Category Archives: History

Events that may or may not have influenced my seeming attraction for abusive men

A Blast from the Past

I was searching through some CDs last night looking for pictures for a new project and came across some shots from a family vacation to New York.

Every year when I was growing up Mom watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. It was her dream to see it in person one day and in 2004 that’s what we did – Mom, Dan, Sis, Harley and I* flew to New York for Thanksgiving week to see the parade and everything else we could fit into a week. It was wonderful! Okay, I didn’t really care for the parade because of the crowds, but I was there for other reasons. I wanted to ride a horse in Central Park. Crazy, right?

This is Gillespie, one of the school horses from the (sadly gone) Claremont Riding Academy located two blocks from Central Park in Manhattan:

NYC 139The stable itself was amazing to someone who was used to horses being housed at ground level. A woman yelled down into a door for Gillespie and in a minute there was a thundering of hooves on wood and here came a lovely dappled palomino up the steep ramp, saddle and bridle on. He paused in the doorway, looked around, saw me and walked right up. This horse knew his stuff and was ready to get out of there.

Not being a total idiot, I mounted up to ride a bit in the arena and was disappointed to find Mr. G (as I called him in my mind) was rather nappy and not at all happy to be trotting circles around the other riders and the support columns spaced regularly around the very small arena.

As soon as we stepped outside, however, he perked right up and heaved a big sigh as if he’d been waiting for days to see the sunshine, and maybe he had. The picture above makes him look sleepy, but what you don’t see is the ambulance with sirens on and flashing lights that had just passed. Mr. G stood firm, not even flinching when it came roaring up and around the corner. I was terrified that he would do something stupid, but he was not at all fazed by the Big City.

NYC 141In order to get to the bridle paths in Central Park, we had to walk with the traffic (one way) two blocks and then turn two more corners (more one way traffic) and cross a very busy street into the park proper. It was quite an experience – no one batted an eye to see a horse calmly walking along, cars zipping by on one side, bikes and pedestrians on the other.

NYC 145Once we reached the park there was just enough time to circle the lake before the rental time ran out. It was a beautiful November day, partially cloudy with no wind. In fact, the weather the entire week was wonderful for November – chilly but not cold and dry most of the time, almost like Winter was holding off so we could enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

We returned to the stable and Mr. G went right back down the ramp after I gave him a couple of carrots for being such a good boy. I thought it must be a hard life for him, not being able to graze outside, but he seemed happy enough and didn’t hesitate to head back to his stall.

It was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope someday to ride in Hyde Park in London, although it’s been a few years since I last sat a horse. This post makes me miss my equine friends and think about taking lessons at one of the nearby stables…

* The narc (of course) refused to attend because his privacy could not be maintained and so he stayed home. I was instructed to call him every evening at 7:00 his time (11:00 PM in NY) to report in. We were running all day and he expected me to call him after everyone else went to bed. I resented it and lost a lot of sleep just to please him – after all, I had “abandoned” him to go gallivanting off with my family instead of staying home to take care of him. Whatever.


Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Family, Happy, History, Horses


Tags: ,


M likes to make a big deal of birthdays. He thinks that the birthday person should be treated all day – gifts, special dinner, etc.

He has a birthday coming up next week. Every year I tie myself in knots to find a meaningful, thoughtful gift to give him. Every year it’s never quite right. Most of the time it’s not even close.

On my last birthday I got nothing. As the day wore on, and he didn’t even wish me a Happy Birthday, I became a little down. Usually he buys me a box of chocolates. This year he gave me a lecture. Since I hadn’t been treating him very well, he felt that I did not deserve a birthday present. “Hurts, don’t it?” he asked, and left the room.

On my last birthday he had the following exchange with his “stalker” in Italy:

Him: If we lived closer, I could teach you some boatbuilding myself. An you could teach me how to sing. (and speak Italian)

Her: that would be nice. kind of you. sounds… confortably. ūüôā
italian is not so difficult.

Him: I have trouble with languages. I speak with my heart.

Her: i know you have. but your heart is good enough.
better to speak with it than with a tongue,be sure.

Nice, huh?

So my question for you is this: should I repay him in kind this year?


