Less Than Charitable


How many times during your dance with the narcissist did you dread your home that you shared looming into view as you drove towards it or the taxi neared it? How many times did you sit wishing that you were still out and away from its dark, hulking menace as you fumbled for your house keys? How many times did you endure that drive back to the house with us at the wheel as the once vibrant conversation slowly dried up and a heavy, foreboding silence engulfed the interior of the vehicle. Can you feel that knotted sensation in your stomach again as you see our silhouette at the window where we have been evidently keeping watch for your return? The sickness rising in your chest as you see the door slowly open and left ajar, beckoning you inside but we do not stand there waiting to greet you as we foreshadow what awaits you.

It seems that it is only you that suffers this treatment in your own home. It is meant to be a place of sanctuary a place where the toils and troubles of the world outside your window are meant to halt at the door. It should be a place where you feel warm, loved and safe. Goodness knows you have attempted to instil these things in your home as you have worked hard to make it a pleasant and inviting environment, a place to relax and be yourself. Unfortunately, with us you succeeded too well in respect of that last part. Visitors to your home are always warmly greeted by us, cheeks kissed and hands shaken, a firm pat on the back as words of welcome are aired. We act the perfect host, accommodating guests, never hurrying them to leave, always offering a further drink. Of course you play your role as we order you about so you are the one organising the food and relaying the drinks, but it is done in a warm and appreciative manner which belies the reality of our standing over you. You pour the wine into the four glasses as you reflect on how this is the third set you have to buy this year and you are only in May as once the guests have disappeared into the night those glasses are thrown to the floor to shatter as some minor and entirely inconsequential transgression on your part is seized on and becomes the platform for a bout of intimidating fury. How quickly the host becomes the beast once the audience has departed. So many times you have insisted on our guests staying longer and on some occasions offered the spare room in order to keep what invariably follows at bay. Sometimes you have managed to stretch out their attendance until we have nodded off, infused with alcohol and a hearty meal which has enabled you to say good bye to our guests as we have snoozed as you prefer nor to wake the beast in two senses of the word. You tiptoe past us only pausing, ever the caring person, to place a blanket over us as you then quietly head for bed relieved to avoid one of those scenes.

When your taxi halts outside after you have managed to escape the house for a rare night out and you pay the driver, eyes flitting back and forth from that ajar door, the gateway to hell that has yawned open and is beckoning you in, your despair and apprehension rises. The outside world has no comprehension of what goes on between those walls. To everyone else you appear a content couple, enjoying a good lifestyle. Our carefully constructed façade ensures that we are afforded the recognition and status that our kind is entitled to. We ensure that everyone else knows us to be capable, successful, entertaining and personable. That is the reason we receive so many invitations to drinks receptions, dinner, evenings out and prestigious balls. You know that you must never decline them for attendance is mandatory to allow us to walk amongst our people and shine, drinking deep of their admiring fuel. We give speeches at charitable functions and announce a healthy donation as we maintain the gloss of decency and respectableness whilst kicking you under the table so that you smile to all who are looking our way. Our greatness is acknowledged by all in our community and the maintenance of this façade is hugely important to us and not something we can allow to be pierced or destroyed.

Yet all of the charm, the apparent generosity (those donations never come from our pocket but from those of a business we belong to our others we have persuaded to sponsor the event but we of course always take the credit) and the warmth evaporates once the threshold to our house has been crossed. At times, as we have driven away from an event, you have wanted to open the car door and jump out and run away down the road away from the impending horror which you know is waiting for you. You recognise the signs. There is the reduction and eventual extinguishing of conversation after we have muttered some terse criticism of you. You know better than to try to argue back. The drive seems to take an age and you can feel our churning fury as you sit beside us in the passenger seat. As we round the corner and the house comes into view you want to pass out, you want to be removed from the situation but you know you cannot. You walk with heavy footsteps towards that door. We always enter before you and leave it open, in the same way we do when you have gone out without us. It is a clear signal. You are entering our domain now and you will answer for your failure to smile at one of our jokes, or the fact you spent twenty minutes talking to someone else rather than stand laughing and supporting me amongst my coterie. You did not fill up my glass and attended to someone else rather than me. You wolfed down your starter which lacked elegance and decorum. You failed to make a bid during the charity auction. You went to the toilet during a speech. You rolled your eyes at one of my golden anecdotes (having heard it a hundred times before). The list of transgressions, both real and imagined, is long and we will always find something that you have done incorrectly during our time away from the house and once returned you will be punished as we unleash one of our manipulative tools from our devil’s toolkit in order to devalue you. We hope you might argue back and unleash some anger, but more often than not as we push the front door closed with a click and move towards you it is the upset and tears that flow. As our shadow falls over you, already your eyes are welling with tears as you know what will come behind that closed door. The charitable largesse we ladle out to the world at large always ends at home.

18 thoughts on “Less Than Charitable

  1. Jane Hall says:

    HG – My husband was NOT the perfect host. He was unwelcoming to my family. He would either disappear out when they turned up or he was OFF with them. My family all said there was an atmosphere in the home with my husband there. Home was the place where most of the abuse took place though. Behind closed doors. The smile would go the face would turn into a grimace and rage would start about the most ridiculous, laughable things. Also, the Car. When he drove. I was trapped in the car and he would rant and rave, slap my leg, slap against my arm. Awful. Why wasn’t my husband the perfect host HG?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      He could not control his ignited fury on some instances and on others could not maintain a facade and preferred to create an atmosphere for the purposes of drawing fuel.

  2. Mary says:

    When my husband came home late at night after an evening out drinking with friends I would turn off the light and pretend to be asleep the moment I heard the garage door go up. No way was I going to have a conversation with him when he was “in his cups”.

