The Devil is in the Details…and my Bed

Snapped this photo of a piece at the school district art show.  Not sure if I agree with the sentiment, but the flames are fitting at least!

Snapped this photo of a piece at the school district art show. Not sure if I agree with the sentiment, but the flames are fitting at least!

What’s that old saying, “The devil is in the details?”  That phrase has cycled through my head many times in the past couple of weeks.  Followed by silent conversations about how that’s not the devil’s only hangout.

The week or so before last was, to put it mildly, a week from hell.

The best way for me to explain what I mean is to just tell you what has been happening.

On Saturday, June 29, I asked my husband to come to bed at about 3:30 a.m.  This is around the time when he normally decides go to bed.  He is either on his tablet surfing the Internet or playing video games until the early morning hours.  Every night.  I honestly don’t mind the video games.  I really don’t.  But I don’t have the same feeling about the tablet.  When you are repeatedly told that “this tablet and the Internet are my life,” it makes it hard to see it coming into your bed at 3:30 in the morning when you are not feeling well and would just like to get into bed with your husband at a normal time and feel like there isn’t something more important in there between you.

This night was no different.  Except that when he brought the tablet up and proceeded to get into bed with it, I asked him if we could just have one late night (early morning) without it.

A few seconds before, he had taken the clean socks that were sitting on the bed half folded and shoved them all onto the floor.

As I bent over to pick them up and put them in the basket, I made the “Can we just have one night without it?” comment.

A split second later, I was seeing stars.  He had taken his pillow, and with a significant amount of force, was swinging it back and forth at me, smacking me in the front and back of the head.  The force was enough to knock me down.

My ears were ringing and I was in shock as I stood back up.

He looked at me angrily as he climbed into bed, turned the tablet on and put his headphones on, cursing at me all the while.

I was shaking as I thought, “It’s now or never.”  You see, I had decided a few days before that the next time he hurt me or one of the boys, I would get him out, come hell or high water.

I would have welcomed a flood that night.  But it was hell that came instead.

I have been asking him for as long as I can remember to leave when he flies off the handle.  But he always refuses, stating that it is his” fucking house” and that he is not going anywhere.   We bought the house together after both contributing financially because I had a pretty good job as well.  I worked really hard and had been saving since I was a teenager.  And in the past few years since he has been out of work and we have been running a small business together, it has probably been me who does the lion’s share of the work.  And, honestly, ever since his job loss and my cancer diagnosis, we have been swirling in debt together.  So even he, with his nasty comments, can’t convince me that the house is “his.”

Normally, I beg him to just let me stay in the house with the kids until I die, and to be left in peace with them.   I tell him I will take care of the mortgage.  And then he can have it when I’m gone.  Of course I don’t know how much time this will be, but given the details of my diagnosis, I know it can’t be forever.  So I think it sounds like a good deal for him.  I pay the mortgage and take care of the kids.  And then he gets it all in the end.  And no one has to know about how he’s been treating us.

But he says he would never let this happen.  That he’ll make sure I get nothing.  And he will not leave the house.  If anyone is to go, it will be me who has have to get out of his “fucking house.”

I know he feels he can wait me out and that he’ll get the house in the end anyway when I’m gone.  And I think he believes that the sympathy would end for him if he were to walk out the door.  He knows that no one would think he’s the doting and kind husband he has tried to lead them to believe if he were to leave and people were to know the truth about how he treats a wife who is not well and who has been through more surgeries and cancer treatments, complications and crap than I’d care to recount, even in a cancer blog.  So he has never left before.  Just created a path of destruction.  And I kiss his behind the next day because I just want peace.

But this night I was bound and determined.  I told him that I was done with being treated this way and with having the boys be treated this way.  I said that given what I had been through to just simply stay on this earth, I shouldn’t have to endure so much stress, or to live with the knowledge that the person I married doesn’t think I’m worthy of his kindness.  And that if he didn’t think I deserved at least this much, then he would do us all of a favor if he just left.  I told him I wouldn’t tell anyone what he had done if he just left.  And when nothing worked, I threatened would call the police if he didn’t leave.  He told me to go ahead, not believing that I’d actually do it.

After a couple hours of pure hell, I decided that if I didn’t do it now, I never would.  I told him that if he wasn’t willing to change his behavior, I had no choice but to call and I went for the phone.

He yelled, “If it shuts you the fuck up, I will go.”  He grabbed a bunch of things, including the tablet, and said he was taking the better car and leaving our older minivan with the flat tire and a mountain of problems behind.