Tags: , ,

The Old Lover

As promised, there is more. The conversation about M’s “hurt feelings” (turns out he was “looking forward very much” to going to the Event with me) turned into something else before we were through because I could not hold in my anger about his secret correspondence with his “old lover (who [he] still care[s] for.)” I am not proud that I lost my temper, but his reaction was quite educational.

Here’s how it went down.

I said that I was not mad about the Event, that I did not invite him because I was mad that he was in touch with a former lover and had been for months and he was keeping it a secret even after all his lectures to me about how dangerous it was to be in contact with people who meant a lot to you in the past – he is old and wise enough to understand that if something is going to happen, it’s going to happen and he has no power to change that. I was not to be in contact with any way with a former lover or he would be very upset, as “these things” can so easily lead to much more.

I told¬† him that I’ve known about his contact with her since I saw his notes sending “love and kisses” to Italy. I said that I knew she asked him to meet with her when she made her annual trip to the coast. I said that he could very well have made that meeting since I am at work so much, but that I also know he would never admit it so nevermind.

I could see the wheels turning in his head. He thought he had control of the situation when he told me that he told  her a meeting was not going to take place, and that she cut off all communication after that.

I told him that he was lying – he had a note from her three days ago asking why she hadn’t heard from him after his last trip. Deer in the headlights ain’t in it. I said it was obvious that he was in touch with her and had been for months, all the while hiding it from me and acting suspicious about me and projecting his guilt onto me any chance he got.

Long sob story about how he treated her badly all those years ago and he thought that she didn’t really care for him then and that his leaving wouldn’t hurt her but evidently it did and she’s been devastated ever since, wondering about him, blah, blah, blah. Now he feels that he owes her something after the careless way he ended their relationship and can’t just cut her off. I asked if he understood that he was giving her hope and that it was totally out of line for him to do so.

More sob story about how he feels sorry for her that her husband is suffering from Alzheimer’s, just like his Grandmother did, and how he just wants to help in any way he can.

I asked if he realized that he had a relationship with her that runs counter to what he claims are his Principles and did he not think that I would be harmed by that?

Total confusion. He really doesn’t see that he’s doing anything wrong. I am a bitch for not understanding. He met her when I was 2, and left her when I was 6 – how could I think that there was anything there?

And on and on. He says that I am being unreasonable. He was wrong to keep it a secret, but he just knew that I would react “this way” and so he was trying to avoid that. Ya think?!?

Oh, he’s got balls, that’s a fact.

This went on and on for about 6 hours, ending at 3:00 AM. I believe that was also planned. I believe he hoped that I would be too tired to drive 2.5 hours to the Event, effectively ruining it for me and validating his view that if I had just invited him like I was supposed to we would both be happy. As if.

Never one to refrain from beating a dead horse, he started up again the next morning. For 2 hours. Made me late leaving for the Event and ensured that I would be pissed off for the long drive.

But it’s not over yet.


Tags: , , ,

He Supports Me

M left a couple of hours ago, en route to a marina several hours north of here for¬† his yearly sailing trip. The last two weeks have been hell as he prepared for the journey, with daily nasty comments and throwing out bait in the hope that I’ll give him a chance to start an “argument” so he can vent a bit. Did not happen, and for that I am pretty proud.

One of these bait casting episodes consisted of him saying (quite out of context) “I support you, ya know…” I knew he meant financially, and I knew that any answer from me would result in a well-rehearsed lecture about all of the things that he has “done for me” over the years. In the interest of clearing the air (in my mind, at least) this is what really went down.

When M and I met I had quite a pile of debt*, about $5,000 worth. I did not tell him about this debt because it was my burden to bear and by the time it came up I knew he would have a lot of negative things to say about my sense of Financial Responsibility, and I was not looking forward to that.

After I left Ex#2 I started paying down my debt as fast as I could. I already posted about the car that M bought for me. I made monthly payments on that car until it was paid off. I hadn’t wanted to buy it in the first place, but he insisted. He loaned me money for bills when ends didn’t quite meet, which I paid back as soon as I was able, when he would let me. He likes having something to hang over my head, especially if it involves money.

So. I told him that my dream was to have a farm where I could raise a few sheep and keep my horse. He wanted to get out of the Big City and thought he could help me with that dream. We looked at places in the country and settled on a 5-acre mini-farm which turned into a disaster worthy of its own post. He put all the money down, paid for improvements and made my life a living hell for the next couple of years. To say it didn’t work out would be a tragic understatement.

