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‘I give my friend a big slap now and then’

“‘I did not mean it like that.’ That’s what my father used to say when he hit me. Because I wasn’t listening. Was brutal. Didn’t clean up my room. Or simply because he was in a bad mood. Whatever you do wrong, you never deserve a blow – I know that better than anyone. And yet I do the same to my friend. Then invariably say: “I didn’t mean it that way.”

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The best and the worst

Alex brings out the best in me and the worst. After fifteen years I am still in love with him, but an argument immediately goes wrong. By the way, we don’t have these arguments that often, maybe that’s our problem. Neither of us are talkers. In this way, annoyances and frustrations pile up until it eventually erupts.

Alex then checks out; is withdrawn and emotionally unreachable for days. That drives me mad again, sometimes resulting in a blow out of sheer desperation. I have never touched a finger with my eight and nine children, but I fear the day they will turn into hellish adolescents. I don’t know if I can control my anger then.

He is silent, I grumble

The first time I lost control, Alex and I argued about nothing. The kids were four and five, I had just increased my job from three to four days a week. Alex wanted to go to the pub, I was disappointed that I was again alone with the children. Instead of expressing my frustration, I grunted like “jerk” and he decided not to say anything more. This is how our arguments always go: he is silent, I grumble, but we never get to a conversation.

When the kids were in the bath after dinner, he ducked in front of me to grab his wallet and leave, causing me to lose my balance and bump into the table. ‘Ow! Is it now ready! ”I shouted and before I knew it I gave him a loud smack.

The wimp of the class

I had never hit anyone. In high school, I was the wimp of the class. The time I was kicked into the boys’ toilet when I was 13 and got my backpack thrown at my head: I let it come over me with resignation. The afternoon I was pulled off my bike and they took my sanitary pads out of my bag and scattered them on the bike path: I faked the flu for a week. Never have I ever stood up for myself, I have never given a slap back to my father. I was a doormat, at home and at school.

Catching blows

And now I was 34 and Alex could still take the blows for my rotten youth. Literally. Because he wanted an evening to himself.

He looked at me in bewilderment after that first blow – the print of my hand glowed on his cheek. I was transfixed, just as shocked. I cried and said sorry a thousand times and threw myself into his arms. He turned me away and walked out the door in silence. I feared he was gone for good.

He came home an hour later, he had canceled his appointment. “We really need to do this differently,” he said. “We have to keep talking to each other, honey, always.” Remarkable words for someone who never speaks out, but I agreed, whereupon we kissed and never mentioned anything again. Until it happened again a few months later. And again a few months later. And now we are four years later – fortunately for a few months now we have been in relationship therapy to solve this. Because it is clear that I have issues, but Alex also has a lot to learn.

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I really don’t structurally beat Alex around the house, but I’ve already whacked him at least twenty times in the last four years. Or a shovel. Because he makes a wrong comment about my figure. Draws his own plan and sees me as Mien Poets. Because he can’t pick up the kids from daycare four times in a row or forget my birthday. Normal annoyances that make me explode excessively. It just happens to me.

I even kicked him in the shin once while he was sleeping peacefully because I was furious that after a night of ghosts with the kids I had to get up at six to go to work while he went diving all day. “Fell Bianc,” he shouted, then turned and let me get dressed by myself for breakfast and dressing the kids. After diving he came home happily, as if nothing had happened that morning.

He’s not doing anything in return

I learn from our psychologist to control that anger by – you don’t believe it – simply counting to ten. Just leave the room. And only after my anger has subsided to start the conversation. Alex is of course ten times stronger than me, but luckily he has never touched me with a finger. He takes the blow and takes at most my wrist, but does nothing in return. I would understand if it did happen. That once the bar is full for him and he loses control. As strange as it sounds from my mouth, I think I would leave him. I’ve been hit enough in my life.

‘I don’t want it at all’

I don’t want to think about losing him because of my violent behavior. That the children lose a warm family. Because that’s the stupid thing: most of the time we have it wonderful. Then the children make croissants on Sunday morning and we all have breakfast in our bed. Take the dog for walks on the beach, while the children roll down the dunes and we stroll around with our arms around each other. Alex and I enjoy concerts, think the same about parenting, and when I dream about the future, I see us old and gray on a bench looking out over the river that flows through our city.

I don’t want to hurt him at all, but it seems as if a brake came loose after that first blow that locked up a lot of old pain, and now I can’t get that brake off anymore. Fortunately, with the help of our psychologist, I am learning better and better. I realize it is a sign of weakness and that I am destroying our relationship with it. How can you expect someone to respectfully engage in a conversation with you after you just abused them? My father pushed me further away from him after every blow. I didn’t shed a tear at his funeral.


Our environment has no idea. Not a guy who admits being beaten by his own wife. When a man hits, it’s called domestic violence. When a man gets hit by his wife, he’s a wimp. I am also looking forward to mentioning it, I am very ashamed. I am no better than my father. I’m afraid Alex will end up hating me just as much for it – not to mention the kids if they ever get wind of it. Then I can pack like a mother. Who will accept from his parent that he beats the other parent? And more importantly: what example do I give with that?

To talk

Strangely enough, I do talk to my children. About their dreams and what makes them happy, about their fears and disappointments. When they do something that is not allowed or that hurts me, I explain why. I think that works very well. I don’t understand why that doesn’t work with Alex. It is, of course, a trade-off: arguing is never the fault of either of the two. Our love is strong and we are each other’s best buddies.

This is also evident from our relationship therapy; I have not been out of my mind once since. We find each other funny and the sex is good. I have to learn not to link my bad childhood experiences with negative feelings about Alex. He has to learn not to shut himself off from me when there is a difference of opinion. Moreover, he can be a bit more active as a father.

“How much love I see in you,” says the therapist. That’s right. If Alex and I manage to reverse our inability, our relationship will be rock solid. A house in which I want to live with him forever. ”

This article has previously appeared in Kek Mama.

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