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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Just answer my question

If I had a dime every time I heard that….

Brad was insistent that I could not, or would not, communicate correctly to him. If he did not understand what I said, it was my fault. If I did not understand what he said, it was my fault. If I did not answer the question exactly as he had expected, it was my fault.  If he did not remember or believe what I said, I was lying.  If he thought I was not listening, it was my fault. It was no-win situation.

When these types of things would come up, he would then get irate if I did not agree that I had communicated incorrectly. He insisted that I ‘admit I was wrong’ and ‘take responsibility’. Even when I tried this, it did not work, because he said my apology was not genuine (he was right about that) or he would completely ignore the fact the I apologized and keep ranting and raving about me needing to apologize, take responsibility and agree to change.

There were several things that seemed to particularly wind him up. Here are some generic examples.

Answering a question with a question
Him: “What do you want for dinner?”
Me: “Do we have any chicken?”

This was a terrible crime in his opinion and direct evidence I was a poor communicator, because it was so obviously wrong to him and he would often tell me to ‘act mature’ and ‘no one over the age of 18 communicates like this.’

Not answering correctly
Him: “Did you talk to you mother today?”
Me: “She was all on about her new car….”
Him (angrily): “Just answer MY question, Yes or No, Yes or No, answer MY question”

This had a lot of variations and the right way to answer changed continually.

Repeating the answer
Him: What time did you leave?
Me: Five o’clock.
Him (angrily) : What time did you leave?
Me: Five o’clock

I think the point of this repeating the question tactic is to catch me in a lie, like maybe he actually knew I left at 5:05 and was giving me a chance to correct my answer, or maybe he would want a more specific answer. I was never quite sure. Sometimes he’d repeat the question 3 or 4 times and I would try to change my answer to guess which answer he actually wanted. A losing battle for sure, especially since he often accused me of ‘playing games’ with him when I was communicating.

Some examples of just how infuriated he would get because of these communication ‘issues’.

5/10/08 Saturday PM – 5+ - mad because I said “no, not really” instead of just “no”, said I want to be a victim – hit my knee really hard, pinned me up against the refrigerator, went to bed saying he would stay but not talk to me, I told him he needed to move out if we did not get therapy, he apologized next day after much discussion

06/16/08 Monday PM – 5+ - mad because I was not listening when he told me about the pizzas and I did not admit I was wrong right away. Very mad that I told him I was mad at him because he asked me why I was sitting in the car – seemed jealous, said I was blaming him for my faults, mad I overrode him with Luke, which was not my intent, threw remote control at me and hurt my leg – big lump

07/02/08 Wednesday PM – 5+ - mad because I did not agree when he accused me of not listening, escalated quickly, threatened to hit me, beat me and kill me, hit me with a pillow, put his hands around my throat

07/15/08 PM – 5+ - mad because he asked me a question that I did not understand after telling me he was not attracted to me anymore. I said “I don’t understand the question” and he freaked out – tried to choke me, hurt my lip, wouldn’t let me leave the room, told me he would beat me to death, broke a trash can later trying to hurt me, sort of apologized next AM

08/31/08 Sunday PM – 5+ - mad because I did not answer quickly enough about what I wanted to watch on TV, mad because I interrupted and then later said I was anxious because of him – prevented me from calling 911 – turned phone off and took my cell phone – poured peppers on top of my head and pinned me against the cabinet in the kitchen

11/09/08 Sunday PM – 5+ - mad because I answered the same question with the same answer – re remote control and what I was watching – pulled my hair and yelled – called me names, threatened to throw a plate of food at me – kids were there – I called 911 and Brad went to jail for public intoxication

The last one is important because it was a huge step for me. There were two main reasons I was reluctant to call 911. 1) I would have to testify if he was prosecuted and 2) I was afraid a conviction would hinder his ability to get a job and support the kids, whether or not we were together. At this point he had not been working for more than a year. I didn’t really want him in jail, I just wanted him to stop hurting me.

I decided to call 911 because I felt things were going to get much worse and I was truly afraid of what he would do, especially in front of the kids. I called 911, then I called my best friend Anna to ensure I was doing the right thing. He waited on the porch and was all nice to the policemen (this is typical of abusers). He tried to pass it off as a misunderstanding. I really did not want him to have a record, so I agreed with the policemen that they would book him for public intoxication, since he had been drinking a lot and was sitting on the porch when they got there. So they took him away and I was left to answers the kids’ questions about why the police took Daddy away to jail. I am in tears as I am typing this. It was horrible. One of the worst days of my life