WHY DID IT TAKE CANCER TO MAKE ME SEE I DESERVE BETTER?
I have been married for 34 years and had been going together for 4 and a half years before we got married. Please find the following account as requested of my ‘Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde’ husband. My husband has always had a problem controlling his anger.
The first incident after we were married happened about 3 months into the marriage when my husband had gone to bed after he been out drinking and had been sick in the bed. When I asked him to get out of the bed so I could change the sheets, he went mad. He chased me down the stairs and around the lounge trying to attack me with a steel ended tail comb and I had to hold a chair in front of me to protect myself. I got out of the house and knocked at the next door neighbours. I thought I had married a mad man. This was to be the first of a number of occasions where he would be so raging with anger and out of control he would totally ‘lose the plot’ all together and afterwards, remember nothing of these incidents.
My husband was not bothered about having children, and although he says he loves them, he was not happy about the attention being taken away from him when they were born. In fact he could not tell you the dates of birth for any of them. We had four children under six years of age, and while my husband went to work I took care of the home, the children and all the paperwork (accounts, bills, etc) because my husband has dyslexia. Before the children came along I even attended college with him on his bricklaying course to take notes.
When the children were older I worked in the evenings. At my place one evening, my husband came to my place of work and caused a scene shouting at me to ‘get home now’. I left this job and applied for another at the local College. I was told at the interview that I was being offered the post however; they told me that my current employer had given me a bad reference because of my husband.
For most of our marriage my husband has exploded in temper on a regular basis by shouting at me, invading my personal space, spitting in my face when he is really angry because he is foaming at the mouth. He has ripped phones out of the wall so that I could not contact anyone; he has stood in front of doorways blocking my path so I could not leave the room, he has smashed many things over the years including expensive items and thrown food and crockery. He has also punched walls and doors. He would also shout and get angry if we got lost when I was navigating to a destination.
We were rehoused by the Council after we lost our own home during the recession in 1991. He said recently that losing the house had been too stressful that is why he never had got round to putting the tenancy in joint names. It was just as stressful for me as my husband, but he did not put the tenancy in joint names, even though I asked many times and obtained the forms from the council.
He didn’t like me reading books and got rid of all my books that were in his shed, and my cross trainer machine. He said he got rid of them because they were damp, but he never asked me first. He used to keep me awake for hours at night in order to ‘talk’ to him.
If you asked him why he gets angry, he would say it is because I do not talk to him, I neglect him, I take him for granted and I do not satisfy him sexually. When our youngest child was six years old my husband started a three year (possibly even longer) affair with my best friend. During this time his temper got much worse because he was living a double life and I had no idea the affair was going on because I was running the home, working and bringing up our four young children. He pushed over the farmhouse table in our kitchen in a temper at one point, and when I stood up to him he got really angry and said “I don’t like women challenging me”. There were many arguments over this period of time and on a number of occasions I was physically assaulted, either pushed over, shaken by the arms or held down by the wrists, grabbed round the neck, these last three incidents left bruising on my arms, wrists and neck and my husband made sure I covered them up so that no one saw them. However, the children were very frightened and my son called the police on a number of occasions, the time of the huge black & blue bruise on my left arm the police officer said I needed to go to the police station to have my arm photographed. He also said that my husband would not want me to go but I should still go. He was right, my husband did not want me to go but I did. He also told my husband that what he had done was domestic violence but my husband could not see that and did not agree with the officer.
He has also thrown baskets of washing out of the window (because I don’t keep the house tidy), thrown a computer out of the window, ripped TV bracket of the wall and smashed my daughters mobile phone with his foot. During the affair my husband also used emotional blackmail and said at one point that he felt so down he could kill himself. He disappeared and the police went looking for him. It turned out that he was with my friend all the time. He just wants everyone to feel sorry for him and to think he is having a breakdown. However, it is manipulation, as he couldn’t possibly carry on doing his job if that were the case, and he wants people outside the family to think that he is charming and a lovely person (which he is for some of the time). My mother was dying while my husband was carrying on the affair and he would not let me use our mini bus to drive to visit her in hospital because he wanted to be with my friend, so I had to borrow a car from a friend at church.
