Today, I am a proud Pop. Daughter Rachel is graduating from college and some words I wrote inspired someone to start blogging. Tar Baby Transfiguration is a new blog by Susie Grubbs Goodson and I’d like you to read her work. Middle Aged Crazy is about helping people grow, about finding your Beast and I am so happy to help Susie release her’s, her writing will help you release yours. She writes about love, commitment, disappointment and faith. I’m happy to share her work with you:
And So The Story Comes in Backwards
Fifteen years ago, I began a relationship I wanted very badly. He had just gotten divorced, mine was almost final. He moved into the house I was buying within six weeks of our meeting. His three teen-aged kids, and one’s boyfriend, arrived within six months. Two kids were still in school, his son acting out; his younger daughter skipping out. His older daughter couldn’t afford rent, though working. Eighteen months after he moved in, I evicted them all.
I still carried a torch, as did he. Thirty months later, we got back together. I told God this was my husband, learning in nine months what God already knew. The second night we were married, he began venting his rage. The frequent tirades continued through our marriage. My family was the left-handed compliment, subtler emotional blackmail kind; I had no coping skills.
The honeymoon rage occurred during a Kairos Prison Ministry weekend; I was not allowed to share with our Christian friends. Returning from the weekend, I learned my crying made him feel guilty. I tried hiding from him; he followed me through the house, even into the closet continuing his diatribes. Eventually, I was allowed in the bedroom alone while he seethed/felt guilty in another room.
While crying alone, I owned claiming this man. I interspersed, “Thank you for my husband,” between the lines of The Lord’s Prayer. I worked on feeling grateful for the peaceful times, and strove not to hide, fearing his rage. I dropped friendships and church relationships; his secret behavior required distance and privacy.
I continued with Kairos, sharing with folks inside prison. I was learning how not to be a victim. I never fought back because he fought dirty. My only recourse, withdrawing my trust. After I retired from State employment, we moved to the country, even more isolated. I had given up prison ministry, feeling more needy than the women I served.
I hung on to small things not to fall into despair. I realized his rage had nothing to do with me; my not responding in kind vexed him. The pain of his inner child caused tantrums. I was grateful only when he wasn’t home. I was alone, with just a kitten to foster hope in my heart. We had been married five years.
He cultivated a special female friend with whom he did not have a physical relationship, having been suffering from ED for a couple of years. I asked him not to visit her alone, a request he disregarded because his motives were pure. Continuing his interactions with her, he became angrier and more vituperative with me. I had begun to have enough, when he was diagnosed with lymphoma.
Not comfortable being someone to ditch him thus, since his health coverage was through my State benefits, I stayed through his pain prior to treatment, drug reaction delirium, chemotherapy, and rage. His friend scolded me, regularly checked on him, finally moved to another town, knocking on my door once a month, then no more. I stuck with him, wanting to dance on or crawl across her grave (Grateful Dead, “Hell in a Bucket”).
After treatment, he didn’t vent rage, but the silent treatment. Not allowed to talk about HER, I perceived he feared speaking his feelings, to avoid the rage. Not wanting to live with me, he began staying at his mom’s ranch.
We separated last September, shortly before our ninth anniversary. He’s nice to me now, sending stipends to help with our finances ; the divorce pends. No more the fragile vessel of his wrath, I go forward.
Thank you Susie for sharing your words and heart!