“My Wife”

Bubba had a habit of calling me “My Wife.”  He rarely called me Hope.  He would walk in the house after work and say, “How’s My Wife today?”  or “What is My Wife doing?”  When he called to check up on me during the day he’d ask, “Is My Wife busy?”  He was clearly showing that he considered me a possession.  To him, I did not deserve a name, simply what I was to him.  Until he got mad.

When he was mad, I was Hope.  “Hope, we need to talk,” he would say if he called me from work, upset about something I’d done.  Instead of just waiting until he came home to address it, he’d call and say we needed to talk then refuse to tell me what we needed to talk about.  I was left at home to wonder what I’d done and what my punishment would be.

“Hope, why is this garbage all piled up like this?  Why didn’t you take it out?”

“Bubba, that is your one job in this house.  You saw it was full this morning before you left for work.”

“Hope, what is wrong that you can’t take it out instead of letting everyone pile it up so far that is spills over and is hard to take out?”

“Because I’m too busy doing everything else around here.”

“Hope, I work hard taking care of this family.  I don’t have time to take the garbage out in the morning.  Hope, you need to pick up the slack.  I work too hard to have to do everything.”

At that point he would begin yelling, especially if I tried to stick up for myself and stick to my guns that it was actually HIS job to take out the trash.  He’d take the garbage out but he wouldn’t clean up any of the mess it made on the floor.  That, obviously fell under “mopping the floors” and was my job.

I remember getting some emails right after I left.  I got one while I was at my parents house that included a 5 page document that he’d written about what he’d done to us and his plans to change. It was a 4,000 word document.  He used the term “my wife” 49 times.  He used my name zero times.  Not even once.  He might as well have come over and peed on my leg to mark his territory.

After I counted how many times he used “my wife,” I decided to count how many times he used the children’s names or called them “daughter” or “son.”  He didn’t use their names at all.  He used “daughter” 6 times and “son” 10 times.  What really got me was when I decided to count how many times he used, “I.”

Two hundred and sixty-three times! 263!!!!  It really was all about him, wasn’t it?

I still cringe every time I think about how he used to call me “My Wife.”  It wasn’t a term of endearment.  It wasn’t a term of pride.  It was him claiming his possession.  I was never an equal partner in our marriage.  I didn’t have a marriage certificate.  He had ownership papers.  I love that he can no longer call me “My Wife.”  I’m not his wife any longer.  He doesn’t own me.  He has no claim on me.

I am Hope.

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6 Comments

  1. I just finished “Why Does He Do That?” and I just really wanted to thank you for recommending that book. It brought so much perspective and healing and validation for how I was feeling– I’m not crazy! It really is abuse!

    • It really is an eye-opening book. It was amazing to see concrete proof that I was not the crazy one.

  2. Vesper

    Ack! So THAT’S why it bugs me so bad to refer to husband and wife! Mr Snister introduced me as “my wife” without a name thousands of times (we lived in the public eye, so yes, literally thousands). Even the word “husband” for (shall we call him) Jay, the amazing man I’m now married to, doesn’t feel right. It’s like, I had one of those. Husband was a bad thing. The words are CONSTANT mini-triggers. I hate it!

    • It is one of the many things that need healing. What your x was to you was NOT a husband. If you are now married to an amazing man, then he is being a true husband. I haven’t done it, but maybe look up the definition of “husband” and see who fits it better. It is time to reclaim that word for the amazing man you married. It will take work, but I’m sure it can be done.

  3. Yes, there is quite a difference in being truly loved and being a possession. A woman can be cared for in plenty of physical ways, but still be no more than a bird in a gilded cage.

    • Bubba didn’t buy things for me to please me. He bought things for me to use against me. I always “paid” for his gifts. I was definitely that bird in that gilded cage. It was still a cage though.

      I know I need to work on being able to receive gifts. It makes me very uncomfortable.

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