Alcohol certainly played a large role in the relationship…..
19th March 2017
There’s now a massive hiatus in the 2007 blog until August. I’m not sure why that is, because there was certainly a lot to get off my chest. It may be because this is where all the real problems came fully to the fore. So to fill in from memory what happened in February 2007:
Steve eventually moved in with his Mum and sister in the next town. I never met his Mum, and for a long while all I knew was that she was dying of cancer and had a very smelly sore on her thigh. Steve constantly complained of it, and he avoided being at home as much as possible because of it (or so he said). I felt like he was being a bit heartless, but he explained it as him never having got on with her, holding some sort of grudge against her, but didn’t explain why.
I have had a troubled relationship with my Mum, so this made sense, but it still rankled. He would rail against her with so much venom. ‘I don’t know how Sam [his sister] can stand to sit in there with her, the stink, the stench. It’s still in my nose now.’ He was relieved when she was taken into hospital, and he visited her once, when his brothers practically frog-marched him. He said it was because he hated seeing her like that. I think he just hated seeing her.
Don’t get me wrong, there is good reason for all of this, but it didn’t come out until much later, I think. At this point the impression I had was of a woman who had fecklessly neglected him, who hadn’t cared that he’d been running wild since early childhood, and I assumed his attitude was as a result of that. What seemed strange was how the rest of his family (I saw his sister-in-law most days as our children went to the same school) acted like she was some sort of saint.
Then she died.
Whether he took advantage of her death, or whether it was a genuine reaction I will never know, but he went off the rails. I lost count of the times I had to leave the house in the middle of the night to rescue him from some back-of-beyond and take him home. He would spend hours on the phone to me (at my expense), assure me he was going to bed, then at 4am I’d get the incoherent call.
I remember one awful night, he’d asked me to pick him up from the back of the Co-Op, then when I got there, he’d gone. I headed towards his home from there, and saw him stumbling along in the middle of the (main) road. I picked him up, then as we were travelling through the winding lanes on the way to his house, he kept trying to get out. There was no central locking, so he and the car could have been seriously damaged. In the end I stopped and said, ‘ok, just get out if you’re getting out. I can’t turn around on this lane anyway, so I’ll be going on to practically your house, but hey, if that’s what you want, fucking go ahead.’
He shut the door and I dropped him at home, then drove off without speaking, determined that this was the end of letting him treat me like this, I was sick of it. Even at this point, in my concern for him and distress over all the upset and chaos in my life, I never once thought to consider that he was routinely deceiving me every time he said he was going to bed, knowing he was heading out. And what was he doing whilst he was out? I didn’t find out for another 10 years. But back to 2007 and my resolution to be more assertive with what behaviours I would put up with….
He was, of course, really apologetic when he was sober. I tried to talk about his feelings over his Mum’s death:
‘It’s grief, you should speak to your doctor, he can….’
‘No, it’s not that. I feel nothing.’
‘That’s just numbness, denial, it’s normal but…..’
‘No, you don’t understand. I mean I feel nothing because I don’t care that she’s dead.’
They say that sociopaths always tell you who they are. Here was the time he told me in plain English, with no excuse, no attempt at explaining away, only slight annoyance that I didn’t ‘get’ it. I somehow still managed to not hear.