A crack in the heart

I hope he comes home in a good mood tonight. If he does, maybe he won’t notice that I mixed the spaghetti sauce with the pasta. He always gets so mad at me when I do that. I always forget. I am so stupid.

I am protective mother hen. The kids walk over to me, knowing that it is almost time. They instantly go into shut down mode. This has been happening much more lately. Especially the boy, who takes the brunt of it most of the time. Until I step in, which in that case then its me. But I rather it be me than one of them. They are innocent.
 I smile at them, trying to lift their spirits. But even my daughter, who is only five, knows that there are two kinds of daddy. The nice one and the mean one.
 I hear the car in the driveway. We all scatter, the kids to their room, myself to the kitchen. I silently taste a sense of rage, but quickly swallow it back. That would just make things worse. He doesn’t like if I talk back.
 He walks in the door, kicking the cat as he barges in. I know instantly that its going to be a bad night. He starts complaining about his coworkers, saying that one of them stole a customer right from under him. He hasn’t sold a car in weeks. Those bastards, he hates all of them.
 I am just glad he actually found a job and has kept it. I am not allowed to work for long, because he always changes his mind. I am a horrible mother, how dare I get a job without asking him? He forgets that he was the one told me to find a job to begin with.
 The kids come out to gauge the atmosphere, and quietly sit on the couch. I wish they could just run up to him and hug him, but if they tried he would just fling them away. Sometimes my daughter, his favorite, will try to crawl in his lap to soften him up. Not tonight though.
 His son wearily starts talking about the A he got in social studies. He tries so hard my heart aches for him. His father doesn’t acknowledge him at all. He asks me whats for dinner and when I say spaghetti, he gets up and goes to sit down in his domain, the end of our couch. He doesn’t eat dinner with us at the table. He  strips his clothes off, right in front of us, until he is just standing there in his underwear. He sits down. I am to serve him now.
 A lump of utter disgust lodges in my throat. I hate him. He is vile to me, this man. I call the kids over to the kitchen table, then start plating. I make his, a pit deep in my stomach, because I know I screwed up again. Sprinkle cheese on top, try to hide it. One time I had the thought to put ground up glass in his food, which has crossed my mind every time I prepare his food now. I know that I would never do it, but just that I had the inclination was terrifying enough.
He looks at his food and then up at me. I told you, serve the damned sauce on the side you stupid bitch!!! He throws the plate at me. I dodge out of the way, and the plate hits the living room wall. The kids scream, they are hungry and scared now. I don’t react anymore, at least not so he can see. I haven’t cried in a while, because now all I can feel is hate. I just stand there and glare at him. I say nothing. I hold it in, although it feels like a poison inside of me.
 What the hell am I looking at? Make him something that he can actually eat. He turns on the TV. He is done with me now, so I go to feed the kids. They are white as sheets. I make him a fucking sandwich, wanting so badly to spike it with my spit. I don’t even hand it to him, just set it down on his table.
 I tell the kids to go play now, and they run off. We won’t hear much from them. They have learned to just stay the hell away from him whenever possible. I set to cleaning up the mess from the plate. I am on the verge of screaming. I have to get out of here. I have to save the kids. 
