I had to be drunk for this one. So…I’ll edit this later, but I want to get it out and post it while I’m less jittery about the whole thing.
I left off with the note that Keith laid his hands on me. He didn’t bruise me or actively harm me, it was a grabbing thing, and it was worse than anything he’d done before. I lost all trust. Everything he had earned back from the cheating incident, it was gone. He was still the broken man I got back from Iraq. He hadn’t changed.
I have a record of everything that went wrong between me and Keith after that. I had my personal blog on Tumblr, and I recorded most of his abuse (and still do, when it appears, though I’ll say now so you have a lighter note, I haven’t seen it in several months). Emotional abuse I just…couldn’t handle. I almost left him numerous times, even talked with him about ending it numerous times. I thought about ending it for myself a few times, to escape it. It was such a dark time in my life…I really struggled.
I had raised money (because I was not allowed money or any way to touch the money or any share in it without Keith’s permission or at least him actively knowing about it because I had no account of my own or personal way to get money) online to afford emergency supplies, in the event I had to get me and Edwin out fast. A duffle bag with clothes and essentials I could just grab and go with to the YWCA.
But he found out. And instead of flying off the handle, Keith seemed to wake up a little. And we talked. Openly, for the first time since he did it (it was months later by this point). He had very many issues with me, and I had very many issues with him. I believed, and still believe, that my issues were a lot more serious than his, because his were like, “The house isn’t clean.” And, “We’re too low on money to go to McDonald’s tonight so you have to cook something.” And my issues were like, “Hey please don’t yell in my face and blame me for everything and ignore that I’m telling you I’m struggling and you are actively making it worse?” But we acknowledged something had to change, and I decided it was time for me to go back to therapy and get meds again, because I was too depressed to do anything and in too much pain from my EDS, and struggling with our son, who started therapy for his speech and motor delays.
Notice that the solution of the problem was to change ME, first. This would happen a lot in our relationship during these years. How if I just made myself better, he would stop being awful to me. Because somehow I deserved it? That is what he was saying whenever he said, “Well you do bad things too, we BOTH have to change” and then never followed up with any changes for himself until forced. I had to force him to go to therapy with me, to talk things out. I had to find his therapist for him, when he finally said he would go so he could have someone to complain to about me. Which I found him, perfectly, because the guy who saw us for marriage counseling and Keith’s personal therapy was a total misogynist who also saw me as the ultimate problem here.
Was I burden? Yes. I was incapable of keeping a clean house, being a good homemaker. I was too sick. I was too depressed. I was too distracted. I was too traumatized, half the time. The abuse was (and may still be? IDK) in cycles–Keith downswings, turns into an angry abuser for a few weeks or months. Keith upswings, turns into the perfect husband for a week. Downswing, upswing, downswing, upswing, etc etc etc forever. I was exhausted and confused and a total wreck. Like I said before, I thought about leaving a lot, one way or another. I sought treatment for myself, though, and started a years’ long journey to find the proper balance of treatments for my particular cocktail of mental and physical illnesses. I got better and better all the time. And even if I never had? I did not deserve to be abused.
Eventually he fell off the therapy bandwagon. I continued to go while he took a very, very long break (like almost a year) and I continued to put up with the emotional abuse. I was useless, I was worthless, I was to blame for everything, his family didn’t like me and I was forced to be around them all the time even though Keith’s anger with me got worse anytime we were around them. I wasn’t good enough, I was too much of a burden, financially and emotionally, I wasn’t contributing, etc etc etc. I was the one with all the emotional responsibility every day, and I was absolutely just as burdened by him as he was by me.
But then…I found something he wanted. I had a bargaining chip. I won’t tell you what it is outright, but it is both a sex thing and not a sex thing at the same time. It’s just a Thing. But I said, okay, I’ll provide what you want, but you have to give me what I want. And what I wanted? Was for him to get a better therapist and go back to therapy.
And by fuck, it worked.
I’ll writer the conclusion soon. Almost there.