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Doc@DrIrene.com


 

She Married The Great Satan…And Lived To Tell The Tale

Chapters 1 & 2

By "Tex," her angry, abused ex-husband

Foreword: This is a true story authored by  an abused ex-husband. He is in the process of writing his story, making sense of what happened, and his feelings towards it. This project has not been an easy task, despite the fact that this man's profession is writing. The process of committing his story to paper is an emotionally difficult experience. However, it is also a therapeutic experience. Life is about integrating our experiences, learning from them, and moving on. The writer is trying to move on now, understandably, stumbling a bit along the way. 

Written  with wit and candor, his tale intimately examines his emotionally abusive experience. Note that his focus is on the "little" interactions, the fertile breeding ground of abuse. These "little" interactions are easy to miss; they usually go right over one's head! Abused people typically have a hard time here. Not recognizing they have been abused, they cannot "stop" the abuse. The author's recognition of these little interactions  and his ability to understand, in retrospect, his wife's agenda as well as his inability to do anything about her agenda, is about recovery. Watch how he identifies his wife's  nuance, and the places where his words were twisted. Notice how the wife, interjecting her own paranoid agenda  on events, apparently has no clue she is creating her own Hell. The beauty of this piece is in the detail.

Notice also that despite the fact that the writer is a man and the abuser is a woman, the characteristics of the victim and the abuser do not change. The angry wife is terrified of men and is on guard for any sign of "attack." The abused husband, is quick to disregard his inner voice and make excuses for her. This is no different from the more typical abusive-guy/victim-gal scenario, folks. The dynamics are the same; the issues the dynamics hang on change. Thank you "Tex." May God bless you and yours. -Dr. Irene

September 26, 1999

Chapter I

            For those of you embroiled in the ugliness that is a verbally abusive relationship, beginning my story with this kind of facetious title might seem as if I am mocking your pain.

             But, I am not.  Let me share a recent experience I had with “Kali”  (as in “Kali-Shiva”, Kali the Goddess of Death, and Shiva the Destroyer).  We are divorced, sharing custody of a great little five-year-old boy.  Kali had signed me up for a PTA fundraiser.  To make it on time, I had to leave my new job early, but it was something I was willing to do for my son. 

             So, I make it in time.  There is Kali, looking very attractive, with my son.  We have our meal, I play a bit with my son, and Kali wants me to walk out to her car with her.   Since he would be staying with me that evening, she wanted to give me his overnight stuff.   As we are walking, Kali decides to talk to me about how I pay for our son’s childcare.

             A little quick background:  When working out the divorce, I let Kali have the house and everything. First, she had worked for and paid for most of it.  I was unwilling to stand on my “rights” just to be difficult.  Second, I saw no profit in depriving my son of the house he had spent his entire life in.  The only thing I was legally required to do is pay for the childcare.  Unfortunately, right after the divorce, times were tight for me.  There were some months that I was unable to pay anything toward the childcare.  Kali, a lawyer, was able to pay it. She did not like it and occasionally shrieked at me about my failure to do so.  When my economic situation began to improve and I was able to pay up to 80% of the cost of the childcare, Kali still let me know, often at the top of her lungs.

             That was then and this is now. I have been paying all the childcare costs fully and regularly.  However, walking out to the car, Kali is telling me she wants me to pay her the childcare money once a month (paying her has to do with some tax issue, don’t worry about it).  I explain that given the status of my bills, and the fact that I am paid weekly, it is easier for me to pay her weekly.  She complains that it is a real hassle to keep track of the checks, to go to the bank every week to cash them.  I explain again that it is more convenient for me to do it weekly.  She snaps, “Just pay me once a month, Tex!”  I decide not to respond any further.  I collect my son’s belongings, and as I walk away with him, Kali says, “I can’t think of any reason you wouldn’t do it except that I asked you to.”

             My “bitch-meter” immediately dinged.  I kept walking.   I thought about it.  It was such an ignorant and unnecessary thing for her to say.  Completely in character, and bitchy too!  And then I began to laugh:  

            First she complained that I wasn’t paying.  Then she complained it wasn’t enough.  And now that I was paying…I WAS PAYING IT WRONG!

             That’s when I realized that for Kali, I am the Great Satan.  I am the author of all her miseries.

             Enough time has passed (and I’m not in the middle of another senseless verbal onslaught from her), and I am able to be a little more objective about the dynamic between us. I haven’t always been able to be objective. 

 

Chapter 2

                We met in college.  She was a grad student, a last minute replacement for one of my teachers.  She had been a lawyer for 8 years when she decided to return to school to pursue a degree in creative writing.    At 30, I was one of the oldest students in the class. At the end of the semester we went out for lunch, and she asked me on a date.  We were married about 8 months later.   I figured we were both older and knew our own minds, knew what we wanted, and would be able to work our way through whatever storms arose.

