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Eat what I eat

 

After my 7th child I started exercising and losing weight. With each new pregnancy I gained much of it back but always kept trying. The photo above was me on a visit to his family in Damascus in 2001 after losing 60 pounds.

 

 

Riyadh 2006

The clink and clatter of dishes meant the meal had finally ended. I mustered a smile and wiped away tears that made an incessant drip drop into the sudsy water. I made an effort to mask the telltale signs of anxious humiliation but now it seemed as if nothing mattered and there was no return to normal. A frozen state of existence had taken hold and I was no longer able to keep this new-found rebellion under control. Frustration, sadness and confusion all peaked and waned each day. The children asked for items, suggested new ways and with every minute his fury grew until an unusually violent eruption had taken place just days before. I scuttled past the hall and made my way into the dining room unsure of how to proceed.

The rage that had triggered my rebellion was now quelled and had returned to the usual resignation. I asked each child if they wanted more potatoes, chicken or salad,  not realizing I had broken yet another rule. His fists slammed squarely on the as-is newly purchased table. “How many times, how many times, how many times do I have to tell you, do not talk to my children while they are eating!” I quickly stacked plates and utensils in a pile of messy indignation, circling several times to give reassuring glances and the usual warning look that meant stay calm and do not intervene.

He went back to his job of picking pieces from the chicken bones, placing them neatly on the only tray that remained. Each child took their turn in giving him the customary greetings and slowly left the table. I heard his ship ships (sandals) as he marched into the kitchen. The tray was placed near the sink, water poured from the thermos and the refrigerator opened and shut. He walked back and forth past the shell of a person I had become. A rise in panic came and went with each noise that he made and the realization that we were now alone. Finally he stopped behind me, placing his arms around my waist, pushing his body into mine. I shuttered at the thought of what was to come but knew what was expected.  His hands swept stringy hair from my neck and he spoke gently reiterating words that had blasted loudly just an hour before, “If you cannot eat what you have served you are not allowed at the table!”

 

 

84 Comments Post a comment
  1. Carmen #

    He just HAD to control, didn’t he, Lynn?

    Asshole.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
    • yes xo

      Liked by 1 person

      March 2, 2018
      • Carmen #

        Well, you’ve achieved the ultimate goal – he cannot control any aspect of your narrative; I get great joy imagining his frustration and anger if he had any idea we are free to bash him (figuratively — he deserves it literally, too) on this blog. Big grin.
        Keep on getting it out – it’s got to be therapeutic.

        Liked by 4 people

        March 2, 2018
  2. As I read your words, I am very glad I never lived in Saudi Arabia. I feel I would be put in a jail and never located for defiance to the man.

    Liked by 4 people

    March 2, 2018
  3. So pleased you are getting it out

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
    • This was a hard one to write but finally did it. I spent four years struggling between eating at the table what I had cooked and trying to be careful and diet. I tried to eat salad but that made him furious as well. I felt selfish not eating the food because the kids had to sit and eat while I was in the kitchen and it was humiliating for them and me

      Liked by 6 people

      March 2, 2018
  4. Love the photos. The pain of your prose is so difficult to read. So glad you are healing now and are living with caring family and friends. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  5. The happy smiles on the photos help lighten my heart at your heavy words. So glad that he is no longer in control!!

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  6. I cannot fathom how life must feel to be free of this monster. I know that you still bear the scars of this horrendous period but I hope in some small way, getting some of these feelings out through your written words, somehow makes him powerless as you move forward. You are surrounded now by your loving family & a blogging community who is awe of your strength.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
    • Thank you so much Lynn! Writing makes me feel nervous and confused but also helps me to see the reality that we lived. It also makes me understand why I have been so anxious and ended up barely able to function. I felt that I had failed but when I write I think it sounds crazy making and it is not my fault. Again, thank you!xoxo

      Liked by 3 people

      March 2, 2018
  7. You know my feelings about that monster. Let’s focus on the great fact that you are now free x x x

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  8. Control control, is that shit the same with his new wife. I am so glad you kept going,you did I know you say you were a shell but you stayed, you made your quiet stand. Now you are free! 💜💜💜🍀🍀🍀

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  9. Alice #

    I became angry for you just reading what you had to live through. I am so glad that you are away from living with that monster!
    Alice

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  10. What a great support the children were, and are. You have no reason to feel guilt for any of what he did, or how he treated you and the children. He is the one who should feel guilt and shame, although I doubt he ever will. Hugs to you Lynn.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  11. That took a lot to share! What a brave woman you are.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  12. I certainly hope your singing at the table these days….and having a party!!! Your children were your energy, strength and will to survive this….Look around my love, and look at all the love you have around you….the sun is shining down upon you Lynn..your one of the strongest women I know….XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxxkat

