B. The Difficulties Begin

In January and February 1995, I believe we genuinely fell in love with each other. Everything was so exciting and new and passionate. However, along with these positive and sparkling feelings, a horrible underside emerged. This was when your bewildering behavior toward me began. What I had to begin dealing with at this time, on a frequent basis, were your radical and unexpected mood swings, temper tantrums, criticizing, yelling, "shutting down" and pushing me away. I felt totally confused, as sometimes we seemed to get along so well, and other times I felt besieged, like I was caught in a terrible hailstorm with nowhere to run.

Here are some examples from that long period from January to November 1995, in which I began to have the uneasy feeling that something was wrong, yet I could not identify precisely what it was.

Wild mood swings:

We were at the club with Angela and having a great time being silly and goofing around with the straws and stuff, remember? Then, abruptly you became quiet, and when I tried to ask you what was wrong you scowled that you had a headache. When we went back to your car you were upset over a nail in your tire, and then you were abusive to me all the way home in the car.

"Shutting Down":

You know exactly what I mean by this--I donít have to provide examples--i.e. when you would simply stare ahead and not respond to a single thing I said.Ignoring and withholding in this manner speaks as loudly as words and conveys, "You are not worth listening to or responding to."

The silent treatment:

Similar to "shutting down," though not on so grand a scale. When you were angry with me, you would simply go about whatever you were doing, ignoring me and refusing to communicate with me.

Verbal abuse, or "According to Terry, acceptable reasons for yelling at Chris":

1. Terry seeing large cockroach on floor.
2. Terry having a nail stuck in her tire.
3. Chris's bedsheets pressing on Terry's toes.
4. Chris making Terry's bed and leaving some crinkles in it.
5. Terry having a fight with Jackie.
6. Chris leaving the light on.
7. Chris using too much water to wash dishes.
8. Chris not washing handles of utensils.
9. Chris not washing bottom of plates.
10. Chris stacking dirty plates.
11. Chris being anywhere near the yard, when Terry is doing yardwork.
12. Terry being apprehensive about upcoming surgery, when Chris was trying to be supportive.
13. Chris not offering Terry a French fry at the Bourse.
14. Chris not offering to carry one of Terry's bags.
15. Chris dropping a morsel of food on the table.
16. Chris missing a turn.
17. Chris getting out of the bathroom at 5:31 AM.
18. Chris not having "better tools." What was the purpose of snapping at me over this? Were you expecting me to run out that very second to buy more tools?
19. A messed-up transaction regarding the U-Haul truck (Chris still doesn't know why Terry yelled "You're stupid!!" at her, at the top of her lungs).
20. Terry not wanting Chris anywhere near her motorcycle equipment; however, it is okay for Angela to grab the helmet and try it on.
21. Chris objecting to the statement, "It's just so typical for blacks to park that way."
22. Chris having a spot on her rug.
23. Chris leaving some damp clothes on her own furniture.
24. Chris, through no fault of her own, being unexpectedly sideswiped by another driver--Terry did not yell at her but essentially blamed her for the accident--" You weren't looking all around you and being alert to all other vehicles at all times!"
25. Terry having a tiff with Angela.
26. Terry's mom not knowing why the violin was the way it was.
27. An extremely often-used reason: Terry simply"not feeling well."
28. Chris saying hello back to Kim.
29. Chris accidentally (and amusingly) bringing over her ice skates instead of her in-line skates!
30. Chris not making a left off Baumer Ave. when the green arrow had gone off, leaving only the regular green light on and oncoming traffic heading toward the intersection.
31. Terry feeling she got a bad deal on some baseball cards.
32. Chris looking through baseball cards the wrong way.
33. Chris dropping a card accidentally.
34. Chris not keeping perfectly neat piles when sorting cards.
35. The dumplings not turning out right, before Brian's birthday party.
36. Chris not getting the stuff ready to stick Kitty, when she was merely following the routine that had been set over the previous two weeks.
37. Chris not moving out of the way fast enough for Terry to catch a bug.
38. Chris objecting when Terry once unexpectedly put her hands on the steering wheel, while Chris was driving, to get into the left turn lane on Barrett Ave.


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