He had been swearing at me the entire time and telling me how I was a bad mother and how my kids were going to be ruined by me.  He yelled all of the things that he knew would hurt me, along with plenty of “fucks.”

He said that I would get nothing, save for the ocean of debt we are swimming in.  He would take responsibility for none of it and would make sure I suffered.

And then he went outside to move the cars so he could get out of the driveway.  When he came back in, I started to back down, afraid of what would come next.  He continued to be nasty to me.  So I said that this had started because I made a normal request for the tablet to not come into our bedroom for that night.  And that, like every “night,” it wasn’t really night, but morning, when he was finally ready to get into bed with me.

He began to flip out all over again, shouting that he was the “fucking normal one” and that I had no right to ask him for that.  He told me to “Shut the fuck up” and threw the minivan keys at me and stormed out.

It was 6:00 a.m. when he finally left.

My mother had been staying with us for a few days at that point because she was in transition from her own divorce.  She heard everything from the next room (and from upstairs when we went downstairs), so when he left, she came to see if I was alright.  She said that she had wanted to call the police and had her cell phone in her hand the whole time.  She said she didn’t because she knew I would be upset if she did because she knows how I have tried to protect him over the 20 years I was with him and how I never thought I deserved the kindness plenty of observers over the years said I did.  I always stood by and protected him and his image.  And she knew that I wouldn’t have the heart to turn him over to the police that morning.  But she was appalled by the things she heard him yelling when our boys were just down the short hallway asleep (for part of the time, anyway).

I was sobbing.  And I never sob.

It felt horrible.  I felt horrible.

I was physically sick and just riddled with the fear of what his retaliation would be.  It was awful.  Almost as horrible as learning that I had cancer.

I will add more as I can.  Or maybe not?  I don’t know how much more I can bear.  I gave in and he is back in the house.  He vacillated between intimidating me and promising things would be so much better.  In the end, I couldn’t take the fear of what would come next any longer — I was physically ill — vomiting and shaking — and just felt so completely broken.  Plus I felt that I could give him one more chance.  I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt and despite everything, I wouldn’t have felt right about not giving him another chance when he made it sound like he was sorry and would change.  I have always been loyal to a fault.  [I still see the doctor who told me I was too young for breast cancer and whose office wouldn’t see me the next year when I’d lost my health insurance and was so sick because the cancer had now engulfed my breast.]   I felt like I had to give him another chance, despite what my gut was telling me.

It took a great deal of wrestling for me to share this or anything like it here, but I think telling you is the right decision.

Thank you all for reading and for helping me get through this without even knowing that you were…

104 thoughts on “The Devil is in the Details…and my Bed

  1. While this is hard to hit the “Like” button, I just want you to know that people are thinking of you and sending positive energy your way. I have little respect for a man who lays his hands on a woman as you may have gathered if you read my post on the subject. I hope you have the strength to do what is right for you and your children. Lean on Mom as much as you and she can handle. Her and your boys may be your true strength right now.


    • Thank you so much, Nelson. It is so helpful to hear a man’s perspective because I lose sight of the fact that not all men are this way.
      I appreciate your kind words and your support and hope that I can find the strength to follow through with what I know is right. Thank you…


  2. Wow. Despite everything, what great writing. I see a perfectionist, a story-teller, a fighter on the side of Good, and a metamorphoses. Aim for the light and eliminate the negative. You are stronger than you realize.


  3. My heart bleeds for you. Please watch out for yourself and your boys. All of you keep safe. Do what you need to do. Your boys shouldn’t learn that his mistreatment of you is an okay thing. It is cruel, it is uncalled for, is is something to get away from – FAST! Who knows what his next act will be.
    He needs help, lots of it, asap.
    Perhaps calling the police will get him out of the house, away from you and the boys, let you live in peace.
    I pray for you, often, and deeply. No one deserves what you are going through.
    I wish you lived near me, I would take you and the boys in.


    • Just so you know that I am not just yapping, I was an abused wife for close to 15 years. It was an extremely difficult decision, but it was the best thing I ever did. My girls are better for it, and although I said I would never marry again, after several years, a wonderful, kind, loving man asked me to become his wife. Those years alone, although they were a struggle, were so much better than living with the monster. I hope you can muster the strength so you can live in peace, without fear and trepidation. Blessings to you and this boys.


