Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Cruel Man

On a recent weekend, I was out at the upper back reaches of the Pond doing my annual editing of the wisteria. There is a neighborhood road up there , it's a pretty walk so we get lots of joggers and dog walkers and strollers coming by. On this particular day I saw an elderly lady coming down the way, moving slowly and a mite stiffly. As she came closer I realized she was not strolling by, but purposefully headed my way. I straightened up from my tasks in order to greet and chat in the typical Southern way.

She approached with a smile and straightforwardly asked,
" Are you the lady who fixes up the inside of peoples homes"?
"yes'm, I have that pleasure and sometimes the outside too " a responded with a smile.
" I need help"
" What kind of help"?
" I can't stand being in my house."

I paused and took a good look. Droopy shoulders, slightly stooped posture, fidgity hands, anxious eyes. No comment on the needs of the house, the comments were about self.

" Do you know why"? I queried.

There was a pause, a bowed head, a big sigh before making the effort to lift her chin off her chest and in little more than a whisper say,
"It makes me cry".

I put the pruners down, shucked off the gloves and said,
" I expect we better go see what we can do about that"

We chatted on the stroll to her house and she perked up a bit, maybe hoped a bit.

As we came up her driveway her husband approached to introduce himself then said,
"Aren't you the lady down the street with that loud hound'?
We chatted a bit about the Hound's rescue story then his wife and I moved on into the house.

The house is an unattractive 70's ranch with a choppy floorplan, original finishes, low ceilings ,
minimal windows and entirely too much cheap, old dark paneling. I did wonder how this house came to be in our area where most of the houses are architectural gems on acreage lots with mature trees and vast lawns. The house is gloomy, not just because of the minimal window space but this "L" shaped structure is oriented North-South so there is no direct light and very little "borrowed" light. The morning light is blocked by an addition on the back side of the "L" and by a 2 car detached garage.The afternoon sun does not brighten anything because there are no windows on this side of the house. One might call it "unattractive" from the exterior but it is definitely more than "unattractive" on the inside. It is grim. We made our way from room to room and in each room she apologized for how awful things looked. Every space was clean, neat, orderly, a bit spare but every room sported the smells of either furniture polish or pinesol.

Once we circled around to the Kitchen she offered sweet tea and a cookie, which I accepted because I wanted to observe how she functioned in the space. It is also an unattractive and
akward space. 70's floral wallpaper, painted in place skewed cabinetry, poor quality aging appliances, chipped laminate countertops, drab linoleum floors, no light from the small high window above the sink. There is a poorly constructed "breakfast bar" that was added at some point to the otherwise galley style Kitchen. There is no knee space at this bar and it projects too far into the circulation zone for normal function. To get to the refrigerator she must slide around the bar to a far wall where the appliance stands three quarters of the way over the only other window in the space. The house was clearly built as cheaply as possible and subsequent owners have not improved things.

We made our way to the Breakfast Room which looks to be a poor quality enclosure of a former
screened porch. Lots of that cheap paneling, but real wood floors and a window on one wall. I learned over the tea and cookie that she had never liked the house, had "begged" her husband to not buy it but had nonetheless been there for twenty years. What, I wondered, made this the year of the tears? So I asked what made this year different?

She has had a terrible year. One of her sons, father of four, died in a car wreck on the way home from a retreat the entire family had attended. They had actually passed his smoldering car on the interstate without realizing ... On the way out of the memorial service for her child, she missed a step , fell hard and broke an elbow. She was sent to the hospital in an ambulance while the rest of the family escorted their loss to the cemetary. A week after getting the all clear from the elbow repair she was tripped by a running child in the grocery store and broke a hip. That injury required hip replacement surgery, physical therapy and a lot of time indoors to grieve.
Poor thing. Somewhere in there friends and family began to realize she was not " getting on with life" and urged her to get out more, do more, focus on other things.

