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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Not Enough

In my thirty-three years of marriage, I was often barraged by my husband with abusive harangues of not being thin enough. I would not cater to his needs enough. The house wasn't clean enough. My cooking wasn't good enough. There were so many "not enoughs" that my self-esteem shattered and my self-worth was non-existent. He had me convinced I was such a loser I wasn't worthy enough to even live.

There were a few times I planned my death. I became obsessed with thoughts of driving my car into a telephone pole, or a wall, or off a cliff. At length, I became convinced that if I was such a horrible person, I didn't deserve to raise my children. I was not a good enough mother. My husband, who was perfect, would be up to the task because I didn't do a good enough job--of anything.

My friends saved me, as usual, by lifting me up and buoying up my psyche so that I was able to "consider" I might be "okay" enough to live. One of my friends, when she noticed how depressed I was, told me that if I ever had any thoughts of killing myself, to call her--no matter what time of the day or night. "Even if it's three o'clock in the morning--you call me!" she commanded. At that, I actually wondered, "If she loves me that much, maybe I am good enough."

I consulted a therapist for depression.  Of course, when she asked what was my problem, I just said, "I don't know." And in my mentally-defective mind, I just denied everything--even to myself. She suggested Prozac. I couldn't have lived through the last fifteen years of my marriage without it.

This photo was taken in August 1996.

Whenever I see the photograph above, I am reminded of my life at that time--tumultuous. About ten years earlier is when I had sunk into such a deep depression, I had the suicidal thoughts mentioned above. It was a struggle every day to live with my non-compassionate, unsympathetic, and narcissistic, abusive husband. I put on a good show in front of others--just as he did--pretending we had a perfect family. 

Two years after this photo, I had those same suicidal thoughts, but I had dealt with that dark side and vowed to myself and God that I would NOT kill myself. I sought therapy instead. Many times.

Two months after the above photo was taken, my world began to collapse, slowly, like the crack in a delicate egg. I had thought that, despite his abuse, my husband loved me. (All co-dependents think that way.) He was a good provider, and he was good with the kids, who loved him. I was "enduring" our marriage, yet still had that hope our relationship would work itself out somehow. I didn't realize then that, showing respect for their mother was what makes a good father. Being "good" with the kids only meant he sometimes had fun with them, but he was abusive toward them as well.

It was a Friday night in October. My husband was planning a business trip for Monday. It had been ages since we had been intimate. Since he had been unusually nice to me that day (yes, I hoped in days only), I made advances to him when he got in bed.

He pushed me away. I asked, "What's wrong?" but didn't want to know because it was probably something I did. He had never turned me away up until that time.

I tried again.  He pushed me away again. He leaned up on his arm, looked at me with disgust, and said, "I've lost my desire for you."  He rolled over on his side away from me as I lay next to him, questioning, his venomous words echoing in my brain.

"What? What do you mean? What does that mean?" I asked over and over, but got no response.
I angrily kept asking him. I pushed him and pulled on his shoulder and ranted, "What do you mean by that?" not able to process it in my brain, not caring if he would turn on me with verbal abuse--or even physical abuse.

With no reply whatever, I grew even angrier and began to punch him in the back, all the while questioning, "What do you mean, you've lost your desire for me? Tell me! Tell me!"

At that point, adding insult to grave injury, he feigned snoring.

I fell back on my pillow, my sobbing shook the bed. I couldn't control my anguish and humiliation. I tried to stifle my sobs, not wanting to wake the children, but I couldn't help it. My pillow was wet from my tears, and my sides ached from crying so hard and so loud.

No movement from him. None.

After that incident, I pulled away from any love I had for him. I had to break my bond with him. It was the only way I could save myself. I never let myself love him again. It was a long process, but an easy one, because he was very accommodating by being abusive to me. I stuck out the marriage for the sake of my children.

At that time, I was forty-two years old. I had four children, the youngest was five. I thought of my friends who had similar circumstances and wondered if their husbands had no desire for them. He always told me I was too fat--and I believed him, but losing weight didn't seem to bring any reward. I was always not enough in some way or another. If I lost weight, I wasn't toned enough. If I did aerobics or walked on the treadmill, it wasn't doing the job and I should have more self-control. Even the lady at Weigh Watchers advised me not to lose any more weight. They wouldn't be responsible for it.  My idiotic ex actually said, "Who do they think they are? Weight experts?"

My mother visited. It was Sunday after church. We were walking about in the yard admiring the flowers and she pulled out her camera and said, "Let me take a picture of you."

I said, "Oh, Mom, don't. I'm too fat. I don't want my picture taken."

My mother actually stomped her foot on the grass. "You are not too fat! You are beautiful! And I want to take a picture of my beautiful daughter!"

Because I wasn't cooperating--I just stood there--my mother further yelled, "Smile!" The look on my face shows a tentative smile, like, "Okay. I'll humor her. Who's going to see it anyway?" (Before the days of Facebook.)

Years later, after the Triple A divorce. I looked at that photograph again. I know I'm not beautiful, but I gasped as I saw I wasn't fat either! My therapist at the time tried to tell me I was a good weight for my age after having four children in my thirties. I figured she was humoring me too. But now I can see, at forty-two, I was pretty good for my age!

Now, twenty years later, I am angry again for letting him make me feel "not enough." If only I could have seen that I was enough--and way too good for him!!

After the divorce, I researched the effects of a pornography addiction and realized that was why I wasn't "enough" for him, and why he lost his desire for me. It wasn't my fault, though he never stopped blaming me--even after I found his porn. Who can compete with the teenagers in those porn DVDs and videos? I don't even want to. It disgusts me to this day.

I hate pornography.

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