He begged to come back after I told him to leave and live with her. When he realised that ‘the grass was not greener on the other side’ he wanted to come home. I had to take out a restraining order on my husband when he was living in rented accommodation prior to moving back home after his affair because he used to come and shout at me through the letter box saying “I was mental”. The children were in the house when he used to shout abuse.
When I did allow him back after a few months, he did not come back with the intention of making it up to all of us; he said to me “don’t think I’m coming back here with my tail between my legs!” After the affair had finally ended, my husband booked a cruise as a surprise wedding anniversary present for both of us. However, it didn’t take him long to get back to normal and he shouted at me in front of everyone on the deck at a barbecue evening. This was all because he expected to be intimate with me, even though he had been with my best friend! Another time I was driving our car and my husband was angry and he pulled the handbrake up on the car while I was driving. Another time he pulled the spark plugs out of our mini bus so that I could not drive it away.
He still to this day, does not see that his temper goes beyond the realms of normality and justifies it all by blaming me or denying these incidents took place. My husband would not want anyone to know about his behaviour, and would attack someone else if they treated me the way he treats me.
When my husband would get angry when the children were small they would hide upstairs in the bedroom and the two older children would comfort the other two little ones by covering their ears, and they would all be crying. This had the most effect on our son, as being the eldest he saw it all the longest, and being a boy thought he had to protect his mum and his sisters from his dad. This has taken its toll and with recent events has opened up the old wounds, so I have been paying privately for him to see a counsellor. However, my husband does not acknowledge that his behaviour towards me has affected them in any way. Now they have a voice because they are all adults, and as my son said, “I am bigger than the bully now!” On two different occasions when I was nursing and working shifts, and couldn’t leave the unit because of staffing levels, my son and my daughter came down saying dad was really angry and had ‘gone mad’ and I just told them to get the police out.
When the children were younger I have left the house with them on a few occasions to escape the abuse. The time we stayed at my friend’s house my husband came round and tried to get in by banging on the windows and shouting outside her house. The police were called.
A few years ago when we were driving back from shopping and he got really angry, he wound down the window on the driver’s side and put his hand out of the window, he then put his other arm across me and accelerated at 75-80 mph with no hands on the steering wheel. This was very frightening.
He smashed the door off my wardrobe. He also sat in my car so that I could not drive away. He has also shouted at me and pointed in my face. Both incidents were witnessed by my daughter and her partner. I feel humiliated when he shouts at me. He also had a fight with our middle daughter after my cancer treatment and had his hands round her throat; he ripped her TV and wall bracket out of the wall. I ripped his shirt trying to get him away from her. Another time previously, I also ripped his shirt as I tried to stop him attacking our eldest daughter after he got angry with her and was blocking her path to the front door. My old next door neighbour did actually knocked at our door on two occasions to check if I was all right after he heard my husband shouting. He will also tell you that never ever have I humiliated him, not once in the 37 years I have been with him.
The most devastating thing for me with regard to having breast cancer was losing my hair due to the Chemotherapy treatment, as I had to have what was left shaved off and I had to wear a wig. At Christmas when all the family were home I needed to take my wig off because it was moving due to my hair beginning to grow back, so I took photos of myself in order that the family could get used to what I looked like without much hair. I told them all that I would give them a couple of days to get used to the idea after looking at the photos before I removed my wig. The children were absolutely fine with it however, my husband was not. He said that he did not want me to remove my wig because he could not look at me without it and my elder daughter had to firmly tell him twice that ‘they also did want to be reminded that their mum had cancer or did not want to see their mum like that either, but they were supporting their mum and whatever she needed was what they were going to do’.