Her husband, she explained was very disappointed with her. He is a retired preacher and has admonished her severely for her inability to accept God's will. Her grief, he had declared, is the result of her willfulness against God. He does not understand how a God loving man , who has spent his entire life in the service of the Lord could at this stage of his life, be burdened with a wife who refuses to accept it is God's priviledge to call home any of his children he wants without the permission of their mortal mothers. She went on to explain her preaching man had repeatedly mentioned her need to read about Abraham being willing to sacrifice his child and that might help her with her "slippage". ( I thought God spared Abraham's child from sacrifice but then I'm not a preacher).

About 6 months after the funeral, friends called and insisted they get out a bit and would come by Saturday morning and take them for brunch at a favorite eatery. They agreed to meet, but would transport themselves because of other plans. Mrs. was still using a cane from the hip replacement so her spouse went to bring the car around by the door to save her the trip. Somehow, it is unclear what exactly happened, but the reality is he ran over her. That horror shattered her other leg, not the one with the hip replacement, a few ribs, a collarbone and her jaw. So once she got out of the hospital, it was back to sitting in the house of gloom . Where her spirits took a steep decline.

Her daughters in law pitched in and regulary covered her "duties" and consoled her husband for the trauma he was enduring. The DILs embarked on a rescue mission and determined to cheer her up by painting her living room . It is now the color of newly dead people. That godawful shade of puce no sane person would ever choose. It looks bad on it's own but looks really horrid next to the adjacent red on red striped wallpaper in the Dining Room. She thanked the DIL's and cried.

A horrible year indeed.

But we made a priority list and I made encouraging statements about how lots of things could be done to improve her home without it costing a fortune. I did get around to asking if she and her Mr. had talked about fixin' things and did they have a budget. Oh yes, they had and the number they felt comfortable with was twenty thousand. Great! Everything we had talked about could not be accomplished with that budget but we surely could open up some spaces, take down wallpapers, replace old flooring, add some lighting and revise the Kitchen but not replace appliances or cabinetry. Maybe the DIL's and grown grandchildren could provide volunteer labor for things like wallpaper removal and painting to preserve funds for other applications. I would design the rennovation plans and fetch a contractor for estimates. I made no mention of my normal fees for services. There was no need as I knew this would be a gift.

Her husband was waiting for me at the end of his driveway. He wanted to make sure I understood he was the head of household and all family decisions rightfully belong to him.
I nodded my understanding, not trusting myself to speak and mosied on home.

So yesterday, I went to meet with them about the plans and check their schedules for a good time to have the contractor come take a looksee. I realized straight away that something was amiss. Preacherman was in his pulpit modality and his wife was slumped and quiet. In this business, you learn how to navigate the divides between spouses. So I made my presentation to him, not her and approached it from the standpoint of investment and resale, trotted out supportive statistics and did my best to admire all his observations and commetaries. On the rare occasion when she had comments to make they were met with a stern look from him and a , " Now Mother, you don't understand these things so it's best if you just stay quiet". We played a round of twenty questions. I'd certainly taken his measure in the driveway that first day and new there would be difficulties. I came armed with data to confirm all my statements and recommendations. I was oh so careful about my body language and facial expressions. If there was even the slightest chance she could have some respite from the gloom, I wanted her to have it. Of course, I could have walked away from the onset. I could have called and made scheduling excuses or just have been a no show. But her first comment, "I need help", echoed in my head, and in my heart and I was bringing to the table all I had to offer on that front.

It wasn't a bad meeting. Towards the end of the meeting, after we had established an appointment for the builder to come evaluate and estimate he mentioned things had changed a bit since my first visit to their home. He cleared his throat and produced what I am sure is his most authoratative pulpit voice to state that one of his grandsons had approached him about wanting to build or buy his first house and was, as is proper, seeking financial assistance from his grandad to get his "start". After a pause, I told him I was not sure I was understanding the significance of his statement. He smiled at me and tapped the table top with a pointed finger then said, " A man has a duty to provide so I am commanded by God to see to the needs of my grandson, a fine young man, before I give in to the foolish desires of this old woman".

