Ever want to know what it is like to live “in the closet” when you are the straight spouse? I will tell you. It’s Hell.
(This post deals with emotional abuse and gaslighting. Trigger warning)
I went into my marriage thinking I had found the love of my life, that we would have babies and grow old together. I found evidence of his latent homosexuality again and again. After the loss of a pregnancy, he stopped suppressing it.
We were married a total of twelve years, and together for thirteen total. Although there were signs of his homosexuality early in the marriage, there were sings as early as year one, but I’d say the first three or so years of our relationship was pretty good. By year three, however, he traveled a lot of his company. He had plenty of opportunity to cheat and his porn addiction was getting worse. I wrote in my journal that I wanted out. I wanted a divorce.
I was sad. I was absolutely miserable. My friends were having babies and/or at least had starter jobs and I was floundering in a small town in Indiana. We put everything into his career. The evidence of his homosexuality and his cheating were piling up. I was ashamed so I kept quiet, but he could not be so sure for how long. It was at this time that I was sent to a psychiatrist and to church. The psychiatrist, who listened to my husband more than me, put me on a bunch of medications I did not need. I was put on everything from mood stabilizers like Trileptal and Valporic Acid (Depakote), and Seroquel. Anti-depressants like Prozac, Welbutrin, and Zoloft as well as pretty heavy sedatives/anti-anxiety drugs like Ativan and Clonopin. I was taking up to six medications a day. I lost most of the 2000’s to all of these drugs that I did not need.
The over-medication of my mind and body was facilitated by so-called medical professionals was abusive. When a romantic partner convinces you and everyone else that you are crazy for their own purposes, it is called gaslighting. When a medical professional participates in it… well… that is called something else that I will not print so it is not to smell of libel. He kept me quiet with all those meds not to mention an unreliable witness to my own life. Even if I had to confidence to “tell on him,” to tell the truth that he was lying to me, ignoring me, and cheating on me with men, who would listen? I was crazy, right? He was ignoring me because I was “unstable.” The meds also made me gain a bunch of weight (like almost a hundred pounds) and no one else would want me. The drugs also put me in a stupor so it was hard to maintain gainful employment. My mind was always foggy, I could not concentrate, and I would have memory loss. To this day, much of the 2000’s was a blur. I am more angry about the emotional abuse and making me go on so many psych meds than I am about his being a homosexual. If he were just gay and owned up to it without all the other abuse, we could have worked something out, but he needed me to be “unreliable” and unstable to keep up his facade. I am also very angry with my family for buying into his lies and not protecting me. I was young and had nowhere to go. I tell them, even now, that I am “cured” or I was never mentally ill only situationally depressed. I mean, who would not be situationally depressed under the circumstances? That is how deep his lies were. I was also the perfect mark: choose a vulnerable, religious woman without much family support. She will need you more and no one will help her out even if they did believe her. Keep her fat and unemployable, even better.
How the church fed into his abuse I will address in another post.
So, I will tell you what it is like to live in the closet with an emotionally abusive and cruel coward of a man. The secret becomes a monster.
Even if that monster has no name, it is a monster just the same. No amount of mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety, anti-depressants, or sleep drugs can kill it. The drugs make it disoriented and quiet it down for a bit. Drugging the monster will make you feel less pain, but less happiness. For me (not for people who are actually clinically depressed and not just situationally depressed or emotionally abused) it dulled everything, even my memory. I guess that is a good thing. The monster will continue to grow as it feeds on his deceit and false promises. Your low self esteem is its nectar and it will unleash little minions like hornets of lies and doubt that sting and swarm every instinct, every true emotion, every original thought you have. Like carrion insects they devour your “YOUNESS” converting your psychic body into theirs like an unholy communion leaving you a shell of your former self. You don’t recognize yourself in the mirror. No wonder he doesn’t love you anymore. When he says you aren’t the girl he married, he’s right. But you haven’t changed, just the you that he’s trained you to show. Once vibrant, loud, opinionated, smart, and sexy, you have become submissive, quiet, and hanging on his every word. Every bit of human decency he throws your way feels like a precious gift to be savored because you never know when the next one might come. All of this so he can live his comfortable suburban dream life at your expense and you will thank him for it.
The only way to kill the monster is to remove it from its habitat and starve it to death. Get out of the bad marriage, stop feeding it with his lies and your low self esteem. Going to counseling and just changing how you FEEL about the situation is like putting a bow tie on that monster and teaching it to whistle “Dixie.”
Post script: I lost the weight. I gained some of it back, but not the full hundred. I am closer to the weight I was when we first married when I was 23 and I am 41 now. I am also not on any medications. I got off my many psych meds under medical supervision and with a good counselor. It took me almost a decade for a medical professional to take me seriously. If you need help, seek it. If they don’t believe you, find someone who does. No one should live like this.