             However, I forgot how easy it is to fool myself.  I did that a lot in those days.  I was the son of an alcoholic father and I’d been going to ALANON for a couple of years before I met Kali.  While I had learned a bit about myself, I hadn’t learned enough.  I hadn’t learned enough about my own fear of being alone, nor of how I discounted my feelings and intuition because I “knew” I could make something work.  I was still living the “Wrestle Life to the Ground and Stomp on It” delusion, unwilling to admit that all this attitude got me was stomped on.  I had no relationship with anything greater than myself, except with antagonism.   I was a victim.  I bet my attitude was one of the things that attracted Kali to me.  Looking back, I believe that she needed a man to feel both superior to and subjected to.  It would justify her view of the world and justify the simmering, unresolved anger she had towards men in general, and towards her father in particular. 

            Kali presented a great package.  She was educated, articulate, attractive, and sexy when it suited her, great in bed (again, when it suited her).   We talked and she seemed to like that I was a writer.  I was pursuing a degree in one of the writing fields.  She read my stories, was suitably impressed.  Who would not want to be around her?

             There were some disquieting events.  For one, I kept a journal then. Once I realized that she read my journals during the first year of our marriage, I quickly got out of the journal habit!  I can see that I knew - I knew in my deepest gut - that this relationship, the particular synergy between us was not good.  Unfortunately, most of the un-goodness was revealed only after we were married.

             Part of the problem was my self-delusion, certainly.  Part of the problem – honestly - was that I’d never been around someone like Kali!  When she flared up and reacted loudly and illogically to something I’d said, I was willing to excuse it.  “Everybody has a bad day,” or “Everybody has things they are sensitive about.”  But, part of the problem was Kali.

             What examples can I give!  There was a time we were talking about men and women.  She asked me a question about the differences I saw between the sexes.  In my best ALANON manner, I offered my opinion.  “It seems to me…,” I was careful to add, knowing enough to own my opinions and not suggest they were fact, “It seems to me that women have a fundamentally different experience of the world than do men.  They can have children; they can create life. That’s an experience men can’t have.”             

            I may have been planning on saying something else, but Kali exploded, “That’s bullshit!!  That’s the same kind of crap men say to justify keeping women from being part of society, from being artists!  That’s just bullshit!” 

            My initial reaction was, “Huh?”  Nothing I’d said was oppressive to women because they give birth!  I became annoyed that she took something I’d said that sounded vaguely like something else, and twisted it to something that was nothing like what I’d said!  And moreover, she’d asked for my opinion!  I didn’t state my opinion as Gospel, I merely offered what I’d thought - I’m arrogant, but not arrogant enough to think I know how the whole world should live.

             I pointed this out to Kali.  She settled down after a bit, and apologized for the strength of her reaction.  Looking back, it seems to me as if she sailed through life always on guard, ever vigilant for evidence to prove her paranoia about men was true.  It’s a human tendency to look for things that only confirm our prejudices. Kali would look, but never admit her prejudice against men.

             It was a weird moment.  Novel for me, nevertheless I excused it.

             However, in time, it became abundantly clear that Kali would (consciously or not) twist what I’d said to fit some preconceived notion she had about me, or about men in general.   For instance, when the Rodney King video was first getting play, I happened to walk past when she was watching the one ten-second clip that was being endlessly broadcast.  

                        Kali was a proudly self-proclaimed liberal and a feminist with her own “Enemies List”. The list began with men, and cast suspicion on various institutions of our patriarchal culture, such as the police.  Anyhow, she was watching this crummy, fuzzy, shot-from-200-feet-away-at-night video clip of Rodney King on the ground, being hit by guys with nightsticks.  Ten-seconds worth was all I saw.  With tears in her eyes, and asked me, “Isn’t this terrible?” (My brother is a cop. Did I mention that?) 

             I said, truthfully, “I don’t know what could have lead up to this.”  Meaning: I didn’t know if this guy had a gun he wouldn’t relinquish, or if he was hiding something with his body.  What was the context of what was happening?  Nobody knew anything about the details of the event, and it seemed to me just as reactionary to presume “Oh, this poor innocent man!” as it would be to presume, “Oh, the evil police got up this morning looking for a person of Color to beat on for no reason.” 

             This reaction was not what Kali was looking for.  Later, during marriage counseling, this very moment came up.  She was talking about how different we were, how our values were in such conflict.  “And when you saw the Rodney King tape,” she said to the me and the counselor, “you said he deserved it.”

             I hotly replied, “That’s a f*****g lie.”  I was stunned then, and am still amazed at her ability to completely overlook what I had said, and to twist it into something that painted me as some sort of ghoul one step below a child molester. 

Go To Chapter 3

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos and "Tex", Copyright© 1999. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the authors at Doc@drirene.com        

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