I held his gaze for a long silent moment before looking across the table to his wife. She sat perfectly still, really expressionless as massive quantities of tears flowed down her cheeks.
Even if I were a biblical scholar armed with chapter and verse I knew it would not have been possible to effect his thinking. It was a struggle to control my response to that comment, but I did finally reach over and pat his hand while saying, " I think we all struggle with balancing our many needs and commitments. I am sure a man like you will do everything you can to meet the needs of all your family in the short term and the long term. The truly blessed thing about family homes is they nurture all of the family. Those who live here and those who gather here for
family events. Your family is writing it's history here weekly as well as on celebration days like, Father's day or backyard Easter egg hunts, or fourth of July bar-b-ques with fireworks. So what you do now positively benefits all your family while you are still here to enjoy them and guide them. As the family patriarch, I know you can understand investing in your family home now will ultimately help you secure the opportunity to help all your grandchildren in the future."

I carefully did not mention his wife. I deliberately did not look at his wife. He was processing my commentary and before he could speak I asked, " How many grandsons do you have"? They have 5 grandsons, 2 granddaughters. I then said, " My goodness, are you so blessed you can make this same gift to all 7 grandchildren? I am impressed with your generosity!"
"Well no, we can't do this for all our grandchildren", he stated.
"Oh"? I responded, " What will you say to the next one who needs his start?"

A bit of hemming , hawing and throat clearing then he stood signaling the conclusion of our meeting and said, " Let me know when you get that contractor visit scheduled".

I fled to the Pond.
I barely made it inside the back door before I started screaming about effing cruelty masquerading as "godliness" and how no amount of improvements in the structure would make improvements in that over righteous horror of a man. I detest men who refer to their wives as "Mother" as if their only purpose in life was to be the oven for their seed. I so loathe a man who will speak of his wife in her presence as if she were the wallpaper. I am ill with sadness for a woman who has spent her life in service to this man and his congregations and now, at age 80, is consigned to sit in that horror house she "begged" him to not make her live in and endure his sanctimonious judgement of her grief while mocking her needs.

Please, there are a lot of smart people on this blog, have any of you any recommendations to offer? I am not sure I can see past my rage. I know it is a very, very long shot but I really want this woman to have some respite from the gloom if not from the tyranny in her life. Surely someone has advice on how to deal with this dreadful mindset? I know how to improve her house. I am a designer, not a shrink so I don't really understand how to navigate around him.

Send help!

26 comments:

kmwthay said...

Oh Fishy. I have much admiration for you and your ability to carefully consider your words before speaking them. I am mostly incapable of doing that myself.

It's definitely hard to reason with people who are set in their ways.

My best advice, and it isn't much to offer, has helped me in a few situations when dealing with difficult customers and others in various instances in my professional experience.

You have to find a way to get this grumpy old man to think that everything you are doing is/was his idea. It definitely sounds like you are on the right track, when you said to him that his house is creating memories for all of his family. (Brilliant, BTW)

Perhaps ask his opinions on what he thinks would be more practical and efficient in their kitchen/eating area. Especially as they age... what does he feel would be helpful... that sort of thing. All the while having your ideas about improvements ready to suggest in a way that makes him think he thought of it. He’s just the sort of man who needs to have the final say so, and “make the decisions for his family.”

I will definitely keep this couple in my thoughts and prayers. She needs some change in her life, and Fishy, bless you for taking on the challenge. Maybe just being her friend could be worlds of help to her.

fishy said...

kym,
Yep. I agree with you. I did review with him his wishes, his preferences, lauded his input and so forth but OHHHHHHHHHH how hard it is to swallow what that mean man serves!

Boxer said...

I think your tag is a good question. I was tempted to throw myself in front of one, just READING about him.

I admire you for quickly shifting your presentation to include this "man". It breaks my heart to hear of the pain and suffering she's endured in just the last year (if not her entire life) and to know she's alone in her pain?

Heart breaking.

