Saturday, March 15, 2008
Terror in The Night
Within a couple weeks of my marriage, I began getting hit, punched or kicked during the night. When I would begin crying out, my husband would rouse enough to realize what he had done. The first few times this happened I didn't know what to think..other than what he told me. His explanation was that he was having a "nightmare". In other words, it wasn't his fault. I was inclined to believe this.
However, as weeks turned into months, then months turned into years...I became accustomed to laying so close to the opposite edge of the bed, that I always slept with my left foot and left hand touching the floor. If I somehow were to accidentally roll over and be facing him...there was a reflexive action within me to immediately turn over the other way.
The hitting, punching, kicking did not occur every night, but several times a week. I had tried to discuss this with him more times than I can count. His response to me was that it was not his fault as it was done during a "nightmare"...and would shout at me saying, "Why don't you just crucify me!" Never did he deny this was taking place...but he CHOSE to do nothing about it. I, too, chose to do nothing...after all, he told me it was during a "nightmare"...and I need to take into consideration he didn't mean it.
We had many good friends...very few knew of the abuse...and only one couple knew of the terror in the night that I had been accustomed to. This couple lived within the same state we did for many years...then they moved to a southern state. Our friendship continued despite the distance. One day we got a call and they let us know they were going to be coming back to visit their children but they felt "compelled" to come and visit us, too. We lived hundred of miles from their children, and knew this would be "eating into their time", yet, were so excited they were coming to stay with us for a few days.
When they got to our home, it was soon discovered that their main reason for the visit was to help do an "intervention" on my part concerning the punching, hitting and kicking. This terror in the night had now been going on a full 21 years!
So, there we were the four of us sitting around our dining room table. This couple knew the "secret" of what had been taking place at night for all these years. The conversation was such as to point out that my husband was well aware of what he was doing, as it was never denied. They told him "if" he desired to preserve the marriage, he needed to get some help. However, the first and very least he could do was move into another bedroom. This of course was something I had been continually asking him to do. Only to be shouted at that it was not his fault.
This couple let him know that since he was well aware of what was taking place, that it was his responsibility to "do something about it and get some help". After several grueling hours, he relented at their urging to sleep in a different bedroom. He shed some tears...which I had seen many times, yet nothing ever changed. This time he agreed and told this couple he would do as suggested. I was surprised he agreed and was hopeful that he may get the help he needed.
The day they left to return home, I found out I was wrong. He said the promise he made was under "duress"...and that as my husband it was his right to sleep in the same bed. Something had changed within me...although subtle. I told him that he was definitely going to sleep in a different room, and that since he promised the couple he would do as suggested and that if he didn't comply I was going to call them. After a few hours of listening to rantings...he "decided" to sleep in the back bedroom.
His "rantings" consisted of him screaming so loudly he would get hoarse. He would (literally) jump up and down, pull his hair, punch himself, then start punching the walls, throw things, throw himself on the floor while kicking and screaming and eventually turn his rage toward our dogs. So frightened they would become they would try and hide themselves. He was never really able to do them harm as I always placed myself between he and the dogs.
Although he moved into the other bedroom, I still kept my bedroom door shut. However, many times I'd wake in the night, "feeling" as if someone were in the room. I'd turn around and there he would be standing over me, just staring...but saying nothing. I could tell by the look on his face that it was in my best interest to stay completely calm...and just ask him if everything was OK. For several moments he said nothing, then just turned and walked back out.
It was after a few times like this, I got a lock for my bedroom door. I should let you know that he was not a war veteran, a drug user nor did he drink. The insistence that it wasn't his fault was being told to me over and over...it was like playing a broken record.