There was once a girl who longed to be married. She dreamed of being a good wife. She wanted to love her husband and make him so proud of her.
She met her knight in shining armor. Things were swell at first. But night after night she found herself doing things wrong. Everything she did was wrong, in fact.
“I’ll do better,” she said.
But all attempts failed.
“I’ll call him at work, and I’ll remind him how much I love him. I’ll make his favorite dinners. The house will be clean. The kids will behave. It will all be okay.”
“I’ll do better,” she said.
But he was too busy to take those calls. She didn’t realize how busy he was. How important he was. How annoying her calls were. How could he make it out of work on time, if she kept calling and bothering him?
“I’m so annoying,” she thought.
One day, her friend said, “Honey, stop putting yourself down. You’re a wonderful mom, and wife, and friend.”
But she didn’t believe her friend, because night after night, week after week, he told her differently in the tone of his voice, in the rolling of his eyes, of his accusations if she said something the wrong way. Soon, he began berating and belittling her in front of others at dinner parties. Her friends wanted to stick up for her, but they too, were intimidated by her husband. So they remained silent.
“I’m afraid,” she said.
Then he brought home roses and wine.
“He loves me,” she thought.
Then he told her, “don’t take it personally, honey. I have a very important job, and I don’t have time for your calls in the middle of your day of being just a housewife. Do you realize how very important my job is? Of course I love you. I bought you wine and roses, didn’t I?”
“Yes, my husband loves me. This is just the way that he is. I can do better,” she thought.
Even though her friends were not pleased with his behavior and the condescending way in which he spoke to their friend, they continued to encourage her with, “Hang in there, honey. At least he’s not hitting you.”
“Yes,” she thought. “He loves me.”
Week after week after week, he continued to apologize for the condescending way in which he spoke to his wife, and week after week, she and all of her friends believed him. He’s just busy. He just doesn’t have time for my unimportant calls. His job is much, much more important than what I do all day. It’s going to be okay. At least he doesn’t hit me. And after all, I’m really not that good of a wife anyways.
Pretty soon, it’s all that she thought about. Pretty soon, her friends became numb to it too. Pretty soon, her children began to believe Mom wasn’t worth respecting. Pretty soon, her children, belittled and berated by their dad also, began to talk to Mom in the same way.
She longed not to be married, but thought perhaps this was normal, so she didn’t even realize that her dream never really came true. “After all, he buys me presents – flowers and wine, and he’s very, very important at work. He explains his behavior to me every week. It’s actually my fault. It will all be okay. I can do better. At least he doesn’t hit me.”
Note: This is ABUSE. Recognize it for what it is. Don’t say, “that’s just how he is.”
(Friend – speak up.)