Disbelief 

Yesterday, for the first time in almost a year, my husband took my 3 children out on his own for a few hours. He bought them lunch, took them to the park, had ice-cream with them. It’s come about after I broke down a couple of months ago because I was so overwhelmed. He promised to take the kids out and then never did, blaming me because I want this done, or that done around the house. I have not asked him to do anything around the house because it’s not even worth it. If he knows I want something done it seems to be relegated to the bottom of the list. 

So he finally took the boys out after several more arguments. And he played the perfect, doting father. He brought me back plants from the garden centre. He even took a car full of junk down to the tip when he got back. After dinner, not only did he wash up, he dried up too. 

My friend, my best friend, who knows everything about what he’s like, texts me asking how he’s behaving. So I tell her everything he did yesterday and she’s all ‘awwww, that’s so sweet. He’s really trying.’ 

And I was floored. 

He behaves well for one day, playing the perfect fucking father/husband and everyone falls for it. 

This is the honeymoon phase, sweetheart. 

If my best friend, who knows everything he’s done to me, can believe he’s trying hard to change after 1 day…?! What hope is there that anyone else is going to believe me? 

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Snippets 

  1. After him telling me that I agreed to buy him a car, and me saying we hadn’t discussed that – he ignored me for the remainder of the evening. Next morning it was like it never happened. He behaved as if there was no issue. Still refused to discuss the car with me. Told me the following day he’d bought the car (surprise surprise he found the money!) Later he asked if I could pay for tax and insurance to which I told him he could borrow it. In the end he paid for them himself. I’m really pleased I stood up to this one. I do not feel guilty (which is a new thing, and feels good.)

  2. Out with friends yesterday he made a point of saying about my car, ‘you wouldn’t know it, that this whole side was caved in, would you?’ Cue all the guys going ‘what happened?!’ He responds that I took a gate post out to gales of laughter. I was fuming. He knew how embarrassed I was that I’d had an accident as it’s the first time I’d hit the car (aside from a clipped wing-mirror and a small dent from a bollard) in 8 years of driving. Secondly, the whole side was not caved in and I didn’t take out a gatepost. I clipped a gatepost, leaving no damage apart from a few scrapes of missing paint. The car did have a dent, buckling the edge of the rear door which is why we got it fixed. It was in no way ‘caved in.’ 

  3. Playing the perfect husband in regards to the car. He’s so desperate to get a car so that I can have mine back, apparently. It would be lovely if that was the case, but I know it’s not. He’s had no issue taking my car whenever he wants over the last two years with no apologies whatsoever. His attitude is that his life is more important than mine so why should he have to apologise for needing the car or for me having to cancel plans at a moment’s notice. 

  4. Again, out with friends, he played the perfect husband/father. Telling them how he’s sorting a car for himself as he so wants me to have my own back. Regaling them with stories as I struggle back up the hill with three wet and tired boys (they’d paddled in the river, fully clothed) He didn’t look back to see if I needed any help with a toddler in tears, a big rucksack and welly boots in my hands. Continuing conversations with friends that I started while I sort the children out, excluding me from the conversation. I wanted to cry. 

  5. Stayed in bed again, sleeping in, letting me get up with the children as always. As always, I make the picnic to go out, the flasks of coffee, grab the spare clothes, gather together boots and coats, dig the rucksack out, clear up the kitchen, sort the laundry, feed the hens – when he does finally get up, he sits watching tv. Just your average day.

  6. Disappears off after dinner. If I’d announced I was ‘just popping out’, without making sure he was okay with the kids – especially at bath time/bedtime – he would have been so annoyed with me. Double standards. 

  7. Flirting on the phone. I always know when he speaks to a woman on the phone. His whole demeanour changes. He was sorting insurance and was turning up the charm big time. Lots of laughter and asking her what her plans were for the evening. That kind of thing. He spoke to her the way he spoke to me in the early days. Again, if that had been me on the phone, it would have led to an argument. 

