I started this blog as a way to process a very bad thing that happened to me. I met the wrong man. I trusted the wrong man. I married the wrong man. The wrong man took what was whole and pure and promising, me, and did his best to tear away at and demolish all that was unique, all that was special, all that was me. He never loved me. He was incapable of love. He will never, ever know it. What he understood, in his small, commonplace mind, was that there was something about me he would never have. If you have read a poem and taken something away from it for yourself, or looked at a Van Gogh and felt love and pain at the same time, or smiled at some sweet little thing you saw in someone else, you know what I mean. He never could and never will know that. He was, he is, a petty schoolyard bully, he had to try to destroy me, the essence, the joy of me. Because that's what bullies do.

How terribly fragile hopes, dreams, and prospects can be if we are not paying attention. Growing up we are warned about crossing streets, looking both ways for any signs of danger. We are (hopefully) taught to be kind and helpful to others. We are told not to take candy from strangers. Later we are told about how to have safe sex. We can read, we can write, construct an essay. We are taught defensive driving. Why are we not taught defensive living.

In defensive driving we are taught to take control of our own situation as much as possible. We learn to expect the unexpected and anticipate worse case scenarios. Stay alert. Pay attention. Watch for hazards. This is to protect our physical being. But what about our well being. What about protecting our lives from hazardous, worse-case-scenario people? Inattentive driving can get us killed. Inattentive living can destroy our lives in many other ways.

I was always one for spontaneity but what I know now is that it is imperative to question every person who wants to enter our life. For our own happiness and sanity it is a prerequisite to do a credit search of people's past behavior, intentions, and integrity. I wish there had been a course in high school about psychopaths and people who willfully cause pain to others. We think we know about bad guys. We fancy we can spot one.

The problem is, as clever as we think we are, bad people have huge advantages. Having no conscience allows them to think and act in ways we can never fathom. They scan their environment for targets. They are typically charming and attentive - in the beginning. They are looking for - nice, naive, caring, and trusting people. It is as if they have hollowness inside which they need to fill with someone else's noble attributes. They do not understand these things, perhaps they think if they consume someone else, they can somehow have it all. Perhaps they need to destroy what is beautiful in life because they are just ugly people. In the end it is not important to know why. The point is they are dangerous, cruel beyond belief and very, very cunning masters of disguise.

I was treated cruelly. My husband was merciless, deliberate, and remorseless. Yet I stayed with him. This is something which I don't know if I can forgive myself for. Sometimes I see it as a slow kind of suicide, a throwing away of my life. Self-destructive. But I know when I met him I was happy, certain my life would work out with that completely unfounded optimism that most 24 year olds have. I know I am not alone. I know it is more complicated. But I still do not understand why I did not walk away. Open door. Walk. Freedom. Finally, the police took it out of my hands. They told me they feared for my safety. My life.

My life.

This is what has happened to me.


  1. Thank you very much Kim. That's really lovely.

  2. Given what you've written here, I understand that there is likely much more [blank] that could be filled in. I empathize with what you went through as this is an almost verbatim recitation of what my mother experienced with my father. My brother and I grew up, and then got out and moved on. Unfortunately, my mom failed to get out, despite having us as sounding boards for decades, and even through repeated efforts on our part to encourage her to escape and/or occasionally with direct intervention from us on her behalf to serve as a barrier for that mean-spirited bully. Only his eventual descent into dementia and renal failure as a senior necessitated his being relocated to a nursing facility, provided her with a semblance of peace. Sadly, after fifty years in a toxic environment, she is truly quite baked out herself. Folks from their generation didn't air dirty laundry so the extended family only slowly wised up to the actuality of what went on, but as you mentioned more of this type of thing goes on that most people would be comfortable admitting. Best of luck to you!

  3. Thank you for your response Chuck. I remember watching tv movies when I was young about women staying in abusive relationships and while sympathizing, not understanding at all why they stayed. One thing I have learned is that the abuse typically starts very gradually, often in the guise of concern-"Don't go on that trip by yourself because I will worry about you", and before you know it your world has gotten smaller and less free. And if it continues, you lose self-esteem, confidence, and then they can really start amping up their abuse, be it emotional, verbal, physical, etc. With me it was in the last 6 months when my husband started becoming physically threatening, and finally hitting me. And that is, finally, when I went to the police. They shook their heads, and said it all fit the pattern,the isolation, the control. They told me that it ALWAYS gets worse, it will never get better. They told me that. Basically they told me that once they hit you, they could very likely kill you. But there can also be a kind of death of the spirit. I know. Its what I am fighting with now. The police drove me to a shelter and saved my life. I know what you mean about airing dirty laundry. I went for years also not being honest with anyone about what my relationship was really like. Not honest with myself. I feel deep compassion for your mother and anyone subjected to the whims of a bully. I'll be wishing she does find some peace. Again, thanks very much for your response!