Surviving Suicide – Part 5
I was very surprised at just how much emotion came up for me yesterday with my blog post. It’s been almost 10 years now, yet the emotions are still very fresh and in some ways it feels like a lifetime ago, but also like it was just yesterday. I’ve been doing some reading on how those left behind to deal with the loss really grieve differently. There is still so much stigma attached to suicide and my hope is that by me coming forward, it encourages others to do the same. Talking about it brings it out into the open, stops you from shutting down and stuffing your emotions and then you can move forward.
I don’t recall much in chronology of what transpired the first little while after finding out about all the affairs sometime in March 2000. I do remember how mad I was, how much I hated what he’d done to me, felt so hurt and betrayed and couldn’t believe that I thought I knew this man for all those years, trusted him, yet he was capable of this? I realize now that he wasn’t doing this “to” me, he was doing it “for” himself. It is very common for those afflicted with bi-polarism to be quite permiscuous. The “highs” you get when you buy something new for the first time comes into play as well when it comes to affairs. It’s exciting and new, it’s dangerous, it’s a way to recreate that big “high” – that euphoria that comes with new fresh relationships. Unfortunately, that high doesn’t last and is why so many affairs come to an end. Initially they are an escape from reality, the daily hum drums of married life. As the relationship progresses, you’re on your best behaviour in the beginning, so eager to please your new love, but that wears off quickly too. When that infatuation stage wears off, reality or as close to it as you could call it, kicks in. That’s when your real personality comes out, your insecurities, your moods, your temperment, likes and dislikes, and will quite often not be at all what the other person bargained for. Rob although quite arrogant to most, was actually quite insecure and needed the ego boost that he was still attractive to women, and he himself told me that it was a real feel good when someone new came into your life and told you how wonderful, handsome, smart you were.
I was much faster on my feet when it came to verbalizing and rationalizing when having conversations with him. I could say something very cutting and to the point, in very few words and had no problem verbalizing how I was feeling. Rob on the other hand couldn’t. He’d not be able to come up easily with expressing himself, but he could also really hit below the belt and his anger was easy to flare because he was on the defensive. I don’t recall the exact conversation, but I knew 4 of the 9 women he’d had affairs with. Each and every one of them was broken in some way. All were vulnerable, none were confident and all had had terrible relationships in the past and some had addiction issues. It seemed to me at the time that he was attracted to these helpless women, the Damsel in Distress sort of scenario. They needed him and I didn’t, or at least I didn’t show that I did. I have always been quite confident, liked myself and who I was. I was also always the one to move things forward, to make decisions in our lives, I was the strong one always holding everything together and managing our lives both personally and corporately. I was the one who put fires out and enabled whatever he wanted and figured out a way to give him what he wanted. I knew after knowing who some of the women were that because I wasn’t broken, that he didn’t feel like he could be Prince Charming and swoop in and fix me. He told me that I didn’t make him feel like a man. My caustic reply to that one because I was so hurt and mad was “that’s because you’re not a man!” He told me many months later how much that comment hurt. I knew it at the time, but it is also how I truly felt. A man in my estimation did not conduct himself in such a way.
We never had physical violence during our relationship. I’d always said if you hit me, make it a good one because I will come at you with everything I’ve got! I grew up with a physically abusive Father, not to me so much, but with my Mom and my brother, so I had no tolerance whatsoever for it. Rob was seated behind the service desk one day in the showroom, I was at my desk a few feet away from him. It was a quiet day and we were conversing about the whole mess and some comment was made that I recall saying something negative about the kinds of women he had cheated on me with being the bottom of the barrell. He replied with a very smug comment along the lines of “it all depends on where you do your shopping” and it made me so damn mad that I actually got up out of my chair and smacked him so hard across his face that he fell off the stool! I immediately felt sick with myself and promised myself right then and there that nothing would ever get me to the point of striking someone ever again. I apologized and he said “no it’s okay, I wondered when that would be coming.” That was not a great day, but it also changed how we communicated from then on. He was sort of living with the new girlfriend I think at this point, told her when he got home that Barb had really beat him up lol! He told me the next day about that comment.
