Last year at this time I was home from a VERY heinous day.
I had been at work all day, and it felt like a normal day - except for that we were already working on 2015-16 routes. Normally we didn't start that until August.
My dad was on a rant that day, June 19, 2014.
He was screaming at me: "You're so stupid. You have no common sense. I can route circles around you." And then he'd go in his office and do whatever was on his computer. We'd keep working. Several minutes later he'd come out and the rant would start again. "You're so stupid. You have no common sense. I can route circles around you."
My assistant and I kept working through it. I even asked dad questions. He'd answer and then resume his rant.
We had an open office environment; nothing was ever private. Everyone heard every vile thing my dad said to me, from the times he accused me of stealing money to the times he told me I was stupid. The four-letter expletives and the horrible character assassination. That day, the shop foreman came in the dispatch office when dad left. He asked, "How do you deal with that?"
I shrugged. Really, literally shrugged. It had been my life for years. In fact, at one time we all came together for Monday meetings. Mom, dad, my sister and her husband, my husband, and I. Occasionally there were other people present. Those meetings were tough for me. No matter what I did, how many hours I worked, or how positive I was when I walked in that office, the hours spent there were a hellish nightmare. Nothing I ever did was right - no matter that I was simply recording numbers. Ultimately, those meetings ended when I cried. Had I been a different kind of person, I would have learned to cry immediately and saved myself some grief. Instead, I kept trying - and failing. I knew for a long time that my work environment was not healthy for me and I would never be treated with respect or dignity.
About the time dad left, my husband walked through the office. "I'm going to the Twins game," he said.
"Oh. Can I go?" I asked.
Anyone who knows my husband, knows his "elevens" look. He had that look but it was mixed with something arrogant and defiant.
"No," he said. "I'm not doing anything fun with you anymore."
"I'm not doing anything fun with you again."
I was embarrassed. Here I was, sitting with our employee and hearing... that.
He said he was going with our son. But then our son came in the office.
I asked our son if he was meeting his dad.
"No," he responded. "He knew I had a game."
Eventually I knew he was at the game with my sister and I added up all my existing knowledge and paranoia. The "clues" led me to believe he was having an affair with my sister.
I should have known better about my sister. She would never have participated.
My husband would have; she's gorgeous and he'd always, always told me he wanted sex with every single attractive friend I had. He also had interests in our babysitter and our employee. It's interesting to me that the friend who ended up with him was a friend he denied he wanted; she was too cranky, uptight, fat, and ugly. I think "fake" was a work he used to describe her. In my broken mind and heart, I thought, why not my sister too?
My life was so weird and wrong by this time last year. Nothing made sense anymore. People were making weird comments to me. My husband was rude and hurtful. I couldn't figure out what to think.
My husband had been "different" for months.
Initially, I thought it was because our son left for school. My husband was overly involved in our son and his career. They spent an inordinate amount of time together. It was natural, I thought, for my husband to be sad the boy was leaving. And he was angry. Vilely, bitterly angry about the way our son's new coach was handling his career. He came home from every one of Jakob's games that year and stewed for hours in front of the television.
Then he started an obsessive work out routine. Despite having an awesome elliptical at home - one way nicer to use than any at a gym or the MCC, he was determined to go to the MCC every day.
One night, he came home smelling and looking like sex. I was putting shoes in the entryway closet and saw him.
"You've had sex," I said.
He flipped out. He told me I was crazy and paranoid. That he was not feeling well. That I should trust him. Etc, etc, etc.
We'd had a conversation that night:
Me: Supper's ready. Are you coming home?
My husband: At the gym. I don't feel well.
My husband: I have diarrhea.
Me: You should come home! You'll get dehydrated.
My husband: No. I have to finish.
Me: You are addicted. Come home. Drink water. You'll be fine.
My husband: Just shut up. I'll be fine.
Two.. almost three hours later. I'm in the entry putting away shoes... My husband walks in.
Me: You've had sex.
My husband:Shut up.You're a paranoid bitch. What the hell is wrong with you?... and MUCH MORE....
Me: Are you having an affair?
My husband: NO! You are so stupid. I did not have sex. What's wrong with you?
Me: I'm sorry. Jesus. Relax. If you say you didn't have sex, I believe you.
Much later, I discovered I was right. After the eventual revelation of his affair, I asked a string of questions referring to every single time I suspected him and he called me paranoid. He admitted everything. Sex that night. Sex at my family's office. Sex at my father's home. Sex in company vehicles. Planned sex on my paddleboards. Sex in my home, in my bed. Dates to Timberwolves games. Twins games. And I'm sure there were many things I didn't know to ask.
One morning later in the summer (July 9, 2014) I stopped at the MCC to get my glasses from the door of my husband's vehicle. It was parked next to my former friend's vehicle. I thought it a strange coincidence. Upstairs, I saw them side by side on treadmills. They weren't wearing headphones or watching TV as they both usually did. They were in identical poses, both of them holding the treadmill base (and wasting their workout, I might add). My comment was, "Wow. How did this happen?" I asked for his keys and left.
My husband immediately started texting me denying any wrong doing. I remember being unreasonably calm. I told my boys what I saw. I later saw my husband's "defense" of what I said.
My husband: Your mother thinks I'm having an affair. Apparently the new way to have sex involves treadmills.
My son: Yeah. She's paranoid and crazy. That's just mom.
My husband showed me that text gleefully. He liked making me look bad to my boys and proving to me that they thought I was a failure.
When he showed me that text, I looked him in the eye.
Me: Are you having an affair with her?
My husband: No.
Me: If you are, you need to say so. If you aren't, then we need to work on our marriage.
My husband: I'm not having an affair. We're just friends.
Me: If there's someone else, there's no hope for the marriage. Tell me the truth.
My husband: I am.
Me: (pause while looking him in the eye) I choose to believe you. That's the end of it. But if you are lying to me, I hope you feel like shit.
Exactly one week later, on July 16, 2014, he had to admit to all those people that he was the liar. He had to admit that I was right, and far from paranoid or crazy. I'm not sure he will ever recognize how badly he wounded our sons, both of whom had been the victims of partners who were stunningly and viciously untrue to them.
The unraveling of my life and our marriage and family started on this day one year ago when I erroneously and sadly came to the conclusion that his affair was with my sister. I can never apologize to her heartily or often enough for my conclusion. All I can say is that in my struggle to regain my own mental health, I have made mistakes, some of them bigger than others. My lack of faith in her is perhaps the biggest mistake.
A year ago I went to my single bed in the basement of my home believing that my husband and my sister were having an affair; today I am free of a horribly controlling individual and a terribly lonely life. When I saw this quote from Robin Williams, I understood exactly where that kind of lonliness can end.
I no long feel alone. I have a tentative circle of new friends and maintain relationships with an existing body of friends and family. Obviously, I also have significant trust issues; I will never again let someone as close to me as either my husband or my former friend were.
I am also free of secrets, shame, and guilt. There's nothing left for me to hide; my bad behavior has been published, I've willingly and honestly accepted and participated in my assigned consequences, and I'm ready to share my story. And I left shame and guilt closeted in my cell when I left the Hennepin County Jail last July 24.
Best, I can feel my fear fading. Fear has been nearly debilitating at times; but the greater my trust in God's plan grows, the faster the fear fades. Today, I am not afraid.
This is not the end of the story by a long shot. Not the retelling of my journey. Not the honest sharing of my mental health issues. And, for certain, not the end of me.
The best part of my story is yet to come.
Still, last year at this time, I went to bed believing my husband was having an affair with my sister.