Quiet Chaos

While drifting in thought as to how my life had come to this, it dawned on me that Ravenswood, our third “fixer-upper” was where I was happiest. We lived there from 1986-1990. It was the last time I felt real deep, honest-to-goodness happiness other than the 3-week trip to Italy in the fall of 2002. I had always been in love with Paris and France, but Italy swept me off my feet. Everywhere I looked was a perfect photo! It was a visual and culinary piece of heaven! But I digress. I’ll save Italy for another day.

Happiness I’ve learned is a very elusive little thing.  For most of my life, happiness for me was the absence of pain and chaos.

Our fourth fixer was a drain on doltoid because he started a new business, Midvale Products. That’s when the verbal abuse became noticeable. Prior to this, because of my upbringing, I just thought that this was life. Deal with it.

With the inception of his company, the systematic “grinding the value out of a person” started becoming a glimmer of something “wrong”. What’s so disheartening is that they don’t even notice the tenor of their behavior changing. When things were tough at work…I was the focus and cause of all of his problems.

I’d write it off to “oh, he’s upset about work”, not seeing it for what it was.  But then you don’t expect it, you don’t imagine that someone you’ve known, trusted and loved for 20 years could treat you badly and hurt your feelings, as if on purpose.  They don’t either. I always knew doltoid was selfish but didn’t realize it was paired with a strong feeling of inferiority. Before the business, he could come home and leave work behind him. Now, it came with him and the “bad days” became more the norm than the exception. His temper was legend at work. He could reduce grown men to sniveling pile of fear and 10 minutes later he’d have forgotten about it. Meanwhile the target of his wrath felt the sting for days. I had also never realized until then that he pathetically relied on my looks and achievements to bolster how he felt about himself.  I mistook what I felt from him as being proud of me.

But after a while all the bad stuff they feel about themselves becomes ‘your fault’ and they feel better so they continue and never look at the true cause of those feelings. I’m not saying I have no faults and prior to this we’d both worked VERY hard to make the marriage work.  But now something was different.  As the company did better, so did his ego. But I didn’t experience happiness. I was just out of pain and for a while things seemed “normal” so I thought I was happy. For me happiness has been the lull before the other shoe drops and chaos rages. It’s the peace one feels between the episodes of crazy making.



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