[Dis]Respect

The lack of respect for me in this relationship is becoming more and more abundantly clear. I don’t even want to use the word ‘relationship.’ It doesn’t seem like an appropriate word anymore.

Monday evening, after the text message fight, he seemed to back off a little. Not for long though. He slowly started to subtly verbally abuse me. Whenever we have fights where he thinks I’ve wronged him, he gives himself permission to treat me like shit. He feels he’s justified.

For example. he asked me to buy him a Harley and followed that with “I wish you didn’t have student loan debt. Then we could co-sign on things and be able to get things in life.” Thanks for that. He was trying to make me feel like shit, like it’s my fault that we can’t get things in life because I put myself through school to better myself and my debt is holding us (or him) back. It was just another attempt to undermine me. Let’s not forget that he avoids paying bills and has amassed a huge amount of debt by running away from it–once bills get too high after months of not paying he just avoids them altogether and refuses to pay. He tried to convince me to do the same: “Just claim bankruptcy. All you debt will just vanish if you avoid it long enough.” How much more evident could his inability and refusal to take responsibility for himself be?

What has become more disturbing to me, however, is his sexual assault of me. He touches my breasts when he knows I don’t want to be touched, such as after a fight or during times when there’s still tension between us. He will try and grab them out of nowhere, at a time that seems highly inappropriate (because really, who insists on touching someone sexually when you’re in an argument and not even speaking to one another?) Telling him not to doesn’t do anything other than anger him more as he will just continue to do it and laugh at my protests. He’s telling me that I’m inferior and weaker than him and he will touch me whenever he wants no matter what. He tells me he touches me in my sleep and when I question it he says “Well if you don’t let me do it when you’re awake  then I’ll do it when you’re asleep. You don’t even notice.” This angers me to my very core because I feel so violated. It’s MY body. It’s like punishment. He’s saying he’s entitled to it and to do whatever he wants with it and I have no right to object. He’s reinforcing his power over me. It couldn’t be anymore clear that I am nothing more than an object, a possession to him existing solely for his pleasure. This is especially evident when he says to me, “Go put on something sexy so I can bang you.”  In a healthy relationship, I would take pleasure in wearing sexy things for my significant other because I get pleasure out of it as well. But in this context, I often feel like a piece of meat. What angers me even more is that he takes pleasure in knowing that I can’t object because I’m afraid to. He knows it angers me, but he’s loving every minute of me not speaking against it. He’s enjoying his power over me and that infuriates me more.

Mike has a general dislike for women. This is evident in his comments about women on a daily basis. He said to me last week, “How can something bleed for five days and not die? You women are Satan’s children,” in reference to me being on my period. This is accompanied by increasing pressure for anal sex: “I have to make a reservation a year in advanced for that.”

The only woman I’ve seen him show respect for is his mother, and possibly his sister. I listen to him talk to them on the phone and he sounds like a decent human being, “allowing” her independence and freedom. He will tell me that she’s working on construction site cleaning new homes or in a hotel frequented by oil rig men, and then tell me that he would never allow ME to work there because “it isn’t safe” and “those men go nuts over any woman they see.” But it’s ok for his aging mother.

I believe that he displays more respect for his mother partly because she’s a traditional mother. She stayed home before his parents split. She never went to school and pursued a career. The other reason could be because she babied him. She spoiled him. If he didn’t like what she made for dinner, she made him something else. (The same evening of the text fight he complained about having no dinner and said that he wishes he could come home and a full course dinner would magically appear.) He says of her, “She would do anything for me. She would give her own life for me.” He firmly believes this despite the facts that she cheated on his father and left him to care for himself when he was 15 (she left the province to find work elsewhere since it was too much of a struggle where they were). This could also come into play in regards to his mistrust of women, but he stands firmly behind her alone. He will tell me how she still spends a large amount of money on him on his birthday despite the fact that she struggles to make ends meet for herself. I feel that this is often a direct criticism of me–that he expects me to still spend money on him despite the fact that I can’t afford to.

His sister has wanted children since she was a teen. She’s now a stay-at-home mother of two babies. Again, I see a link between that and Mike’s display of respect for her as well. “Traditional” women are ‘respected’ and considered ‘good women’ in Mike’s ‘old-school’ eyes. It has become more clear that that is what he values. His subtle remarks highlight how he believes I should be at home, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of babies and serving him instead of pursuing a career or a life outside the home. His vision of life is by far not the one I had envisioned for myself.

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