I hope all of your hard work does give this poor woman some happiness, but I worry it's going take more than just new paint, to truly help her. I wish I had some advice for.... you clearly know what you're doing and if I were in your situation I'd be killing him with kindness and then quietly finding out when he's gone from the house and spending time with the woman during that time to find out what SHE wants.

xoxo to you Fishy - will you keep us posted on this?

CHEF TROLL said...

Your label was scary. Preacher's wives, especially RETIRED Preacher's wives, can be the personification of Passive-Aggressive-Personality-Disorder.

I'd bet if you find those "friends" he hasn't succeeded in running off, they'd tell you things got worse when he retired. It's also possible that the surviving Son or Sons are aware of what's going on. And possess the cajones to stand up to him.

Man spends X number of years in charge of a Congregation, a small Business, a Staff, whatever. He retires and decides to focus ALL his Management Acumen on "fixing" the long-suffering spouse.
Petty-Dictator-Syndrome.

I liked Kmw's practical advice a lot. But suspect there ARE underlying Psychological Problems with BOTH of them.

On a lighter note, if I send you photographs of my empty rooms and empty walls, can you give me an idea what to do with them?

I'm tired of having guests ask if I moved in last week!

The raw materials are a lot better than the Preachers. Plenty of light. Tile floors. 5 groovy ceiling fans.

fishy said...

Boxer,
I KNOW, reading about him, or short stints in his presence stresses me plenty. I do not know how she has endured.

His statement is " the car hit her because she was not standing where I told her to stand." I nearly broke a tooth hearing that statement!
Was the CAR in control?

I am praying for wisdom and control of my sometimes sharp tongue in hopes she can have something to provide some solace in her daily life.

I find the man an absolute horror but I have not a single doubt that he sincerely believes he is a good God fearing man seeking to honor his duties with guidance and forbearance. I certainly will never change his mindset but am thinking I need to try to understand it so I can help his wife.

Thanks for the encouragement.

fishy said...

Troll,
Yep, definitely a bad scenario... borders on elder abuse and is certainly emotional abuse. I recognize their problem is not a design problem and needs intervention beyond my skill set.

My prayer is, if I can convince him to invest in the property then maybe, just maybe I can wring enough progress out of this to lessen her stresses. I can't change him, I CAN transform that house given the opportunity to do so.

Yep, send an e-mail and I will tell you how I work with folks long distance.

K9 said...

i do have some advice. i will drive over there and implant a pair of scissors into his trachea. will i burn in hell? let's ask preacherman as he gurgles his way to the laword.

arent homicidal fantasies satisfying?

hang in there. i think you did a great job managing the situation.

K9 said...

how about we let him strip the wallpaper. i'll hold the ladder.

Romany Angel said...

I haven't been commenting anywhere of late Fishy but I felt compelled to here. This literally broke my heart.


I do have a suggestion on how to help this woman but I'm afraid it wouldn't be legal and would involve a speeding car with husband in the near vicinity.


I despise so called god fearing people who are cruel and often sadistic in the name of doing god's work. How dare they hide behind religion to do the devil's bidding.


I wish I could come up with something helpful but you are dealing with someone who as far as I'm concerned is sub human. I do wish you luck though because that poor woman certainly needs help. Bless you for trying to give it to her. What a sweet and kind lady you are.

fishy said...

K9!
LOLx2
You can just imagine my fantasy sitting in his damn depressing house while he boldly critiqued the "foolish desires of this old woman".

Scissors to the trachea works for me!
Or.... holding the ladder works for me too.
Or running over him with a car.
Or forcing him to spend the next twenty years of his life living someplace he can't stand that makes him cry. Or how about Hell for all eternity?

RAngel,
So good to hear from you. Again, I agree, I loathe people who claim to be guided by God but clearly are not.

On some level I realize this is sickness and I should have compassion for both of them. At the moment I am still at the "scissors to the trachea" fantasy from K9 about him. A very long way from compassion!.
Seriously Angel girl, you would have howled with laughter had you witnessed my door slamming, howling, vituperative rant upon returning to the Pond. I screamed and stomped my way through the house, up the stairs and into a pounding hot shower.