 Thankfully tonight he is on ignore mode. If I don’t talk, neither does he. I am still shaken from having the plate thrown at me, but I will be damned if he will know. I get the kids ready for bed silently, and they do not even come out to say goodnight to their own father.
 I have the car the next day, to go to the grocery store. I have water boiling on the stove for dinner. The kids are watching TV. The phone rings. It is him. I had better be on time to pick him up tonight. I do not recall what he said to me next. Maybe he called me a bitch just one too many times. 
 I hang up. I dial my mother.  She is all I have.
I have to get out right now, I tell her. It must have been something in my voice, because she says OK. I say pick me up at his work at five. She just agrees. I hang up. I am on auto pilot. I turn off the water on the stove. Everything is out on the counters, but I don’t bother to put anything away. I run into my room and grab a few pieces of clothes. I have no emotion but escape. I leave all my personal items, never realizing that most of them will be thrown away by a man who hates my fucking guts.
I run to my daughters room. And I stop and stare him in the face.
He is nine. He stares up at me from the floor. Whats wrong? I am all this child has in the world. It has taken us two years to honestly not resent each others intrusion. He had lived with his grandmother, but once I came along she eventually gave him to me. I am not linked by blood to him. I have no right to take him with me. This is why I always ended up coming back each time I tried to leave before.
I say nothing, just gather a few of my daughters things. I stuff everything into plastic bags. The kids follow me. My daughter is holding her Woody doll from Toy story, she is ready to leave. But my son..(he is not your son) just stands there. I think he knows I am leaving again. I just tell him to grab his Gameboy and get in the car.
 I drive so fast. I want these next few minutes to go by in a blur, so that I don’t remember any of it in detail. Both kids are sitting tensely in the backseat. I can’t help but look into the mirror. I am not worried about my daughter. I will keep her safe from now on. It is my son (No!) that I am worried about. His eyes catch mine.
(Why are you leaving me with him?)
I am the first to avert my eyes. I am ashamed.
 I see my mothers car. She is behind the wheel, steely faced as usual when she is mad. At me or him, I am not sure. I pull in front of her. Her face softens when she looks at me, and I feel better. I grab the plastic bags from the passenger seat and throw the keys onto the drivers. This is his car, not mine. Both kids get out. My daughter runs to my side, because this is where she belongs. My son (Stop!!) just stands there. He is crying. I want to run to him. But I stand there like a steel rod. No emotion.
I am despicable.
 He comes running from the building.  I turn my hateful gaze onto him. His big fat belly hangs over his white dress shirt. He is cussing.  His coworkers watch as he starts to call me names. My mother stuffs my daughter into the car.
He is still screaming.
 “You’ll be back! No ones gonna want you! Your a fat, stupid bitch!”
He calls my mother names as well.  My mother retaliates, as is her nature.
 Finally, I look at the boy. He sits in the back seat of his fathers car, head down. I can’t tell if he is crying anymore, but it hardly matters. I can’t bear to see his face. My mother starts to drive away. I can hear that bastard, a steady flow of expletives pouring from his wretched mouth. My daughter is quiet, in shock.
And I am staring straight ahead, so I don’t tell my mom I changed my mind.
About the Author
MerbearI am a 38 year old wife and mother to a teenager girl. I have depression, anxiety, and Fibromyagia. Writing for me is a sort of self therapy, and something I have loved to do since I was young.


