One time, I took Supergirl and her sleepover friend over to his office (the cabin next door) so he could sleep in while they played loudly.
Couple hours later, he woke up. As always, whenever the white noise was turned off, there was an automatic tensing and clenching in the house. Because then it would begin.
Why are there crumbs on the floor? (breakfast and lunch, which I fed them)
Why is there so much noise? (kids)
Why didn't you start a fire? (hard to chop kindling with a toddler attached to me)
What is this on the table and why? (playdoh and because we were playing with it)
What mess are you going to make for me to clean up next? (what's for dinner?)
Why are you going? When are you going? Where are you going? What are you doing? Why are you doing that? What is that for? Why did you do that? Who did this? Who did that?
Every day, all day, he snipped and sniped at anyone in his way. He parented when convenient. I even coined it 'optional parenting' and yes - I hurled those words in his direction whenever we fought.
He woke up at noon, spent all day in his office, coming out for lunch or to admonish someone. Took a daily sunset hike, occasionally returned for dinnertime, usually put the kids to bed (upon my insistence 2 years ago) and then disappeared again. Insisted he had to stay up til 2am and sleep until noon, because 'that was when he worked'. I never asked what he did between the other waking hours, but he wanted to know exactly where I would be and why I couldn't do it myself if I even asked him to take Bubbles to one of his 3x weekly speech appointments.
I was reprimanded for not offering enough foods (never mind that he couldn't feed anyone), berated for wasting too much food (that he never bought) ignored when in tears of overwhelm, and scoffed at whenever I had any physical illness or weakness.
Once he drove me to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion he insisted I get after he refused to get his promised vasectomy. I screamed at him the whole way there. He sat in stony silence, willing it to be over if he just ignored it. And me.
When we got there I took the keys and left him in the parking lot. I came back an hour later to pick him up and he yelled at me that I was a terrible mother because I wouldn't get an abortion. I cried and sobbed and told him that, while I believe firmly in choice and I also believed another child would be very hard, I couldn't do it after losing Elijah. That they were connected for me and I didn't know how but they were and please stop please please please stop.
He sneered at me. "You are selfish. This just proves how selfish you are. If you cared at all about your children you would do this."
Supporting me was only possible if I agreed with him.
I cried myself to sleep for weeks until the blessed event: the miscarriage. It was a late one - 11 weeks, I think. He had been exceptionally angry the night before. He wouldn't talk to me, but would only growl insults at me. He grabbed me roughly and reminded me how selfish I was and he spat his disgust at me by stripping away any confidence I had as a parent - he knew the most deadly weapon available to him and he knew how to find my emotional jugular. When I went in for another ultrasound the next day there was no more heartbeat and I remember feeling relieved as I was prepped for the surgical removal of all this conflict wrapped up in a dead embryo.
I'll never forget how he was so nice to me on the way to the OR. He held my hand, he hugged me, he was 'so so sorry this had happened, Babe' but I was 'going to be strong and be just fine' and he gave my hand a tender squeeze. I was speechless. But there was a whole audience now, so I just accepted it and was wheeled off to the OR and soon completely unconscious and unable to try and make sense out of that one.
When I stopped bleeding, we went to Hawaii, with hopes of amnesia I suppose.
The day that I took the kids next door to play so he could sleep in, I went back over to the cabin to grab my laptop after he got up and we had returned to the house. The moment I left the house, I heard my name being screamed. Again. Angrily. Shouted. Again. Really mad. I prepared for the worst and ran back over to the house. Apparently, Bubbles had just knocked over and broken a glass lamp.
"WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU????" He screamed at me.
"WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU?"
"I was...my....getting....I was getting my laptop WHAT HAPPENED?"
"HE COULD HAVE BEEN SEVERELY INJURED - WHERE WERE YOU??"
"Whaaaaat?? Where is he?? Where the hell were YOU? You were HERE! You can't yell at me like some wayward nanny!"
"You're no nanny. You are a pathetic excuse for a mother. You weren't even HERE. A NANNY would have done a BETTER JOB!"
He insists there is no history of abuse, but I can't stop my mind from trying to make sense out of his actions in April. I can't stop thinking about it, and if I can make sense out of it, then something will....I don't know. Fall into place? Make me understand the risk with more clarity? Prevent it from happening again?
And in some ways I can make myself make sense out of it. Like the first full nelson he put me in. He completely lost all impulse control. No filters, nothing to stop himself. But after he let go and I screamed back at him, after I reached for the phone, and
and this time with more purpose.
While screaming at me with purpose.
About how 'someone' should have 'done this' to me 'along time ago'.
I just can't make sense of that. Was it pre-meditated? Did he really just hate me that much?
Did he simply feel entitled to shut me up? Was it supposed to be forever?
Where did the filter kick in and why did he stop?
Did he realize when he dropped me onto the floor that this was some bad shit or did he just want to kick me on his way out?
I can't make sense of all this and it physically hurts. I watch my kids try and make sense of it and I know why it's so hard. It's crazy making.
The exchanges we had which were so memorable and so hurtful, the experiences which carved the paths of our canyon come back to play themselves out again. As if they will reveal the answer.
I don't know.