Written November 2009 while still married to my husband:
Abuse is wildly twisted and warps the minds and hearts of everyone it touches. The ones who we call abusers are as tortured as the ones we call victims. There is no excuse for any abuse one person afflicts upon another. It is not noble or okay to hurt anyone, but to end abuse we must realize that demons have both the abuser and the victim tightly by the throat.
I, an abuse victim, am at a double-disadvantage because I am clear-minded enough to acknowledge that, by nature, I have my own set of problems and sins to conquer. Therefore, I acknowledge that at least in this one way, Will and I are the same. I am willing to forgive Will his sins committed against me because I want him to forgive my sins against him.
One difference between us is that I am willing to say “I fucked up,” and seek forgiveness. If he says, “I fucked up,” he seeks silence; he doesn’t want to think or talk about it ever again, and a true apology is the source of much pain. Apologizing admits fault; he cannot be at fault.
The demons in him demand perfection. He measures his self-worth by the imaginary yardsticks he’s placed in their hands. I look to him to tell me my value, but he looks at every other soul in the world to validate him. When he chokes me or demands my allegiance, it is because I am the one person he can control when he truly wants to choke the shit out of every other person looking at him, judging him.
And he is okay with this because he believes I let him down. In the beginning, he wanted what I had to offer, and set about taking it from me. Like the farmer who killed the goose laying golden eggs, his greed quickly smothered my fire. Probably as the farmer did after cutting open the goose, he desperately sought to find another source of fire. He didn’t check inside of himself because he never once thought there was a fire inside of himself; instead, he sought the fire in another woman or dug at my entrails, hoping for a spark.
In the story, the goose is undoubtedly dead. It is different when a person figuratively dies. The spark of life within us dies only when the body dies; Will has not physically murdered me, so my spark has never completely vanished. Over time, the tiny spark tries to become a fire again.
When Will sees this happening, he is at first overjoyed. He thinks there is hope for him; he feels in love and happy. Or maybe simply secure. But he has a bad habit in greed. It is never long before he wants my spark for his own. It is never long before he seeks to take it. It is not long before he abuses again.
On one level, my participation in the abusive cycle is one I do not wish to stop. I do not want my fire to go out; I do not want to die. Naturally, when I feel the spark roar into a flame, I do not wish to douse it, I want to let it burn. That desire is not a mistake, it is life itself.
The problem is that I want to make Will happy. I know I have something that he wants, and I want to share it with him. I gingerly expose my roaring flame to Will, thinking, “I want to share myself with him; I want to live with him.”
Intuitively, I hope that an ember from inside of me will jump inside of him, igniting his own spark so he will realize he doesn’t have to take mine. This is my mistake. I am trying to share my life with the wrong person. I will not accept the fact that Will must resurrect his fire on his own, just as I have done a thousand times for myself. I dare to think one thing easy in this life: I know how to resurrect the fire within myself. The hardest thing for me is to not share it with Will.
So where does this leave me and what will happen to my marriage? I want to share my life with him. I want to share everything I am with this man who cannot live on his own. His habitual taking of what is good is killing me and his habitual refusal to find the spark of life within himself is dooming him to a life of failure.
If I am able to learn to not give of myself to Will, if I am able to keep my fire from him, will he learn to look inside for his own fire? Or will he crack and finally kill me so he can once and for all take the spark of life from me to implant inside his own belly?
Can anyone say “Murder-Suicide”? Men kill their wives and then themselves because once she is finally dead and motionless on the floor, he realizes that the life spark was hers and hers alone. In killing her, he sought to absorb her; now that All is gone from her, he realizes he will never ever and had never ever been able to use her life spark for his own. Overwhelmed with true grief because he feels unable to live without leaching from her, he turns the weapon upon himself.
He truly loved her life force. His mistake was thinking he could ever take it from her and use it as fuel for himself.