  1. merbear74 · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Knocked over by a feather and commented:
    This is my guest post on Deliberate Donkey…

  2. Anonymous · · Reply

    It still brings tears to my eyes to read this, knowing how much pain he caused. I share your despise for that douche, who I will not honor in calling a ‘man.’ I love you and Brooke with all my heart, baby! xoxo

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you honey. I love you too. x

  3. I didn’t know you had a step-son. I am so sorry you went through that. I’m glad you are out now.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you Wonder Twin..I am glad too.

      1. Hugs Mer,,,,I had to leave a step daughter when I left my second husband. It sucks majorily.

  4. I can’t help, but wonder. What happened to your step-son?

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      He is 20 now..he stayed with his father until he was 13, and then left to live with his mother who finally decided she wanted her son.

  5. This is so painful, and shows exactly how hard it can be to leave an abuser. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you for asking me. The perfect place for it, here on this blog.

  6. Merry, it’s tough leaving behind a child you’ve raised that you have no legal right to. I went through that with my first divorce. And she used it against me, too. “She thinks of you as her father,” I would be told, but then I would not be allowed to see her because I might abuse her. It was all just a way to try to guilt me into coming back, but I had passed the point of no return. A person can only take so much, you know?

    As much as it sucks, you did the right thing. I had to fight the constant urge to go back as well. The pain on all of the children’s faces just shattered me. Them witnessing their mother yell, hit, and cuss me and not care that they were watching broke them. I’m honestly surprised the neighbors never called the cops because this happened every time returned the twins to her for at least 6 months after I left. Every fucking time.

    I’m glad you were able to stick to your guns. It’s the hardest thing to do. And I hope you know that my door is always open to you if you ever need to talk about anything.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you, TD. When there are children involved, it makes the whole experience that more difficult..I would have left for good much sooner if it hadn’t been for the little boy. Who is not so little anymore.

      1. I know. My “Step” daughter is 18 and is a mother now…

        1. merbear74 · · Reply

          As far as I know, he is on his own with his girlfriend…

          1. I hope he learned from his father how NOT to treat a woman.

            1. merbear74 · · Reply

              I can only hope, but I haven’t seen him since he was 14.

              1. I’m sorry, Mer.

  7. Every day I wake up, I thank Jevovah that I did not have kids with my abuser. Things are hard without children and worrying about their safety and well-being. I know you were protecting your daughter, but you are a brave woman. Thank you so much for sharing your story here. People need to understand the danger we assume when leaving and rip the abuser’s control away. This is when we are most at risk and we only leave when we feel more scared to stay.

    The more of us that speak out and let others still trapped in abusive relationships know that they are not alone, that they CAN get out, and there will be hope and love again, the better. Thank you!

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you. Writing this was very difficult, yet therapeutic at the same time. I am glad I was given the opportunity to share this here..it doesn’t really belong on my own blog.

    2. Amy,
      Would you be interested in sharing a part of your story here on Deliberate Donkey?

      1. Absolutely! Do you have any guidelines you would prefer I adhere to?


        1. I’m so glad. Email me at tending.weeds@gmail.com and I can cover it all with you. Mostly the only requirement is it needs to be a DV focused story.

  8. I am sad, honored and humbled.
    Love to you dear

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      I will accept the love. Thank you. 🙂

      1. I am glad you are here!

        1. merbear74 · · Reply

          Glad you are here too. 🙂

  9. This made me cry. The step-parent and step-child relationship can be so much more powerful than the biological bonds of parenthood, as I see with my kid and my ex-husband. I can’t imagine how this was for you. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you for reading it. He and I had a bond..I knew I had to at least save myself and my own child..if I could have, I would have taken him with me in a heartbeat.

      1. Oh, I understand that completely.

        1. merbear74 · · Reply

          Amazing how strong self preservation can be.

  10. I can’t imagine… mostly, i think I just don’t want to imagine what that must have been like. I read these stories and I’m in awe of all of you who have come through situations like this. You are all awesomesauce… and I have nothing left but an endless supply of HUGS when you need one, two, or twenty-seven.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      I love endless supplies of hugs..thank you. 🙂

      1. You are, of course, very welcome!

  11. Wow. That’s so sad and it must have been so painful to write let alone at the time. I don’t know what to say so I’ll just send you some hugs.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      It was painful, but I am glad I told the story. Thanks for the hugs DM. 🙂

  12. I cried through this as my father was like this and my childhood was like this, my mother never got us out, she was too busy being scared of him and surviving herself, she even believes he’s a good man. I escaped at 18, the rest have become him. I’m so so sorry you went through all this, but I’m amazed at your strength and courage to get out. How are you doing now?

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      I am sorry to hear that, but I am glad you did finally escape yourself.

      I continue to fight many battles in my life, but the wrong way to serve pasta is not one of them.

      1. Thank you. I can imagine you’d have a lot of battles! There is so much freedom though once away from those monsters eh?! I think I would always put sauce on my spaghetti and not on the side after that!

        1. merbear74 · · Reply

          I mix it up nice and proper. 😉

          1. lol! that’s great!

