Clash

My son sat at the dining room table silently putting the last few pieces into the puzzle, orange and red leaves carefully resting near a large and ominous tree. Dad mindfully hemmed and hawwed as he placed the scattered pieces, remarking here and there to grandson that when he came to the U.S. for university he would rake leaves, walk down streets like those in the puzzle. It had been three years since we left the house in Renton and that life behind. Mom had one last cookie, gathered her overnight bag and kissed everyone goodbye. I smiled and laughed nervously, quickly hugging and ushering her out the door. The older children stood with sullen faces watching as their grandparents pulled their bags and made their way to the van. They would catch a late night flight and be home within 20 hours, leaving behind remnants of a different life. A carefully placed silk plant with bright red leaves inside a cheery pot, children’s books sat on tables and brightly colored toys stacked haphazardly. These forbidden treasures would skillfully be hidden away, shoved into closets and baskets, where “useless and wasteful items” were to be kept.  The children sat on the couch chuckling and remembering the two weeks that had passed, walks to the mini mart, swimming at the pool, drinking root beer floats, bringing Grampa cups of coffee and baking Grama cookies. Within minutes they were in a heap, arms and legs across the couch and table, heads bobbing to remain awake and in this last precious moment, the smell of Grama’s perfume and Grampa’s coffee.

The days that followed were filled with a tinge of sadness as I picked up and stored away the life that did not belong to us. At first I carefully slid puzzle pieces into a tattered box feeling despair and sadness, but as the days faded I routinely stacked away all that had passed with little emotion. A part of me was relieved that this visit had come to an end because it was a constant reminder of the two lives I chose to live and that constantly clashed. The visit had been lovely, full of fun and bliss but a double edged sword that made life stressful as well. Talk of art, literature and life back home all brought his face to an ashen grey. Words were spoken and dreams were tended to, ideas spread like wild fire through the home. I spent my days watching his expressions and then recklessly changing subjects from religion and life’s purpose to “what’s for dinner” and “let’s take a walk”. My oldest son was now 10, already pushing for independence and a life with a stable father figure. He welcomed his grandparents visits as a sign of better things to come and hope for the future. A sense of relief and guilt spread over me as I now carelessly threw away the bits and pieces that remained, old danish, salad dressings and penciled in grocery lists. His words always rang in my ears and rattled around in my head, “Your parents do not love you like I do and never will”.

 

 

 

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154 thoughts on “Clash

      1. This statement, “Your parents do not love you like I do and never will”, is typical of that personality type. They seek to undermine your sense of self worth by making themselves the only source of well being for you. The only way to stand up to them is to not need their approval, acknowledgement or support. This is a general response. It is a harsh world to have to live in and I am very glad you came through on the other side of it, Lynn.

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  1. We can feel clearly the “clash” through your words Lynn .
    Every week I wonder how you and your kids managed to survive this and come out all right , and every week I admire you more if that is possible 😉
    What a good foundation your parents gave you , and you have been doing the same towards your own kids 🙂
    Turtle Hugs ❤

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  2. You capture that terrible sinking feeling and the willfull pushing it down so that you can keep your nose above water with this creature who doesn’t know what love is at all. I am sure he did at some point, but he turned his back on it and he sold you all in his quest to be in control. Sold you away from the life you had every right to – harmless, not effecting anyone else, not misusing nor violating anything. He misused and violated all of you and he had absolutely no right. But what else were you to do? Make the best of it. Keep trying. Put on a brave face. I’m numb.

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    1. Yes I agree. Once the kids got bigger and wanted more, it was awful and a battle. They got me gifts, and those were returned or mocked and a warning–never do this again! He waged war against me, dont know why . I tried to love and honor him.

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      1. Lynn , you did love and honour him (as we can see by your words) as much as you could , and more than anyone else would . He was the one responsible for making it impossible to continue , and he lost you and will probably loose the love and respect of his children too .
        Hugs ❤

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  3. After reading that I’m so happy to know that your parents were allowed to come and stay, and the gifts were allowed throughout their visit. A little victory for and the kids, and a remarkable difference from your everyday life without your parents there.

    WOW! They don’t love you like he does? Seriously! You know what a Mother’s love is and I’m sure you know just how much your parents do, and have always loved you. I hope you didn’t let that fool take that from you with his brainwashing, manipulative, abusive behavior.

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    1. unfortunately he did! I mean I knew they loved me, my mom came and pampered me, tried to fight for me in many ways and so did dad, but the constant remarks and saying hmm they are wonderful but…… so it left me feeling alone

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  4. Speechless, horrified, sick to the stomach. This man and the abuse ! How did he sleep at night? or should I say…did he actually sleep at night? This is a sick man, with major control issues, and all self inflicted …. Then, to top it all, he has the audacity to make statements of your parents not loving you as much as he does/did !!! Is he insane !!! Sorry, he really needs a reality check ! xxx

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      1. thanks lynne, I love hearing from you and I know it’s not fun to read but it helps to hear your words. I am debating on posting a beginning to a book just an idea maybe people could let me know what they think

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  5. A difficult moment. I don’t know what to say, Lynz. You know better than everybody how it is. But like I said many times, I admire you so much for who you are now and that’s enough for me.
    ❤️🌹

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  6. Lynn, I love real life stories, the good and the bad, it is life !
    I know sometimes I come across hard, but that is how I feel in my heart.
    Absolutely post a beginning to your story, I think it would be great. x

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  7. Your stories put a human face on the tugs we all experience – some greater than others – in our lives, having to choose between two forces that pull our lives in opposite or at least different directions. You and your children have dealt with those forces with such aplomb.

