Sunday, May 14, 2017

Riding in Cars Without Boys

Today is Mother's Day; I want the world to know I'm grateful for my children, even if I don't love their father anymore.

In fairness, I loved him for well over a decade, but there are certain things love cannot survive. Or rather, there are things love can survive in small doses, things that upon first inspection appear innocuous, but that can build to a level of toxicity when administered on a continuous basis: coldness, lack of affection, exacting standards I could never meet.   

"Andy, make that kid stop crying! Make her stop, or I will!"

I never thought he'd hurt the children. Even on the one occasion when he lifted our infant daughter from the crib and dangled her over the stairwell of our house by her ankles, I didn't think he'd drop her. Not for real. And yet I'd had to talk him down. "Hand me the baby. Go back to bed."

He pivoted until the child no longer hung over the stairwell, and I quickly snatched her into the safety of my arms. When he went back into the bedroom and turned the fan on full blast, I just stood there in a state of shock. He loved our daughter. Why would he do that?

Thank God she was too young to remember!

Today is Mother's day, and I am thankful for my children. They are alive. They are healthy. They are happy. This speaks volumes to the resilience of my kids and to the many friends who have reached out over the past few years. It is a credit to caring teachers and to conscientious therapists. 

It isn't a credit to my brothers, unfortunately.

Growing up in a religious home that claimed to be all about family, I really believed blood was thicker than water. I was close with my brothers. It took me years to tell anyone the story about the stairwell, and when I finally did, my older brother was the one who heard it. 

"Let it go," he said.

I was still married then.

Instead of stepping into my shoes, my brother launched into a defense of my husband's actions. Unfortunately, this pattern held. After the divorce, my older brother stopped returning phone calls. My younger brother, who asked for details during the separation, responded to my honesty by saying sexual consent wasn't a thing in marriage. And that marital rape wasn't real. 

Since leaving my husband, my brothers treat me differently There is no texting. My phone calls aren't returned. And landmarks like my birthday or Mother's day or Christmas are punctuated only by a foreboding silence. I no longer feel like I ever had a family.

It was a boy's club. 


  1. I was raised where the husband was supposed to be the family leader. But when the leader does not respect the welfare of his family, you do have to choose to leave or stay and disobey.
    I'm sorry that your brothers do not see your side. I'm glad you have a therapist. You do need someone to discuss all of this with.

    1. It's probably misleading how I write about all the darkest, scariest things on this blog. I don't often think about these times, but it's when I write that the memories flow. I used to keep a daily journal where I worked hard to only write positive, uplifting things. But in the end, it didn't reflect my reality with accuracy. I'm not sure this does either. But writing is a good way to work through the hard things.

  2. Sorry your brothers can’t see your side. If your husband dangled a baby over a stairwell, you’d think your brother would *want* you to divorce him.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. It does set the bar really REALLY low. I mean, if almost killing your own daughter doesn't make a man dangerous enough to divorce, what could the man possibly do that would make divorce an acceptable option?

  4. Andy,

    Happy Mother's Day to you, dear! Your ex-husband has real issues that I hope in time he addresses and overcomes because if he doesn't then the next woman to enter his life will inherit the same problems.

    This is to your brothers and your ex-husband. It is never okay to take advantage of your rights in the bedroom. The art of making love is just that, a beautiful thing meant for both partners to enjoy and sex should never be one-sided, NEVER!!! I'm so very blessed and thankful to have a husband who puts me first, especially in this area. I know there are women who can't say this and that's why I thank God for putting such an incredible man in my life. Perhaps in time, your brothers will come around. My suggestion is to ask God to open their hearts to these truths. I know first hand the power of prayer and the difference it can make in a person.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you never have to worry with these sorts of things again.

    ~Curious as a Cathy

    1. Thank you for responding in such a heartfelt way, Cathy. I'm not a believer in prayer at this point, but I do believe in letting things go. Easier said than done, I know. But day by day I am getting there.

  5. Sorry for the delay in responding and thanks for the comment, life and the universe and stuff. My brain always thinks I can do more than my body can do. This it seems is something folk dont tell you about as you get older, your brain still thinks it is young (silly brain).

    Your ex partner sounds a bit dodgy to say the least and is best avoided i would say. Some people seem to get a buzz out of these situations, maybe it is a power thing where having control means everything. All I can say is not all us chaps are like that, I may be forgetful and scruffy but I'm a nice chap. Even my wife would say I'm a nice chap so I must be.

    Hope all is well. . . .

    1. Hi Rob, I know that not all chaps are like that. I'm dating a very nice chap right now who is absolutely nothing like that. But the presence of a lot of wonderful chaps does not, unfortunately, eradicate the harmful attitudes and actions of the chaps who do a lot of damage.

      I would love to say that the boys club mentality and lack of respect for women that I've seen in my own family and in the relationship I had with my ex-husband are not common. But 25% of rapes are performed by intimate partners and it's estimated that a 1/3 of marriages are verbally abusive. (This doesn't always cut one way with gender, by-the-way. There are women who verbally abuse their husbands.)

      So if it helps, perhaps think of this blog post less as "certain men in my life have been terrible" and more as "certain human beings in my life have been terrible." I may try my hardest to be a good, kind, considerate person. But there are lots and lots of bullies and meanies and jerk people in the world at large.


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