My one ray of hope? The contractor I've scheduled to come and talk with them has an awesome story of giving up a life of sin and embracing God. It's quite the come to Jesus story, well told and makes a really good point. I am praying he will be the instrument of the tipping point and "Mother" will no longer have to sit in the dark and cry alone.

fishy said...

Bloggers,
here is the question that echoes in my head.

Why does a man like this feel glorified in elevating his grandson while smashing his wife?

Maybe if I can figure that out, I could ask the contractor to present things in a way that would make preacherman feel glorified in addressing this "duty".

Boxer said...

That's a tough question... why does he feel a woman, his OWN wife is less than a man?

It's as old as dirt. She might as well being wearing a burka.

I thought to myself "I can mess him up worse than a car."

pamokc said...

Fishy Fishy FIshy, you handled it gracefully. My only advice would be next time, take a man around as back up. (One sympathetic to you of course.) HE's gotta feel in control so another guy ought to be able to give him the nudge and the wink and roll the eyes and say "wimmin, what can you do?"

I'd be playing to his preacher side as well, and say you could have a house blessing or family reunion etc etc. Gotta be an event to look forward to... so the focus is on something **besides** the remodel, something that is the **goal** of the remodel.

Maybe underneath it all, he wants to see her happy.

the walking man said...

My first instinct is to use the mans head to open up the walls so more light shines in...but that would only be temporary because he would soon enough block out any illumination.

What you have to realize is that these people, preachers, think that the little voice they hear is God speaking to them. God does speak to man but in this case his own voice drowns out the voice of God; which is much quieter.

You will never convince him that he is anything other than what he sees himself as so the changes to the structure have to come from a different direction.

Not the wife, not you, but rather the family has to want them done and they are the ones who have to express that desire, not for grandma's peace of mind (he gives a shit less about that) but rather because changes would benefit the entire community and clan.

Find a way to get them on board then the patriarch will relent for his perception of the greater good.

Give him a way to feel saintly and he will give everything to comply with that feeling.

Absent that I like K9's resolutions.

Aunty Belle said...

Fishy- Icthy,

Ya done real good--real good.

I got a method fer ya, but first--

Ya know this weasel took up "preachin" as a means of dominatin' others while lookin' sanctimonious. My book learnin' is paleolithic, but I did have a smart psych prof who warned us'uns of those personality disorders that seek positions of authority over the vulnerable in order to feel powerful enough to cover their own glaring inadequacies.

This includes prison guards, policemen, teachers of the retarded, and yep, preachers--in each case the profession carries authority over others with no escape.

I'd be willin' to bet this "preacher" got his certificate from some diploma mill--but if not, find out who his own superior is an' write a letter outlinin' the man's pathological cruelty.

Now fer Aunty's solution. Get yore self a pocket Taser (the C2 comes in "designer " colors!) When ya go speak to the fella an' he makes derogatory comments about the missus, zap him from yore pocket. When he recovers be very solicitous of his "encounter wif' the Lawd" ...how his St. Vitus dance and kissin' the floor musta a been a sign from heaven remindin' him that a married woman ain't called to submit unilaterally, but only to the degree that the husband is Christ-like--which this one ain't. Invite him to repentance.

Iffin' he gits testy about yore theology, zap him again.

Tell him ya seen a purple halo hoverin' over his haid an' how ya had a vision of God's Glow-ry holdin' back the angel of justice --cause otherwise preacher man would be a maggot snack next week.


Leave the Taser wif' the missus.

Fishy, what that poor soul of a woman needs is a friend. Ya ain't gonna change that warthawg of a husband. The DIL's is afeared to rock the family boat. Jes' provide a few afternoons of tea fer the ole soul.

An mail warthawg a copy of Flannery O'Connor's short story, "Revelation."

Heh.

Dani said...

This just breaks my heart! I hope you can get past the husband and bring a little sunshine into the house and her life. So hard facing life when you feel like you're nothing. Shame on that man!

