Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

Rants from the Chair: On What Happens When You Marry Your Shrink – Part 14

Andrew’s decline in personal hygiene happened gradually, so much so that it took time for me to notice.  He went from showering every day to showering every other day.  Then he moved into a once-per-week pattern, followed by a segue into a once-per-month routine, until finally I never saw him bathe at all. 

I begged him to shower with me.  His hair took on a slick, matted appearance and his fingernail edges turned black.  Plus, it didn’t help that he loved garlic so much he would often sauté a deep-frying pan full of cloves in three inches of sesame oil and eat the whole thing in one sitting.  So you can imagine the cacophony of pungent aromas which developed an almost visible aura around his entire being.  Not to mention the thick coat of grease buildup that coated the kitchen walls, ceiling and floor.  

He expected me to let him touch me. 

He expected me to make love with him. 

I freaked. 

I balked. 

I refused.

Which pissed him off beyond reason. 

“Jill, you suffer from a severe case of obsessive compulsive disorder!  You are an obsessive compulsive clean freak!”

After lashing out, he acted out. 

He stopped using ash trays, instead choosing to flick his cigarette ashes directly onto the carpet. 

He used his cigarette to “accidently” burn a hole in my antique lampshade. 

And my personal favorite was what happened when I served him his meals in bed, which is where he spent a great deal of time reading and researching.  After he finished eating, he would pitch his empty plate to the side, usually spilling the soiled silverware onto the sheets, and then he would toss his sucked-dry chicken bones under the bed for me to find later when practicing my “obsessive compulsive disorder” with a vacuum cleaner. 

He left a staggering mess in his wake all over the apartment, and when I practically followed him around with a fucking garbage bag, he delighted in emphasizing the severity of my mental illness.

So, yes.  In order to cope, I found myself becoming the very thing he accused me of being.  I had not previously been a superlative housekeeper, I can assure you.  But now?  Cleaning was all I wanted to do.

This was my world at seven months pregnant. 

I developed pregnancy related sinusitis and literally could not breathe through my nostrils.  Now that I mention it, perhaps this was God’s way of protecting me from the rotten stink of my husband.  Nevertheless, since I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t sleep.  Dr. Frankel would not prescribe medication, but instead wrote me a prescription for long-acting nasal spray, to which I abruptly became addicted.  I was using the shit every two hours. 

I spent most nights in the living room on the couch, reading Ayn Rand and catching little naps here and there.  Some nights I would try to sleep in bed beside Andrew, but I usually ended up walking out of the room after refusing his amorous advances.  I don’t like to think about one particular such night, when Andrew became so enraged over my rejections, he followed me down the hall, took me by the arms and slammed my back into the wall, after which I ran to the coat closet and pulled out my United Airlines Samsonite suitcase.  It was empty, but hard-cased.  I took a running start, with the suitcase raised high above me in both hands, all set to bash his head in with it, but I stopped short and just stood there.  I couldn’t do it.  I just couldn’t hit him.

I worried for days that my baby might have been hurt.

And I couldn’t believe what my life had become.  How in holy hell had I gotten to this horrible place?

Andrew began to spend lots of time away from home.  As far as I knew, he was seeing patients, or he was off sailing, or he was “convening with colleagues.”

Quite frankly, I didn’t give a fuck what he was doing.  I was just happy he was gone, happy to be growing my baby in my belly, happy to not have to worry about money.

As I waited for the big day to come, the day I would give birth, I read books, took walks, ate well, cherished my alone time.

And I plotted my eventual and inevitable escape from Andrew Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Stay tuned for Part 15

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September 27, 2011 - Posted by | Psychotherapy | , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Oh my God, Jill! Was this where you were living when I saw you in LA? – that would have been 1978 in about April. Sounds like you were married to a Howard Hughsish man.

    Comment by geri wright | September 27, 2011 | Reply


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