1. Still waters
Imagine the next scene – Friday afternoon. She was about to take a rest from the crazy week she had. A week that included work, intense care of three-year-old mischievous twins, constant quarrels with her husband all in an attempt to juggle like Wonder Women between all her tasks, while not forgetting to smile through it all. A minute after she managed to fall asleep, she woke up startled from a bucket of cold water that was dumped on her. Her husband came home and was annoyed with seeing her asleep. She realized that she would no longer be able to sleep and so she took her laptop to the other room. He grabbed and smashed it on the floor in a fury. He then calmed down, but later that night got furious again and poured water on her when she was in bed at least another 3 times.
When he fell asleep on Saturday afternoon she poured water on him and when he woke up with a start she asked him how he liked it. In response, he chased her into the kitchen and poured a full bottle of raspberries juice on her hair. The children saw her standing stunned with raspberry juice, red as blood, running down her face and they began to cry. When she looked for the phone he mistakenly assumed that she meant to call the police and so he grabbed her new iPhone, throwing it into the toilet and furiously flushing $1000 down the drain. She did not say anything and kept her head down, waiting for the rage wave he was riding on to pass them and for the waters to still again.
Shocked? I was shocked too, both by her serenity when describing this abuse, and by how I could not envision this seemingly quiet, normative and pleasant guy as capable of causing it. This 38-year-old blond woman, a beautiful and wise woman in a high government position, has been living for the past ten years with a monster, who kept telling her how stupid, fat and a terrible mom she was and in general, how much of a failure she was in everything.
For years now, she has been wanting to get a divorce but came back to him over and over again, claiming that it would be financially difficult for her to separate, but in truth she did not feel worthy of another life. Living in her personal hell, she got used to this life in abuse, but he needed more. Each time he raised the bar as if testing her endurance, like someone insatiable.
Two weeks ago, he called the police in the middle of the night and asked that a policeman come to shut his wife up. Just like that. The policemen came and talked to each of them separately. After she played the recording of their last fight they took him with them to the station and away from her for two weeks.
At the same time, she read about the murder of a three-year-old boy who lived not far from them and was murdered by his father while he was in a rage attack. Two hell-free weeks were enough for her to realize that no money in the world was worth such a life and she wanted to go back to the divorce process she had halted in the past. Now it is hoped that she will not return to the madness again. Ever again.
2. Run away
A young girl and her two young parents came to my office. They told me that the young girl was not a girl but a 25-year-old woman who married three months ago after three years of dating. “So, what happened?” I asked, “we don’t get along” She said. “Only now you realized that you weren’t getting along? Up to the wedding you were?” I asked. Little by little she began to tell about a young husband who after the wedding assumed that everything was now allowed, that it was allowed to belittle and humiliate her, to tell her that he was bored with her, that he would have time to talk to her only on weekends, and that every time the house was not tidy enough ,to demands that she pack her things and get out.
Then she told me how one time after they fought over the phone she had gone to bed trying to fall asleep when he had arrived home angrily at midnight, shouting that she was hiding from him, switching on the bedroom light and forcing her to quarrel with him. He was shouting, accusing and preventing her from sleeping all night long until dawn when they both finally fell asleep exhausted.
Her eyes suddenly looked old and sad against her youthful face, while her father, his eyes red, held himself back beside her and her mother kept silent. The three of us were looking at her, knowing she must run away immediately. She started to discuss the distribution of the funds in their bank account and I could not take it anymore. I stopped her and said “run away! Do not deal with the bank account, give it all up if necessary, just pack a suitcase and run away, because little monsters after 3 months of marriage become big monsters after a few years, and with children it’s even more difficult to escape”. We agreed on a plan of action and they left with the realization that they should act sooner rather than later.
3. Who would take you?!
For years she was overweight. Obese. Although she had a normal weight when she got married, each year she added a few pounds and each pregnancy added a lot more and she found herself at the age of 40 weighting over 310 pounds. This did not bother her husband. He loved her very much, and apparently deep down he realized that being that way, she would not go anywhere and would turn a blind eye to his exploits with the shapely women in his office. Those exploits reached her ears more than once but as her husband correctly assumed, she had nowhere to run and besides, she was grateful to him for loving her as she was.
The truth was a little more complicated. He did love her as she was, but in every quarrel, he stabbed her heart when he told her “who would take you?”. These three words were burned into her soul and belittled her. Who would take her. An obese woman is not worthy of any man, and who besides her husband would take her?
Then she fell and broke her leg. There was no chance of holding her weight with crutches and she could not get into a wheelchair. So, she did not leave the house for three months. By chance or not, this was a period of terrible quarrels with her husband who found it hard accepting her helplessness. During their fights, as she already knew, he would shoot thin, sharp arrows of evil at her. After all, she could not escape anywhere, literally. One night it became too much when he told her that she was not only fat but also stinky.
Something in her broke when she made the decision to run away. She knew it would take time and resources, but in her head she was already working out a plan of action.
few months after they removed the cast, he strongly supported her decision to undergo a gastric bypass surgery, never realizing that the operation would also end his marriage. He was happy for her and enjoyed seeing her shed dozens of pounds in a few months. Then men began to look at her on the street and that drove him crazy. So that she could not run away, he had to belittle her more and more and throw at her insults that tore bits of pieces from her soul until she had enough.
She packed a bag and left him at home with their daughters. He did not believe she would leave and was sure she would be back in a day. On four legs.
“Who would take you?” He texted her again and again. She ignored him and did not come back. Within a week the girls went to live with her and he received a summons for divorce negotiation. He arrived chastened, begging for her return. She never went back.
The moral of those stories – small acts of aggression will become violence that is insatiable, especially when you keep quiet and keep your head down until the rage attack is over. When you see the beginning of violence, insanity or great evil directed at you – run away, and the sooner the better.