I thought it would be fun to document every part of my life on my little Canon for you all... but Blogger is not cooperating and now I've got bigger fish to fry.
I just got off the phone with my old college roommate. This is not a good times holiday post so if you are not wanting to hear a major rant on abusive relationships then move along. Maybe sometime today my video will finally finish uploading and you can come back for the "fluff".
Okay let me just say I love my friend. Love her. We had great times in college and she is as much of a goof ball as Mrs F, which is a rare find. But she has two downsides. One, she talks non-stop, even though Mrs F is quite chatty her own self, my friend doesn't take a breath to ask you how you are.... EVER. If she is calling she is calling to talk AT you. Period. And she will do it for two straight hours. This gets old after the first twenty minutes. I don't think she knows anything that has happened in my life in the last 6 years. Seriously. She calls me several times a week. I have to screen her calls because she doesn't ever get off. I can have a screaming kid in the background and I can say "umm Kid is bleeding from her eyes and her arm is on fire!" And she will respond "okay just one more thing..." and then go on for another 25 minutes. I'm not joking (okay I am about the blood and fire... but you get the gist). The second downside is her husband. He is a dick.
My friend has been with her husband since she was 17 years old. He is 5 years older.. so the fact that they overlapped in high school already tips you off to the potential for mental issues on his part. But I'm of course getting ahead of myself...
Okay they dated all through her years in college and grad school. They got married one week after we did. We had been together a little over 2 years... they had been together for 11! Now it was clear even when we were younger that he was VERY controlling. The fact that she is Jewish and he was at one point a neo-nazi (I'm serious) is another little weird oddity that I've never been able to wrap my head around. Anyway he is unstable and a yeller and he flies off the handle if she buys the wrong meat... or is 5 minutes late.... or whatever. I spent a lot of time wondering WHY, WHY, WHY she was with him. WHY she would marry him (I know her parents have wondered this too)? I think partly the fact that she grew up with him kind of shaped her frame of reference about herself. I know at times she had thought of leaving him.... but she never did, and never will.
And listen I'm not uneducated to the cycle of abuse. I worked on a domestic violence hotline for years. I get it. I even can see the things she does to instigate it. I have not ever been able to figure out what made her choose this type of relationship... it isn't a model she grew up with. And although I am very aware that abuse happens in all socio-economic classes... I will say it was very unusual among the girls I was in college with. We were all smart independent types who chose to go to NYC for college. Getting yelled at by your boyfriend every night because you called a minute late... was not typical, or even heard of, among my friends. We would seriously just look at each like "what the hell is going on?!?".
She has had moments of awareness and then they pass. They are married now they have a little boy. They moved across the country and we only talk over the phone now. I have tried to make peace that this is her choice. That maybe he has mellowed. That hopefully he doesn't yell at their son. She will call and say something about it and I'm always like "you have got to be kidding me?" but I don't say anything... what good will it do? She is in it and at some point I'm not even sure she is aware that "normal" men don't act like that. I mean she gets that on some level but she just deal with her life for what it is. Sometimes I respect her ability to "rise above".. which is not the same thing as respecting her choice... but she is aware that her husband has a mental issue (most likely bi-polar) and that he has triggers and that when he is set off fighting isn't going to help. I could never do that. My mother has her own problems and as much as I can and do work to find a place of understanding inside of me.. I don't sit there and eat it... I'm compelled to get validation.
Now my friend's husband will never get help and either will she. She called today and after screening her first couple of calls this morning I accidentally answered it. I was glad I did. She was having a bad day. And believe me I want to be there for her when she does... but hearing what that entails and knowing she chose this life is hard for me listen to. Her sons threw up last night at 3 am. No fun and we've all been there. But what transpired in her house was just plain crazy. Her husband freaked out because her son wanted his mommy and ended up screaming at him to get out of his bed. Then he yelled at her and then went back in to yell at their sick 3 year old some more. So my worst fears were confirmed. He does yell at their son. Not that witness an abusive parental relationship isn't damaging enough! Let's be real clear... it is!
Anyway after that he stormed out of the house at 4 AM and never went back. Seemingly he went to work. Now she is calling me to ask me if she should take her son on a school trip. What? Seems like that wouldn't really be a priority... um with the throwing up... and the abusive dick. But apparently that is just me. So these calls always put me in a tough spot. Obviously she is calling because she needs support, but I cannot, CANNOT, pretend that I think this shit is okay. So I asked how her son had responded to his dad's freak out... and I was alarmed that she hadn't done anything to address it with him. And so I told her that it was unacceptable and that they needed to find a way to help her husband gain control of his emotions or give him an exit strategy BEFORE he exploded. She of course agreed but then went on to blame herself for "talking back" and escalating the situation.
And I get it... I get that in that moment she had a choice to eat it or get pissed. And at her own admission if she instigates it makes him madder but the explosion is faster and easier for her to deal with then weeks of bubbling over. And the peace I made with this situation is that she did chose it that she is an adult and on some level I of course think this is damaging to her self-esteem but I can't make her leave him or even want to leave him. But what pisses me off is that they should not have had children. I'm sorry. They shouldn't. It is one thing to love a man who you know is mentally ill and chose for yourself that you are willing to deal with what he dishes out. But it is not okay to have children and allow your partner to take it out on them as well. Period. They need help... he needs medication to stabilize his moods and they both need therapy.
I asked her if he ever has the self awareness to sit down and have a calm discussion about it. She said sometimes he does... but it has to be right after and incident or he will already have re-framed it in his mind as being her fault. And I get that too. I get that he lost it last night. I get that he felt so badly about yelling at their son that he had to leave. I get that he feels so badly about being out of control that he can't tolerate that feeling and has to see it as being her fault in order to live with himself.
So at the end I said to her "You know that it isn't okay. That if Mr F did that he would be out of the house. You know that whether he yells at you or he yells at your son... it is shaping the way your son feels about himself." What more can I say? She was still most worried about the stupid train ride for her son's school outing. She was worried that if she took him her husband would freak out on her for taking a sick kid. I suggested she really needed to think about her motivations. She said her son was really looking forward to the train. I told her that in a few years he would not remember the ride... but he would remember his Dad screaming at his mom because she took him. I just don't know. I don't even want to know. My heart breaks for that little boy.
This is the exact reason I had to take a break from counseling kids. I would work with these kids whose life experiences were un-freaking imaginable.. seriously, I won't even go into it because it is that bad, and their teachers and parents would get so frustrated that I couldn't "cure" them. And you just want to beat your head against the wall. No amount of Ritalin is going to fix your kid if you are going to continue to (beat them) (shoot up in front of them) (turn tricks in the living room). I just couldn't hold all that sorrow and devastation and heartbreak inside of me anymore. (And sorry I said I wasn't going to go there... and believe it or not that is NOTHING). And right now I just want to cry because it is so frustrating to be so helpless and to have no way to make a change. No way to hold up a giant mirror and say "LOOK AT YOUR LIFE"... stop worrying about the goddamn train ride and start worrying about your son.
She just called me back. She called to ask him his opinion on whether they should go on the train ride. He said "well, you already told me my opinion!" and hung up on her. She is going to go and told me there will be a blow out tonight if we go or if we don't go... so we might as well go. I didn't even know what to say, all I could say was "I hope it is not too bad tonight." God this just sucks... when the best you can hope for someone is that their night isn't too bad.