Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I have a friend whose husband very emphatically dislikes me.  In his estimation, I'm very very crude.  I call shit "shit." I don't use euphemisms for bodily functions.  When I had a recent sewage backup caused by the bad kids who stuffed their toilet with paper towels and handy-wipes, the fact that I talked about raw sewage coming up from the floor drain in my solarium caused him to forbid her to visit me.  Raw sewage got added to the list of words that are forbidden.  Since I was having a raw sewage problem, she wasn't allowed to talk to me.  And if she did talk to me, she couldn't talk to him about what was going on here.  He claims he can't trust her not to use those "bad" words when she talks with me.  However he has no problem telling me to go fuck myself.  "Fuck off!" is okay but calling raw sewage "raw sewage" is forbidden.  So all during that crisis in my life, the words raw sewage and shit made me off limits to her because he has a problem hearing about the specific problem I was having.

They pick up my Doxie to walk with their Chihuahua every morning.  I don't ask, but she gives me the lowdown on Marly's "output."  I don't need to know how many times Marly made "output."  Euphemisms for normal bodily functions make me gag.  I have a hard time with people who are too precious to call shit "shit," but who have no problem screaming at a neighbor to "Fuck off!" or "Go Fuck Yourself!"  It all seems pretty crazy to me.  But since I'm crazy, intimating that someone else might be a touch crazy is the like the pot calling the kettle black.  I usually don't go there.

I've been buying beer and bourbon for her for a long time because he counts the beers she drinks at home, so rather than battle it out with him, she comes to visit me when she needs a beer but has exceeded her "allowed number of beers" at home.  I'm astonished by how controlling he is and how much of that controlling behavior she puts up with.  They have "good chemistry."  I think that's a euphemism for good sex.  And I understand the power of good sex.  I lived with Tom for five years longer than I would have if the sex hadn't been so good.  But in the end, good sex couldn't make up for bad communication and a lack of reciprocity in our relationship.  By the time I left him for the last time, I was disgusted with myself for living with a man who never once told me he loved me, but who was a good fuck but not a good lover.  And Tom wasn't a tenth as controlling as my friend's husband.  I'm astonished that she allows him to tell her what she can and can't do, let alone what she can and can't say.

She and I were going shopping today.  She stopped by to show me that ads for Old Navy that made her want to shop there.  But as we were talking she told me about my next door neighbor asking her one morning as she and her husband where walking the dogs "What's going on with Peggy and her tenants?" My friend told my neighbor about the raw sewage problem and it's very deliberate cause.  Her husband stood there calmly listening to the conversation.  But when they got home he was furious that she used the "forbidden words" and told her she isn't a "trustworthy person" because obviously she can't keep her promise not to use those words.  If I were her I'd be choking on words.  Those words would be like bones stuck in my throat.  I'd be strangling on those words.  But his rage over the use of "forbidden words" is like she'd been fucking the mailman on the front lawn and charging admission to watch.  His rage over the words she uses is so out of proportion to the offense that as she was standing in her kitchen with a full quart of ice water she'd just pulled from the fridge he grabbed the water out of her hand and emptied it over her head.  She just stood there.  When the bottle was empty she calmly walked out of the kitchen, picked up her purse and keys and left.  She had to go visit her dying blind mother who lives in a nursing home north of Salt Lake.  On a good day that's a painful visit.  She adores her mother and seeing her in her current state is always painful.  Her mother has vascular dementia.  Same illness my mother died of.  Only her mother was a loving and good mother.  So the pain she feels is terribly poignant even without carrying the pain of her abusive husbands treatment of her.

As she was telling me this story she started crying.  I asked her "Has he apologized?" "No."  Apparently he feels completly justified.  But what he doesn't know is that his behavior has pushed her to make plans to escape and stay elsewhere next time he goes off on her.  And I'm betting he won't have the slightest idea why she's left him.  She does everything for him.  He'll be like a helpless baby if left to his own devices.  He has no idea that he is mentally ill.  And when doctors have tried to get him to take a drug that will help him with his out of control rage and abusive controlling behavior, he refuses to take the pill that would help him.  He doesn't think he has a problem  But I'm the crazy bitch with a potty mouth.  At least I take my pills.


Beach Bum said...

Just too damn many of those controlling freaks running around these days.

Utah Savage said...

I don't understand that impulse to keep a person under the thumb like that. And the things he goes crazy about are so strange. What else can you call raw sewage but what it is?

Beach Bum said...

It could just be my perception but I don't remember so many people being certified assholes twenty years ago. Even with kids I get out fairly regular and meet people and control freaks like that guy seem to be everywhere.

The worst one was around 2004 right before I retired from the National Guard. Was hanging out with the recruiter and some redneck came in with his hand firmly holding his wife/girlfriend/whatever arm. She looked very submissive and had this mindless look on her face.

Redneck said she wanted to join the Guard and when the recruiter asked the woman if it was true she looked up, said yes, and then went back to looking submissive. This recruiter was a good guy and the look he sent me said he knew something was very wrong. The stopper on this was the lady's age which was over the limit.

Redneck and the woman quickly left and the recruiter told me he would have enlisted the lady just to get her away from the guy.

Were these guys always around or is society breeding them like serial killers?

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

god, I hope you are planning some deliberate act to push him over the edge sooner versus later. hopefully it will involve raw sewage. and his head.

Utah Savage said...

I'm barred from his house.

