Gina from The Unhappy Wife book

unhappy-wifeGina was the third wife that I’d interviewed. By the time I began putting the book together, I knew that she fit into the Voiceless Wife category. At first glance, her story may seem similar to Jasmyne’s. She knew she shouldn’t have married Bryan, but wed anyway and sought counseling through marriage ministry. However, her story is a tad bit different. Whereas Jasmyne seemed to heed advice from people she trusted, Gina never told anyone how she felt. Her mother, father, and best friend never suspected that she knew Bryan wasn’t the man for her.

Concept: Gina began our interview by saying, “I knew I shouldn’t have married Bryan as soon as he proposed,” so I wrote the story around that idea. I wanted to show the reader how we can have a suspicion about a person, and even if they do something blatant, we ignore those feelings and proceed with our own illusion.

With this narrative, I wanted to also illustrate how we keep relationship secrets due to something I’ve talked about on this blog before: shame. Gina didn’t want anyone to know that she’d given up her dog, her weekly visits with her mother, or her relationship with her best friend, simply to please Bryan.

I have to add that this wife’s story is one of my “favorites” because of the bloody kitten scene. I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t read the book, but the imagery of the animal gasping for its breath stayed with me for quite a while. This part of her story is true.

Similar to Jasmyne’s chapter, I created the part about her stomach twisting and turning in knots. The reason I continue to use this analogy is because intuition is oftentimes described as a gut feeling. If you’re familiar with chakras, then you know the yellow one is associated with your stomach and trusting what you feel. This is a message I felt important to continue.

Commentary: What stood out to me is the progression of abuse. Bryan slowly pulled her away from her loved ones, including her dog. He never physically hurt her, but rather imposed psychological abuse. He was jealous of everyone she interacted with, but it wasn’t obvious to her until after the experience. This is common. When you’re in a situation with a person who’s mentally abusive, then it might not be as apparent, especially if you’re ignoring instincts.

The other part of Gina’s story that intrigued me was the shame she carried. The shame grew at the same rate as her instincts about the relationship. This fit into another reason I felt compelled to write this book. There are many women who keep the details of their marriages secret because they believe they’re the only ones going through horrible situations. I’m not suggesting that we tell everyone, everything about our unions. I’m just saying perhaps it’s time to be a little more authentic in how we present ourselves to our friends and family. And if those people can’t be trusted, seek counsel that is aligned with who you are and what you believe. There are ways to discontinue the abuse and the loneliness that accompanies maintaining this type of secret.

unhappy-wifeLet me know what you thought about Gina and Bryan, what I’ve said here, or anything else that you felt was important. Next month, we’ll delve into many readers’ favorite character, Mrs. Little.

The Unhappy Wife is on sale here.

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35 thoughts on “Gina from The Unhappy Wife book

  1. As I said in my review, Gina’s story was on point – I knew the kitten incident was true. Gina had low self esteem but the manner in which these types of abusers first build you up high and then enjoy taking you down brick by brick methodically, slowly and insiduously take is textbook NPD. You don’t realize what’s happening until you reach the kitten incident.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was definitely my favorite story so far. Its the one that I read to my coworkers. They were hanging on my every word lol. Gina’s story made me think of the struggle in knowing when enough is enough; when to take a red flag to heart instead of brushing it off. Also, to know your limits or boundaries (thinking of your vday post).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol not a “red flag to the heart” lol. I know it shouldn’t be funny but it is. The only thing about those situations is that if we’re not in tune with who we are and what those boundaries are, then yep…you’ll keep going and going and going and the next thing you know…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, this is very interesting. A lot of layers to sift through here! Kudos to you for capturing these elements so as to allow other couples to identify them in their marriages/relationships – and correct course.

    I am intrigued by the pattern of abuse, as well. Granted: every individual is different, but I think we are also quite similar. In my experience, the abuse always begins at a small level. The person will begin by invalidating everything within their victim’s world. So, for instance, the abuser will consistently condemn and critique their victim’s favorite foods and music as insufficient – which is, of course, a way of critiquing the victim. We are amalgamations of everything we “like” and “do” – so if your spouse is a Michael Jackson fan and you continuously rail against his music, at some point, it becomes hard to differentiate. When the abuser realizes they can get away with critiquing the VICTIM on a relatively small scale, they step it up a notch and start critiquing friends, and then family, etc. Gina’s alienation from her family, dog, and sense of self to please Bryan was the product of several seeds being planted over time.

