‘Couples can communicate without words,’ you said and you were right. I knew for instance that a raise of your eyebrow meant I had overstepped the fine line of being generously open and embarrassing myself… and you. A curl of your lip set me on edge wondering what I had done and where I had gone wrong. Our non-verbal communication grew until that night I didn’t understand that my refusal to participate in a foursome you’d organized without telling me, would mean that you would punch me.
Abusive? Oh no, I said confidently, and still believed it even then. But I stayed in my apartment, fearing to go outside because I saw you waiting for me across the street.
I have a son and a daughter (with a man who is as far removed from being an asshole as it is possible to be). If either of them were ever caught up in a situation where they were the perpetrator or the victim of such a situation, I don’t know how I would contain my vitriol …or my guilt. Because in both positions, my children would be operating out of a place of low self-esteem. One who needed to feed their ego by taking power to control and manipulate. One who felt they were worth very little and that this was the only relationship they deserved.
The guilt of who I am, what I have done and now what I continue to do is so shameful that I cannot face the pain. It is better to display no remorse. There is no point in holding an image together that is shattered and worthless.
I don’t know whether the roaring was in my head or from his throat, but it felt like I had gone mad.