  3. Somewhere over the rainbow says:

    I saw parents fighting with an axe when I was under 7 y.o. Father forgot about it when sobered, mother denied it (I think she really blocked those memories, who wants to remember that happening?). I remember like it happened yesterday. That helped me stay grounded and always take reality for what it is. For years, when I heard the key in the door I got into defensive mode. My brain was strategizing responses so I eluded his rages most of times. If he was sober, he was another man. If drunk, we were screwed. Until 5 y.o. I’ve heard all the names calling in the world (not exaggerating). Little shit (that one I saw in “50 shades of fucked up”) was the one I strongly abhorred. It was meant to make my personality disappear. Never did thou. When I told him (in my 30s) he called me that way…I was imagining things. Unfortunately for him, gaslight or changing history never worked on me. I tend to become more rational in panic moments. And…detach to see the whole picture. That’s why I can’t hate him. With those genes and education (alcoholic co dependent father, narc mother) he never stood a chance for something else.

  4. Kensey says:

    If I pulled into garage & did not immediately go in the house, there he appeared..his dimly lit face,at the passenger window like a friggin horror movie. Why haven’t you come in? I thought you were coming straight home. It’s your fault the evening is ruined.
    I dreamed of going all “Vanilla Sky” on him. You know when Cameron made Tom get in, gunned it, drove him right off the bridge.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Excellent film.

  5. Lori says:

    HG, do you ever just get tired of being angry? This has got to be tiring. Do you ever feel envious of normal people because they are normal? Do you ever feel like you just want to stop being this way and experience love and happiness like normal people ?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      1. It is fury not anger. They are different matters. Either way, no.
      2. Good lord no.
      3. As I have mentioned many, many times – I am not capable of experiencing them therefore there is no point. Further I am built to be effective as I am. Further, love causes too many problems and in concluding I shall borrow from the talented Martin Gore and state “from the notes that I’ve made so far, love seems something like wanting a scar.”

      1. Lori says:

        Because you equate love with pain? This is why you inflict pain isn’t it ? because though you do not experience love you cognitively associate it with pain. You learned this as a child. So when you see pain on another that tells you ahhh they love me = fuel?

        Do I have this right?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          There is more to it, but that is part of it.

      2. Lori says:

        I sort of get what your saying in that a severe codependent can cognitively know that a narc is a narc but they don’t feel what that means they intellectually know this is incurable. They can be told time and time again how this goes but they continue to do thru it because they don’t feel what that means. They only know to continue fixing much like a narc continues to hurt even though they have awareness. The severe codependent continues to fix eventhough they are being harmes Narcs over protect themselves and codependents under protect themselves

  6. Patricia J says:

    How chilling true this all is.
    My Ex GN waited inside the dark hall at the door, grabbing me by my collar when I came inside. Then he drug me back to the car, threw me in, screaming we were going to his fathers grave, so I could confess my sins. I was so scared, I threw open the Car Door while it was going down our Street an somehow cartwheeled landing stand ing up. I find this funny since his main theme was Secert Agent Man. A car stopped behind us and a lady saw the whole thing. He drove off. I walked home.
    This is not a made up story. Unfortunately for me.

    1. Tiddlywink says:

      Gosh Patricia.. that’s scary. What happened when he returned home after that incident? Were u able to leave him?

  7. person says:

    The moment I see behind their mask, they become so afraid. And I see the momentary flinch. The sad thing is… that flicker of guilt when someone sees more than you wanted anyone to see… is left over from childhood.

    Then when the man realizes I have been exploring the inner workings of his mind, he becomes furious and usually lashes out at me.
    I’m hated by men because of this.
    None of you want to be seen for the shady assholes that you are.

    1. Somewhere over the rainbow says:

      Hello person!

      So true…Only you’re not hated by MEN, just by abusive men. Don’t forget that! We often fall in the extreme of not giving any man the benefit of the doubt. I see that in my mother. All men are arseholes just because my father abused her so many years. That’s when abusers/ liars/ cheaters/con artists really win, when they destroy lives.

  8. Dorothy Lamb says:

    This was so true in my case. Whenever I came home from work or time away from home – even to just go to the store, I would be greeted with the door ajar and hell once I entered. I actually go to the point where I would stay at work as late as I could to avoid going home. Every single day it was criticism from the moment I walked through the door until late into the evening. He never wanted to hear about work or anything that I did outside of the home. He told me more than once that he just didn’t care because it didn’t involve him. Then there was the lovely Fourth of July when he got drunk and threatened to beat up our host. When he found that he couldn’t do that as our host was bigger and stronger, he left me at the marina at 1:00 a.m., alone, in the dark, no cell phone, no purse, in sandals, to walk 12 miles home in almost pitch black along a country road. When I finally got home, tired, scared, and feet cut and blistered, he pulled me into the house by my hair, slammed the door, threw me in the walk-in closet, and kicked, hit and yelled at me for nine hours. Why, because he could. He couldn’t take out his anger on the man who he was fighting with (our host), so he took out his rage on me. I was sick/hurt for days afterward. Why didn’t I file a TRO? Fear? Love? I don’t know. He NEVER admitted any fault in the terrible abuse of that night/day. When he became sober he denied it even happened!

    1. Youdontownme says:

      Yes, the old “I must have been in a blackout.” Yeah, black rage. I, too, was assaulted. I hope your out of that relationship. It can only go uphill from the bottom, eh?

  9. staceytaughtme says:

    This one actually gave me tears….home was a miserable place.

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Little Acons – No. 56