The assault was provoked, but not excusable – assault never is.
I had a terrible childhood. One male role model (my grandfather) who still cheated, drank, yelled screamed and hit my grandmother. The others were drug addicts and were even more physically abusive to me and my mother or their significant others or random woman.
I was determined to be a “good dad” I was determined to be nothing like any of them. When my son came along I was crushed because I knew I was going to end up a weekend dad as I was divorcing his mother because I had no love for her.
When my daughter was born I was in a healthy (or so I thought) relationship and was determined to be the dad I always wanted too be. As a note: when I got married the second time, to a woman I knew I was in love with and had spent two years determining that that was true, I was determined to be the husband that my mother never had (higher aspirations than reality).
I have been and hope to always be a better husband than those sacks of flesh that my mother called boyfriend, fiancé, or husband, but apparently part of being a better husband is not only to treat the woman like a queen and do whatever she wants, but to understand her needs, to truly appreciate what she thinks is important. It is to not continue to dote on her at every chance and more, but to show her you love her in subtle ways, less public ways, less “embarrassing” ways. And most important that every woman is different and no matter how much “experience” with women you have, you have none with that particular woman.
Just like women, every child is different so my outline for being The World’s Greatest Father did not take in to account the individual child or her mother.
I can give a million excuses as to why I am not everything my daughter and wife deserve, but it boils down to me. No one and nothing else can possibly be to blame for how my relationships with my family are.
To the issue at hand:
Sunday. Mother’s Day.
It was raining and my initial plan of taking my daughter and the dogs to the park was out of the question – not because of the rain, but the mud. I racked my brain for other ideas. I thought about indoor activities that would take a couple of hours as the dogs don’t really bother my wife and she could still have some Mommy Time.
The Natural History Museum would have been a good idea, but they were having a “Mother’s Day Brunch” and I am not big into crowds (the museum holds over 1000 people in a small area).
The Aquarium would have been an option, but even though we are not poor I am not paying $40 for my 2 year old and me to go see some fish for 45 minutes. Plus parking.
My extended family were all running in their own directions and they are all between 45 and 70 minutes away. My in-laws just got back from a very long drive where they dealt with the death of my mother-in-law’s father’s estate so I didn’t want to bother them and I would just end up sticking my foot in my mouth anyway.
Finally I checked the weather (65F – 68F) and saw that it was supposed to rain all day, but no storms (thunder and lightning) were expected. I really wanted to get out of the house so I decided to go to the zoo. I dressed my daughter in jeans that were tucked into boots over socks, a long sleeve shirt, a hoodie, and a jean jacket. I also brought towels and my hat.
When we got to the zoo my daughter went in the stroller and I put the hood up which ensured that her head was going to stay dry. I think that if her head would’ve been getting wet we would have come straight home.
We got to the elephants (first animal on our trek) at 10:15 am and had a blast. I got soaked as I will not carry an umbrella and I hate ponchos (I am a stubborn person). My daughter also got wet, especially her legs as they were sticking out of the stroller. At 11:42 am my wife sent me a message saying,
I miss you guys I’m not used to being by myself
I called her and she was crying. I made myself believe for a minute that she missed me enough to make her cry, but before too long I knew better. I am sure she missed me, but she missed our two year old.
I had been getting ready to leave and go get a bot to eat with my baby girl anyway so I just asked mommy if she wanted to go. She said that she would like to, but she didn’t have to. I should have left it at that and gone to lunch. Instead I wanted to give her what I thought she wanted (in this case it is what she wanted) and take her to lunch with us.
When we got to the car, my daughter and me, I took off her jean jacket and her hoodie was dry. Her legs were soaked, but her chest was dry. When I was young I was told that as long as your chest was not wet you were fine. I was even told this by the Boy Scouts so I took that to mean that my daughter could sit in wet jeans for a while.
After picking up my wife and getting to the restaurant, my daughter’s mommy felt her pants and had a fit. I told her what I had been taught and she was not satisfied. She decided that we could eat, but she was still upset.
When we got the toddler in the high chair my wife felt the pants again and realized they were even wetter than she thought them to be. She informed me that if she would have know they were wet we would not have gone out to eat, but we would have changed her pants. I apologized.
She called me a Bad Dad.
This may not mean much, if anything to some people, but I would have rather had her cut my gut open with a rusty scalpel than have someone call me that.
I blew up. I thought I hit the table and lifted it off the ground, but instead I threw my drink at her and said:
I stormed out and went to the car. I texted her immediately and said that I was not leaving as I would not leave my daughter anywhere without a ride.
When I calmed down I tried to call and text, but got no response. I was trying to not go back in the restaurant as I didn’t want an even bigger scene, but I had to apologize and tell her that she hurt me so I tried to go back in. The manager met me at the door and said I assaulted her and she would call the cops if I tried to go back in especially since there was a kid involved. She did even let me say a word. I made it her business when I blew up in her store.
I have all kinds of issues with this. If the roles would have been reversed and I was the one who got yelled at and had a drink thrown at them, no one would have barred my wife from entering the establishment. No one would have helped me clean up (everyone apparently helped her). No one would have offered to pay for my food (everyone from the manager to the couple in the booth next to us tried to pay the bill).
Yes it was assault. No it’s not better than hitting her. No there is no excuse.
Men get assaulted too and even though there are hundreds of thousands of domestic violence cases that go unreported every year, that only takes into account the man on woman cases. What about the woman on man cases? Or the woman on woman? Or the man on man? None of it is right. It is all wrong. There is no excuse for any of it, but none of it should be treated any differently.
That’s how I assaulted my wife. “I’m sorry” is a phrase not only overused but one that even though it does say everything I mean, it says nothing that I mean, nor will it ever.
As far as how I have been abusing her for years (this is serious, do not laugh or take this lightly, this is not to take attention away from the prior information) –
She has said that she was going to leave a few times over the years for various reasons and I have told her that if she leaves I would kill myself. After a while I thought that was too much so I just told her I would be dead soon after. She considers that psychological abuse.
I tell her that she is my world. I write her love poetry. I compliment her at every turn. I send her cute text messages, I write cute messages on her Facebook wall. That is all abuse as well, since she doesn’t want it.
I am not saying I have not abused her because if she thinks I have then I have, but she is not alone. The difference is that I would never tell her for fear of losing her and I think just telling her would be a form of abuse if those other things are abuse.