Falling in love.Getting married. Starting and raising a family.
Millions of couples enter and exit the different stages every year and I believe that a majority of them find happiness along the way. There are definitely difficulties and challenges on any such journey, be it differences in point of view or financial issues, but people eventually find their ways to rise above the issues.
We met when I was in my early 20s working in a different city. It wasclose to love at first sight, but N had this roguish charm about him. In retrospect, I should have been more wary of the “bad boy” vibe I was getting from him. We became a couple after only a few weeks and things were actually pretty good during the first couple of months.
N was pretty romantic and would sing me songs while strumming the guitar and we spent long hours just being in each other’s company. He was prone to tantrum episodes once a while but I attributed that to his work as a mechanic in a shipyard. It was a rough working environment and he had to work the graveyard shift one week each month and I told myself that the stress of working was getting to him. I was naïve and tried finding excuses for his behavior.
We got married a year later and I was soon pregnant with our first child, a daughter. Things were actually pretty good during the entire pregnancy and N was quite mellow throughout, caring even.
When she was born, N was delighted and things continued to be great for the first couple of months, although he did lose his temper a couple of times after his night shift complaining that he could not get enough sleep.
We were living in a two bedroom apartment at that time and started sleeping in different rooms; a sleeping arrangement that we would maintain throughout our marriage. Even after we were intimate, I had to return to the room I shared with my young daughter after that.
We begin to grow distant and his temper got worst. There were plenty of arguments but I was mostly at the receiving end of the abuse. We had our son 4 years later but things did not improve. N continued to grow ever more distant and we rarely talked outside of what is needed to keep the family running. Most “communication” involved him shouting at me about one thing or another.
Throughout our time together, there were a couple of times where N got violent but had never physically struck me before. However there were plenty of rough treatment such as jerking my arms hard and pushing me around.
Although I never any serious injuries, just bruises from his rough handling, the shouting and verbal abuses never stopped. He would also smash things around the house.A couple of times he even took knives and threatened to chop up my family.
There was even one time he swung the cleaver onto the armrest of the living room sofa and hacked part of it off. N would be mellow for a couple of weeks after such major incidents but the all too familiar shouting eventually returned.
It is painfully clear in hindsight how this relationship was toxic and I should have done more to protect myself. It did not help that we were living far from my hometown and there was nowhere I could go.
I hung on for the sake of my children who were still young and continued to hang on for decades. Or so I thought. I was just too weak to do anything about it and I have failed my children in their formative years. My son grew up with a very bad temper like his father and would often show his tantrum even to me. I guess it was not that surprising since it was what he saw while growing up.
Salvation came after my daughter started working and insisted that my son and I move in with her to her new place. It was a very small apartment but I was experiencing freedom the first time in decades. My son has mellowed down tremendously and has found his own calling as a teacher.
I am glad both my children turned out well despite my inability to protect and guide them. There are and always will be the best I have in life.