    • I can’t tell you how much your words mean to me, Melissa. I am so sorry for everything you went through. And I am proud of you for finding the courage to get away from him and give your girls (and yourself) a better life. I know that I need to follow through with this for my boys and for the education they are getting, if nothing else…but of course there is “everything else,” too. I am just struggling so much. But I will let your words echo in my head when I lay it on the pillow at night…and I hope they will help me find the same courage to send him away again — and keep him away this time.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and for your prayers and thoughts. Little by little I am finding strength and I know that words like yours are helping me get there. Thank you xo


  4. I am so so sorry to read about all your troubles. I am going through a hard time right now as well but it is nothing compared to what you are going through. Please stay strong and know that you have made the right decision.


  5. I cannot “like” this. But I am thinking of you. I rarely say anyone is an inspiration (I find that phrase overused), but you are doing that.
    I had a sinking feeling from your last post that this would be the sort of thing you’d next post. Amazing how I now see this as a norm, not that “faithful, supportive” husband image sold in cancerworld. Sucks.


    • Thank you so much, Curmudgeon… I feel weak more than anything else, even though it took everything in me to get him out that night and keep him out for a while…
      I know in my heart of hearts that the next time (the second time) I get him to leave will be the last, so I am trying to get to a point where I know I will be able to stick with it.

      And I wish I were the only one in the cancerworld dealing with this. Makes me sick that I’m not. I think you summed it up perfectly with “sucks!”

      Thank you xo


  6. I’m sad and angry you’re being treated this way, I know how it feels and it tears away your soul if you let it. Its tough but trust your instincts – all his claims are empty and meaningless. We know time isn’t on your side forever so please think about how you and your boys want to spend the life you have together. Your true family and friends will stand by you, you deserve better than this. Sending love, compassion and fortitude xoxox


  7. My heart grew heavier with every word…I pray you will continue to be strong and get yourself and your kids away from him. The emotional destruction is as damaging as the physical and if not for your own sake, please consider your kids’ long term well being.
    You did nothing wrong, but you will probably be made out to be the ‘bad’ one. Please don’t believe this lie. I’m so glad your mom is nearby. Hugs and much love to you………..


    • Thank you so much, Denise… I will try not to believe him, but I’m struggling with dismissing what he says because he knows exactly what to say to make me feel bad.

      But your words — and the words of all of the wonderful bloggers here — are exactly what I need to hear to remind myself that his words are lies…

      Thank you so much for your support… I appreciate it more than you know… xo


  8. Please please take your children and get out for all of you. Never believe for a second that you are the crazy one, he’s dangerous and I fear for you and the kids. This kind of monster will use the kids to hurt you. Forgive me for being blunt,but none of you deserve this. If there’s anything I can do I’m here xo I’m so sorry you and your boys have been abused. xo


  9. It’s so easy for people to tell you what you should do.. Nobody knows until they walk in your shoes..leaving is probably the hardest thing to do, but I think you are a strong lady and a very loving mom and you know what is best for you and your boys. I know you will make the right choice for your family.. Dig deep inside and muster up that inner strength..


  10. I wasn’t going to comment on this but this and child abuse are one of my “hot” buttons. Knowing this situation all too well (not personally, but family & friend) I know that no matter what anyone tells you-it doesn’t matter. I know that you will make a decision on your own and on your own time. I know that mentally you are exhausted, but still hold out some hope. I know that in the best situation, little by little you may gain the courage and strength to protect yourself and your family. But I also know that it often comes after a point of seemingly no return. I’m a firm believer of getting yourself help FIRST before you can help anyone else. Please know that I’m thinking and praying for you and your family. I wish you lived near me. Wishing you strength and determination….


    • Thank you so much for your kind, supportive, insightful comment. Though I wasn’t able to respond right away, I did read it and it helped me and gave me a great deal of comfort. Thank you… Sending you my gratitude and warm thoughts…


  11. You deserve peace and happy days. Perhaps you should consider leaving the house herself. I know you would like to stay there, but at what cost? Perhaps you and your mom could find a place together … It really sounds like life with him is toxic, and you certainly do not need the added stress. You know that stress negatively affects your condition …….


    • Thank you so much… I am not prepared to leave the house myself yet. In my heart I feel that I have lost so much and he has taken so much and I’m not ready to lose my home, too. I have never been one to feel that I deserve much, but I can’t understand what kind of a universe would keep me from being able to have some quality time with my kids in our home before I’m too sick to manage this.
      I’m hoping to find a way to end this marriage that doesn’t involve me leaving our home in the middle of the night with the boys — or having him burn it down out of spite. I wish I could “see the forest through the trees,” as they say, but everything feels so muddled to me.
      Thank you so much for reading and for caring… I appreciate your support!