I think we'd all be happy to hold that ladder.

fishy said...

Such good suggestions Bloggers! I am truly appreciative none of you wrote to tell me ,
"what a man chooses for his own wife is nobody's business but his". You know, like what kind of car he buys.

Boxer,
I confess my very unchristian thought about wishing I knew how to use those big red gloves of yours. Like K9, I had quite the payback fantasy about smashing body parts.

Pam,
Thanks for taking the time to help, I know you have a very full plate these days. YES! I agree with you, the "reward" he needs for accomplishing this task must be about him and not her. I tried hard in that meeting to approach things from the standpoint of the "Patriarch" providing for his family... which may have landed the first chink in his blockhead but my worry now is how to improve beyond that first chink.... it is a LARGE block.

Walking man,
Nice to hear from you and I LOVE the fantasy of opening up the wall with his head! Made me LOL.
I agree, this man will never change he is over 80 and I suspect Troll is right, the creep probably accelerated his tyranny after retirement.

I do think her sons, DILs and possibly some of the older grandchildren might be recruited to the mission because on that first visit she did mention they are begining to vocalize their discomfort in this house when they visit. Also, the DILs, while making a horrid color choice, did make a "gift" of painting the Living Room to "cheer her up" so that to me indicates others in the family are loving and concerned.
If preacherman adjudicates against "investing" in this house, then my fallback position is to offer my services/ guidance to help her have a family clean-up, fix-up, paint-up weekend with as many family and church friends as possible.

I did think last night I might ask if there are out of work friends from his past congregation who could bring their skills and then preacherman could have his "glory" over having helped his "flock".

I am still liking the head thru the wall image!


Aunty Belle!
Welcome home, we all missed ya.

HOWL!!!!!! I love the come to Jesus via the taser scenario, I can just see that purple halo glow. I 'spect this sounds like I am the crazy one but I swear all the 'equalizers' the bloggers have suggested have been balm for me.

Part of the angst I have experienced about this is
this lovely lady is nobody's fool. She is 80 years old, has all her wits and is in amazing physical condition despite her "really terrible year". I have a mom near her age and I can readily see me getting out more than a taser if anyone treated my mother to this sort of cruel tyranny.

What she did say on that first come to fetch me day was that she had begged preacherman to not buy the house, that she had never liked the house, never liked living there but there she was, twenty years later. She also mentioned she had spent most of those 20 years staying busy with friends and family, spending more time out than in, really avoiding lengthy stays indoors because it had always depressed her.

But this year, with all her broken body parts, she has been required to be in that house! She has not been able to drive herself and apparently he has discouraged lifetime friends from " stopping by to disturb her".
I now read that to mean he did not want lifetime admirers from his flock to come by and see his shattered wife then go out into the community and tell the story

More control....sure
but
more than that
I get the idea he is angry about the reflection on him about running over his wife in the restaurant parking lot. Really the man baldly declares the CAR ( not him) hit her because she

" was not standing where I told her to stand".

I think he has severely limited her interaction with others because he did not want folks all over town spreading the story of his stepping on the accelerator instead of the brakes.
I have no doubts he was vigilant about control, control, control. He also refers to this happening to him, ie he had to endure this terrible experience because she went and stood in the wrong place.

OMG! bring on the taser, the gloves, the car, the scissors, the ladder and maybe a few stones.

Being a Southern woman Belle, I did invite her to walk on over to the Pond to see how we handled opening up our older house. That happened after that first visit but afore the presentation. She came in my Garden Room door cause there are no steps to navigate like at the front door. This room is light, bright, airy with big views in three directions,
She came in and looked every way possible then broke out with a big, big smile and declared,
"well a soul could have some peace in a room like this". She went all around the room touching and patting things the way the elderly do and sat in every seat to see the views from each and she just looked like a teenager in love. I cried after I got her back home.

I want to smite that man.