  13. Oh Mer, crying at my desk. . . .I stayed with an a**hole because of his kids too.. .so much harder to let go of the kids than him. Thank god you got out!!!

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you dear…I am glad you did as well. No woman deserves that sort of life.

    2. FBG,
      Would you be interested in guest posting here about your experiences?

      1. I would be honored. Inbox me at: fatbottomgirlsaidwhat@gmail.com with the details. 🙂

  14. Oh my god, Merry. This is heartbreaking. I’m so glad you got out. I’m sure that little boy is haunting, but you did what you could.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      I know. Goldfish. He is an adult now..that small, crying little boy is long gone..I did what I had to do. If I had stayed, I can’t honestly say where I would be now.

  15. Thank you for sharing.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you for reading.

  16. This is one of the most riveting and gut-wrenching posts I have ever read. It did trigger some childhood memories of craving a cold and angry Fathers attention. I praise you for finding the strength to save your child – and yourself – from this creep of a man. I was so glad to read the stepson is now free of that vile person – my heart ached for him.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you, though I am sorry it brought it all back to you. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. In the end, I had to save my daughter..and myself.

  17. Raw, arresting writing. I was terrified for you and your children. Thank goodness you got out of that abusive relationship, and that your step-son is out of it, too. My heart went out to all of you.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you…

  18. Wow, I don’t know what to say. This was a very hard read, but I’m so happy you wrote it.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you for reading it. I am glad I shared the tale…

  19. A very tough read and I can’t even imagine what living through it was like. You are so brave to have left and I’m sorry you had to leave your step-son. It’s a situation I can’t understand but the emotions you wrote about here were heartbreaking.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you..I was unable to find a humorous way to write it..some things are just not funny.

  20. I’m hyperventilating. You just described my ex. Sauce separate from spaghetti and cat kicking, is that the norm for those types of guys? I am so glad you got out, Mer. I can’t imagine having a step-child involved. I am so sorry you had to go through that.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      I think it must be the norm..some men just hate woman..he was one of them..so sad you had an ex like this as well…thank you for reading even though it triggered your own feelings..

    2. C.K. Hope,
      Do you think you’d be interested in sharing a story here about your experiences with your ex?

      1. Melanie, Yes, I’d be interested. I can’t think of a better place to finally share that particular story, thank you. -CK

        1. Thank you. I’m glad you want to. Can you send me an email to tending.weeds@gmail.com. We’ll talk specifics. Yay!

  21. I think we lived in the same house for a while…except I didn’t leave and instead of a son, there were three daughters by three other women. They didn’t live with us and when my son’s dad died, I cut ties with them… sigh…
    Glad you got out and that you are moving on…*hugs*

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you…so many people with the same stories, different players…{hug}

  22. I am happy that you escaped. He is vile a worthless piece of shit. It would of only progressed to either him trying to kill you or you him. Not only do I feel immense sadness for you and your daughter but that poor son. Sending you love , hope and safety.

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Thank you so much…

  23. prayingforoneday · · Reply

    I had no idea….
    I am so sorry

    1. merbear74 · · Reply

      Was a long time ago.

      1. prayingforoneday · · Reply

        I know now now, I didn’t know this was your last relationship. Still, not nice reading at all..
        I am glad you were strong enough to get out

        Hope you are doing ok

      2. prayingforoneday · · Reply

        I know, I am glad you are Happy now…
        Like the blog I did for Mel, It was 30 years ago..
        Another life almost…

        Least I put a picture up of me with Tartan trousers on, lol

        1. merbear74 · · Reply

          Yes to all.

  24. The feeling from your story permeated my childhood. Anxiety, fear, desperation, anger. It was a long time ago and thankfully over. I still strive to understand how people can be that way. You did the right thing. All we can do now is throw the lifeline out to others. We do that through listening and offering kind words of encouragement. I’m glad you have recovered.

  25. thank you so much for following us!! we would love to showcase your work!

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