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Did You Ever Really Take a Close Hard Look

October 31, 2013 2 comments

… and realize that a relationship was not healthy and it definitely was NOT how it appeared to others?

It’s been 9-1/2 months since Mark passed away, and it’s been a little over five months since I began dating George. I’ve had my share of negativity and criticism for dating so soon, but that is not what I am going to write about today.

Last night I had a bad dream. I dreamed that Mark and I were in the supermarket, and he was yelling at me, telling me that I was stupid because I added Pork Chops with a bone to the cart instead of the boneless variety. In my dream, Mark was calling me stupid and threatening to leave me in the store. I woke up, startled and visibly upset. George was awake when I had my dream, and he was very concerned and caring, and he tried to get me to talk about my dream. I feel uncomfortable talking about Mark to him, especially when it has to do with feelings and how Mark could be when he was less than kind. I don’t want to hurt George with the things I feel, and I don’t want him to think that he was a “replacement” or that he is inferior to Mark because that is so not the case. They are two completely different men who were raised worlds apart in many aspects.

Anyway, I couldn’t fall back to sleep because my mind was racing with lots of thoughts and feelings. In a case like this, I am my own worst enemy. My thoughts were running amok, and I started crying for many reasons, none of which I wanted to share with George. I hid my tears from him for quite a while, but eventually the sniffles will get you every time.

George pulled me close, and he encouraged me to talk about what was bothering me. I knew that he knew that it was not just the dream that was bothering me and there was much more to it. I finally shared with George some of the things that I have come to realize since Mark passed away. I would never say that I didn’t love Mark, but I will say that he was not always the nice guy that he appeared to be. He did have a mean side, and some of the things that he would say to me often haunt me to this day. My friends and family thought he was a great guy, but they did not live with him, nor did they have to deal with the wrath of his issues.

cruelMark often lacked the ability to show affection. He rarely held my hand – either in public or private. I would take his hand while we were out, and he would hold it for a minute or two, but then he would find a reason to let it go, and he would never reach for it again. I can honestly say that he never reached for my hand in the entire time we were together.

He also did not like to kiss. He would give me a kiss on the forehead and occasionally on the lips, but never did we ever share a passionate kiss. In the later years, his excuse would be that he didn’t want to kiss me because I kiss the dog. I can distinctly remember on our wedding day, he simply gave me a quick peck on the lips.

Mark also didn’t like to snuggle very much. He never really let me lie on his chest because he would say that I was too heavy. In fact one of his famous comments was that “your bulbous head is too heavy”. Not a very kind thing to say, but I learned to deal and adapt.

Mark also had a whole plethora of comments that he would make for a given situation. When I got home from work, I would go to him and try to be close to him and hug him, but he would make his daily comment saying, “you smell bad.” I know that I didn’t. I take a shower at the very least once every day, and I certainly do not do anything or expose myself to things that would make me smell less than fresh and/or clean.

He criticized my cooking. I will certainly give him credit for being a MUCH better cook than I ever will be. Yet Mark would make comments to friends and family saying, “Bonni can cook, but it’s not edible.” I knew that to be completely untrue since I cooked for my first husband for 15 years, and he NEVER ever complained about anything I cooked.

Mark also disliked my hair. He would tell me on a regular basis that it was “stringy and disheveled,” He also told me that he hated straight hair and I should go get it permed and styled. Well, gee, I have had straight (and for the most part long) hair all of my life. He knew when he met me that my hair was straight. So if he hated it so much, why was he with me??

Mark hated when I cried. I’m not sure if it made him uncomfortable or he just thought it was a weak woman trait. When I would cry, he would always tell me to pull myself together and stop crying, or he would give me a “real reason to cry.” I found that very cruel because I am emotional, sensitive and passionate, and his coldness and lack of compassion would make me feel unloved.

Mark would complain that I was a slob. Granted, I am no neat freak, but I don’t live in a pig sty either. I admit that I hate cleaning, and my cleaning skills leave a LOT to be desired. After years of listening to him complain, I simply tuned him out. After he passed away, I decided to treat myself, and I hired a house keeper to clean my house twice a month. It is an added expense to my strained budget, but it is certainly one that is worth every penny that I spend!

