Who am I to define it? No one. I am no one.
The word is big. Very heavy. Scary. The word all by itself is uncomfortable to even hear spoken aloud. Or read.
But what I’m starting to understand is that it can mean something different to each person.
My husband accuses me of it. Usually only after a fight about the affair and he never used the word to describe me that way before the affair.
I am making no excuses for myself. I have come to recognize that it has a different meaning to all. But it’s a hard label for me to carry. He labels me with it and I have fought against that label for 5 years now. Instead of listening to him, attempting to understand, I have fought against it.
For me? It describes the physical abuse by my mother. It describes the fact that I know I would not be sitting here today if I had not gotten away from her. She taught me that those that are supposed to protect you at your most vulnerable, will not.
The word describes the trucker and what he did to me. He taught me saying ‘No’ meant absolutely nothing, it was easier to just say yes because then it wouldn’t be taken from you.
The word describes actions by my husband. The control, the mental fuckery, the cheating, the trickle truth, the lack of empathy, the cheating.
The cheating. The fact he could look at me after leaving her bed. The fact that he so easily lied after leaving her bed and got into mine. Ours.
I consider that to be abusive behavior, yet I am not sure if it falls into the definition of abuse that I know.
But the word though. It’s big, isn’t it? Just hearing it makes you take a deep breath. It’s a big word to me.
It brings thoughts of pain. Tears. It makes me think of darkness and the constant feeling of uncertainty. The word itself makes me want to go into survival mode, where I do not know what tomorrow will bring, I only need to make it through today.
He says I abuse him. It stuns me when he says that. I can’t breathe when he says that. I ask him to explain and he just crosses his arms and says “I cannot find the words to tell you.”
But I cannot see that I’m abusive. Could my Mom? Could he?
Can we see the dark side of ourselves?
I know what’s in my heart and head when I’m angry. It’s a frustration that I can’t put into words. It’s an hot anger that is lit on fire inside of me, I want to be heard. I want to be understood.
The anger may come across different to him though. This is not an excuse, I just know that in the heat of battle, no one is heard. I can’t hear him, he can’t hear me. I want him to know the pain, so I have used words to cut him. Oh, have I used words like a knife and just sliced into him.
Is that abuse?
I need to own that. Because it is abuse, to him. That’s how he sees it. I am abusive.
To me, I am not. Because I’m not beating him, I’m not drawing blood, I’m not starving him, I’m not raping him, I’m not lying to him, I’m not deceiving him.
But to him, it is. Who am I to say how he should feel? He says it’s the reason he will not talk to me about the affair.
I can only put myself in check, do for myself what I constantly ask him to do. “Step outside of yourself and look at the situation as a whole, not one sided. Try to empathize.”
No one should feel abused. I feel like my heart is being ripped apart. I feel horrible.
I remember after a very very bad morning with my mother, I went to school bleeding and bruised. My teacher took one look at me and sent me right to the nurse.
I sat there in the nurses office on a orange vinyl bed. Across from me on an identical 1980’s orange bed was a boy. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. He was often there, on the bed across from me. We never really spoke to each other. But we saw each other in that room a lot.
On that day he had cigarette burns on his arms. Red, angry, horrible looking burns up his forearm. I knew without asking. He knew I knew by just sadly looking at me.
He was the definition of abuse. My bruises and bloody nose was nowhere near the burns up his arm. His eyes were much sadder than mine. Though I never knew what his life was like, I felt his life was much worse and I had no right to even be sitting in the same room as him with my silly bruises and busted nose.
It took me until a couple of years ago, sitting in a Therapist’s office, talking about that boy again to accept that abuse is abuse. Trauma is trauma. He was abused, but so was I. I was allowed to feel what I needed to feel. No ones trauma is worse, it’s how you feel. You cannot compare.
So if my husband feels that way about me and my anger, who am I to say any different?
He was not raised as I was. The word has different meaning to him. Who am I to define it for him?
I do get angry. Well, I did. I’m not much in the vocal category at all anymore.
But did my melt downs and arguments with him after dday cause his own trauma? Maybe.
He knows me. He knows me and sometimes I think he manipulated it to get to an end point that satisfied his justifications.
He knows I’m gasoline, ready to ignite, so all he would have to do is toss the lit match and the following explosion would justify any reaction from him.
It’s hard to swallow any ownership of that word though. I do need to own though the cut of my words and the fallout of my meltdowns.
So where did all this introspection come from?
I saw something he wrote.
I wrote a while ago that he wrote a song for her.
I found another one this morning.
This one is clearly written for me.
He wrote this one this past spring. It was digitally dated. Maybe it’s not a song, maybe he’s just writing.
A gentle monster cloaked in soft skin
Your pain is the reason for the rage that lies within.
Anger pulsing through your core, born broken, trauma endured.
Gentle monster cloaked in soft skin, you fight and you scream and you break everything.
You were born in darkness, trauma endured.
Your pain is the reason for the rage in your core.
Combative nature, you fight off everyone for the purpose of being alone. They can’t hurt you if you hurt them first.
You use the hurt as the cause for you to abuse.
I guess he’s right. I guess it’s not easy to look in the mirror.
I do not know how to not be gasoline. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to feel right now.