  12. You don’t need that. I suspect tha there is more to this than you say and that it’s been going on for too long already. Change the locks and look after yourself and your boys, get support in from friends if you need it. If not only he can’t support you now, but he physically and mentally abuses you, he should admit it and get out. You owe it to yourself and to your children to react -I know its easy to say when I’m not in your shoes. The blogger nextdoor is right there if you need her. Lots of hugs, be strong xxxxx


  13. im sorry to hear this ,it horrible …wanna say come for coffee ill be around .. really please know you in my thoughts and prayers ,i dnt wanna judge but i do hope it all settles soon divorce is horrible all suffer but abuse is worse to …sounds like mom is of some support , i do hope you get some time to think things through and some me time to breath in between your treatments [hows that going?]

    thinking of you lots love lisa


  14. You are such a beautiful woman, inside and out. I am a mom of three facing stage 3 breast cancer, and reading your post about dancing with your little ones brought tears to my eyes. You deserve a lot more warm embraces and a lot less ugliness in your life. I hope you find the courage you need.


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  16. I am horrified at reading this and I am glad your mother is there. You don’t deserve any of this and wish I could reach out and help you. I sense you filling with strength as you know this has to stop. I am sure it took tremendous courage for you to write these words. I am hoping that you and your children are safe and I am just so upset that you have to deal with this while you are going through treatment. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Like Eileen I just want to reach out and give you a hug. xoxoxo


  17. I am so sorry you need to deal with this madness. So very sorry. I can’t give answers. You are courageous to the extreme for sharing this rawness with us, and I just want to acknowledge that.


  18. i am so very sorry for all you are going through. the emotional pain, the unknowns, and the deep concern you have for your boys must be excruciatingly difficult. i am sending you waves and waves of strength and comfort. i wish i had answers and could be right there for you. i hope feeling embraced by all the many people who are sending love and support helps you.


    • I’m so sorry for the late reply, Karen… Though I couldn’t respond right away, I want you to know that I read your comment and was comforted and lifted by it… You have such a good heart to think of me with all that you are going through…
      Sending you warm thoughts and gratitude… and hoping that you are feeling the same embrace from all who care about you…


  19. You have to get to a lawyer. If you can’t afford one, go to legal aid. This is beyond outrageous. I am so sorry you have to go through this.


    • Thank you… Though it’s taken me a long time to reply, I did read your comment at a critical time and it gave me strength. Though I am not happy with myself for letting him come back into the house, I was so physically sick at the time that I just couldn’t find the strength to fight to keep him out of our home. I know it would have put me into the hospital or worse. In some abstract way I was doing what I thought best at the time. Now that I’ve gotten some physical strength back, I just need to find the emotional strength to do what is right and to not back down again. Easier said than done.
      I wanted you to know that your words have brought me a great deal of comfort — they were exactly what I needed to hear when I was feeling horrible about my choice.
      Thank you — and I am sorry for not visiting your blog lately — with all that has been going on, I have been offline for a while and am hoping to slowly come back on. I hope things are stable with you… Sending warm thoughts…


  20. I’m with fransiweinstein. We’re certainly all out here lending our moral support and prayers, holding you and your boys in the light, but you also need legal counsel and ongoing protection for your children. You’ve shared what you feel, and I am sure your mother is in agony seeing you go through this as well. I suspect your husband may be overwhelmed and grieving in his way too – but nobody should be allowed to take those feelings out on others. Drag yourself to a lawyer, sweetie, and get yourself some peace of mind. XOXO


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  23. I have thought long about your post in the last week. I started several posts and wordpress would not let me finalize the post. I took that as an omen. I tend to offer advice because I’m a “problem solver.” So I’m posting tonight to say I’m sending prayer and good wishes that you will make good choices for yourself and your boys. If you need someone to track down legal resources in your area you have my email. Let me know and I’ll happily look for you.


  24. My heart hurts for you and your kiddos (and anyone else who is in this type of situation). Sending prayers your way. And it sounds like you are a damn good mother, so don’t let anyone have you thinking otherwise.


  25. Please keep him out. You can do this. Sending strength. You have so much strength already, but I know doing what you need to do must seem overwhelming.


