Ball of Confusion
I admit that I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything about my spouse, my marriage, or myself.
Covert abuse is so…covert. Maybe it isn’t her, I think (over and over again). Maybe it’s me. I can’t really prove anything. Not incontrovertibly. Not definitively. (Not in a way that she will accept.) Maybe I have some kind of problem, some mental condition, in which I’m convinced that there’s something wrong with my spouse when there really isn’t. Maybe I’m the one who’s crazy.
I mean, aren’t I? My spouse is a manipulative mastermind who has been willfully controlling and taking advantage of me since square one? The spouse who has been sitting over there on the couch bantering with me about things on TV since she got home from work? Well, it..it…it sounds like a conspiracy theory! It’s pure fantasy! The product of wishful thinking or a demented mind!
All together now: sigh.
I’ve (finally, finally) come to the point where I realize I’ll never untangle this ball of yarn. Of course, if everything I’m reading is to be believed, this is probably by design. (What?!? Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. Manipulative mastermind. Got it.) But even if I cannot ‘get to the bottom of it’ (as she has seen to it), I can still use the available evidence to build a case for abuse that, while still controvertible, goes beyond a reasonable doubt (the standard for a legal conviction in my country.)
First of all, you can’t really not know you’re being taken advantage of. The problem is that you rationalize it away. You’ve gotten very good at rationalizing things away over the years. In fact, you might say you’ve become the mastermind of rationalizing things away. Despite your feelings and impressions, though, if you put everything down on paper, things look pretty bad.
Take childcare, for instance. The fact that you can’t leave her in charge of the kids for more than a few minutes without ‘bad things happening’ (they hurt themselves or each other or the house; it’s always something different…yet eerily always the same) isn’t damning evidence you could take before a judge, but if it’s continued over a period of years, it’s nonetheless pretty damning evidence in the court of personal opinion.
Or that lingering malady that prevents her from (participating with the family, helping with the chores, getting up before noon on the weekends, washing her own butt) could very well be legitimate and cause her a great deal of pain whenever she (finds her own work clothes, cuts the kids’ nails, gets her own gas, gets up to get her own glass of water), but when it’s one thing or another, morning after morning, weekend after weekend, year after year, it starts to seem like some of it might be exaggerated for the sake of personal benefit. None of this will convince her family and friends that she’s an abuser and that you’re right to get the hell out, but it’s one more weight on the balance when it comes to making up your own mind, especially when you begin to add it to the more weighty offenses like outbursts, real and pseudo-violence, belittlement, negative influence on the kids, intimidation, threats, etc.
Maybe you can’t ever be completely sure. Maybe you can’t incontrovertibly prove it to yourself or anyone else. The very fact that you have to ask these kinds of questions has to indicate that something is seriously wrong. Even if it IS YOU (it’s not), it doesn’t speak well to your chances that, after all these years, you don’t trust your spouse farther than you can throw them.
So, it’s her or it’s you (it’s her). You’re not willing to live like this anymore, you want to spend the second half of your life with a little peace of mind, so someone’s got to go. Obviously, it can’t be you.