You will see a lot on this blog about strength. Each day I have to wake up and take a deep breath and steady myself for the days to come, the storm that may or may not be building in my living room. Each day I find myself digging deeper and deeper to find that voice inside me that helps me know that this is not forever, it's just for now.
What I do does not make me a super hero. I am not any more than you average wife, trying to support her husband through a difficult time. What I do is love. I love under the worst conditions because my marriage vows said I would. And I meant it.
But what I am going to tell you now, is about the darker side of our life. Sure we fight. Of course he has a hard time loving me. He is angry at the world and has rage built up inside that will just suddenly burst... But, all that aside, he can be very abusive. That is the cold hard truth.
I do not wake up everyday to a man that hits me and then sends me flowers to say he's sorry. It's not even all that often that he lashes out at me at all. But what I do have is a man, who hangs out with his friends and has a few too many then tells me that I am worthless.
The other night I got off of work early to find him playing video games in the living room with a friend. Not such an abnormal sight at all... Until I saw how intoxicated he was. I came up stairs (2 hours early) and he didn't even acknowledge that I was there. I tried to tell him, without taking too much attention away from his game, that work was slow and I got off early. Again, no response. I tried to tell him about an important email I had gotten so that he would know we needed to talk about it later, again, no response. He didn't even glace in my direction. He hasn't spoke directly too me in days anyway. But he does this a lot when we have company. He belittles me in front of his friends (our friends) or flat ignores me. I can see how visibly uncomfortable people are when they come over and I suppose it's why we don't have people over anymore.
But after our friend left, I asked my husband to think about his behavior and his behavior over the last few days. He seems to think he can be mean and cruel, and that when he wakes up a few days later and he is over that, that I should be too.
This turned into a fight, during which I made a comment on his drinking and he implied that I am the reason he drinks, with a "Gee, I wonder why I drink." Statement. When I told him it was unacceptable for him to drink and become verbally abusive to me, he told me that I was the abusive one. The whole situation turned into the same things it always does. I'm mean, I'm abusive, all I do is yell at him and I do nothing for him.
I held my calm ground and said, "I will not let you make me feel bad or guilty for your behavior. It's not my fault you drink, you are self medicating and I will not let you make it my responsibility." He then said the most hurtful thing he has said in a long time:
"I don't care about your feelings. I didn't say anything to try to make you feel bad because I don't care if you feel bad, because I don't care about you at all. So why would I care about your feelings?"
Done. That was it. I don't care about you at all.
In a few days time, he will be back to thinking I'm an amazing wife. He will come home and tell me that he's so lucky to have me. He will thank me for all that I do for him and for our life and home. And then a few days later, he will have one too many and tell me he doesn't love me and tell me that I'm a horrible person and tell me that I'm a failure as a wife, and then he will tell me that he doesn't care if he hurts me because he doesn't care about me at all.
And I just have to live with it. I have to wake up the next day and tell myself that he doesn't mean those things. That sometimes he doesn't know what he's doing. It's not meant to be the excuse of a battered woman. It is meant to be the understanding of a wife to a man with PTSD. But sometimes, I can't tell those two things apart. Because sometimes, I'm a whore for asking him to bring me something from the fridge while he's in there grabbing a juice. Sometimes, I'm a terrible human being because I don't feel up to going to the store. Sometimes I'm lazy because I didn't dust today. Sometimes, he doesn't care about me at all and feels that he can spew hateful things at me free of any repercussions they may have. And I'm just supposed to take it.