Diary of an Abused Wife
Sunday, February 17, 2002
Oh. I forgot to mention. We did sign up for a Credit Counseling service, with one lump payment a month ($340!!) to cover all the credit cards. But it's my fault that we didn't sign up before he got laid off. It's my fault that we're still in a townhouse and not in a house of our own.
I was seriously this close to paying off one credit card, shifting the balance of the other to the one (with a reduced rate) and paying off the little ones when he got laid off. This was done by selling my possessions on ebay (Granted, possessions I hadn't used in a while or had any interest in anymore, but still. MY possessions to get us out of the hole.) And yet it's my fault that we didn't sign up for the Credit Counseling in the first place.
We're not paying any less than we were before, that's what gets me. If anything, we're paying more. One of my smaller credit cards have just offered to cut the balance in half if I can pay a little over $250 and then pay it off, and I'm going to go for it. That would be one less thing hanging over my head.
Oh. We're going to see a movie this afternoon. I give him four hours before he gets pissed at me again. I won't move fast enough. Or something. The last time we went to go see a movie, it was because I wore old jeans and a t-shirt instead of dolling myself up like a 15-year-old.
Saturday, February 16, 2002
I've been combing the web. I have the hotline for the nearest crisis shelter memorized, just in case I need it.
I'm posting auctions. He's watching TV again.
I'm glad we don't have a gun in the house, because if we did, I probably would have shot my husband today or he would have shot me.
The whole sordid story: (if blogger doesn't eat it.)
I lived with my parents for 24 years. I had a job, I had too much credit card debt, and I met this guy. (In here, we're going to call him Tom.) Tom was a nice guy, at first. He listened to me, paid attention to what I liked and disliked, but from the beginning I halfway noticed he tended to spend money when he had it, and always be short when the bills were due. I'm not saying I was an angel myself; I was into the credit card thing and far too fond of the clearance rack. But I paid my bills. On time.
I had perfect credit when I married him. Now... well, now it's sunk pretty low.
So I lived with my parents for 24 years. I was a packrat, big time. In fact, I still have stuff in my room to clean out. But I was fairly happy, if uninspired. And we got along allright together, my parents and I. My dream was to be a writer, writing full-time and maybe doing crafts on the side. Except I had a big self-esteem problem, and I was too scared to proceed.
Oh, and I had one previous boyfriend. And when Tom expressed interest in me, well... I acted like a teenager.
And I met Tom, and he asked me to marry him. At first, we were looking for a house near my parents, because I really didn't want to quit my job. Then, one weekend, he went up to a major City where his buddy was going to school. The day after he got back, he called me up out of the blue and told me he was moving to the City. I could come with him if I wanted to, but I could also stay behind and we could postpone the wedding until later. Well, I felt a bit betrayed, because he hadn't talked it over with me at all, and I was under the impression we were looking for a house in town or around town, and then he up and tells me he's moving 200 miles away.
That was the first thing.
Then he moves to the City. I help them pack everything up for him, and I get a storage space for his stuff that he won't need (He was going to live with his friend in the City.) He goes to school, but flunks out his first year. He also calls me for help with his bills. This gets my credit card debt even worse, because I use the credit cards to help him.
I hear from his friend that he goes to movies with this chick named Mindy. I ask him about it, and he says they're just friends. Meanwhile, I'm stuck back in my parents' house, struggling to plan a wedding, almost by myself. He comes down every other weekend or so, but I have to work weekends sometime, and I have church responsibilities, so we don't get much time together. But we talk a lot on the computer.
His friend tells me that he gives us a year, if we do get married. I'm hurt, confused, and honestly don't know which way to turn. Tom assures me he loves me and that everything will be fine. I'm not so sure, but then the invitations are sent out, and I get my dress... you know how it goes.
Well, to make a long story short, we did get married. And even then, I was full of doubts. I was supposed to pack all my stuff up and move it up all organized-like, but I kept putting it off and putting it off and I ended up moving up to the City with my clothes in garbage bags. Almost immediately, he started to beat me down.
Now, you'll remember, I'd been living with my parents for 24 years. I'd never been out on my own, not really driven on expressways, and never lived in the city. I was unsure of myself, homesick, and basically a mess. I had to get a job, take care of a home, and also take care of a moody husband.
