Quiet Desperation

quiet desperation

Found at “Couples on the Brink”

My emotions are shot. It didn’t take long, maybe fifteen minutes after she came home.

You see, she went on a trip for a few days to visit her sister. I always cherish those times because it means I’m alone. Strangely enough, I do actually get lonely, but that feeling vanishes almost the minute she walks back through the door and starts complaining about me.

Really, I kept the place up. It’s clean, but she complained because I went out of my way to bring my son over to do his laundry after his car wouldn’t start. Then she complained that I was talking to her at all after she was in a car for ten hours. Then she complained because I wasn’t talking to her.

Do you see what I mean?

As much as I felt empty when she was gone, I feel so anxious when she’s here.

Then she’ll act like there’s nothing wrong at all and try some small talk, as if she can’t understand why I feel terrified.

Really, it’s been this way for decades. Oh, I don’t dare tell anyone. No one would believe me. To everyone else, she’s as sweet as pie. In some ways, she does have many fine qualities, but not with me.

Our kids know. That’s why they couldn’t wait to move out. Now they can run their own lives instead of having her micromanage them.

She complains that they never answer her emails or texts, especially when she’s “suggesting” how they could improve this or that about what they’re doing.

At least they can escape. I hope they never make the mistake of marrying someone like their mother…

…or their father. Obviously this is just as much my fault as hers. I stayed. I could have left, but she always guilts me. I’ve made my mistakes and she uses them against me, saying that I’m so much worse than she is and that I’m lucky she didn’t leave me when she had the chance.

Maybe that’s why she’s so angry at me all the time. She feels trapped in a loveless marriage with me, just the same as I feel trapped with her.

Right now, we’re so dependent on one another that we’d probably starve if we tried to live without each other.

Just please let her leave me alone. I’m on pins and needles anyway, waiting for the next explosion or snide remark that could come any second or any minute or not for hours or days.

My health is too crappy for me to escape into drugs or booze, and anyway, she controls every cent.

I used to think that I was alone, that there was no one else in my situation, but I’ve come to realize there are probably tons and tons of couples who on the outside look perfectly normal and happy, but behind closed doors live lives of “quiet desperation” (I think that was part of the lyrics to a Simon and Garfunkel song).

Sorry, but I just had to get this off my chest. There’s no one to talk to, so I’m talking to myself. She can’t hear me. She mustn’t hear me. If she did, then it would be all my fault, and how much she’s sacrificed, and how ungrateful I am, and on and on and on until I just want to blow my brains out (no danger of that, she hates guns so we don’t own any).


Found at Wallpaper World

I need to escape, at least for a little while. It’s hours before bedtime and television is boring. Can’t concentrate enough to read, but when I write, a little door opens and I can step through for a while. I can step through and there are dragons, demons (though I live with one of those), vampires, vixens, and wolves. Even the scary ones are my friends.

Someday, I hope to stay. I keep asking them if there’s a way…a way to make sure the door stays shut once I’m inside, a way to lock it so I don’t get dragged back out into the so-called “real world”.

They just laugh, but a witch says there’s a way for a price. I don’t know. What do you think? Should I trust her? I mean, I already live with one evil witch. Should I trust another one? Besides, living with my wife has already cost me my soul, so what else do I have to give?

On the other hand, what else do I have to lose?

Since this is October and Halloween is about two-and-a-half weeks away, I thought I should start indulging in a few “scary” stories. True, this one isn’t really very scary in a supernatural sense, but I think it’s very scary in a real life sense. In the world around us, in all of those anonymous houses and apartments, how many couples really are living lives of inescapable desperation, quietly suffering, drowning, and dying just a little bit inside every single day?

5 thoughts on “Quiet Desperation

  1. Familiar to all of us, but deeply traumatic at the same time. It makes me glad that I am alone, except for Abba. But then he does not attempt to micromanage me. It is always humans who attempt that.


  2. And where, oh where, might one find a counselor with sufficient insight to confront the abusive behavior and sufficient power to insist that it change? Sometimes a life-threatening situation can be sufficiently awesome to shock the parties into re-evaluating their views of themselves and of their partner — even to realize the meaning of having an actual “partner” rather than a metaphorical punching bag. But must such severity be required, before such couples can change?

    I’m envisioning a treatment similar to something that we discussed once before, where the context was criminal behavior. We recalled an episode or two of a scifi series such as “The Outer Limits”, wherein some sort of virtual reality simulation placed the criminal into situations that re-lived the crime scenario with alternative outcomes, or that represented varied punishment scenarios, over and over again until the subject could acknowledge what he had done and its consequences, and could recognize and enact better views, attitudes, and behavior. While this might be considered a form of brainwashing, it differs from indoctrination brainwashing by being rehabilitative and contemplative, thus rendering it cleansing rather than coercive.


    • I’ve left it somewhat open as to what’s actually happening here and it one partner or the other is the more dysfunctional one…or if it’s just a co-dependent relationship. Also, is this really a fantasy world the fellow has access to or only the delusions of his mind. Maybe both “witches” are one in the same.


      • I’m not sure that functionality or dysfunctionality is the issue in what you’ve described. What I see is pathology: in one case a retreat from abuse in the direction of psychosis; in the other, a pattern of abuse that is evidenced objectively in the response of multiple adult children.


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