She's stronger than he is, if she has her wits about her. She has an short term escape plan. She knows she's reaching a point where it isn't safe or worth the effort to try convince him that she's an adult. She's told him his constant outrage is very boring.

I'm the type who would push him down the stairs. She's not.

PENolan said...

Girl, after reading this post I am taking a moment to celebrate the day I gave that damn narcissist ex-boyfriend of mine his final walking papers.

I don't know about twenty years ago, but I agree with Beach that there seems to be a asshole epidemic in this country - controlling, rigid, arrogant, sanctimonious, self-righteous . . . . whew! I blame Ronald Reagan.

PENolan said...

And I have to tell you that every now and then you toss off comments and observations that have stuck with me and been very helpful.

One of the most majorly helpful had to do with Cal, people fishing for compliments and how when you feed that need, you show that you value the relationship more than your own integrity.

I suspect you've been equally as helpful to your friend - and I'm glad she's not planning on coming over to your house when she leaves this dickwad although if he burns down your house, you might get enough insurance money to cover all your expenses and he'll go to jail.

I wish you lived closer.

Utah Savage said...

PEN, Thank you for those comments. I too wish we lived closer to one another.

I haven't been involved with a man since Tom and I split. He was the last narcissist for me. Cal was really a memory rather than a man in my life. All it took was one face to face encounter to see that wasn't going anywhere.

Most of my experience with men is in the twenty year past and all the men in my life have been controlling narcissists, so I'm not sure it's gotten worse. If it has, I pity this generation of women.

My friend has a number of other women friends who don't live close to us. I'm just three houses away from her. She comes here for time outs and to have a beer without the disapproving looks and comments. Last time he was in my house he said something so offensive to me I bared him from my place, so tit-for-tat he bared me from his house. We're both better off not seeing each other. I get adrenaline poisoning being in the same space with him. I'd hate to lose her as a neighbor because if they split, I'd probably seldom see her. But for her safety I hope she does leave him. He wouldn't survive long without her. She all but wipes his ass for him. He has no friends and his kids only talk to him because they like her and he isn't half as bad as he used to be since she is the buffer between he and his children.

If she didn't take such good care of him, he'd probably be dead by now. He's almost twenty years older than she is. He has COPD and smokes pot like he was smoking cigs. He's mentally ill, but will never admit he has a problem and he'd never take the medication that might make him easier to get along with. One of the reasons she's hanging in there aside from the "great chemistry" is the investment in the house they live in and the rental property they own which she manages and does the yard work on. I'd want her to end up with the rental property. She loves the house in my neighborhood, but it needs more work than my house. I paint and do maintenance on my place. His house hasn't been painted in over thirty years. And every time he tries to repair something he makes it worse.

I know that she drinks to cope with him. I'm convinced she'd be healthier and happier without him, but "love" makes us endure all kinds of shit we wouldn't take for a second if it weren't for that "great chemistry." I know I did.

Jerry Critter said...

Here is something I don't understand. Maybe because I am a guy, said that

"his behavior has pushed her to make plans to escape and stay elsewhere next time he goes off on her."

I've heard that type of statement before and it always brings up the question:

Why wait until next time?

She has made the decision to leave. She is just waiting for him to go off on her again. She knows it is going to happen. Her decision is made. Wouldn't it be much better for her to go now? Now, when she can do it at a timing of her choice, instead of the middle of the night, possible, and on the spur of the moment, and after she may have been injured.

If I could talk to her, I would tell her,

"You have made decision to leave, don't wait until you get abused again. GO NOW!"

Utah Savage said...

She only plans to be gone a day or two to scare him. When he isn't crazy, he's smart and funny and entertaining. When he fixates on something she says or does that trips his crazy switch only leaving will trip it back. So when he gets abusive she has a plan to leave and not tell him she isn't coming back for a couple of day. She thinks this will shake him up, make him see the error of his ways. I think it might make him see her as even less trustworthy. She thinks if it brings all his "issues" to the surface they can talk it out and come to an understanding. Trouble is that will last until the next time she uses a word he doesn't like or expresses joy when he feels joy is inappropriate, which means, when she feels joy and he doesn't.

Jerry, what you say makes perfect sense. The problem with perfect sense in this kind of situation is that she loves a crazy man who believes he's the only sane man in a crazy world. His need to control the craziness he feels is expressed by trying to control her, not himself. And a woman who loves an abusive man will wait until it's almost too late to save herself. To my knowledge he's never actually hit her. But his language is so violent, so over the top that his verbal abuse is devastating to her. The dumping of a quart of ice water over her head is to my knowledge the first time he's assaulted her in a physical way.

Jerry Critter said...

How sad! I agree, her actions will just make him "see her as even less trustworthy".

I hope she survives, because one of these days he is going to kick the shit out of her.

Gary said...

I'm sorry but he's a fucking idiot (unimpressive not very bright person), with anger, control and repression issues...

Utah Savage said...

Gary, I agree with you and Jerry. I think he's a dangerous and crazy bastard. But I don't love him. He and I dislike each other intensely. I've tried to engage him in polite conversation now and then, but he just goes off on me, which triggers my fight or flight mechanism. Until she's ready to leave him, there is no helping her except to remain her friend.

Anonymous said...

I'm resisting the childish urge to write something succinct like, "Your friend's husband is a motherfucking asshole." :P

I just divorced someone like this and my life immediately changed for the better. He never "forbade" me to see anyone (he knew better) but he did control and manipulate. Ugh. I hope your friend finds the wherewithal to either leave or demand change. xo