I think something eventually “snapped” inside of me, I looked at Roger one day and realised I no longer loved him. I couldn’t make anymore excuses for him to myself or other people. There was one common denominator in all of our problems – Roger. In dealing with his family, I realised his problems were “ingrown” and unless he sought professional help, his demons were never going to go away. They were riding on my shoulders and by the age of thirty eight after twelve years of marriage, I was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat and high blood pressure. Too many years of gritting my teeth and carrying on had taken their toll. I remember my doctor describing me like a “runnaway train” about to crash into the “bumpers”. I wasn’t honest with her though, I wasn’t overweight, infact I had been losing wieght for sometime, but, I was a bag of nerves. She couldn’t understand why this had suddenly happened – there was nothing “sudden” about it though. Just the sound and sight of Roger becoming aggressive and going red in the face sent my heart into palpitations – I couldn’t cope with this anymore. The tension had to channel itself somewhere and now I needed “drugs” to calm me down.
After twelve years of marriage I came the closest I’d ever come to leaving Roger. His drinking was now a paramount problem and I was desperately trying to hide it from the kids. He would drink and drive and in general, take huge risks, stupid risks. He got arrested once late at night on the tubeway in London for D&D. He’d been drinking all afternoon with a client and continued well into the early hours the next morning. I was frantic with worry and then I got the call. Apparently the security guard had tried to stop him falling onto the tracks as he was standing and wobbling very close to the edge. He’s become argumentative and there was a struggle. The police were called and although they made no charge, he was “kept” in to sober up for his own saftey. When he did eventually get onto the train, he fell asleep and had his business lap top stolen. Such was the pitiful state of his persona, he couldn’t hold it together – alcohol became his daily dose of self indulgence and to hell with the rest of us. To hell with me and the kids.
I might sound very bitter and I am. I’d devoted my life around Roger and I felt so desperately lonely and scared. I realised the kids and I were becoming a huge inconvenience to him and was completely surprised when Roger suggested another holiday for us all. Again, I kept believing Roger would somehow change, he’d see his faults and make amends, “he must love us?” I used to say to myself. But, there were many, many times when I thought his friends and his mother were more important to him than us. I’d learned long before never to criticise his friends or his mother as his true colours would flare up yet again and I would suffer the consequences and so would the kids.
We’d travelled down to his mother’s house the night before our flight, some three and a half hours away from where we lived. We were flying locally from that area and the plan was to sleep one night at my mother and father’s holiday home as Roger’s mother’s house was to small to sleep us all. They were going to be there waiting for us and I was going to stay with them for a couple of weeks when we got back from our holiday. The call at his mother’s house was to be a short visit and to show her the video of our daughter’s school leavers play. She had been the star of the play, taking the lead role and we were both so proud of her performance. I’d already promised my parents that we’d leave the video with them when we were away as they wanted to show the rest of my family and make copies. However, Roger had very different ideas when his mother asked if she could hold onto it until we got back from our holidays. All I said was that my parents were so excited about seeing it, couldn’t I bring it back during my stay after the holiday. That was it, Roger became very strange and refused to do this, so his mother ended up holding onto the tape. I didn’t complain but, I felt very disappointed for my parents.
It was only when we got into the car to drive away from his mother’s house that I realised how angry Roger was. He was boiling, his face getting reddder by the minute. He suddenly repeated his trick of jerking the car from one side of the road to the other to scare me, I looked at him and realised I was in trouble. The kids were screaming, they were getting frightened and all the while Roger threw “mock” punches at my face. Instead of getting onto the motorway, he swerved off the road onto a layby infront of a new, big hotel. Before I knew it, Roger began lashing out at me with his fists, throwing punches at my face. I held up my arms to defend myself and the kids were screaming hysterically now. He hit me several times before opening the door, leaving me and the kids inside the car with the engine still running as he ran away into the night.
We all just sat there, none of us moved or said a word. Eventually, I got out of the passenger seat and drove at a funeral pace to my parent’s house. My parent’s were shocked, I was visibly distressed but, you know, they never realised that Roger had actually attacked me? I told them both, but, they must have misheard me, because they assumed Roger would be on the phone soon after “our” row to put things right. Crazy, I never did “get” this? It was as if they disbelieved me! I was in such a turmoil inside, I put the kids to bed after calming them down and went to bed myself. I took a photo with our camera of my arm – it was blackened fron the top to the bottom. I hadn’t taken off my top infront of my parents so they hadn’t seen it and neither had I at that point. I lay on the bed and for the moment, I contemplated suicide. But, I couldn’t stop seeing my children’s frightened faces at their dad’s violence towards me and I knew I had to survive this, for them.
I was going to leave him.
Next time:- A friend in need