It’s Saturday morning in October in the Northeast. The wind blowing through the open bay windows is crisp and carries hints of freshly brewed coffee from the kitchen downstairs. It’s 7 A.M. and the baby is sleeping, the house is quiet.
Although I was up for several feedings though out the night, the morning is welcoming and promising of a fresh start on a new day.
This is the story of my breaking point before divorce.
My Breaking Point Before Divorce
This Saturday begins as any normal weekend; my husband left for work at 5am, 45 minutes away in the city. He slept a peaceful 9 hours despite our daughters’ screaming outbursts throughout the night; not like he has ever gotten up to help, anyway. I tiptoe out of my bedroom where our perfect brand new two-year-old lay sleeping sprawled across our king-size bed. It’s amazing how the biggest mattress is no longer big enough when you’re co-sleeping.
Time to begin my morning routine; a shower where I run out at least 3 times thanks to phantom screaming (that’s another topic for another blog) only to find her completely unbothered in dreamland, brush my teeth, no time for doing my hair so I throw that up in a stylish bun that ends up making me appear homeless and finally, breakfast and coffee. I will have my daughter feed at least twice before lunch, we will prepare meal ideas for the week and head to the grocery store. Mid afternoon I receive a phone call from a mutual friend of my husband and I inviting me to her birthday dinner. I accept and inform my husband that I plan to take our daughter to dinner with a friend and we should be home by the time he gets home from work.
Insert: Explosion. Yes. That’s all it takes. His violent response prompted an immediate physiological reaction and caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand tall. Was I surprised? Was this the first time? No, but does not take away the fear that comes with it each time. “How could you consider going without me”, “How rude and inconsiderate you are I work all day to come home to you going out!? You can’t even WAIT FOR ME!?” He screams. Holding back tears from the berating scolding I was receiving, I decided, for once, I was not going to succumb. “Yes, babe it is just a birthday dinner, I will be home by the time you get home from work, can I bring you anything? What would you like for dinner?”, I asked gently. He responds ever so wonderfully, “Wow, you’re a f****** inconsiderate b****”. The call gets disconnected.
Deciding to dress up for the first time in over two years since having our daughter and doing my makeup felt great. It feels great standing up for yourself, what a confidence boost, except the overwhelming guilt and fear lingered in the shadows. The thoughts were slightly overwhelming; what if he comes home drunk again? This is all going to be my fault. We are going to fight because I am inconsiderate. I should have told her no. He is going to scream and yell in front of the baby. Maybe he won’t come home. Maybe I should just go to my moms house. Imagine enjoying going to dinner with a friend and your baby with those thoughts bombarding your brain?
I brought him home a dish that I know he loves. I walk in to him sitting on the couch with a grim look on his face. Oh, he was pissed. “Hi babe” I say as I walk in. “I brought you some dinner” . No response. Okay. Cool. I bring the baby upstairs to get her to bed. As I come back downstairs (he has not moved) I sit next to him on the couch and look for a movie to watch. He says absolutely nothing to me. The movie ends. “I’m going to bed, babe, coming?” I say. I cannot seem to say anything right, I should have known after five years of this to just shut up, but I am stubborn. He turns to me and says “Oh okay so you are just going to get up and go to bed!? You don’t pay ANY attention to me! You have no consideration for how hard I work! I do everything for this family and you couldn’t even wait for me to get home to GO TO DINNER” his tone is angry, it is deeply rooted in hatred and despise for my entire being.
And here we go. 11 P.M. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Scared. Imagine a 6’4 man just shy of 240 lbs yelling at you. The veins in his neck are bulging, his eyes are screaming louder than his voice. The immediate full body tremor (that I would later learn is your body’s response to severe trauma) I experienced every time he yelled was paralyzing. “I’m sorry, I didn’t have any malintent, I was just celebrating her birthday with our child since I was invited. I brought you home dinner, I didn’t mean to upset you” I say apologetically. Gosh I was so naïve, so sweet. The intentions I had were always pure and stemmed from a place of love. I fought so hard for that to be reciprocated. I cry at the thought of myself having to fight so hard to be loved. It truly is sad.
He follows me upstairs in a stalking, intimidating manner. The baby is asleep in our room and I think to myself, just get to the room and get the baby, quickly, safely. just. get. the. baby. Now he’s directly behind me, breathing down my neck and increasingly angry. Directly in front of me is the hamper full of clean clothes. Wow, he is screaming at me for being inconsiderate and ungrateful, but I literally asked him 3 times to put those clothes away. They’re still sitting there. Is what runs through my mind during this literal warzone. I try not to engage and just go for the baby. I need to get her out of the house or at least out of this room. I scoop our daughter and hold her to my chest. He stands in front of me blocking the door. I ask him to please move so I can go to the other room.
He continues to disallow me from leaving the room. I ask again, “Please move aside , I need to put our daughter in her room so she can sleep in peace, please stop yelling, you are being too loud”. Ever heard of the saying ” you cannot reason with unreasonable people?” Yea, well I hadn’t and I was really fighting internally as to WHY this person was not acting properly. I just didn’t comprehend how a parent, a partner, A HUMAN could treat other humans this way. I finally get to a point where I can slip through the doorway, I lock myself and our child in one of the three extra bedrooms, this one was hers specifically. Silence. Until it’s not.
As a result of leaving the room, that hamper full of clothes gets thrown and slammed into the closet door about 15 feet from the opening of our bedroom door and directly next to the baby’s room that my daughter and I were sheltering in. There was yelling and screaming and things being thrown. After about 15 minutes there was silence. Finally. I curl up with our daughter and we fall asleep.
The Next Morning
The next morning I awake after a one-eye open “slumber” to find him still asleep. I decide to leave and get our child and I safely to my parents’ house; 45 minutes away. He is awake. He follows me downstairs, takes the baby carrier from my hand, and stands in front of the back door. I cant get out. He has the baby. “Babe, please give her back to me, I am going to go to my parent’s house for a little while to let this settle and cool down”.
More yelling. He turns, I grab the baby and we run to the car. He snatches my bag from my arm, and throws my phone far into the yard. I run to it. He follows. I find the phone and call 911. He hovers over me and reaches around attempting to grab the phone. Dispatch answers. They’re coming.
I’ve reached my breaking point. It’s over.