My relationship with Chris’s family was pretty close to being the same as the relationship with my husband. Getting to know his family, it was easy to see where his personality flaws came from.
Chris was the fourth in a family of five boys. When I met him, his father had passed away two years before but his mother was still living. The year I met him, was the year that he had moved out of his mom’s house and purchased the townhouse. After college, he had lived with a roommate in a neighboring town, but once his father died, he moved back in with his mother to take care of her. From an outside perspective, you would immediately think how sweet that is, but once I tell you the story, everything will be clear.
I remember the first time I met his mother, I was so nervous and excited all in one. My first marriage had ended with me still having a great relationship with my former in-laws. They were great people, with a big heart, who let me into their family and treated me as their own from the first day. I was excited to again get that same feeling of family, considering I had no relationship with my parents and am an only child. We went to her house to pick up Chris’s jet ski for a day out with friends. I was really shocked at our first meeting at what I encountered. Chris’ moms house was in horrible shape. She was a massive hoarders and there was barely a clean spot on any counter in the home and you had to make your way from room to room through pre-cut paths. She was an overweight woman, she had only 1/4 of her teeth remaining and during our entire visit she mainly sat in her recliner and stared at the TV that was not on. Chris introduced us and quickly went back outside to gather the items needed for our day trip. We sat in silence for a bit until I attempted to begin any kind of conversation with her. Before I could even utter the first sentence she begins to tell me of Chris’s ex girlfriend. She asks me if I have heard about her, then she proceeds to tell me not to expect to be in his life for long, that his ex is missing him and wants him back. What do you say to that? I replied with “that’s ok, I’m not very concerned”, to which she responded “you should be and don’t ever get sassy mouth in my home again.” We sat in complete silence until Chris returned. After we left, he asked how our time was. When I told him of the conversation, he began to chuckle, obviously thinking it much more funny than I did. When I seemed upset over his laughter he simply let me know that was his mom’s way and to get used to it. Again, I pushed my better judgement aside and let things be. Not a few weeks later, his mom came to our home for dinner. The very second that Chris left us alone to answer a phone call, she began again on the ex girlfriend conversation. She then proceeded to tell me that she did not like me and to never think that I was good enough for her son. This was the mentality that I dealt with for 11 years. On more occasions than need mention, I was informed that I did not belong and never would. I even remember a time when my ex mother in law was battling breast cancer: it was a few weeks before our wedding and I was sitting at her beside, feeding her ice chips after her mastectomy. My husband was reading the Bible to her, I accidentally dropped an ice chip on her bed when he sarcastically informed to “tighten up” and not make a mess. I responded for him to just mind his own business and keep reading. Before I could get the ice chip off of the bed, my mother in law looked at Chris and informed him there was still time to back out of the wedding, “I know you are not going to marry this damn dingbatter!” (a dingbatter is what people in our area call someone they think is retarded or really ignorant) My husband looked my way, began chuckling uncontrollably, and told his mom he was considering backing out. I put the ice cup down and spent the rest of the visit in the waiting room.
His four brothers were no better. We visited one of his brothers, a few years into our marriage, at his home that was 4 hours away from ours. The visit was going well until his brother began drinking moonshine. It was his brother and sister in-laws 15 year wedding anniversary. My husband, myself and his brother were sitting in the yard swing, when my sister-in-law attempted to join us. She had been in the house washing the dinner dishes. My brother-in-law informed her to get back in the house and finish her domestic duties, I thought he was joking with her, and encouraged her to ignore him and come out with us. He became angry and began yelling at me to not tell his wife to not listen to him, he was the one with the 15 year marriage, I was nothing more than a washed up, dried out divorcee, with three bastard children. I look over at my husband and he is in turn looking my way with the biggest shit eating grin on his face. He again, thought it was funny. I asked him if he was going to say anything and he responded, “I guess the truth hurts sometimes.” I entered their home, went directly to bed, cried all night and did not see my husband again until the next morning. Not one person, my husband or his brother, acknowledged the evening before in our awkward 6 hour stay that afternoon. I sat in silence, in the corner, praying to go home. Once we left, my husband began the four-hour assault on my personality and how embarrassed he was of my actions. When I tried to defend myself, his only explanation was “that’s just how my brother is.” I can tell you, I never stepped another foot in that mans home nor he in mine. I laid the law down and informed my husband that his brother was not allowed into my home until he could apologize. That one night, at his family’s home, created many fights between us for years to come. I was devastated that evening, to realize that my husband would never defend my honor, he agreed with the nasties that his family were throwing my way and I could never fully be a part of any of their lives.
Around that time, I realized our marriage was never going to be forever. I was suffocation in the world that I had allowed him to create for us and I needed some type of recreational therapy of my own. I enrolled in college and began my venture towards my two-year degree. I worked full-time, my sons never returned to my home full-time but my daughter did, so my days were spent around her, home and school. Our marriage began to unravel in that time period. Now the jealousy was focused on my time spent on myself and my children and the deprivation that was created in his life. None of his family or friends knew of my schooling, he never bragged to anyone about anything good that I was doing, and he did not ever want to discuss it in public, it was our private business he would state. In my lack of attention to him, he began to join fraternal organizations in multiples and our time actually spent together was, thankfully, few and far between. He became a mason, joined a rotary club and began attending every bible study session at our church. I worked, studied, cleaned the home, cooked and spent evenings with my daughter. I am assuming this is the only reason we were married as long as we were. Once I graduated college and obtained a full-time position in a neighboring town, life continued to be isolated and boring. I had to beg for date nights, evenings with friends were void (considering the only friends in our life were his), and any social interactions with us together were too stressful for my mind, so there were not any. My sons visit were becoming fewer, in this time frame they were in their teens, had drivers license and more interested in their friends than their mom. On the outside my world looked wonderful. We were living in a 2500 sq. foot home in a gated community, my teen daughter was thriving and activity in lots of school activities, I had the perfect professional job with a great income, and my husband was as smooth as a politician. Holding babies, shaking hands, and smiling to everyone he met, our community thought of him as a great man, who provided well for his family and participated in giving his time to his public activities. On the inside, my heart was empty, my life void and my soul was numb. I had everything in life that a woman could ask for, other than happiness, and I was miserable.
It was during this time that I began to drink on regular occasions. At first, I did not drink on work nights or alone. I would have the random mixed drink with my husband (who drank around a fifth in three nights) or on a weekend off, I would have a few drinks around the fireplace or on the porch. The numbing effects of alcohol became my reprieve and eased the awkward moments or de-stressed the painful nights that I had to listen to my husbands demeaning comments and rampant demands. Before I realized it, I began drinking on work nights and on weekends I would drink in the evenings until I passed out in a drunken stupor. Of course, this did nothing more than egg my husband on, not only was he married to an idiot but now I was an alcoholic as well. He would constantly tell me how embarrassing I was, even when it was just he and I sitting at home alone, he would tell me I had psychological issues and that I needed therapy and rehab. I, in turn, would drink more. In my drunken stupor, I would beg him to love me. I would ask him why he married me, why we did not have friends, why he was so embarrassed by me and he would ignore my questions with angry silence. I see now, that the pain was surfacing more rapidly than my mind could handle and I grasped onto the first thing that brought me comfort. I knew he did not love me, I was his play toy that he could control and I so desperately wanted to break those barriers. I wanted to break them with love, I wanted to see that look in his eyes when he looked at me, I wanted us to be together, happily in love, forever. Even at this point, I wasn’t ready to leave. I maintained the hope that one day I would be good enough. What I didn’t realize, was my life was beginning to spiral out of control in a dark abyss that would last for a few years.