While we lived there he paid off my debts. He spent about a month lecturing me on why he was doing it (it was an investment in his future – if I was debt-free he could count on me bringing in money to help support him so he could “retire”) and we worked out a payment plan for me to pay him back. Of course, the plan was to keep me behind for the rest of my life, but I didn’t see it that way then. I saw it as a generous move on his part to help me get back on my feet and start again without the cloud of debt hanging over my head. At that point it was just over $2,000 and he didn’t seem to have any trouble writing the checks.

When the situation became unbearable, we put the house up for sale. As we were packing up to move, he told me, “this is it! You have to find a place for you and H to live and you¬† have to do it quick!” The way he said it made it very clear that he and I were over and I needed to get myself and my son out of his life.

I found a tiny, run-down duplex in the town where I worked and prepared to move. Once again, my decision (based on what he told me**) was selfish, as I had made no provision for him or his stuff. I chose a place that I could easily afford, in a neighborhood that wasn’t bad, close to work and school, and I was pretty happy with my choice, but of course it was all wrong.

The duplex did not live up to M’s expectations, so he began lobbying for us to buy a house to live in until H was out of school. It would be an investment, he said, a better place in a better neighborhood that we could sell for a profit after H flew the nest.

He put the money down, I paid the mortgage and property taxes and he told me we would be square. “If nothing else, you get cheap rent for a couple of years.” Three more years of him not being satisfied with the house, the neighborhood, the neighbors, my housekeeping and yard maintenance, etc, etc, etc.***

And then the economy crashed. We sold the house for what we paid for it and so began (in his mind at least) M’s decline into “poverty.”

Our current arrangement is that I pay him $600 per month to cover utilities and property taxes. I also shop for and buy all the groceries. I do 98% of the cooking, all of the gardening and much of the yard maintenance.

I work 6 (sometimes 7) days a week to bring in money and then he complains that I work too much and am too tired to do all the things I did before I started working all the time. He complained only last night that he has to spend more than 2 hours each day on housework when he has more important things to do. I guess laundry and vacuuming take a lot longer when he does them. What a load!

He said, before I found a job, that I would be surprised at how he would “have my back” and take care of things around the house if I was away working. He said that I had never had the kind of support he would give me, blah, blah, blah.

Sure doesn’t look very supportive where I sit. I get comments about everything I do or don’t do, same as always. The only difference is that I’m too tired to care.

Healthy relationships don’t look like this.

* Ex#1 demanded things, ordered things by mail that I would have to pay for on payment plans and ran up my bills to the very last penny of my salary.

Ex#2 kept a very strict (secret) eye on my checkbook and account statements. Whenever I had a few bucks in the bank, he would come up with an expense that was “my responsibility” or something that we simply “had to have” in order to keep my checking account as close to zero as possible. Yes, he admitted this at the end of our relationship.

** Turns out he had made his own provisions, buying a house 70 miles away which he rented out while he lived on his boat. That’s a post for another day.

*** As I write this, I’m wondering why the fuck I’m still with this asshole.


Tags: , , ,

Husband #1

When M first started asking me about former lovers, he said it was so he would know “what not to do,” and would bring us closer. I had my doubts from the beginning as I’ve learned that men do not want to know who came before. I gave in to his demands, reluctantly, and nothing good has come of my compliance.

One of the chapters of my narrative concerns my first husband, Mark. I have no fear of sharing his name or his mother’s name as neither of them would ever dream of touching a computer so I have no fear of them reading this. The whole chapter can be found here.

The short version is this – Mark was a Bad Boy. I was desperate to free myself from the clutches of my father and Mark was the perfect lever to use. He was tall, blond with blue eyes, muscular with not an ounce of fat on him (I would later learn that was because he was shooting crank every day) and he had a really Bad Attitude. In short, he was perfect for a naive teenager looking for a way out of her boring little life. I fell hard and stayed down for five years. We had a son together who I ended up raising alone. Surprisingly, H has grown into a good man who is a joy to be around. There were some rough years – a story for another day.

