I’ve fallen in love with my iPad. The ability to purchase a book and have it be available instantly is terrific. Now when I get on a tear on a particular topic, the electronic world is my oyster. I’ve been gobbling up everything I can get my hands on these past few weeks about abusive relationships. Last night, I came across Dragon Slippers: This is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like by Rosalind Penfold (not her real name). Here’s a link to her website: http://www.dragonslippers.com/home.html
Ros, a successful, strong-willed, independent woman, found herself entangled in an abusive relationship. It seems odd to many that this could happen to a woman who could take care of herself. Who wasn’t financially enslaved. But it does happen. It happens all the time. Ros drew a series of pictures describing her relationship with her abusive partner as it unfolded. A graphic novel about abuse. It was poignant, and unnerving. Several of the frames could have been depicting Mack and me. Most unsettling.
Ros’s partner would act as if his explosions had never happened; or when he acknowledged they had, he blamed her for making him angry. Mack would act horribly (most often when he’d been drinking, which was most of the time), and the next morning, pretend it never happened. He’d be loving, adoring, kind. I’d wonder if I had imagined how awfully he’d behaved the night before. Since he didn’t think it was any big deal, maybe it wasn’t any big deal. I’d feel grateful he no longer was angry with me. I’d feel grateful things were “back to normal.” Often, in the midst of his worst tirades, when he would go off in a rage over some imagined slight, I would tell myself to just hang on; it would all be okay the next day. He didn’t really hate me. It didn’t really spell the end of our relationship.
I got through it by telling myself, “This too shall pass.” He’ll be back to normal, tomorrow. He’ll be nice, tomorrow.
All the reading I’ve done on abuse of late, and in particular on emotional abuse, has me wondering whether Mack has a history of physically abusing the women in his life. Apparently, it usually starts slowly, and bit by bit, things escalate. Generally, they save the physical abuse until after you’re married, or until you’ve been together for several years. Would Mack have become physically abusive if I had stayed with him? I’m glad I didn’t stick around to find out.