  8. He’s putting down a shed base in the garden. He came in and sat at the table where I was putting photos into the album. He mutters something which I didn’t catch. The boys are chattering. I said, ‘once I’ve finished this I’ll clean the birds out’. The boys want to help so I tell them which boys they can each do. Five minutes later I get up to do the birds. He storms from the table saying, ‘I may as well get a builder to do it’ (which I offered from the get/go). I asked him why he’s so angry and he gets sarcastic. Then tells me he’d asked for my help. I apologised, then explained I hadn’t heard him. ‘Oh right’ (voice dripping with spite) ‘well I’m sorry you didn’t hear me while I was sat right in front of you. I’m sorry I got annoyed.’ I tell him that there’s need to be annoyed with me or speak to me like that. I said to him that the very fact I was sitting there making plans for after I’d finished the photos was a clear indication I hadn’t heard him ask me for help over the children talking. All he’d have had to do was ask me if I heard him. He storms out into the garden, further annoyed that I chose to finish cleaning the birds rather than stop in the middle to go and help him. 

I’m reading these back over, and they all seem so insignificant, innocent almost. It makes me want to delete the post and stop whining. 

But I also know that it’s all these little things that add up to something bigger, and I’m not brushing them under the carpet anymore. It’s ignoring these snippets that lead me to convincing myself that it’s not that bad. 

These snippets are so important to the dynamic of our relationship, and I promised myself that this blog would give me clarity. So I need to be completely honest. 

Financial Abuse

My husband has always ridden motorbikes. He’s ridden through 14 winters on his last bike and has got to the point in the last few years where he says he’s getting too old to do another winter. 

I’ve asked him to consider a car, too. A motorbike isn’t overly useful to a family of 5 and every time there’s snow or ice, he’ll take the car to work, leaving me with no vehicle. I have no issue if he needs the car, but when I have no advance notice and have to continually cancel plans throughout winter, I get quite annoyed. 

His attitude is, ‘well, my job is more important than you having the kids all day, so I’m taking the car.’ I can’t disagree with that, but he takes no consideration for whether or not I’ve had to cancel plans, mess people around, have enough food in the house until I can get to the stores, etc. He never apologises for not keeping up with maintenance on his bike, which is why it’s off the road so often.

The last couple of months he’s been saying he will finally get a car as his bike is 15 years old and won’t pass the MOT come September. I’ve let him make this decision for himself, not chiding or nagging. 

A couple of nights ago he came home and said, ‘I’ve told the guys at work (who are selling cars) that I can stretch to an extra couple of hundred.’ My heart soared – we’ll finally have two cars! 

He’s already told me he won’t be selling his bike. 

Tonight he says to me, ‘Well, you’ll be transferring a lot of money into my account soon.’

‘What for?’, I say? 

‘For the car, then tax and insurance.’

Woah! Back up! When did I agree to pay for a new car for you?! When did we have that discussion? 

He tells me that he said to me one day, ‘you can buy me a new bike’ and I replied, ‘maybe a new car, what with that being slightly more useful to a family’. And I did. I said that. 

No more was mentioned. This was a jokey exchange. I NEVER agreed to buy him a car. It was an off-hand comment while we were with his sister. 

Now I feel tied. He’s angry at me: ‘Fine! Don’t bother! I’ll sort it!’

He says, ‘Then I’ll borrow the money and pay it back to you from my wages which are yours anyway!’ – I see none of my husband’s wages. At birthdays and Christmas when money is tight, I’ve asked him for some extra pennies (sometimes in tears as I literally don’t have enough for food) and he tells me he has nothing to give me; that he can’t give me money he hasn’t got. This is why I have so much credit card debt I’m trying to pay off now – another reason I don’t want to pay £2000 on a car/insurance for him. 

Last week he asked me if I could transfer £80 into his account to pay a bill and he’d pay me back the next day when his wages went in. It’s not been mentioned since. I know full well he will never pay me back. 

But if I don’t buy him a car, he’ll take mine. And that car is my lifeline. 

Tell me what you would do in this situation? Thoughts? 

Termination 

We’d been arguing, as was standard practice in our marriage. I had said ‘no’ to sex once too often. He was angry and then sated. His sudden calm left me with a knot of fear in my stomach. He turned the tables, turned on the charm. It was my birthday, after all.

I said ‘no’ again, my heart crushed under the weight of his temper. I said ‘no’ over and over again, but his hands kept massaging me, caressing me. He started pushing inside of me. We were using condoms at the time – my pill had run out and he was meant to be having a vasectomy (he kept putting it off, putting it off) but he was pushing into me regardless. This, I might add, was after two split condoms and two rounds of emergency contraception. I told him ‘no’ again. He’s thrusting into me now, not listening. I just let him. How could I fight him off? It would just be yet another argument, more shouting and screaming.

