Tonight was another installment of what I call the Bill of Goods Speech. It consists of M telling me, at not quite yelling volume, how very disappointed he is with “what I have become.”
It starts with him reminding me that he fell in love with a very different woman, one who was riding her bike to work every day, had a very strong sex drive, was not smoking, who seemed devoted to getting into racing shape. He says that I was “less fat” and ate better then. He goes on and on about how I’ve changed “for the worse” and how he feels cheated by “what I’ve become.” He says over and over again how unfair it is that I’m not the exact same person he fell in love with and that he is the same and feels that it’s wrong to sell someone a Bill of Goods that is false.
Let’s take a look at reality, shall we?
The only truth to his speech is that I was riding my bike to work every day. I actually weighed more and was still smoking, just not where he could witness it. I ate crap food every day, which made my complexion bad and my body considerably more flabby than it is today. I was not working outside in the yard, nor was I making a point of getting any exercise whatsoever – it was against my religion, actually. I did not do housework if I could avoid it, nor did I keep my car clean. I was much more outspoken, happy, and convinced that I had some talent in the fiber arts arena. I had a horse that I loved, a huge stash of materials for my art, a group of friends that I met with regularly to knit and chat with, a well-paying job that I loved, and seemingly endless inspiration.
Today the picture is quite different, it’s true. Now I do not ride my bike because there is no safe place to do it unless I load it onto the car and drive some place, which kind of negates the whole point of riding, doesn’t it? I quit riding when M made it into an endless competition – he was a long-distance rider and wanted a partner who could keep up with him, so he began to set goals for me – each day I should have a faster time on my 6-mile ride to work, and my average speed should be greater. I should leave earlier and add a couple of miles to the ride for “training” etc. He began to criticize me for taking a day off and for not improving as fast as he thought I should. It became so painful to report to him that I just quit. I couldn’t take it any more. I had my own goals, but they were never good enough for M, and so he criticized me for “setting the bar too low.” I just felt crushed by the pressure to meet his expectations. I should have broken it off with him right then, but I stupidly stayed on for more punishment.
I weigh less and have much less flab because I live with the Food Police who monitor every bite of food that goes into my mouth, constantly reminding me that I’m “getting heavy” or digging my grave with my teeth* but that’s another post for another day. I very rarely eat junk food, and in fact no longer have a tolerance for it – one order of McD’s fries and I have an upset stomach for the next two days.
I have no sex drive because I am being told every day how disappointing I am in every way to the man who professed to love me, who told me he would make my dreams come true, who told me he had spent his entire adult life learning “what NOT to do in relationships,” and how to treat women with love and respect. He yells at me almost every day. He insults my intelligence and personal appearance nearly every day. He criticizes something about me every single day. He makes me feel useless, stupid, ugly, fat, lazy, slovenly, provincial, and uneducated. Not exactly a recipe for romance.
I work outside in the yard, all year ’round, gardening and growing food, mowing the lawn, chopping wood for the stove, etc. I’m outside every damned day, rain or shine.
I do housework every day because M suffers from allergies and if the floors aren’t vacuumed several times a week he has a runny nose and sneezes constantly. I do not vacuum when he is in the house because the dust it stirs up makes him sneeze, so he is under the impression that it never gets done. I am constantly picking up my stuff because he complains bitterly about what a slob I am and he hates the fact that I have so much stuff, again a post for another day.
I keep my car washed and vacuumed because I can’t stand to hear about how I have no Pride in Ownership one.more.damned.time.
I have no friends, nor do I go anywhere to sit and chat and knit with others. I am not a part of any group of any kind. I am alone with him.
I am working TWO part-time minimum wage jobs to make ends (almost) meet. M is not able to work a regular job** (another post, another day) so any income that comes in has to be made by me.
I am not inspired to do anything with my fiber arts. I still have some stash but it has become a burden because M begrudges me every square inch that I occupy in “his” house. He enclosed a car port when he moved into the house*** to make a work space for himself. When I moved in he said that the room was mine to turn into a studio and that he expected the bulk of my stuff to live there. Fine. Except that it has to be kept neat, with nothing blocking this corner, a clear path three feet wide all the way through, oh, and the dogs and their kennels have to live in the room, too, and we have to have access to the futon bed if company comes, etc. etc. It’s not really “my” room, any more than any other space here is – it’s all his, paid for with his savings, and I am only tolerated because…Hmmm…Why, really? I’m so fucking imperfect that he can’t stand anything about me and says that “pussy isn’t worth it” several times a week, so why am I still here? Oh, yeah, I don’t have the means to leave right now.
A healthy relationship does not look like this.
* The changes to my diet since we’ve lived together bear mentioning – M is a nazi about food – it must be Real Food, which means cooking from scratch using only fresh ingredients, very little meat, very little oil, dairy, etc. When I moved in with him most recently (3 years ago) he declared that he had lost his enthusiasm for cooking. I took over cooking and food shopping and have caught hell ever since. We actually eat quite healthy, but it’s never enough. His latest obsession is for me to go in for a complete blood panel to “prove” that I don’t need to watch every single calorie that goes into my mouth.
** When he’s feeling particularly cranky he likes to say, “When we first moved in together I had $200,000 in the bank. Now, ten years later, I have nothing. Now…I’m not blaming you for anything, but it’s quite a coincidence, isn’t it? That’s $20,000 per year to “keep” you. Doesn’t seem like much of a bargain…” and other things along those lines. What he is forever forgetting is that he hasn’t worked a regular job in those almost 11 years, nor has he tried to create an income stream that would allow him to work from home. He owns a home, two cars, many boats, etc. etc. so it’s not like he’s living in a tent somewhere (but we will be if I don’t start making some “real” money! is the constant threat) It’s maddening! For the record, I worked most of those years and supported myself and my son. M did put the down payment on a house, but only because he couldn’t bear visiting the tiny duplex we were living in at the time (which was totally within my budget, which is why we were there) because it wasn’t up to HIS standards of living. Yeah, it does sound crazy.
*** Oh, that’s a long post for another day. Still fuming about that!