He also let my friend in when he knew I did not want anyone to see me without any hair. He said it was an accident because he was so happy that after surgery I was now OK and could get on with the rest of my life. It was very hurtful because it felt like it was all about him and he had no idea how I was feeling because he said “you need to get on with your life now and stop dwelling on the past”. At that point in time I still had to have radiotherapy treatments, annual check-ups, take cancer drugs for 5 years and still await further surgery. I am not ‘in remission’ until 2014 and will always be living with cancer. He never once asked me how I actually felt about having cancer. I did tell the breast care nurses at Stoke about his behaviour and they did speak to him. I have not told many people about my husband’s ‘Hyde’ side, so people are quite shocked as we seemed to be the ‘ideal couple’.
Since being diagnosed with cancer my attitude to my husband’s behaviour has changed dramatically. Having cancer is life changing, and there were four things that made me change the way I react to my husband,
• My children are all adults now and support me 100%, so I can walk out the door now because I am no longer on my own in this, which was very isolating when the children were small. Now others have ‘seen him in action’.
• I am worn down by 33 years of abuse from him.
• I have seen the way my daughter’s boyfriend treats her, with respect and as an equal.
• I hope that I will have 25 more years to live, but as I don’t know when my time is up I do not intend wasting any of it with a fool, as life is far too precious.
If he gets angry I just let him carry on and I don’t plead for him to stay. He does not know what to do because I am reacting indifferently. Now he feels rejected and thinks that no one cares about him. The truth is, that I have just had enough and can’t take any more as I don’t need the stress of it all anymore. I believe this is when he saw his N supply coming to an end so had to start grooming the next victim.
Because he now feels out of control, he thought he would regain control by,
• Choosing to move out of our home and rent a room in a house.
• Cancelling all his direct debits (which left me with every bill to pay in the house, when I don’t earn enough money to pay them all, so each month that goes by I am getting deeper in to debt) and not helping me out financially.
• Had his mail redirected to his sister’s house.
• Said he was starting divorce proceedings on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour (which are; not communicating with him, not ever satisfying him sexually and neglecting him)
All this happened within days of him leaving in January 2012.
For quite a few weeks before he moved out, my husband started to stay out overnight on a Friday evening and did not return home until midday on a Saturday, we had no idea where he was or who he was with. On the Friday night that he borrowed my car to go out he put the mileage monitor back to zero. He also got drunk over Christmas to the point of passing out. Due to his past record and defensiveness we believed he may have been having an affair.
His behaviour is also quite bizarre since he moved out. For someone who never contacted his wife since he moved out and is divorcing his wife because ‘he has had enough’,
• He beeps and waves if he sees me when passing by driving the ambulance.
• He asked me why I had taken the house key off him??
• He still thought he would be coming on holiday with me and my cousin and her husband in April!
• He has been in tears talking to two of our daughters, yet is totally different when he speaks to me.
• He disappeared for a week without telling anyone that he was going away, so I had to report him missing to the police as he had not replied to all the children’s missed calls and texts to his mobile phone. The police traced him to Southern Ireland and when he returned he did not contact me or any of our children but he went to his sisters, and he would give no explanation as to where he had gone or why he would not tell anyone where he was. There has also been no apology and he just doesn’t seem to understand all the stress and worry that he put us through, which was very selfish. If he had nothing to hide, why did he become so defensive??
I think this is all to do with power and control, because when my daughter asked him how he got to where he went when he went missing, he got angry with her because she questioned him. I also believe that he is punishing me because he has lost control of the situation. When I asked him about why he had moved out, cancelled all direct debits, redirected his mail, and said he was divorcing me in such a short space of time. He said “I just wanted to bring you to your senses!”
I have lost two dear friends and an aunt to breast cancer within the last two years. On the day recently (Jan 15th) that my friend and I were going out to dinner to drink a toast to our deceased friend on the anniversary of our meeting in hospital, my husband came to our home (this was after he had chosen to move out) and even though he wasn’t living there he went mad at me in front of his sister. He said the living room looked awful (I had changed it around), he went to my bedroom and said “it was a mess” (because I had got rid of the double bed and changed the room a round) and had a real go at me about the rubbish that was in the back garden. He said “you are making a complete mess of this house!” There was no thought about how I was feeling on that day. Everything is about him!