Afterwards I sat on the toilet with tears streaming down my face, trying to silence the voice that said, ‘your husband just raped you’.

Three weeks later I sat on the toilet again, yet more tears streaming down my face as I watched the word ‘pregnant’ flash up on the little white stick. January 03rd 2014. 6 days later, in a non-descript office in central Birmingham, I terminated the pregnancy.

My husband put on a beautiful show of surprise and couldn’t for the life of him work out how it had happened.

I knew I was pregnant that Christmas, only 9 days after. I just knew. I could feel my body changing, that all-consuming exhaustion sleeping silently on top of me. I had to wait to test. I tested on New Years Day but it came back negative. I knew. I had no doubt. 

That Christmas we argued – I gave him my presents and afterwards he asked me if I’d got him a special present, I said no, that I’d given him everything. He flew off the handle screaming at me for how I make him feel like he’s just the kids’ dad and not a husband. He was furious because I hadn’t bought him a card. He stormed upstairs and came back down flinging a Christmas card in my face. It hadn’t even been written in. ‘Here’s your fucking Christmas card, though I don’t know why I bothered!’ I said, ‘what?! You waited to see if I would give you a card or not before giving me mine? You’ve not taken the wrapper off, or written in it’. ‘Well what’s the fucking point? I knew you wouldn’t bother so why should I have done?’

Christmas dinner he sat there laughing and joking and telling me I was being too sensitive, that I was ruining Christmas for everyone. I didn’t have to be so miserable. 

Maybe I’d got it wrong – maybe he didn’t realise I hadn’t wanted to, but then no – how many times do you have to say no for it to mean something?

I named him Pegasus. My unborn child, I mean. On the way home from the clinic we took a wrong turn and passed Pegasus Industrial Park. A work van parked on a local street to us – Pegasus plumbing.

That night I lay in bed bleeding, losing a child I would have adored and cherished under different circumstances and my eyes sought out a constellation in the sky. I googled it, so bright and obnoxious it was. It was the constellation of Pegasus.

He sat downstairs playing father to the kids, making me origami flowers and bringing me up chips and gravy with endless cups of tea. 

I questioned for the longest time whether it was rape. I didn’t exactly fight him off. He was my husband. But no matter how I try and justify it to make it less painful in my head, the definition of rape remains the same.

Two weeks after the termination we argued because I didn’t want sex. He told me I had serious sexual problems, with no hint of disbelief. Two weeks after an abortion, I’ve barely stopped bleeding and he throws that at me?

I read these words back and the tears fall freely. Every so often I look at him and wonder how he could have been so cruel. But then he turns on the charm and I convince myself – it wasn’t that bad, was it? 

My child would have been turning three this September. 

New Beginnings 

This is my year.

I’m married to an emotionally abusive man. I’ve been married almost 7 years, and in all honesty, the only reason I married him was because he was jealous and paranoid and I thought (in my naïveté) that marrying him would make him realise I did want to be with him.

I now have three young children with him. I’ve made the decision to stay for the meantime as I know he’ll play dirty if I leave him. He’ll use the children against me knowing they are my weakness. Last time I tried to leave him he told me he would file for bankruptcy, which would have meant I’d have had to sell the house. I need my children to be a little older to understand what’s happening.

But I’ve decided this is my year. I need to get out of debt – the debt I’ve accumulated paying things off for him, or because even when I’ve begged him for money to feed the children, or buy birthday presents – he tells me he hasn’t got anything to give me. So, on the credit card it goes. I’ve already paid off almost £2000 with some money I inherited, and a tax rebate.

I’ve started writing and submitting articles to earn some extra money. I’ve started keeping track of arguments and things that have been said so I know I’m not going crazy when he tells me he ‘never said that’ or I’m ‘too sensitive’. I’m building up my support network and that of the children.

I’m spending 2017 beginning to build up a future for myself and my children for when I finally do walk away.

This is my story. The following entries will be me trying to make sense of my stories, my accomplishments in building a future, my tears and frustrations, my happiness that I won’t allow him to touch, my reaching out to others in the same situation.

He will not beat me.