Writing the post on anger yesterday brought up some bad memories. My ex-husband once terrorized my mind with his wrath. (What will he be like tonight? Is it a good time to ask him now? What do I need to do before I run these errands so he’s not angry when I return?)
Punishment for not reading his mind correctly could be severe. His anger intimidated me. It put me in my place – firmly beneath his heel.. He’d turn beet red, hazel eyes turned to green, brows knitted under his deeply lined forehead, lips alternating between a sneer and a scowl.
He’d lean into me – get in my face. Stomp around. Bang his fist on the counter tops. All the while screaming in his deep resonant voice about how stupid I was, what a disappointment I’d become and how he couldn’t BELIEVE I’d done whatever it was I’d done.
Not folding his underwear into quarters evoked this reaction. Not fixing his plate, not being a good wife. “If you can’t do what you’re supposed to do, how can we expect the kids to behave?!”
His words and actions made me SO MAD! I wanted to refute his every insane statement. He made no sense! He wanted me to “behave” but HE couldn’t put down the bottle, HE acted like a raving lunatic, HE scared the crap out of me and didn’t care! Yet I was the one who must subjugate myself to HIM!?
The internal torture was almost too much to bear. Fighting with him escalated the already inane situation. Sitting quietly and taking it caused me to cry in frustration and bring on further insults and degradations (he could not STAND tears! Such signs of weakness!) Trying to calmly reason with him was like trying to pet a rabid wolf.
I felt so angry and frustrated. Silenced. I felt strangled. I couldn’t breathe in my own home. My every action or word held the probability of evoking his wrath.
Never a shamed look on his face. Always a hateful glare in my direction when he glanced at me over his shoulder while exhibiting his role-play smile to his friends or our boys.
I watched him manipulate THEM. I knew they shouldn’t trust him. I knew both sides of his face. I knew they would not see through his glamorized persona. THEY admired him. THEY thought he was charming, responsible, kind in his own rough way.
THEY didn’t know what I knew. Yet I had no outlet for the frustration. Suck it up. Stuff it down. I was living with a madman.