Anyway. Here’s the chapter on my first husband. Please leave a comment if you can (or can’t) relate.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 20, 2012 in History, Intimacy, Secrets


Tags: , ,

Fooling Myself

Not sure if all this introspection is a good thing. I don’t usually read over my old journals because I’ve always viewed them as tidy boxes to put my pain into and shut tightly and forget.

Here’s an entry dated December 18, 2006 –

New book, almost a new year. I really want this book to reflect some happy times. My journals all seem to be about sadness and pain. This first entry will seem to be more of the same, but I’ll try to start every entry with something positive about my relationship.

M is the most loving person I’ve ever met.*

I know he loves me in ways that no one ever has, or ever will.** I wish I could make him see that I love him the same way, but there’s this wall inside me that won’t let the words out. Sometimes the words do come out, but it’s never at the right time and so their meaning is negated. If I could just get it right it would mean the world to M.***

We’re having sexual issues. Have been for some time, actually. His desire is much more than mine and it’s making him crazy. He doesn’t understand that my needs have changed – his have not. He mourns the loss of hot passion in all of his relationships. He feels it’s the beginning of the end – that I need a new dick. He can’t understand that what I need is his love, demonstrated, focused on something other than my body. He needs to understand that my sex drive is based on how good I feel about myself, not him.**** I love him and don’t want anyone else – not even in a wild dream.

I can’t find the words to make him believe me. He’s convinced that I lie to him constantly, but whenever I tell him something totally truthfully, he turns it into an insult against himself. He has such low self-esteem¬†that I have no hope of convincing him how much he means to me, and at the same time, he digs at me constantly, insulting me and badgering me about things that just don’t matter. If I’m honest, he gets mad. If I refuse¬†to answer, he gets mad. I don’t think I should have to slant the truth to spare his feelings, but that’s what I end up doing, just so I won’t have to spend the next week apologizing and feeling terrible about giving him what he says he wants. It’s a no-win situation for me; one I’m afraid I made myself and now there’s no going back.*****

I really want for us to overcome this rough patch. I don’t believe that people who love each other have to torture each other to have a good relationship. I don’t believe that people who love each¬†other have to struggle so hard to keep it together.

Where’s the support and love?

* That was bullshit when I wrote it and I knew it. I was trying to wish it into existence. Never happened.

** More bullshit. I was still trying to turn my relationship into the Ideal Romance, what he claimed he had always wanted from a woman and never got.

*** Now I know better – I will never get it right because there is no “right.” He will always find fault and has designed his little game to ensure that I am always on the defensive, never sure what the “correct” answer is, forever apprehensive – a classic verbal abuser.

**** His mantra is, “when you don’t love yourself, love the one you love,” which is ridiculous, IMHO. Maybe that works for men, but it doesn’t work for women. If you ask me, there would be fewer unhappy women in sexless relationships if the men simply took their heads out of their asses and quit expecting the women to put out at the drop of a man’s hat – maybe a little foreplay would be nice, maybe a little ego-boosting? Goddess knows we women are trained from birth to cater to men’s egos – where does our support come from? Oh, yeah, it doesn’t. We’re supposed to stroke the man’s ego with one hand and his dick with the other and be ready when he wants to fuck (and love it!), no matter what else¬†might be going on.

***** How sad is this whole entry? Classic verbal abuser and victim. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get a grip on what the real problem is – I might have saved myself eight years of unhappiness. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.


Posted by on May 19, 2012 in Gaslighting, History, Intimacy, Verbal Abuse


Tags: , , , ,

The Camping Incident

Last Summer M and I went to an event at a lake several hours drive from home. It was a gathering of his friends and their hobby, which is small wooden boats. We took the dogs and a tent and I expected to have an enjoyable weekend.

The first afternoon, M went down to the lake to take pictures and visit with his friends. I stayed behind to finish setting up camp and have a rum and coke. While sitting at the picnic table one of the guys came up to chat. I offered him a drink and we chatted there side by side at the table in full view of god and everyone. We talked mostly of music and his sons of whom he is very proud. We laughed and joked for maybe 20 minutes, sipping our drinks and waiting for the next event to happen. At no time was the conversation remotely improper, not straying to politics, religion, sex or money. At no time did he make a pass at me. At no time did I make a pass at him. It seemed to me that we had an enjoyable, innocent chat.

