic." It is all true. I lived through each and every one of those things with my ex- husband. What brought this to her attention? There is a recording of Mel Gibson verbally attacking his wife on the telephone. It very likely wasn't the first time. She had the presence of mind to record the call. Listening to that call brought my own phone call situation right back. *Bam.* You can click here to go Chris's blog. She breaks down the patterns of abuse (which are so important for everyone to know) and she has a link to the call, so you can listen for yourself. I hope you take the time to listen. It will shock and enlighten you.


  1. The thing that matters is that YOU DID IT. You fought for yourself, you got out, and YOU DID IT! That story is truly horrifying. But now you are safe (I hope) ....

  2. My ex and I get along pretty well for the most part. I don't see him very much. Don't see the kids a whole lot either. He claims to be a "changed man." He has a fairly serious girlfriend (I think). I know that I would never go there again. I have come to understand the more involved in the kids' lives I am, the more involved I am in his. Sad fact. So, I tend to stay on the periphery.

  3. Nice post, you painted the bad situation in glaring detail.

  4. yep...that's it right there...first theaccusation, then the pity me, then if you don't fall for it the escalation, then the threats, then the apology and the cycle starts all over again. I am sooo glad you got away from that Robin. You deserve better. I spent my childhood watching the pattern repeat with every man my mom brought home. It's hard to watch and hard to live through.

  5. I read this. I think it would be irresponsible if I posted my view, played devil's advocate or even agreed with you. I cannot at the moment hear the Mel Gibson tape either as I'm at work and for some reason can't get SOUND today! I don't know the other side. The way you say things seems so true...but I really don't know his views.

    If you felt trapped and scared you did right to get out.

    But sometimes we say things that when written down sound awful but are not meant that way... Not abuse, just ordinary marital friction.

    Not having friction occasionally is also unhealthy.

    I guess its a matter of balance, my friend.

    Please take care of yourself.

  6. I can just hear him yelling down the phone at you. Reading this made me so incredibly angry at him. I am so glad you had the strength to get out, Robin, I really am.

  7. I echo Kate's sentiment - this post made me pissed at your ex but really proud that you are the strong and amazing person that you are (btw your comment on my post made me tear up, so hugs right back atcha)

    This post was very familiar to what I grew up with except it wasn't just idle threats and there were no apologies from anyone. Just violence and tempers flaring and people getting hit and me learning the first time after I called 911 on my father that the police simply don't know how to help.

    I'm glad you got out before it got any worse. It started as verbal with my family too - and we all paid the price in bruises and family secrets.

  8. I've heard all Mel Gibson's rants and I've also heard all these dance mixes and such and I think that this is something that people shouldn't make fun of, you know? They make it seem like it's not that much of a big deal. And - I grew up to the soundtrack not dissimilar to what Mel has recently presented us - so I know that this is not funny at all (I was gonna make a blog entry about this yesterday, but I gave up, I hate thinking about it even...). Verbal abusers are, in my opinion, as bad as those who actually hit you, because they mess up your mind, your personality, your emotions (thanks, dad, I should say)...It's good that people write about this. It's good that you wrote about this.

  9. I totally meant to comment on this a couple of days ago, but I was already starting to fight the "burn battle". I am so very glad that you finally did walk away; but not to worry my friend, you are not alone in staying longer than you should have.

    The one I should have left much sooner, I stayed for 10 years. 10 years of a roller-coaster ride and feeling like you are a yo-yo. Not fun. It is often difficult to make the decision to walk away, because it is what is best for "you", especially when you are someone who thinks about others first. But sometimes, you do indeed just have to walk away.

  10. Hi, Robin... thank you for coming by my place... This is heavy. In my married Life, my then-wife was verbally/emotionally/physically abusive to our children... I can't even begin to count the number of times I would put myself between her and them so she would hit me instead of them...

    To me, she was verbally and emotionally abusive... I thought I had it easier than the kids because she didn't hit me. All that meant was that I didn't have the visual scars that the kids had... my son and I went for margaritas this evening... and somehow, the conversation turned to how his Mom used to beat him and his sister... and I wanted to cry. At the time, I felt I had done something, but in reality, maybe I didn't do enough...

    I feel so badly for my kids...

    I am sorry you had to experience what you did. That kind of behavior is never ever acceptable...



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