Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.


The first conversation about “us” we had involved him telling me that he had three priorities.

  • One, getting Marc straightened out.
  • Two, getting our marriage straightened out.
  • Three, his career.

He is a list maker. I expressed concern that by keeping items one and two separate in his mind, he may feel frustration. I also said that by working on the “core” issues first, the others would more easily fall into place.

I didn’t say “abuse” issues, but that is what I meant. (By the way, the “abuse” is something I’ve “cooked up in [my] head” because it is the next item of complaint in a long list of complaints…and all my complaints come from books, so they’re worthless.) I also didn’t tell him my way of seeing things was better than his, but he accused me of telling him how to think.

However, his list, to me, looks like this:

  • Marc
  • Being able to drink
  • Who’s that second kid who needs attention?
  • Maybe our marriage

I mean, really. Isn’t that what he’s saying? Oh, you don’t know about the drinking. Home on Thursday, grabbed “a” beer. Friday, drinking in the evening; I’m wondering if he didn’t have a little nip before shopping. All weekend, drinking. Home from work on Monday, drinking. And when he’s not drinking, he’s napping. There is beer chilling in the fridge right now for tonight. But who’s complaining? Oh, that’s right, I’m complaining.

He’s sick of hearing about his drinking because he quit drinking for eight years, nothing changed, so he started drinking again. A lot. But his drinking has no effect on his thinking or ability to be “here” for us. He’s doing his job. Period.

I’m not complaining out loud about his drinking. At least not yet. It gets me nowhere to express concern or frustration in his ability to be coherent while he’s drinking (or thinking about drinking). His drinking is merely a cover to hide behind; it is not “the” problem, but it is a contributing factor to the abuse. His drinking is one of those red flags that almost everyone else (except for other heavy drinkers/alcoholics and he) will acknowledge as a possible “problem” or at least, deserving of more consideration.

When he originally informed me of his priorities, he said the word “we” several times. In his original proclamation, he said “we” would handle these things “together.” The “we” concept, pretty as it sounded, does not apply now.

The incident at Long John Silver’s certainly points to the idea that Will doesn’t want or need my input concerning Marc. When he diminished my ideas on how to deal with Marc and belittled my role as “mother”, it was fairly clear that he considered himself to be the clean-up man. He was going to come in and “fix” his son after my failure to do the “right” things. He only heard my ideas to the point of turning them around on me, saying they didn’t work.

Marriage was second on the list. Why? If he’s not going to admit his faults and work to correct them, then what is really going to happen to this marriage? I’m doing all I can to become healthier, to deal with our conflicts in new ways. But I cannot do it alone, yet that is precisely what he expects. He expects me to clean up my act so he can go on doing things like usual.

The third priority was his career. However, it is painfully obvious that his career is number one. It is mentioned first in disputes about how to handle our marriage. “Career” deserves my husband’s sobriety; the boys and I deserve his drinking. “Career” deserves more respect and care than any other person or his marriage.

Anyway, in hindsight, I know that the “we” and “us” in his priorities lecture were simply formalities designed to give way to “I” and “me”. That’s okay. I’m learning new things every day.

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