Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tao of Equus - The author's description of her first marriage

I was not expecting anything like what I got from this book. I was expecting a book about horses and healing. I did not expect that the author would understand what I have been through in my life.
"My husband had been taught to dominate, not collaborate. Whenever I asserted m own will and vision, my own creativity and passion, he saw this as a dangerous bid to dis empower him. His criticisms of my body and soul weren't designed to be constructive, they were intended to whittle away my confidence and rein me in. People use ropes, whips and spurs to keep their horses in line, but they often find that words are just as effective in subduing members of their own species. Though he possessed a keen intellect, an acrobatic wit, and a gift for public speaking, My husband had no idea how to express his conflicting feelings or discuss his deepest fears in private. Whenever he felt threatened he would use verbal intimidation and sex to enforce his position. Without warning, a romantic evening would turn int a nightmare. The man would make fun of my figure, insisting that my anorexic physique was still too fat, the insults escalating until I was reduced to tears. An hour after I retreated to the bedroom alone, he would slip under the covers, turn my face away from him, and ride me like a beaten-down horse. For days and sometimes weeks afterward, I would feel dead inside, my heart and spirit broken. From my husband's point of view, however, I was operating at a level of self-esteem he could manage, and our marriage was once again harmonious."
(p. 12)
The first time I read this paragraph, I nearly had a panic attack. How could anyone know what it was like to live with Larry? How could she have described it so well?

She went on to say,
"For millennia, wedding vows obliged wives to pledge their obedience, and the majority of men raised as late as the 1960's were taught to expect it. The fact that my husband and I expunged that line form our own vows ultimately didn't hold any weight. on the surface, we were committed to creating a relationship of equals, yet neither one of us had been given the tools to bring this nice idea into form. His conditioning made it impossible for him to accept my growing creativity and self-actualization as anything but a challenge. He had been taught to dominate. Had been taught to submit. Our life together was ruled by old-world values that crept int our relationship and ultimately destroyed our marriage."
(p. 13)
That also sounded so much like my life with Larry. We talked about being equals. He wanted us to be equals, and in every way except one, we were. But in the bedroom... he became completely and totally dominant. When it came to sex and my body - I was no one, nothing but a plaything.

I believe he didn't want to be like that. I believe he wanted something different. We weren't able to have what both of us wanted.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sad that that was your experience. As I read those excerpts from the book I thought of how I would feel if I ever hurt Robyn like that. I felt utter horror at the thought. I would never want her to feel dominated, or afraid, or of low worth.

    Wherever Larry is I hope he's been able to heal from whatever problem caused him to be like that, for his sake as well as any woman he is ever with in the future. And, of course, I hope you can find healing from the pain he caused.