I wish I could write that my husband is walking in the Spirit, living the life of love that Jesus called him to live. I wish I could write that he nourishes my heart, and cherishes our relationship. I wish I could write that in all lowliness of mind he esteems me higher than himself for Christ's sake. I wish I could write that his commitment to live a life of love is unwavering, steadfast, admirable in every way.
I have certainly read enough marriage books that left me with that impression. But I am all about transparency and integrity, so I must tell the truth.
For no reason I can see, out of nowhere, my husband returned to being abusive to me emotionally and verbally. He has not spoken with his parents. He says he has not been reading anything about child abuse. He just turned the switch on the inside and became the old man, the cruel self-righteous jerk, without informing me.
Classic PAPD. He never said he was angry, or feeling out of sorts. I had no reason not to expect him to be the best friend and lover he has been most of the days we have spent together lately.
Neither was I silent about my needs. I told him of my need, and asked him to help me get it met. I was not on guard. I was weak and tired, literally I mean. I'm not putting myself down. I was just in a place where I needed his companionship and had no reason not to expect it, after all the love that we have shared between us this past week.
I was expecting the new man, the man of the Spirit, and so I fell headlong into a three hour PAPD episode of cruelty. All the classic symptoms were present but I missed it. The resistance, foot-dragging, shitty apologies (i.e. not "I'm sorry! I totally last track of time!" spoken with heartfelt emotion but "I'm sorry I didn't do exactly what YOU wanted, WHEN you wanted." spoken in a flat loveless monotone), seemingly sincere attempts at reconciliation that when accepted in good will by me are then followed up with a wicked back-stabbing comment that proves beyond the shadow of any doubt that he is a liar and a cruel man.
Anyone familiar with abuse will recognize the pattern. I was exhausted, and asked him to come to bed with me. After last week's epiphany, I was kind yet clear that I needed to get some rest. He told me he wanted to open up his laptop and check the football scores first. I reiterated my need, using the word please. He told me it would only take a little while. I accepted that as honest (though it turns out it wasn't) even though there was no sign, looking back, of any kindness for me.
It was a commitment that we made to each other as part of healing our marriage, that we would go to bed together. It was no surprise to him. He had known since morning that I had not slept well the night before. If the roles were reversed, I would have prayed for his rest to be sweet. I would have been gentle and kind with him,. I would have loved him, and done all I could to make sure he had the best environment for sleeping. I have done it before. I'm compassionate that way, like Jesus is. =)
But if you know PAPD, you know what happened. It did not take "a little while". I did everything I could possibly do to get ready for bed, including little things to make life easier for him. But because this was not a simple situation, where a man of good will just wanted to check the football scores and would be right up, you should be able to guess how long it was before he came upstairs.
If you guessed that no matter how patient I was, he would absolutely not even start coming to bed until I came back down to speak to him, you are right. The point was to resist my need, not check the football scores. If you are familiar with PAPD, you'll know why I had to come down twice more before he would start up the stairs. That's right, I was kind and forgiving the first two times, assuming he had lost track of time. He would only begin to keep his promise after I got the message that I was not worth any effort on his part.
This is because once I was irritated and upset at his repeated failure to keep his word, to be a man of integrity and to live the life of love he promised to live- then he could blame me for being a demanding bitch. And on and on it went. It went on for three hours before I walked out on him and went downstairs to the guest bedroom.
Damned if I do, damned if I don't. That's what it is to try to be in a love relationship with a PAPD. He wants to vent his anger- anger he won't admit to feeling. But since anger is a sin in his world, he has to provoke a situation that he can feel justified about venting the wicked thoughts that have been stewing in his head. What a hypocrite. There you have it, the end result of fundamentalist Christianity: an emotionally sick person for whom self-justification matters more than anything. It matters more than anyone's heart, more than his relationships, more than integrity, more than Jesus. It is not authentic love that he was raised to desire. It was self justification. That is the end result of all those years of hypocrisy. A sick puppy.
The seeming answer: completely detach and not look to be in any kind of relationship with him, works short term IF I CATCH WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE BEGINNING. This time, in my state of exhaustion, I didn't catch on very quickly. I was vulnerable and tired. I want, above all, authentic love and reconciliation. Had I understood that he was incapable of that at the time, I wouldn't have kept getting pulled into the cycle of doing and undoing.
By the time I walked away, I was once again sobbing. Sobbing because I know that there is nothing I can do to make things better between us. Sobbing. Sobbing from the depths of knowing that in spite of all this therapy, in spite of the Divine Nature of God right there with us, able to help at anytime my husband reaches out to Him in sincerity , my husband chooses abuse.
Once I walked away, it was over. About five minutes later my husband came downstairs, where I was sobbing and steeling my heart for reality by reading Kantor's book in the guest bedroom. Finally he had awoken out of his bewitchment.
But the trust between us is damaged. I am very wary, and I do not like what I am not seeing and hearing. I am not hearing a man whose heart is a heart of worship. I am not seeing a face lit up with the joy of fellowship with God. He is flat-faced and silent when I come downstairs this morning. He apologizes, but there is no life of God in him that I can see. Remorse is not the same as repentance. I am not safe yet.
My verses for today:
2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance.
Honesty. Good for me, to stay clear-minded and sober about the real progress or lack of progress we are making. Good for those with crappy marriages reading here, so that they understand this is a messy and long process.
If I wind up leaving because the abuse never truly ends, just goes into hiding and ambushes me in my moments of need, then this blog will strengthen my resolve. It will also serve as a witness that I did all I could to to be the best friend and ally my husband could wish for, but in the end what he really wanted was not a wife but an emotional punching bag on which to vent the negative emotions he was never man enough to own and process in a healthy way.
But I am still hoping that this blog will instead be a witness of how God changed a crappy home school marriage into a house of healing for everyone involved.
note: "Wicked" in NIV; "unreasonable" in KJV in above verses means "not in a good (or proper) place" 824 Strong's Concordance. "Evil" in NIV is 4190 in Strong's and means "diseased, hurtful in effect or influence"- does NOT mean intrinsically evil or once healthy but deteriorated. Interesting trivia.