Mark also complained about my driving. I admit that I do drive fast, I tend to have moments of road rage, and I can be quite aggressive, but I like to think I am a safe driver, and I would certainly never put anyone’s life at risk. Mark would scream at me when I drove, but when I offered to let him drive, he turned me down because he hated to drive (unless he absolutely had to do it).

I also find it ironic that in the last six years of Mark’s life, I cared for him when he was sick. I used all of my vacation time to take him to doctor appointments and visit him in the hospital on his many stays. I stayed home from work when he didn’t feel good to care for him and made sure he took his medications and that he had food to eat.

I can remember many occasions when I was sick that Mark went to work and left me to fend for myself. When I had shoulder surgery, he complained incessantly about having to take the day off. When I needed him to drive me to my follow up appointment, he did do it but under extreme protest, telling me what an inconvenience it was for him. I would have driven myself, but it’s hard to drive when you don’t have use of your right arm to start the car, shift gears and manage the controls.

When my doctor had me go for a baseline colonoscopy, Mark squawked about having to take a day off to take me for the procedure. Yet a few years later, I went with him for his procedure, and I never complained or bitched about it. I just took the day off from work, and I went with him for support.

Sometimes Mark would just say cruel things to me, and I never knew how much he truly meant. Even if he did not mean them, the words hurt, and the sting stuck with me to this very day. For example, many times Mark would tell me that I was stupid and I would never be successful because I didn’t have a college degree. I never countered what he said to me because that would just add fuel to the fire. It was simpler if I just said nothing. He told me on many occasions that I was “the most selfish person” he’d ever met. I always knew this to be untrue, but again, I just kept silent because there was no sense in making a big scene.

One of the times that I did stand up to him only succeeded in making him fly into a rage. Looking back at it now, it really was a childish argument. He was watching one of his history television shows, and I was listening to music with head phones on. He spoke to me, and I did not hear him. He must have raised his voice to get my attention, but I still did not hear him. The next thing I know, he grabbed my iPod, and he ripped the headphones off my head. He started screaming that I needed to listen to him when he talks. I came back at him with a response, and the whole thing escalated. We started fighting and screaming at each other. Then next thing I know, he’s holding a knife in his hand. He raised it and slammed into into my dresser, breaking a Lenox ring holder and leaving a gouge in the wood top of my dresser. At that point, he was acting like a mad man, waving the knife around, and I truly feared for my own personal safety and well-being. I grabbed the telephone and I threatened to call 911. He lunged for the phone (or maybe me), and I pulled away. I told him if the cops come, they will arrest him, and his career as a teacher would be over. I think that comment was sobering enough, and he grabbed his keys and wallet and he left. He was gone for two days. I am assuming that he went to his mother’s house. He never told me, and I never asked.

Why am I bringing all of this up now? Well, I was extremely troubled by my dream last night because it was so real, the hurt was still fresh, and the scars still remain. I know that not all men belittle woman, not all men have violent tempers, not all men say cruel things, and not all men are selfish. The ones who treat women poorly are obviously not real men, or else they have their own personal issues that need addressing.

George has made me realize that some men do have a gentle and warm heart and do not feel the need to treat a woman with disrespect. He is affectionate (loves to hold hands, kiss, and cuddle), he always tells me how good I smell, he enjoys the meals that I cook for him, he accepts that I am not a neat freak who loves to clean (although he HATES that my hair is in the sink, drain, and just about everywhere), he tells me that I am beautiful and smart (especially when I know all the answers in a category on Jeopardy), and when I cry (whether out of frustration, sadness, happiness or some other reason), he wants to comfort me, know and understand why I am crying, and if there is a problem, he wants to fix it.

meanDue to circumstances beyond my own control, I was given an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s been scary at times, but it has certainly been rewarding. I have learned things about myself that I never knew. I know that I am a stronger person than I gave myself credit for being. And I know that I won’t ever put up with a man who puts me down, makes me feel threatened in any way, raises a hand to hit me, or who does not support me.

Life is good.

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