by Lucy K. Wright
Less than 24 hours after I called off our divorce, after being told that “things would change,” he promised, life was back to the same exact living hell I had already been experiencing. Only this time, he felt more powerful than ever because he had just convinced me to remain loyal to him, try, and stay in our marriage.
There were numerous counseling sessions. I went to some sessions alone, we went to some together. He was still very angry underneath his shell of appearing to others as being the happy-go-lucky and charming guy he wanted the outside world to see. That was the persona portrayed to everyone but me. In our home was a scene almost unbearable. There were many threats made that he would “call his attorney” if I didn’t behave and do what he wanted. He would get out his phone and pretend he was dialing. He was authoritative and very good with his convincing manipulative ways. I never knew if he was actually dialing or not, but he got the fear and submissive behavior out of me exactly as he wanted.
We had a heated argument one night after the kids were asleep. He pushed and pushed me on needing “emotional and physical intimacy.” Holding back the tears as best as I could, I told him I could not give him that right now. I could feel the increased anger the moment those words left my mouth. The discussion became more contentious. When he didn’t get the reaction he wanted, he resorted to this:
“Bad mom. Bad mom. Bad mom. Bad mom. You. Are. Such. A. Bad. Mom.”
He said it over and over and over again.
Of everything ugly he ever called me, those words stung the most, and he knew it.
I ended up slugging him in the arm, very lightly, as a last resort to try and get him to stop saying those words.
“That’s it. That was just what I wanted you to do. You hit me, and now you are going to jail.”
He said he was calling 911. I said I was sorry and begged him not to. He dialed 911, and then he hung up. When dispatch called our number back to make sure everything was ok, he told them “his four-year-old was playing with the phone and called them by mistake.” It was well past 10pm, not a time when a four-year-old would typically be awake.
He spent the next 20 minutes, before the officers arrived at our home, standing over me as I sat paralyzed in a chair, in hysteric tears, not knowing what had just happened. He screamed at me, telling me how I cost him his promotion at work, how I was having a midlife crises and ruining his life, how everything was my fault, and how he couldn’t wait until the kids turned 18 so he could tell them that their mom had an affair.
An affair. I was basically held captive in our home, never let out of his sight, carefully preserving all of the energy I had each day to simply survive. I looked worn and exhausted, wearing sunglasses inside and outside to lessen the view of my always puffy and swollen eyes. An affair? There was no way.
The police arrived. One officer talked with me. The other toured the home with the ExN, and found the kids soundly asleep in their beds. After about a half an hour they said they could take someone to jail – me – but that they weren’t going to. They did say that since they had been called to our home twice already, if there was a third time, someone would be taken away.
The pattern of the next few weeks went like this: 48 hours of yelling and screaming, then, he showed up with a big display of red roses. It was like clockwork.
I felt like I was going crazy.
And I can’t help but have flashbacks when I see big bouquets of red roses, even this many years later.
~LLS~ Lucy K. Wright
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