Little Wife Gets A Little Bigger
A very strange sensation came over Little Wife as she hung up the phone. She felt a little taller. She stood up a little straighter. She smiled at the thought that she might be growing just a little bit. The woman on the phone had been very kind, very understanding, very encouraging to Little Wife. Although it had started out a little weird….
“Hello, my name is…I mean I need to talk to someone about my situation. I’m Little Wife, well, I mean that’s what he calls me. I am a little wife, but I used to be kind of bigger…so anyway, I’m kind of little and I’m his wife and it’s all weird and strange and I’m sorry to bother you and I am very afraid of him and he might be listening right now so I should probably make this quick, but anyway…”
“Little Wife,” the kind woman said ever so gently. “Can you speak up just a little bit? I know you have to be quiet, but I can barely hear you whispering.”
“Oh, yes, I’m sorry, yes, I can speak a little louder, but he might be home and I just don’t want him to hear me because then he’ll ask me so many questions and will probably take my phone and then who knows….but yes, I got a book about domestic abuse. There was a chapter that listed all the characteristics of an abuser, and it sounded so much like Big Man. I mean, he is my husband and I love him, but I wonder if he is abusing me? Do you think he might be abusing me? He says he loves me and wants us to be together forever, but it’s just not feeling very good. And I’m very afraid and sometimes I hide in the basement.”
“I can hear you a little better, Little Wife. Are you in a safe place right now?” The woman on the phone seemed genuinely concerned.
“Am I safe? I never really know…maybe I am? But can you maybe help me? He might walk in any minute. I don’t know what to do? What does your organization do to help women like me who are just so little and don’t know what to do about anything?” Little Wife peeked through the curtain and saw that Big Man was indeed pulling into the driveway in his fast, loud sporty car. Her heart began to pound fast.
“We offer support, counseling, and teach you more about domestic abuse and its effects on women and children. We can help you get to a safe place. Would you like to…”
“Okay, thank you, good bye, have a nice day,” and Little Wife hung up the phone as Big Man walked through the door. Even though he was glaring at her suspiciously, Little Wife stood as tall as she could and jammed her phone into her back pocket. She took a deep breath.
“Big Man, I’m so glad you’re home already. Can I make you some lunch? How was your meeting? Did they like your ideas?” Little Wife moved towards the kitchen and reached for the fridge where she could get him a cold drink and sandwich makings for his lunch.
He blocked her from opening the refrigerator.
“Who were you talking to, Little Wife? Was it that friend I warned you about? You know she just wants to upset you and throw cold water on our love fest. You weren’t talking to her, were you?” Big Man was staring at her and his face was getting red. “You can talk to me about anything, Little Wife. You don’t need those negative friends in your life. I’m here for you always.”
“Thank you, Big Man,” Little Wife replied and gave him her sweetest smile. “What would I do without you?”
After his lunch, Big Man went to their bedroom to lie down. Little Wife quickly washed his lunch dishes and opened the very lowest cupboard door, reaching way to the back of the cupboard for the book she had been reading. She turned to the page that listed the personality traits of an abusive husband.
“Red flags and warning signs of an abuser include, but are not limited to:
- Extreme jealousy
- A bad temper
- Cruelty to animals
- Verbal abuse
- Extremely controlling and manipulative behavior
- Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships, i.e. Christian wives should always be submissive to their husbands
- Forced sex or disregard of their partner’s unwillingness to have sex
- Sabotage of birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed upon methods
- Blaming the victim for everything bad that happens
- Sabotage or obstruction of the victim’s ability to work or attend school
- Controls all the finances
- Abuse of other family members, children or pets
- Accusations of the victim flirting with others or having an affair
- Control of what the victim wears and how they act
- Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
- Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others
- Harassment and/or stalking of the victim at work”
Little Wife took a deep breath and turned to the next chapter in her new book. Now she would read about what kind of a woman the abuser is attracted to. But first she listened carefully in case Big Man might be coming back to the kitchen for his cookies and milk.
- Low self-esteem
- Co-dependent (emotionally and financially)
- Blames herself for most troubles in life
- Socially isolated
- Excessively tolerant
- Lacking motivation
“Well, yes, that sounds like me,” said Little Wife sadly. But then she remembered the phone call with the very kind woman who sounded like she really cared. Little Wife buried the book way in the back of the cupboard again and stood up, turning around just as Big Man walked into the kitchen for his afternoon snack.
“There’s my Little Wife,” he spoke with a suspicious tone of voice. “You’re always so busy in the cupboard these days. So much spring cleaning? Maybe there’s something I can do to help you?” And he opened the cupboard door and started to bend over to peek inside.
“Oh no, Big Man, I’m just fine and getting it all done a little at a time.” Little Wife worried that her shaking voice might give it all away, that he would discover the contraband book she kept hidden away in the cupboard. “It’s such a nice afternoon, Big Man! Would you like to take a walk around the block for some fresh air?” She felt the desperation and panic rising up in her heart.
Big Man stood up and shook his big head. “I can’t see a thing in that dark cupboard. Not today, Little Wife, I’m not in the mood for fresh air. I think I’ll just go lie down a little longer. I have so much to think about these days. My headache is back. It’s your fault for all these suspicious phone calls and conversations you’re having. Will you just carry my cookies and milk up the stairs for me? And then just leave me alone for a couple of hours. And don’t run the vacuum or the clothes dryer. I need some peace and quiet for a change.”
Little Wife walked with him up the stairs, thinking all the time about her book and the phone call. She set his cookies down on the nightstand, noting that Big Man wasn’t looking as big as he used to. She straightened up, smiled her prettiest smile, took another deep breath and walked away.
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