  26. I also left an abusive husband, it takes a lot of courage but I am so thankful I did. My children are so much better for it. They are grown now but still it was a good decision. You need to know that you are not alone, get a restraining order so at least the police know you are serious that you do not want him around. They don’t take some of these situations seriously because they see the same routine all the time, fight, kick him out, make up fight kick him out, make up. It can be a vicious circle. May God protect you and your boys. LKH. Also, I am right with you on the “pink” I am aware of breast cancer I do not need pink to show it!! I used to like the color but now I am so frustrated with that campaign because of what you say too many people making money off of it instead of using the funds to help equip research and find a cure


  27. I am a 35 year old metastatic breast cancer warrior and I was completely saddened by your post. If there is one thing that this disease make us realize is that life is precious. You deserve to be surrounded by people who love and respect you. You must not tolerate behavior like that, especially not from your husband. He is supposed to be your teammate, not your adversary. You deserve more, and your children do too. Negative relationships sabotage your fight against cancer. Don’t let an abusive husband make you die faster. You must surround yourself with positive energy and people. You are worth it, and your children are too. If it means losing your house, so be it, you and your children at worth a lot more than a house. I’m sure many resources are available to help you in your area, please use them.
    Remember, you deserve to be surrounded by positive energy, don’t sell yourself short. I’m sending you energy to help you have the courage and strength to do what you need to do.


  28. I, too, found you via a link on facebook. I hope you have the emotional strength to make the next time the last time. As someone who has struggled with leaving an abusive relationship, my heart is heavy for you. You have been through so much, and you deserve so much better.


  29. I grew up in a house of abuse. It made me fearful. It taught me to fear. I remember lying awake at night when I was probably eleven years old wishing that my father would simply die in a car crash — that the police would come to our house and tell us he died to finally put our misery to an end. What a terrible existence for a child and those scars carry into the future. I often have irrational fears about . . . well about a lot of things that are, quite simply irrational. Do what is right for you but also what is right for your children. Make sure the police know about his conduct so that there is a paper trail and so that he does not turn his anger on your children should you not be there to help them one day (although I hope you are around for a long time). My heart aches for you . . . as if you don’t have enough sh*t to deal with. If you need the number of a criminal lawyer in your area who can talk to you about dv (what they lovingly refer to as domestic violence), e-mail me personally and I will ask my husband (one such attorney) to see if he can get you contact information for one in your state.


  30. I don’t know where you live, but if you ever need any help there is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website: Their phone number for the national center is (303) 839-1852. I’m not trying to be nosy or pushy, but please know that you do not have to be treated that way.


  31. My heart absolutely breaks for you. I grew up in a home of abuse, and it caused so many long term effects. Your boys deserve better. YOU DESERVE BETTER. You can do better, I promise. Lots of *hugs*


  32. I was randomly looking through your blog and found this post. I can relate to so much of what you wrote. My husband has been seeking counseling to control his anger after him losing his temper on me more times than I would care to admit. I have a disease that has caused my intestines to fail among major organ damage, we live at the hospital it seems our home life is never free from the medical stuff like running my IV nutrition and such, and trying to keep things as normal as possible for our toddler. Everyone thinks my husband is a saint, but they aren’t here when he is screaming and tearing me down or throwing things through walls. He is working to change and since maintaining his sobriety has not left his hand prints on me anymore, but the fear is still there. I want to tell you that you don’t deserve all of that, but I’ve put up with it for years too and I understand how hard it is to make them leave or stand up to them esp when you are sick all the time. I love my husband and believe that he has made positive changes, but you still never know if you will set them off and it starts over again. The harsh words are the hardest part because he knows just how to hurt me, and you said that your husband knows how to do it too. It is so hard to be sick and one of my biggest issues is I feel worthless, like a bad mom because I’m sick, and when he is in a good mood he tells me how I’m a great mom despite being sick, but when that switch flips he says all those things about how I’m ruining our son and everything else that just cuts deeper than anything. I’m sorry you have to go through this too, I pray you have a good support system and know that he is the one having problems and it isn’t anything you did wrong.


  33. I am very sorry to hear of your troubles. You are incredibly brave, courageous and strong! You know in your heart that what is happening to you is not fair or right and that there are better paths for you to follow, and that you will find them. Kudos to you for writing this blog (beautiful and compelling writing too) to find some support that you so richly deserve.

    Taking action to change your situation may seem impossible and terrifying, but be sure that it is doable, it is done all the time, and you can do it. Terrible challenges can even come with unexpected benefits. Please stay positive and I hope that you can find some peace and strength. Please keep posting here so we can keep supporting you!


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