Although we’re not together this Halloween, his memory still haunts me.
I kept telling Lanny we needed to get marriage counseling. He refused. So I started searching the Internet for any information to help me cope with his many forms of abuse. Tracing back to an earlier site I’d found, I received the shock of my life. Several porn sites flashed across the screen. Lots of women and teen girls. Even one site called Horny Match. I was stunned beyond words. I went into the living room and questioned him. He vehemently denied that he knew anything.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he screamed. “I never looked at a porn site!”
He was very convincing. I almost believed him. I started sarcastically referring to the girls on those sites as his Paper Dolls. I went to the bookstore and searched for books on pornography addiction. “Every Man’s Battle” caught my eye. The book chronicled a man’s struggle with pornography. I showed Lanny the book and he read a few pages.
“I have a problem looking at women in the wrong way,” he said. “This book is just what I need. I’d like you to read the book too, so you’ll understand what I’m going through. Maybe I can’t avoid the first glance, but I don’t have to turn back for a second one. I have to train my eyes to bounce away. Will you help me learn to bounce my eyes?”
“I’ll read it and try to understand,” I promised. “You can talk to me anytime and I’ll do my best to help.”
But my help was not appreciated. During a visit to Home Depot, we walked by a girl who was bent over, showing clear down the back of her jeans. Lanny stared down her denims. After we passed, he whipped his head around for another ogle. I reminded him that a second look wasn’t necessary. He screamed, “I did not take a second look. I did not! I did not!” Everyone in the store turned to stare.
Back at home, my presence was an unwelcome interruption as he entered fantasy-land.
I walked by him wearing my nightie. Usually he whistled and told me I looked good. But, then, he looked at me and said, “Ugh, don’t gross me out! I’m going to find me another girlfriend.”
His remark tore at my heart, and made me so mad I ran over and punched him in the leg with my fists, three or four times.
“Ow,” he said, “That hurts.” I was shocked at myself because I always worried about getting hit, and I hit him instead. Lanny and I apologized to each other. For a couple of days, things were good between us again, as long as we stuck around home.
When we went out things were different. At Blockbuster, I spotted a magazine with partially clothed young girls on the cover. Lanny was right behind me. But when I turned around, he wasn’t there. I looked back and saw that he had stopped, picked up the magazine, and was staring at the nearly nude pictures. I was mad, so I walked out. Lanny followed me.
“You embarrassed me,” he said “and you treat me like a little boy.”
“I’m only doing what you asked,” I said, “but let’s admit it, this marriage isn’t working. I may as well leave, and then you can do whatever you want and look at whoever you want.”
“Oh, you’re just bluffing,” he said, “All blow, and no go.”
Another time, while we shopped for groceries, Lanny allowed his eyes to wander. Lanny didn’t want to walk beside me. He got his own cart and walked a few steps behind me. “I only want to watch you walk, Baby,” he said.
When I turned around, it wasn’t me he watched. He couldn’t keep his eyes off any woman, ever.
Back home, with groceries put away, we sat at the table and talked. The discussion quickly degenerated into another horrible fight. Lanny cussed and carried on profusely. “Now this is the real me,” he said, “this is how I act. Not Mr. nice guy.”
“Why didn’t you show this side of yourself before we got married?”
“Because, if I did, I knew you never would have married me.”
Sadly, no issue was ever resolved. Still, as much as we fought, I wanted the marriage to work. I made a promise to God. But I wondered how much longer I’d be able to keep my promise.
In between the fighting and making up, Lanny found time to play with his Paper Dolls. He’d sneak off to the computer in his office at night after he thought I was asleep. One night, I tried to stay awake to catch him, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I woke up a couple of hours later, and sure enough, I saw the light coming from under the closed office door.
Climbing quietly out of bed, in the dark, I snuck down to the basement, tiptoeing, so the steps wouldn’t squeak. I felt my way to the mechanical room. I reached up and grabbed the flashlight from the top of the electrical box. I opened the steel door and turned off the breaker that controlled power to the office. The computer cut off. Lanny stomped downstairs after me.
He grabbed a hold of my arm, screaming, “You think you’re such a smart witch!”
He shoved me out-of-the-way and turned the breaker on, then went back upstairs. “Now leave that box alone,” he hollered. I waited until I heard the computer come to life, then I pulled the breaker again.
He got madder. He stomped back down to the basement.
“I told you to leave it alone,” he screamed, then added a few degrading words.
We wrestled for a while. He turned the breaker on again and went back upstairs. The drama repeated itself several more times. The last time down there, he almost broke my arm. But I refused to leave it on. He’d have to break my arm first. I could be as stubborn as him.
But no matter, at least that night, he was not going to play with his Paper Dolls.
Looking back, I realized that pornography is devastating to the mind and he needed far more help than I was able to give him.
Excerpt: From the book “Love and Abuse On 40 Acres”