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  8. There is a book called Run Jane Run (About her abusive relationship, how she finally got away and what she had to endure to stay safe). It is an immaculate written piece that will tear your heart out because it is A-Typical in abuse and trying to get away from it with children. As you endured so much for 16+ years in Saudi I can only compare really to this book. In the end she triumph but it took years! It does not matter what he says-he does not speak the truth. Imagine how hard it was for your folks? Put yourself in their shoes? All brainwashing until you saw things his way. Which I will remind you is arse-backwards-insanity! Remember what I said about his playing in my yard and the crooked nail in a new piece of wood being hammered daily with an old crooked hammer head! Hugs to you my friend, xoxoxoxo Bestie 2

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      1. I will try, it seemed impossible to even speak to people from Alternatives for violence in our area, but now I am speaking to many and I have found unwavering support. It really does help me to know I am not alone! xoxoxoxo

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  9. I can understand you got sucked into an abusive relationship and considered it love and honour. I’m just left wondering why you did in the first place?
    Sounds like you had good parents, who came to see you and their grandchildren, and yet, he treated you as nothing more than a slave.

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  10. Hi Lynn 🙂 I was wondering – do your parents read your blog? Do they really know what happened now? I will say again that I am so glad you had their energetic support over those years, even if the physical visits were measured in weeks. I can imagine they were constantly sending you love ❤

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  11. I have huge crocodile tears for you my friend….your amazing and what wonderful children you have raised….I am sorry for the younger ones who cannot see him for what he is, but they will, its only a matter of time…..hugs…kat

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  12. You were still in the thick of what your life was with him at the time, so it seemed easier to fall back to being manipulated by him. Thankfully, you know now what you were still learning then and that is, an emotionally abused person doesn’t realize that he or she has the power to leave and take control. But, easier said than done when you’re financially at his mercy and with that conflict of whether it’s better for kids to have a father and mother so you can be a “normal” family, or break up the family and have to deal with another set of emotional pain. Either road is painful, and there is that tendency to think “better to deal with the devil you know than what you don’t know” because what you don’t know might be worse. But, as you found out, it’s the opposite. Hopefully, as each day passes, your pain lessens.

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  13. What an awful thing to say to you and want for you to believe, knowing your parents were so far away. Did you ever believe him? It’s a good thing that real love is a powerful force and won in the end! 🙂 xo

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      1. I can imagine that it’s a hard thing to battle 24/7 even when you know it’s not true. Soooo happy that you’re thriving in your life now. 🙂 Happy weekend to you! xo

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      2. Things are going well over here, thanks!! A busy week but it was productive, so I’m happy about that. Ha ha, no, no souffles yet, but I have been thinking about trying a little baking experiment this weekend. Have you ever tried making cake in a mug? I didn’t have much flour in the house, but I have some ripe bananas, so I was thinking about making mini banana bread. I looked up some cake in a mug recipes and I’m very skeptical…mostly because they’re cooked in the microwave. I think that’s a baking sin, isn’t it? Ha ha 😉 I’m still curious, though, so I might try it and post the final verdict.

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      3. I will!! I hope it’s not too disappointing. But at least the amount of ingredients is small, so even if it doesn’t turn out, it won’t be much of a waste. 🙂 xo

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  14. The most telling line in this post is ‘as I picked up and stored away the life that did not belong to us’. It’s so sad that he tried to rob you of the life you deserved. Luckily, through good fortune and your own tenacity and strong will, you managed to regain your life and your family.

    Having lived in four Middle Eastern countries for many years, I probably understand your situation more than many of your readers. We both know that your circumstances are not exclusive to the Middle East. Spouses in many parts of the world can go off the rails and put extraordinary pressure on their partners to conform to certain ‘standards’.

    I’m just so happy for you that you managed to break the spell and return to a life that did (and should) belong to you.

    You are one amazing woman. And I love the matter-of-fact way in which you tel your story. Push on—a book really is there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Peggy! Yes you do have a unique insight with all of your traveling and especially since you have been to Syria! Also, you are correct this is not something that is a middle eastern problem but a universal one!Thanks so much for your words of support and understanding! xxx

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    2. Lynn, I can never fully express how delighted I am that you have been able to get yourself out of the situation. The stars were in alignment and you could think quickly on your feet. I sincerely hope you keep on giving yourself credit for all you have achieved.

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      1. Thanks, I didn’t before and some days I still do not! I feel a great deal of shame and guilt. But, after writing stories here I have found the courage to think differently! I still blamed myself as he did for years! So this has been life changing posting stories and hearing wise words-thanks! xoxo

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      1. Funny thing he never really pushed that I think more isolation. We went there to Syria maybe 5 times, spent the whole summer one time. Enough time to know them pretty well. Lets say it was the same scenario! never wanted to break that and say it but the same!!

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