We had so many issues going on while all of this was happening too. The tire recall was a royal pain in the butt, tons of paperwork for the warranty work, lots of phone calls arranging for customers to come in for the switchover and all of this for not even enough reimbursement from Firestone to cover our actual labour costs. Our revenues were way down because of the recall. There was also trouble with our housekeeper/nanny which Rob had hired on his own. She was suing us for wrongful dismissal. She was a very pretty, petite Jamaican lady and she had a huge attitude. There were some signs of trouble when Rob was helping her quite a bit with getting a computer for her son, they’d be out shopping for it, he had to go to her place to set it up, etc. which I found very odd and not appropriate. My intuition was right as I would later learn. Rob would tell me he was just trying to help her out as she was a struggling single Mom. Next thing you know, some money from our house went missing. I questioned the housekeeper about it, she denied it vehemently and got pretty ticked off being accused. I did not accuse her, I simply asked her whether she’d seen the money. This happened on two occasions. We’d given her an old BMW that we had for sale but couldn’t move when her car died when she first started working for us. She needed a vehicle to work for us, so we thought might as well let her use it, she could buy it from us at $50/week until it was paid for and she’d have transportation. I again can’t remember the timeline, but I was away on a trip I think in Sept., she had been there during the days as usual while I was gone, and when I got back and asked Rob how it went, he said horribly! I asked why and he said something about her going off on him when he instructed her on how to wash his sweater. None of it added up, but I was too tired after my flight to discuss it further. We had another larger amount of money go missing along with a few other items shortly after I got back and the tension with the housekeeper was steadily building. My son was telling me that she wasn’t being very nice with him either, so finally one day it just got so bad that I said to Rob, I’m not paying someone to treat us badly so she needs to be fired. We couldn’t prove the money was stolen, but I knew it was her. A problem arose because she still owed about $1500 on her car, so I had to figure out how that would work without being a major disaster. We agreed that when she arrived on the following Monday morning for work, I would call Rob and he would come home and park his vehicle behind hers in the driveway so she couldn’t drive off.
Rob came home, parked behind her, I had already dropped my son to school early for a practice so he was not around fortunately, and then we both told her things just weren’t working out and we’d like to terminate her. At this point, totally to my surprise, my husband announced to the housekeeper that she also owed him several hundred dollars for her son’s computer! I was flabbergasted, she blew up immediately! She was swearing at us, was saying she hadn’t stolen anything and we had no right to fire her. At that point we told her to leave and she saw that her car was blocked in. Rob was right behind her and she jumped into her car, turned it on and proceeded to reverse into his Rover. He was having a fit because she wouldn’t stop, her tires were squealing like crazy, Rob was leaning into her open driver’s window trying to wrestle the keys out of the ignition to stop her and this was all about 8:30am in the morning! Neighbours were beginning to look out and see what the commotion was all about, I was dying a thousand deaths, she was madder than ever and so was Rob. We still owned the BMW she was driving but had put it into her name for insurance purposes. I had held the original ownership until it was paid for in full. Earlier that morning when I dropped my son off, I went to the Licence Office and switched the ownership back into our company name, which you needed the original of the ownership to do. With all this commotion going on, the housekeeper was screaming at the top of her lungs, was trying to get the driver’s door open and Rob was battling for the keys and she got her shin hurt with the car door closing on her. I was just standing there watching all this play out before me not believing my eyes. Somehow the keys got taken away from her, she shouted and screamed she was calling the police and could she use our phone lol! I said absolutely not and then she went to a neighbour’s to call. We moved her car into the garage, she came back out and waited and wasn’t long before the police showed up. We explained/she explained and then the officer ran a check to see who owned the car. She produced an original ownership for the car too, but mine was on record when he checked and she admitted to lying to the Licence Office saying she’d lost the original so she could get one. The officer then proceeded to tell the housekeeper that she needed to get her licence plates off our car and leave the premises.
At that point, things turned really ugly. She started saying she’d f’d (her words) my man, that they’d been having sex, etc. I was mortified once again and truly didn’t believe it at this point as I knew Rob was probably one of the most prejudice people I knew. She was shouting this over and over again, the officer was even embarrassed and finally told her she’d have to leave or he’d be forced to arrest her. After all this insanity, she had the nerve to ask me if I was going to call and pay for her taxi home!!! I said I will gladly call you a taxi, but you get your sorry butt home yourself. Wasn’t long before she was finally gone and I felt like I’d been run over by a mack truck! We were not separated at this point remember, so we both had a coffee, calmed ourselves down and then Rob headed off to work. Quite the explosive start to a day! Within 20 minutes of her leaving our house, she was phoning shrieking along with someone else on the phone that she’d f’d my man, what did I think about that? I could barely make out what was being said as both were screaming at the same time. Finally I just said listen, either talk – not yell, one at a time or I’ll just hang up. They calmed down, but it escalated quickly. I hung up, then the housekeeper’s Mother called me, she wasn’t quite as loud but again went on and on about her daughter having sex with my husband. I did not believe them at all at this time and said so and said stop calling or I’ll call the police again. They stopped calling. I never was sure what their rationalization for telling me this over and over again was, I don’t know whether they expected me to do something about it and side with them or what? I got into work pretty shaken up but got it under control and put in a full day. All day long my thoughts would drift to what had been said and slowly doubts were creeping in. Got home for dinner that day, we ate, I got my son to bed and then Rob decided he was leaving to sleep over at our boat! I was so exhausted, hurt and scared that one of these lunatics might show up while I was alone with my son, but I had nothing left in me to argue with. I thought the least he could do under the circumstances was stay home, but he didn’t. Another sign of who he was. I slept like the dead that night.