When we moved into our townhouse, his parents came to help and so (I think) did mine. Tom hadn't slept but four hours the previous night, so when we got to the townhouse, he was really rude and manic to everyone. He had set up the furniture like he wanted it, without asking me where I wanted things to go, and decorated the walls with his hockey stuff and his posters. Leaving me with no room for anything of mine. We had decided to put the office/spare bedroom in the larger bedroom, but when I got there, he already had the bed in the larger bedroom, and the office/spare bedroom in the smaller one.
I didn't complain, because I knew it would take me a while to set things straight anyway. So I just closed my mouth and didn't say a word.
Anyway, so after the wedding and our honeymoon (and I think I was really homesick then, because I'd never gone on a vacation without my family (Yes, okay, I was single, I had no close friends... I was the writer in the garrett, you know?) I moved to the City. It took me almost a month to find a job, but it was clear across town, and since they were doing construction on the expressways, it sometimes took me more than an hour to get back home.
I left the house at 7am to get there at 8am, then didn't get back until 7pm some nights. Never before six, that's for sure. Tom got home at 3:30 or 4, sometimes later. But always before me. But when I got home, I was expected to fix supper, and do house stuff, leaving no room for writing or anything else I wanted to do.
Tom watched TV. He was 'resting'.
I was at that job for a year and a half. In that time, I was screamed at, shoved, bruised, and beaten down for daring to insist that I had a right to write and do my crafts. I sold my possessions on ebay to try to get out of the credit hole (When I arrived at the townhouse, he owed the phone company $300 and the gas, electric, and cable bills were overdue.) and I tried my best to make ends meet. I was the one with the bank account (his was closed due to overdrafts) and therefore, I was in charge of paying the bills.
Ebay closed my account because I couldn't pay their fees. I did manage to open up another one, and so did Tom, because without the ebay money, we were definitely sunk. And finally, in January/February of 2000, I was this close to getting everything caught up and on time, when Tom lost his job.
Instead of going directly to the unemployment office, he went out and looked for a job. For three months, I came home to him on the couch, increasingly angry--at me, at our situation--with one paycheck and only ebay money to make ends meet. My careful planning went down the drain. All the saved up ebay money went towards the bills instead of towards the credit cards. I couldn't pay the credit cards at all. I barely made rent.
And through all of this, I held fast to my dream, and I continued to write. In 2001, I got four books accepted with smaller publishers, but to Tom, they were "fly-by-night scams" and wouldn't amount to anything. He tried to control my time on the computer by threatening to break it, or cut the cables. He broke some of my things. He pushed me and slapped me and pinched me. He called me a moron and told me I was too stupid to function and that I had to be on drugs, because he didn't know why I couldn't get organized.
I think I know why I couldn't get organized. I've found that I can't function in a hate-filled environment, and his attitude towards me was definitely not rosy. I will admit I retreated into my online writer's group and purposely got to work late so I could get home later and wouldn't have to face him.
In April 2001, I got a new job, after almost a full year of looking. Nine miles away from the house, good benefits, okay pay, etc., I was happy because I'd finally have time to do some of the stuff I wanted to get going, like start my own craft business and concentrate on getting a decent advance for one of my books. The abuse continued, though.
Since October of 1999, when I moved here, I've been screamed at, pushed, threatened with a hot frying pan full of food (tonight), called a moron and an idiot. I've been bruised by the force of his jabbing finger (You should have seen my arms and chest.)
Nothing I do is good enough. My car's a piece of crap. I'm too fat. I'm not pretty enough. My writing is crap. I spend too much time on the computer (yeah, I'll admit I do, but it's ebay for the bills and writing, not chatting like he does.) I'll never succeed. Etc., etc.
Oh, just as a side note, I remember my mom and dad having one big blowout argument in my lifetime. There might have been more, and I'm sure there were disagreements us kids didn't see, but I only remember one.
In the past month, he has threatened to leave almost every other day. When he leaves, he will shut off all utilities in his name, and take all the money out of the bank. He tells me he has money that I can't touch. He tells me he doesn't need me to be on his own. He tells me to move back in with my parents and get my shit out of the house because he can't stand to look at me anymore.
Lately, I've been realizing that I need to get out of this. My hair is gray, from stress, more than anything, and I am in constant pain because I clench my jaw when I'm angry. I'm going to get an ulcer if this shit keeps up, or end up beaten or dead or something.
