Eat what I eat


After my 7th child I started exercising and losing weight. With each new pregnancy I gained much of it back but always kept trying. The photo above was me on a visit to his family in Damascus in 2001 after losing 60 pounds.



Riyadh 2006

The clink and clatter of dishes meant the meal had finally ended. I mustered a smile and wiped away tears that made an incessant drip drop into the sudsy water. I made an effort to mask the telltale signs of anxious humiliation but now it seemed as if nothing mattered and there was no return to normal. A frozen state of existence had taken hold and I was no longer able to keep this new-found rebellion under control. Frustration, sadness and confusion all peaked and waned each day. The children asked for items, suggested new ways and with every minute his fury grew until an unusually violent eruption had taken place just days before. I scuttled past the hall and made my way into the dining room unsure of how to proceed.

The rage that had triggered my rebellion was now quelled and had returned to the usual resignation. I asked each child if they wanted more potatoes, chicken or salad,  not realizing I had broken yet another rule. His fists slammed squarely on the as-is newly purchased table. “How many times, how many times, how many times do I have to tell you, do not talk to my children while they are eating!” I quickly stacked plates and utensils in a pile of messy indignation, circling several times to give reassuring glances and the usual warning look that meant stay calm and do not intervene.

He went back to his job of picking pieces from the chicken bones, placing them neatly on the only tray that remained. Each child took their turn in giving him the customary greetings and slowly left the table. I heard his ship ships (sandals) as he marched into the kitchen. The tray was placed near the sink, water poured from the thermos and the refrigerator opened and shut. He walked back and forth past the shell of a person I had become. A rise in panic came and went with each noise that he made and the realization that we were now alone. Finally he stopped behind me, placing his arms around my waist, pushing his body into mine. I shuttered at the thought of what was to come but knew what was expected.  His hands swept stringy hair from my neck and he spoke gently reiterating words that had blasted loudly just an hour before, “If you cannot eat what you have served you are not allowed at the table!”



84 thoughts on “Eat what I eat

  1. I cannot fathom how life must feel to be free of this monster. I know that you still bear the scars of this horrendous period but I hope in some small way, getting some of these feelings out through your written words, somehow makes him powerless as you move forward. You are surrounded now by your loving family & a blogging community who is awe of your strength.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Lynn! Writing makes me feel nervous and confused but also helps me to see the reality that we lived. It also makes me understand why I have been so anxious and ended up barely able to function. I felt that I had failed but when I write I think it sounds crazy making and it is not my fault. Again, thank you!xoxo

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Control control, is that shit the same with his new wife. I am so glad you kept going,you did I know you say you were a shell but you stayed, you made your quiet stand. Now you are free! 💜💜💜🍀🍀🍀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a great support the children were, and are. You have no reason to feel guilt for any of what he did, or how he treated you and the children. He is the one who should feel guilt and shame, although I doubt he ever will. Hugs to you Lynn.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I certainly hope your singing at the table these days….and having a party!!! Your children were your energy, strength and will to survive this….Look around my love, and look at all the love you have around you….the sun is shining down upon you Lynn..your one of the strongest women I know….XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxxkat

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I shudder when I think of the shuffle of his ship ships. Before you wrote this, they were innocuous flip-flops. I hope that writing this gives you some comfort. Stress eating is really common – I have gone from 125 – 200 lbs and back again. Thinking of you. K x

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This, the fear, the knowledge that you’re stuck in this horrible situation, it’s so familiar, so real. I don’t think people realize what it’s like. I hope your writing helps you heal and helps others that might be reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That man was a tyrant: cruel, juvenile, manipulative, and infuriating, Lynn. If he could have, he would have tried to control your dreams. Well, no more of that. You get to be the beautiful, worthy, and cherished soul you always have been. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  8. A tyrant and a bully. No one could be happy in that situation. Your bravery to share shows what an amazing person you are. And you rescued all of your children from the same fate. Kudos, dear Lyn, Kudos. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Lynn,
    The more I read, the more I want to catch him by his collar and ask him “why” ? Why ?
    Where did he learn this sort of behavior from ? Was it from his own family ? Has he seen the male members of his family behave this way ?
    Why would he not let you eat at the table ? And why would he not let you talk to the children during meals ?
    Are you still living in fear that he might visit you ?
    Are you still married to him ? So many questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Things just got worst Over time. I tried to lose weight and he told me I had to eat or I could not sit with the family for meals. He wAs irritated if I spoke during meals and found any reason to be mad. When I disagreed with him there was punishment. We are still married and yes I worry he might show up.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You couldn’t even talk to your children at mealtime? That is so awful. I hope releasing all these painful memories helps you to see that you were not in the wrong AT ALL and brings you some peace. You deserve that and much more.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I remember the day at the lake when I asked you “ when do you have to go back “ and you whispered “ I’m not “ oh my i was so excited !!it took you 4 years just to be able to get the asshole to let you and the kids come home “ love you cuz and I’m so sorry you were treated like that. You did not deserve that one bit and you no me if I could I would punch the crap out of him 😡 you are a beautiful ,caring ,loving person with a huge heart. You would do anything for anybody in a heart beat and now you have 3 beautiful grandchildren to keep you going and of course your kids are all there for you always !! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You nailed this, and I’m glad you’re out! I was in an abusive relationship when my children were small and even as I read this and went deeper and deeper into it brought back that familiar and dreaded spiral. By the time I was done reading my heart was beating fast!



    • I tried to ‘like’ your comment, JoHanna, but the function seems to be ‘on the blink’ (It’s on my end, as I sometimes cannot figure out WordPress. .. I am technologically challenged)

      Liked by 2 people

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