There is no question, despite her terrible year and decades of marriage to the preacherman and twenty years in the house of gloom, SHE IS STILL IN THERE!

And yes Belle, she has been invited for tea and cookies and to just come sit a spell while I putter in the garden.

Bloggers, thank you all for being so gracious about this. And please do continue to send advice...

CHEF TROLL said...

This is blogging at it's best. Fascinated by the reader comments and Fishy's slow release of additional details. Especially, "She wasn't standing where I told her to stand".

Especially interesting that a TROLL is the only reader who didn't suggest a violent solution.

Anyhay, YES I do believe that the situation got MUCH worse as he aged and then retired. No, I don't believe he was a complete lunatic all his life who bullied and belittled his congregants in the manner he now treats his wife.

With SBC Churches, if a YOUNG Preacher acts like that, he gets the BOOT and darned promptly.

In fact, it's quite possible he was an effective leader way back when and the Wife was probably involved in the Church and proud of him.

Would be helpful to know what the Church's affiliation was, if any.

Hopefully, Fishy will get a clearer picture of the past-and-present from the Sons, Old Friends, DILs etc...

And can them embark upon a corrective course.

Or she could hit him with a big Troll Club!

fishy said...

Well,
Kudos to you for having Troll Control on NOT offering a violent response to the Southern Baptist
preacherman. Although, I think you did mention if his sons were appropriately equippecd they might want to stand up to the
"patriarch". Kym and Pam, like you, are reasoned people trying to find an understanding way to navigate this situation.

I agree he probably WAS successful in his career, else they would have shipped him off somewhere else where he could maybe connect better.

And yes, I do think he has had a terrible year too. He has lost a son and been through the trauma year with his wife. I expect he feels GREAT DENIAL about the running over event because casting the blame on the car or on the location for standing is simply not a rational thought.

I do however find it relevant, and to my way of thinking probably habitual , that he denigrates his wife in order to elevate himself.

Troll, the truth about this Fishy is just can't stand those kind of people. So yeah, the retribution fantasies have been entertaining!

moi said...

Sorry I got over here so late. Your post was tough tough for me to read, as I can't imagine ever being in that situation and my heart so goes out to that poor woman.

Naturally, my first instinct is gun/bullet/head/finito, but yeah, that's not much of a solution if it ends you in the clink :o).

So I think all you can do is what you've been doing: helping to the best of your ability as you work around this asshole. Let him keep his misguided, puffed up image of himself so he doesn't end up doing further damage to his wife during this process.

Amazing to me in this day and age, in this country, that a woman could be so beaten down as to stay with such an asshat, especially given the fact that she does seem to have a large and supportive family.

Then again, you can't spell victim without an "I".

fishy said...

Moi,
sorry, it IS tough to read isn't it? Also tough to write, but somewhat cathartic.

I probably included more info than I should have but I was motivated by my desire for guidance. I just do not want to mess this up for her if there is any chance at all...

Thank God women today, at least here, can stand up and refuse to sign the papers to buy a house they don't want to inhabit. We are no longer indoctrinated from birth with the idea we should acquiesce to our men, be they fathers, brothers, spouses, preachers, teachers ....

I actually do know a woman who SWEARS in her house growing up, her brother had a personal section of the refrigerator just for his "special" foods which all the girls were forbidden to touch. Why? you ask, the answer they always received was, "because he will grow up to be the man of his house".

INSANE!!!!!

K9 said...

i was thinking about what the troll said -about how many of us women had violent thoughts? well, unless a woman went from her mamas tit into the arms of prince charming, chances are that she encountered a controlling dick somewhere along her path. luckily most of us are of a time and age where we felt we had options. i think this elderly lady was not of a mind set that she could walk away from it and still have her family or support herself or whatever. i found it chilling to imagine living inside a place that makes you desperately unhappy for 20 TWENTY!!!! years. to think a life could be wasted in despair. that is terrifying.

pamokc said...

He's a snake-man of another order; and like any man, you have to make him think everything is his own idea. That's a talent, obviously :)

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