Even when I told him that I had got a place in the half marathon Moonwalk for May 2012, he did not say ‘good for you’. In fact all he said was “Greg and I wanted to push a bed across Europe to raise money for charity, but it hasn’t happened”.
List of things he has said to me over the years;
• “You bruise easily”
• “You’re frigid”
• “You’re denying me my conjugal rights”
• “You make me angry”
• “You neglect me”
• “I’m sorry, I won’t do it again”
• “Why do you involve the children, when it’s nothing to do with them”
• “You’re like your father”
• “You’re like a little girl”
• “My behaviour is normal, everybody argues”
• “You make me angry”
When I recently showed him my ‘mind map’ of the domestic abuse that he had put me through, he said it was shameful. When I asked him if that was his sister, his mother or his daughter that had gone through that he said that he would have gone and ‘sorted them out!’ I said that there had been no one to sort him out for me. Now, it’s all forgotten, like I have never mentioned it. He never takes responsibility for his actions. He blames others (mainly me) and justifies his behaviour even though my daughter’s boyfriend (who is a probation officer and has witnessed my husbands’ abuse to me) has told him that his behaviour is way out of line and considered to be domestic abuse he does not take it on board.
I am no longer prepared to live with someone who says that they ‘love me to bits’ yet continues to treat me in such a contradictory and humiliating manner. He also can no longer be trusted as he is telling too many lies. The bad behaviour now outweighs the good. I come from a family where my dad used to shout at my mother and so my husband knows just how much I hate that shouting and humiliation, but it does not stop him because he gets so out of control.
2012 has been the most traumatic year for me and our four children and was worse than having cancer because at least then I knew what was coming next. He has lied to everyone about everything. He fraudulently exchanged the family home by lying, completely cleared the home out without telling me or our children. He made our daughter homeless and she had to sleep on the floor in my one bedroomed flat. He then rang our eldest daughter and told her he had got married to a friend of ours 2 weeks after the divorce was made absolute! So obviously he had been grooming his victim for over a year and she has obviously believed every word he has said. She has a house which she is now selling, she is paying off his car loan, and they both live in his council house! He did not need the family home so could have signed it over to me and our daughter but he is out to destroy me.
We had to attend mediation and even though I can prove his lies, nobody is listening to me because he is so charming and playing the victim, crying, AND HE GETS AWAY WITH IT!
He has not given me any money since Jan 2012 and earns much more than me, however, he said that he has moved on with his new life and his new wife does not want him to give me any spousal maitainence. So I have walked away because the stress is all too much, I have had to fight for a place for me and my daughter. We went to see the local MP and eventually we were given a 2 bed flat while he is in his 3 bedroom house in the country! His sisters believe him, even when 7 people are telling them what they have witnessed, but then they treat him like a child and have even lied for him.
Why does no one seem to see what these deranged people are doing???
He is happy to have no contact with me or our 4 children. He has discarded us all like we never existed; I just don’t get his cold, calculating, evilness. He said the vilest things to hurt me, “You are just making a fuss about having chemotherapy”, “Why do you go on about having cancer, go and get a full time job because you’ll get nothing from me!”
I am 55, he is 57 and his new wife is 69 so is very flattered and over the moon with this charmer. God help her if she ever gets ill because he’ll be out the door after her money has run out. I have now had to start a new life with nothing and am in debt having had to replace furniture and all kitchen appliances etc. He doesn’t know I have changed jobs or where we now live but he really doesn’t care either. I loved that man with all my heart, forgave him the worst betrayal and yet he still wants to destroy me. How can he just switch off from 39 years of being with me? There is no ‘nice’ person left in that body anymore.
However, I am still richer than he will ever be, because our 4 children support me and want nothing to do with him. I also have one little grandson and a new baby coming this month. I just pray that one day he will realise what he walked away from leaving devastation behind him…….please tell me that he is a Narcissist and that Karma will happen one day?