Well, does he hit you though?

…does it ever get “physical”?

Yep. OK. “No, not any more.”…so you’re off the hook! We don’t have to go down that path, because if there’s no hitting, it’s fine!

But. that’s not the fucking point. (In my case.) That would be somehow easier. (I often imagine.) It’s certainly not the the thing I’m most scared of. Because you can live through a whole fuckload of under-the-radar emotional violence that nobody sees, that traumatizes you and your poor baby children, and not even be fully aware of it half the time.

That’s what scares me.

Because (take heed) before you know it, you’re 20 years down the line, you’ve built your own personal wall around the Mexico of your your desires and your fears, you fill your days with meaningless activities that help you further battle those fears and desires.

Because you don’t know what it is to respond naturally to things that anger you. You’re afraid of starting WWIII. You apologize for a bitchy tone or a bitchy look, because it’s easier than trying to explain it. (That might sound like you’re starting a fight.)

You don’t dress up and you don’t wear makeup when you go out with girlfriends because that means something…sinister. You don’t really go out much.

You lie. You lie about your feelings, you lie about where you’re going, even if it’s to get your hair done (because it means something sinister), you lie about whether or not you’re mad, you lie about your desires and fears. You don’t cry (something sinister or manipulative) and you definitely never yell.

You think twice before you step in between him and your girls, because those times you did everyone ended up hiding in the bathroom. (You’re undermining his authority. You don’t support him. You don’t love him.)

Any of these things could result in weeks or months of punishing emotional retribution. Silent treatment. Or, you know, hours of insane, screamy rants that you couldn’t argue with even if you wanted to.

Or, here’s a good one. Everything’s fine. Everyone’s happy. For some random, never predictable length of time. What the fuck are you worried about? Why aren’t you loving? Go ahead! Let down your guard! He’s happy, he’s funny, everyone loves him, he takes the kids for walks! You can stop walking on eggshells!

For a while. But you know what? It’s coming back — you just don’t know when. So. That feeling you’ve got that something is lurking under your bed? It’s legit.

But it’s fine because you don’t have a black eye. What the fuck are you complaining about?