Seat belts Save Lives


The components that made up my marriage were temper tantrums, mental illness, and evil within my spouse. Some of what I experienced was just normal in an abnormal marriage. When everything is intermingled and connected, it’s difficult to separate. One thing I am sure of is how I felt as each thing happened. How I was left battered and scarred by the individual daily episodes of violence.  I reached a point where I would just give in to what would or wouldn’t be and just close my eyes waiting for it. It’s like the evil in him would gloat and feed off of the fear.  The more afraid I was, the more it continued. Survival was accepting that I had no control over his actions. The only control I had was over myself and my reactions, not him and his. Perhaps in defending myself by controlling my fear, I forced him to direct it at  our girls, my brother, and others.

I always felt he would kill us both in a fiery car crash. In the car, I would turn my head away from him, take a deep breath, and close my eyes. Thank God for seat belts. I was the sole cause of his road rage. Too many times to count, he would jerk the steering wheel sideways suddenly across three lanes of traffic and skid to a stop on the side of the freeway laying yards of rubber. Of course because he had to yell and scream at me and pound the dash with his fist so hard, it would crack. He would raise his fist at me as if he was going to strike me, then pull back. I flinched a million times the first twenty years. The last ten, I would just stare at him sadly. I just never understood. What made him so angry inside?

To describe one of the car incidents, we had just eaten breakfast near the college our daughter was attending. We had joined her for breakfast before her first day of school that year and had an hour drive home. About twenty minutes into our return trip, my daughter called me to vent her frustration about the lack of parking at the college. Suddenly her dad freaked out and jerked the wheel across busy morning traffic and skidded to a jarring stop on the side of the road. Of course screaming who knows what. I swear it’s a true miracle, he didn’t cause a terrible accident. I told my daughter before I hung up that her dad was having a problem and needed my help. He screamed awhile at me, exited the car, and screamed as he walked a ways down the roadside.  I got in the drivers seat like I always did, and waited. When he finally came back, I drove us home listening to his ranting all the way. It lasted most of the afternoon until he fell asleep.  When he awoke four hours later, he acted as if nothing happened. This was typical.

After a violent outburst like that, he tests me by asking if I am mad at him. It’s a loaded question that I can’t win. If I say yes, which is the truth, he flies into an even more violent rage that lasts longer. If I say no, I hurt myself because I am the one that carries the burden of those feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness deep inside. I bury them. The pain of those feelings cuts me as deep as any knife he could wield. He can express any whim of a feeling like body wracking sadness as he sobs, maniacal laughter and giddiness, or pure rage. I never could…. Expressing my own emotions was taboo.

Sometimes in moments of weakness, fear, exhaustion, I would take time to just cry in the shower. It would help me cope just a little. He discovered me one day curled up on the floor of the shower, letting the water run, and crying.  He wouldn’t leave me alone until I told him why I was sad. After I told him how unhappy I was, he instantly became furious.  He was screaming about me being a fraud and liar. Apparently I had tricked him. WTF? It was one of our worst fights ever.  I did a better job after that of hiding my emotions.  No more crying in the shower. Even the bathroom wasn’t a safe haven.

I think as a result of not being able to experience normal emotions and release them for such a long time, I seem odd to people. I kind of have blank eyes that take over around people. I try to keep my emotions private because I don’t want to be judged. Someday they may all just burst like a dam overflowing. I am trying really hard to just feel life. ….


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