M came back to the camp and we were off to do something else. I didn’t give it a thought. The weekend seemed to go fine and we traveled home, unpacked, etc. and got ready for another long trip the following weekend.

This second trip was not at all fine. M was very quiet and surly, talking to his friends, not so much to me, but I wrote it off as him being tired after a long drive. We arrived at our campsite and set up the tent and put water on for tea and then all hell broke loose. The campground was almost empty, so there were no witnesses to my humiliation.

What followed was a three-hour¬†monologue¬†about my slutty behavior the weekend before, sitting at the picnic table with D. M informed me that D is a notorious rake and seduces (or tries to seduce) any woman who attends these boating events. I was told that he has a horrible reputation among the group and no one trusts him with their wives. I was told that the others were talking about me and what an easy mark I must be to be talking to D for so very long and it was a stain upon M’s reputation to hear such talk about me.

He gave me his view of the situation as he saw it when he walked back from the lake – D and I very cosy, sitting against each other on the picnic bench, sharing secrets and laughing. It looked “like you were going to start rolling in the dirt fucking any second.” Well, huh.

I didn’t see it that way at all and I said so. I pointed out that at no time did we touch in any way, shape, or form, nor was our conversation “secret” or “conspiratorial.” I refused to let him make me ashamed for a conversation in broad daylight in front of 30 or so witnesses.

He kept badgering me. He said that I should have apologized for “stepping over the line” right away and promise to be more careful next time and he wouldn’t be so angry with me. I should admit that what I did was wrong. I should be ashamed of my slutty behavior. And on and on for three hours.

I cried all night and got very little sleep. He did not apologize for his behavior (he never does) and he has brought up that incident in subsequent “discussions” to point out that I can’t be trusted with men in any setting.

For the record, I have had three sexual partners in the last 25 years, all of them within a committed relationship. At no time did I stray. I am not a flirt by nature, but through M’s eyes I am Jezebel herself. Healthy relationships don’t look like this.


Posted by on May 6, 2012 in History, Red Flags, Verbal Abuse


Tags: , , ,

And so it began…

In May of 2001 I took a new job in an office across town from the one M and I shared. I left D in June of 2001 and moved myself and my son into a small apartment that I was confident I could afford. M and I became an item and we continued to exchange e-mails as we felt our way into this new relationship. I was totally smitten – M did his best to make me feel comfortable and safe, speaking softly and encouraging me to explore my hobby of fiber arts to see if I could turn it into a viable business.

I should say that I’m a knitter and spinner. This hobby started in 1996, well before M, and he was aware that I saw knitting and spinning as a meditation and enjoyed it immensely. I was eager to turn my designs into patterns for sale online, to see if I had any talent that anyone would pay for, maybe even have a bit of fame, if only in a very small circle of like-minded enthusiasts. I dreamed of having a farm with a few sheep to support the fiber business and I longed to be able to look out my window and see my horse in the yard, not at a boarding stable 15 miles away. M was the picture of supportive encouragement, telling me that he had started several businesses and could help me through the paperwork and would be happy to see me become a success. He suggested a name for my website, a name for my e-mail address – he is very clever at naming things, and I was grateful to have his advice. If you have ever been subjected to any sort of abuse from your partner, you will understand when I say that I no longer knit or spin except very rarely, and never when M is nearby. More on that another day.

I kept a diary for many years (no longer!) so I can look back and see so many relationship red flags. Of course, I did not recognize the signs, and I was never in the habit of reading over my journals so it is only now, as I go through them, weeping uncontrollably, that I see just what verbal abuse has cost me.

Anyway. Money was very tight and I had several thousand dollars worth of debt that I was slowly paying down, caught in the Interest Trap of credit cards. M loaned me money for bills and insisted he buy me a car. At the time I was driving a Geo Metro that was paid for, but you know that they are little tin cans just waiting for an accident to flatten them. M had been in a horrific car accident when he was in his mid-twenties and has a fear of cars in general, so I knew he wasn’t happy to ride around with me in such a tiny car. I thought his motivation was pure – a safer, better car for me that he could feel good about riding in. It was also an image thing – Geos are not very Uptown, are they? He thought that I should work on my image (better clothes, better car, better hair, etc.) but that’s a separate post.

