Thursday, November 1, 2012
I've been struggling for a while now to label my husband's shifts in attitudes.
Jekyll and Hyde?
So many times women have said, without knowing our situation, "If my husband had a porn problem, I would leave him. THAT'S my line."
I always nod along. I'm sure that IS their line, but when it comes right down to it -when that "line" is crossed, we start to really find out about ourselves.
I know a woman who raised a large family with her husband of many, many years. While his daughter was in high school, he did prison time for having inappropriate relations with her. He did his time, he is a registered sex offender, and he and his wife are still married to this day.
His wife is a very grounded woman.
He is a very somber, humble man. There's not a lick of "I got away with it" in his countenance.
THAT is my line. If you harm my kids, buddy, I'm gone. But I've spent years hurting and healing and hurting and healing... my trust is broken, my faith in my husband wobbly, and something like that would definitely send me running for cover -running away forever.
And as I listen to women insist that if their husband has a porn problem they would leave, I wonder about myself.
Am I just not strong enough?
Am I just stupid?
But the thing is. I know something about people with porn problems that they don't.
People with porn problems can still be nice, giving, warm, wonderful, funny, and repentant.
The porn doesn't define them until... well, until it does. And even then, it isn't obvious to the outside world -it isn't even obvious to them. I see it in my husband, and I've finally found a label for it.
My husband is my Bruce Banner.
He is also my Hulk.
He white-knuckles trying to control the beast -he tries, he hates his Hulk, and he uses all kinds of tools to right the monster.
But something will trigger it, and he will lose control.
And he really does smash.
Smash what trust he's built.
Smash my faith in him.
Smash the kids' little feelings when things get taken out on them that shouldn't.
Smash my bruised heart (sorry, there was no way around being sappily dramatic on that one).
Smash, smash, smash.
And then he comes out of it: he flies out of acting out into a pile of crap, exposed, naked, vulnerable, embarrassed, humbled, and resolved to shove his Hulk out of the picture for good.
The thing is: I can't leave Bruce Banner. Who would? No one with half a brain.
The other thing is: I CAN leave Hulk. I don't freaking have to live with that monster.
I didn't always know that. I didn't realize that I could take the Bruce and leave the Hulk. I thought they were one in the same, marrying one meant marrying the other.
But I didn't marry the Hulk.
And whenever he comes around to smash, I'm leaving. Or I'm barring the door. Either way, there's no place for him here.
And guess what? I'm AM strong enough. I'm NOT stupid.
What's more: I've learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. It isn't all good, but I'm grateful to be learning it. I'm grateful a "line" has been crossed. It's hard and it hurts and sometimes I scream and sometimes I cry and sometimes I write angry letters to women who wear skirts so tight I can see their thong line.
But it's also revealing, and everything I'm learning I get to take with me later on.
I've lived with the Hulk long enough to learn what I've needed to learn from him, and I don't need him anymore. I don't WANT him anymore.
I'll stick with my good doctor.