On Wednesday, I told him I wanted to spend the entire weekend down the basement so i could clean it and gather up auction stuff to post, take pictures, etc. He has yelled at me or gotten pissed at me nearly every night last week. Today, he went out and came home pissed and stood there and yelled at me for two hours because I wouldn't make a decision about our leased truck.
Oh, yeah, I forgot about that. I leased a truck for him right before we were married. We're almost up to the mileage, so he decided we needed to get another truck asap, and so therefore used part of my inheritence money for the down payment. So I've been driving the other truck once a week, and my car the rest of the time. My parents do not know we bought a new truck, btw. They're not going to know until I can make the inheritence money back.
So I was kind of half-deciding to just keep the leased truck and drive it, but everyone tells him we should turn it in (the dealership paid off the lease when we got the other one.) So he comes home and says he wants a decision today and that I had to make one RIGHT NOW. And he proceeds to tell me I should be committed because I'm obviously insane, and that i'm too much of a moron to be able to do anything.
And pokes, and hits, and later on, threatens me with a hot frying pan full of food.
That's when I saw red for the first time in my life. And if we had a gun here, I probably would have murdered him.
That particular argument was after I had taken a load of laundry upstairs and was coming back down (he was watching TV.) He said he would cook supper, and it was 6:30.
I said, "are you going to cook supper?"
He said, "I need the sink clean."
(I hadn't done the dishes yet because I'd been down the basement.)
I said, "Why do you need the sink clean to cook supper?"
He said, "You should have just gone and done the dishes and not asked any stupid questions."
I said, "I just asked why you needed the sink empty right now."
He said, "Fine, I guess you're not going to eat."
I said, "I just asked why you needed the sink clean to cook supper. I was in the middle of something, and I..."
He said, "Never mind. Go do what you want to do. You always do that anyway."
I said, "I was cleaning the basement. I thought you wanted me to do that."
He said, "You'll just go hungry."
I said, "You're not cooking supper, then?"
He said, "Nope."
I said, "All you had to do was tell me you needed the dishes done so you could cook or something. That's it. I would have done them."
"I guess you'll just go hungry."
So then I went down the basement, got some Rice'o'roni and started it. He came into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing.
"Cooking supper," I said.
"Why are you cooking supper?"
"Because it's 6:30."
"I'm not going to eat it."
I shrugged. "Okay. You don't have to. That's fine."
"You're just going to ruin it. What are you going to do?"
"I thought I'd stick the chicken in the Turbo Cooker. And I have rice. It will take a little while, so I figured I'd do the dishes while the rice is cooking."
He shoves me towards the basement door. "No. Go do what you were doing that's so important."
"It's okay, I can do supper and the dishes. No problem. I just thought you were going to cook."
He shoves me again. "Go."
He lifts the frying pan. "Go. Do I have to throw something at you to make you go?"
He comes at me with the frying pan and I walk very slowly down the stairs. Not because I'm being pissy, but because I can't see at all because I have this red film of rage over my eyes. I grab a book and slam it to the ground, but it doesn't help, so I grab a roll of brown kraft paper and hit the floor a couple of times.
He walks down the stairs. "Are you breaking things up?"
I take the plastic cover off the kraft paper, thinking it probably wasn't a good idea to do that where he could hear. "No, I was just trying to get the wrapper off."
"Were you breaking things up?"
"No, I told you, I couldn't get this wrapper off."
"Do you want me to start breaking things up?"
"No." I say this really quietly.
He shoves over a pile of books. They land on the floor. I have tears in my eyes, because I think he's going to hit me next. He said something then, but I can't quite remember the exact words. Something to the effect of "Are you ready to start obeying me now?"
And that's when I truly decided that I needed to leave. I've been coming up to this decision for a while now, but I can't live like this anymore. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it; I'm going to attempt to sell as much as I can on ebay so I can maybe pay off a credit card or two so I can afford to live on my salary. I'm going to keep my head down for the next month, and try my best to stay out of his way. I will post here every day, if I can. If he gets mad enough, he might take the computer away, so I'm going to remotely post all my stories and files, etc., just in case. But I do have a computer at work, thank goodness.
I'm going to chronicle the next month here. I'm not going to leave anything out. I'm not going to post my email address, but I will stick in places for comments, I hope. But one thing I know for sure, NO ONE should be in the situation I'm in. It's not worth it. It's not healthy. And I'm going to get out as soon as I can do so without giving up what's important to me.
Comments by: YACCS