Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

Rants from the Chair: On What Happens When You Marry Your Shrink – Part 17

I’d been keeping my plans to escape on the back-burner in an effort to achieve some semblance of peace in my world, and also because I was waiting for my baby to grow a little older before making a change.  After all, she wasn’t even weaned yet.

But something was happening to me.  The only way I can describe it, is to say that finally, finally…I was becoming really pissed off. 

I found that I was no longer stifling myself, as illustrated by the following examples:

Andrew:  “I can’t take you sailing anymore.  You’re a burden on the boat.”

Me:  “Uh, breastfeeding kind of interferes, Andrew.”

Andrew:  “I’m going out to dinner.  I’ll be late.” 

Me:  “Good.”

Andrew:  “Bring me a brandy.”

Me:  “Get it yourself.”

Andrew:  “I don’t like your attitude.”

Me:  “I don’t like you.”

I started sneaking around, looking for one-bedroom apartments.  I had no idea how I was going to pay for one, but the search made me feel better, like I was actually taking control for once.  The problem was, as soon as a potential landlord saw me with a baby, there suddenly were no vacancies.  I’d had no idea such discrimination was taking place.  But apparently, people don’t like living near babies who are known to scream and cry on occasion.

I felt trapped and frightened.  Where was my way out?

Me:  “I don’t like being married to you anymore.  I need to take my baby and leave.”

Andrew:  “No.”

Me:  “I’m serious, Andrew.  I need you to help me find a place to go.”

Andrew:  “How can you want to leave?  I take care of you.”

Me:  “You think you are some kind of God, or King or something.”

Andrew:  “If I’m a King, then you’re my Queen.  If I am a God, you are my Goddess!”

Me:  “Bullshit.  I am one of your Subjects.”

Andrew:  “I’m sailing tomorrow.  Five days.”

Me:  “Good.  Stay away longer.”

He came home from that sailing trip acting as if everything was okay; issuing his insults and commands just like always, with me reverting back to my anxious but compliant self.

But then one evening the Big Bad Thing happened, and everything changed.

I served him his dinner in bed, like I had so many times before.  This was where he liked to do his reading, writing and research.  While he ate, I fed Farrah and gave her a bath. 

“I’m finished eating,” Andrew called out.  “Come get these dirty dishes out of my way.”

“I’ll be there in a minute.  I’m dressing Farrah for bed.”

“Hurry up.  I need more space for my books!”

“I said I’ll be there in a minute, goddamn it Andrew.”

“And I am saying NOW!” he shouted.

Something inside me snapped.

I put Farrah in her crib, which she wasn’t ready for so she cried.  I walked down the hall to the master bedroom and stood there for a minute, watching as Andrew took his dirty dishes and tossed them to the foot of the bed.  I pulled out the dresser chair and climbed onto it, standing tall and looking down on Andrew as he stared up at me all wide-eyed from the bed.

“Do you remember how you taught me that when a man fucked with me, I should stand on a chair in an attempt to feel empowered, Andrew?  Do you remember that?”

He said nothing.

“Well hear this, you gaping vile bastard,” I roared.  “Take the motherfucking dishes to the kitchen yourself, okay?  How’s that for empowerment?” 

He moved his right hand to the mattress, reached underneath, pulled out his semi-automatic pistol, cocked the carriage along the barrel with his left hand, and pointed it at me with his finger on the trigger.

For a second I was frozen in terror. 

What happened after that?  I remember I ran to Farrah’s room, grabbed my crying baby, a few blankets and some diapers, and ran up the stairs to the guest bathroom and locked us both in. 

We spent the night in that bathroom.  Farrah nursed and slept in my arms while I sat on the floor leaning up against the wall in some kind of alternate universe filled with horror and panic.

I have wondered many times why I didn’t just jump in the car and drive us away.  Or why I didn’t call the police.  Perhaps I felt I had absolutely nowhere to go?  Perhaps because I had no access to money?  Perhaps because there were no safety nets and laws that I knew of to protect abused spouses?  And perhaps my fear was so profound I was temporarily crippled?

Anyway, Andrew banged on the bathroom door as daylight was beginning to filter in through the tiny window above.

“What a fool you are, Jill,” he said laughing.  “I’ve decided I’m going to stay on the boat for a while.  I don’t know how long I will be gone.  There’s cash on the table for your groceries.”

“I am leaving Andrew,” I said loudly enough for him to hear me through the closed door. “With or without your help.  Go away and stay away.”

“You can leave, Jill,” he said.  “But you will take nothing with you, you will get nothing from me, and you will not hire an attorney.  Because if you do, I will kill you.  I will take your baby from you, and I will kill you.”

Then I heard the front door slam, and he was gone.

Stay tuned for Part 18 – the Epilogue

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October 18, 2011 - Posted by | Psychotherapy | , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. and this guy is still alive? Thank God YOU ARE!!

    Comment by geri wright | October 18, 2011 | Reply

  2. Unbelievable, Jill. You have given me a glimpse of this part of your life before, but I had no idea. You are truly a remarkable woman to have survived this, raised your daughter, and remained somewhat normal. I don’t think any of us are truly “normal”! Love, Abbie

    Comment by Abbie | October 18, 2011 | Reply

  3. No wonder we get along so well, I was married to someone like that once. You’re right, back then the police wouldn’t have helped you much.

    Comment by Linda Wines Stokes | October 19, 2011 | Reply


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