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  13. Isn’t your freedom exhilarating? I’m so glad you are continuing to write and work through all this, xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  14. Lynn I’m so glad you’re out of there. I fear that my friend may have gone through much of the same thing you did.
    Leslie

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  15. Another amazing share! You are such a brave soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 2, 2018
  16. Great photos Lynz.. Your kids are so lucky to have such a caring mother as you. Treat yourself to your favorite desert, you desearve it!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 2, 2018
  17. I shudder when I think of the shuffle of his ship ships. Before you wrote this, they were innocuous flip-flops. I hope that writing this gives you some comfort. Stress eating is really common – I have gone from 125 – 200 lbs and back again. Thinking of you. K x

    Liked by 2 people

    March 2, 2018
  18. This, the fear, the knowledge that you’re stuck in this horrible situation, it’s so familiar, so real. I don’t think people realize what it’s like. I hope your writing helps you heal and helps others that might be reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 2, 2018
  19. That man was a tyrant: cruel, juvenile, manipulative, and infuriating, Lynn. If he could have, he would have tried to control your dreams. Well, no more of that. You get to be the beautiful, worthy, and cherished soul you always have been. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    March 2, 2018
  20. balindsey2015 #

    A tyrant and a bully. No one could be happy in that situation. Your bravery to share shows what an amazing person you are. And you rescued all of your children from the same fate. Kudos, dear Lyn, Kudos. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    March 2, 2018
  21. This gave me shivers. You are so brave to confront this terrifying past.
    And so many blessings now! (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    March 2, 2018
  22. Dear Lynn,
    The more I read, the more I want to catch him by his collar and ask him “why” ? Why ?
    Where did he learn this sort of behavior from ? Was it from his own family ? Has he seen the male members of his family behave this way ?
    Why would he not let you eat at the table ? And why would he not let you talk to the children during meals ?
    Are you still living in fear that he might visit you ?
    Are you still married to him ? So many questions.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    March 2, 2018
    • Things just got worst Over time. I tried to lose weight and he told me I had to eat or I could not sit with the family for meals. He wAs irritated if I spoke during meals and found any reason to be mad. When I disagreed with him there was punishment. We are still married and yes I worry he might show up.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 2, 2018
  23. You couldn’t even talk to your children at mealtime? That is so awful. I hope releasing all these painful memories helps you to see that you were not in the wrong AT ALL and brings you some peace. You deserve that and much more.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 2, 2018
  24. Diane #

    I remember the day at the lake when I asked you “ when do you have to go back “ and you whispered “ I’m not “ oh my i was so excited !!it took you 4 years just to be able to get the asshole to let you and the kids come home “ love you cuz and I’m so sorry you were treated like that. You did not deserve that one bit and you no me if I could I would punch the crap out of him 😡 you are a beautiful ,caring ,loving person with a huge heart. You would do anything for anybody in a heart beat and now you have 3 beautiful grandchildren to keep you going and of course your kids are all there for you always !! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    March 2, 2018
  25. I can just feel your anxiety in this memory. You captured the moment with your writing. I’m sorry it was such a difficult moment. Keep writing, you’re doing great! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    March 3, 2018
  26. beautiful photos – sad story – your book is going to be so amazing!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    March 3, 2018
  27. He sounds like a monster. So glad you and the kids are no longer under is hard fisted control. Wonderful photos! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    March 3, 2018
  28. The man has mental issues, IMO. I love the pictures. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    March 3, 2018
  29. I get so mad every time I read one of your stories!!
    Then I get so happy that you are free!!
    Thank God you had the courage to hang on!!

    Like

    March 3, 2018
  30. Everything you have, your children, your freedom, your grandchildren, your freedom, your life….is because of you. Where you are is because of you. Celebrate..you!

    Liked by 2 people

    March 4, 2018
  31. You nailed this, and I’m glad you’re out! I was in an abusive relationship when my children were small and even as I read this and went deeper and deeper into it brought back that familiar and dreaded spiral. By the time I was done reading my heart was beating fast!

    Mollie

    Like

    March 4, 2018
  32. OMW !!!! what a hateful despicable man. I literally got went cold reading this and envisioning this scenario. I am in shock.

    Lovely pictures though my friend. Hugs xxx

    Like

    March 4, 2018
  33. I’m really glad you’re posting all the happy photos now with these memories. It makes it easier for me to read, having that reminder of how much better things are now for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    March 5, 2018
  34. Is this customary or is it just him?

    Liked by 1 person

    March 10, 2018
  35. Let him go Lynz.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 12, 2018
    • Carmen #

      I tried to ‘like’ your comment, JoHanna, but the function seems to be ‘on the blink’ (It’s on my end, as I sometimes cannot figure out WordPress. .. I am technologically challenged)

      Liked by 2 people

      March 12, 2018
  36. Oh Lynz…my heart aches for what you endured….xxx much love

    Liked by 1 person

    April 21, 2018

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