He found a car that we both liked, bought it, and I started making payments to him. That was probably the first thing we had a major disagreement about – the state of my car. He keeps his cars very clean, vacuuming at least once a week, washing and waxing, the whole deal. I do not have the time or desire to keep my car pristine – it just doesn’t matter to me. He was insulted that I was not keeping my car in the condition he thought it should be in. It just proved that I did not appreciate the things he was doing for me. On the one hand, I did see his point – worthy people keep their surroundings clean and clutter-free, right? Organized, smart, respectable people are always ready for House Beautiful to come over for a photo shoot. It’s not OCD, but pride in your possessions, right?

Maybe I had been selfish in the past, not caring that people thought less of me when they saw me because of my appearance and the dirt on my car. Maybe my life would improve if it looked more like a photo spread in a decorating magazine. Maybe I would be more successful if I looked the part. And since M dressed very well, wouldn’t I look better on his arm if changed a few things? I wanted him to be proud of me. Couldn’t hurt, right?

Looking at myself and seeing inadequacies that were the product of the expectations of another was the first step towards my complete loss of self. A healthy relationship can stand the simple, “I wish you would let your hair grow out a bit – you have such nice hair, it would look great on you.” But when it sounds like this, “Why don’t you ever style your hair? It looks terrible to wear it in a ponytail or under a ball cap. Stylish women fix their hair and brush it throughout the day to keep it looking nice, after all, it’s the people around you that have to look at you all day,” it is the first step towards becoming something you are not.


Posted by on April 26, 2012 in History, Red Flags


Tags: , , ,

Where to Start?

The logical place to begin any narrative is at the beginning, but what date or event defines the beginning of this particular story? I guess I will begin with the start of my relationship with M and fill in the history as it applies.

Full disclosure here: I was in a very unhappy, verbally abusive marriage of almost 8 years when M and I met. I was convinced that my husband was having an affair and wanted me out of the house so he could begin his “real life,” you know, the one where I wasn’t there screwing everything up for him. D was verbally abusive on a daily basis, both to me and to my 12-year-old son. He was spending long hours on the computer watching porn. We were done. I was a mess of anger, self-loathing, sadness, regret, despair and hopelessness.

M came to work for the company I worked for. We did not work at the same location, but became acquainted on the phone and at company meetings. I thought he was handsome, but he made no overtures and neither did I.

After about 6 months we ended up working in the same room in the same office building. D was calling my cell phone an average of four times a day to confirm that I really was at work and to ask what I was doing and when I would be ready for him to pick me up from work – I rode my bike to work, but he drove me home with my bike in the back of his truck. It’s another instance of control that I will try to remember to relate fully.

Anyway. M started to ask questions about D – why does he call so much? Why do you sound so strange when you talk to him? (ie fearful, short answers, hoping that none of the men in the office spoke loud enough to be heard on the phone, etc.) He began to ask about my relationship and to express outrage that I would let myself be treated so badly. He told me that I was smart, talented, funny and worth so much more than the jerk I was married to.

Then he began to tell me about his recent divorce and why he thought it had happened – he convinced me that his ex had intimacy issues – she would never share how she was feeling and it left him always guessing and insecure. He said that he asked her constantly what she was thinking and begged her to share her innermost feelings, but she never would, just clammed up and wouldn’t speak at all. He said that he just wanted to have a relationship with a woman who would speak her own mind and express her own opinions, not be emotionally needy, expecting him to read her mind.

We began to exchange e-mails, exploring relationships and what we wanted from a Real Mate. Here’s an early one from him (unfortunately I did not save my response to any of his notes, more’s the pity!) –

One of the most significant things you may ever know about me is that I was raised having to guess about the feelings the people around me had and the deeper the silence meant stronger disapproval. As a result I have a pathological fear that no news is bad news. If I have to guess how you feel, and yes I do unless you look me in the eye and say so, then I will assume the worst.

At the time, I thought Great! Here’s a man who actually wants to know what I feel and think! The man at home had no desire to know anything about me and I felt very isolated and unloved. Yet here was this man, who appeared to be ideal, sharing his thoughts as if we were friends (of which I had exactly zero, as none of them met with D’s approval) and maybe even equals. I was intrigued, to say the least.


Posted by on April 25, 2012 in History

%d bloggers like this: