I have heard the sound of loathing, and I can’t turn back. It snakes through my mind, pushing happiness aside. I know how it sounds to be hated.
It has been a challenge to document the next part of my infidelity story. Even thinking about this part of my experience tightens my chest and sends my heart racing.
Some parts of my experience invoke thoughts of anger or betrayal. This part I’m writing on today, this part brings on feelings of fear and overwhelming pain.
Where I left off was describing how I confronted my husband, he became suicidal, and turned himself in to a Veterans Administration hospital. He was placed in a special ward. No access to cell phones, pencils, shoe laces, etc. Husband chose not to allow the hospital to communicate with me. Husband chose not to ask the hospital to inform any of his five adult children where he was. See blog post, The Hell We Put Our Kids Through with Infidelity to catch more on this part of my story.
Our son went to visit, or called, can’t quite remember exactly. My husband told our son that he’d never step foot in our home again. My husband told our son that I was spreading lies about him. It was absolute agony to hear these updates. I was devastated again and again in new ways during his first week in the hospital.
The first time I was able to speak with my husband on the phone was terrifying for me. I asked the person who answered the ward’s phone if I could speak with my husband, and gave my name and relationship. Mona. Wife. She placed me on hold.
He answered the phone with these words…
“What do you want?”
And the sound was so hate-filled, it was a shock to my whole being. I cried and cried. I told him I was sorry. I told him I loved him. I asked him if he was okay.
He didn’t have anything to say. Nothing at all. And those four words killed me from the inside out. “What do you want?”
Those four words spoken with venom reverberated in my brain the message, “I hate you.” Those words said, “I never want to speak to you again.” They said, “I don’t love you.” The sound of his voice. The SOUND of his hatred for me, and his pure visceral loathing, broke my heart and frightened me. I didn’t sleep for days. Maybe an hour here and an hour there. I sobbed and sobbed. I laid down on the floor. I laid down on the bed. I laid myself down and wished for relief that did not come.
Mental illness is the worst. It fools us into thinking the wrong thing, and then as a byproduct, it fools us into doing the wrong thing. My husband somehow convinced himself to blame me for his infidelity, and that his unfaithfulness wasn’t wrong. He thought the way I confronted him with yelling and screaming was evil. The path these thoughts took him down was suicide and isolating himself from even his adult children.
On the other side of the coin, my thoughts turned to desperation to hold onto my husband. I felt guilty and responsible for the suicidal consequence for how I confronted him. Against all advice, I would pursue reconciliation with my husband as though I would die without him. I pursued reconciliation at ANY and EVERY cost. Until I could pursue no more.
We were both way off base. I’m not to blame for his unfaithfulness. I’m not responsible for his mental health. I’m not the cause for isolation and suicidal thoughts. And, I confronted him without swearing or calling him mean things. I just kept asking how could he do this to us.
I was foolish to pursue a man who didn’t deserve to be pursued. The way he spoke to me, and the way he spoke about me, should have been enough to make me take a giant step back to think and reflect on what the next steps should be. When all the people around me told me again and again to give him space, I closed in tighter. It took me many months to see that what I was doing was desperate, unhealthy, didn’t set a good example for my daughters, and wasn’t in any way respectful to myself. I’ve made it clear, should there be a next time, I won’t be chasing anyone down. The consequence will be conclusion. The end.
His loathing voice made me afraid of him. When his friend dropped his car off at the hospital, I required the friend to keep the keys and inform me when husband was released from the hospital. I still didn’t know that husband didn’t have access to a handgun. I took all the hunting rifles to a friend to hold, and told this friend to not give them to husband until I’ve said it is okay. I had a plan for a friend that lived a couple minutes away to come and intervene to help me should husband pop up unexpectedly and refuse to leave. I knew I would be calling 911 if husband showed up out of the blue. I set boundaries through the friend with the car key for husband: must get okay to come to the home, must only come when I will be home, and must not try to come over after dark. Period. Even though he had never laid a hand on me, the impact of his mental health deterioration and his hatred for me, left me feeling very afraid. Months later when I let the rifles and handguns come back to the home, I still was very uneasy with the thought of them being accessible. Mental illness is an unpredictable roommate.
I don’t know that I’ll ever shake the SOUND of clear, genuine, undiluted loathing that was meant for me. His loathing described with emphasis how my husband felt about me. He hated me. He loathed me. He would say later in the week he thought I was evil. I’ve never heard anyone actually have this kind of hatred for me. It was a jolting experience I didn’t expect. It caught me by surprise. The sound of his voice… no words can really say.
Oh my broken heart. This was so painful.