    There are two dynamics here. First, why does Bryan feel the need to abuse? Whenever a person abuses, I see it as filling a void within themselves. Freud made the argument that “murder is misdirected suicide”. The abuse victim signifies something within the abuser – so when they issue those attacks, they are trying to exorcise their own demons by scapegoating onto the abused. In my experience, people who abuse have low self esteem – so they actually resent their victim for being with them, in a way. As long as the woman (in a typical case, not always) does not settle down with him (in a typical case, not always), she can be viewed as a prize. But the moment she settles down with him, she becomes somewhat filthy or idiotic for entertaining someone so … filthy and idiotic. And then the demands that “you better not leave me” are just a way to perpetuate the self-torture. Does that make sense? I say this not to suggest we should sympathize with abusers – but rather, to show the complexity of the matter.

    And, then, on the other side – returning to the seed analogy: why was the plant able to grow with Gina? Seeing as abuse starts small and builds up, the fact that she did not end it in the beginning stages says a lot about her, what she thinks a “normal relationship” is, etc. I do not think fear is the only factor (although it is probably a main one) – I think there is an element of masochism at play, as well. Some people genuinely feel that they deserve to get berated and separated from who/what they love – because they do not have enough love for themselves. And I say this not to suggest that we blame victims – but rather, to show the complexity of the matter. It certainly is not easy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Darryl, this is another one of those times when I thought I answered you on here, but really I just read it and answered it in my head lol

      You’re right about all of this. It seems to be a double-edges sword of sorts when it comes to people who have low self-esteem/self-worth. They crave attention and love from people, but then when they get it, they seem to self-sabotage because it’s almost unbelievable that someone would love them. It’s a vicious cycle.

      I’m glad you brought up Gina’s role in this. While writing this book, it was challenging not to make the women feel as if they’d something wrong, yet I was amazed by how many sounded as if someone (the man) had done something to them. There was little ownership in selecting a mate and choosing to be in relationship with him. With that said, I agree that some level of introspection is required, especially after you’ve “survived” this type of experience.

      So now…the real question is, when you getting your copy???

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for responding. I was saying to myself: “damn, Dr. Garland is acting all brand new with those comments!” lol

        You are certainly right. Wrap your head around this: seeing as you responded to my message, and I feel relieved, validated, and grateful for you doing so – I just purchased a copy of the book lol. You see: if you had responded the day I sent it, I wouldn’t have been compelled to purchase the book … just yet. I would’ve just kept it moving. Well played, my friend, well played! LOL. It’s odd the way the mind works, huh? I’m kidding, though, I am genuinely interested in your material =D

        But yeah, it says it will print in 5 days, and then shipping, and then I will write a review. I want to make sure I do your hard work justice on the write-up. So stay tuned =D Looking forward to reading it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That can’t be a coincidence you featured a quote of Oprah to start this post with. At the time I married for the first time, I watched her show almost every day. I remember quit vividly that during the wedding-day I constantly felt I was watching myself instead of being in the moments of that day. I already knew I was making a mistake, but didn’t feel strong enough to walk away, didn’t want to hurt my partners feelings (he wasn’t abusive) and I wanted to prove everyone wrong: we could make it together.
    Within that year we decided to divorce again, because he wanted children of his own and I didn’t. And it hit me during that first year: we want so many different things in life. He wasn’t ready to let me go after all and although he never abused me, there was one moment I felt scared. That was the day I left our house instead of living together until the house was sold. Hadn’t I heard Oprah saying those important lines…who knows…
    Again, your book is very important and I hope many people read it.
    XxX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are no coincidences girl! That is an odd story that you’ve told though. I mean odd in the sense of Oprah, Gina, and your own circumstances. Thanks for your kind words (as usual, you’re always so kind 🙂 Did you feel alone during that first marriage? I’m curious because I always want to understand people’s situations.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what you mean 😉
        To answer your question; I started to date the man at 15 and he was 20 (frowned upon, but allowed in Europe at that time), when I was 20 we moved in together and we married when I was 26, or was I 27 (oops, can’t remember..I am so bad with numbers and dates). The first months after, yes, I felt alone…I doubted myself, did I really wanted to end this marriage and if I told someone else, well, I had to admit to myself, I wasn’t happy.
        But I must also tell you, at the moment I decided the relationship wasn’t working for me any more (because we tried to do more things separately and do things together, but he didn’t put any effort in our relationship), I was immediately done with it. I think I already subconsciously said goodbye. We didn’t make it till our second anniversary. And before I was officially divorced, I met my true soulmate. So, for about a year, yes, I felt alone.
        Now I know that had more to do with my past, not being able to trust another soul and my character; not wanting to hurt another persons feelings. Still struggling with that sometimes 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. AHA! This makes a lot of sense. You were young (not to blame everything on youth, but you know). Aaand he was a bit older. Thanks for answering and I’m so happy you found someone with whom you can have a positive experience.

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  5. As I read the chapter, it became clearer that he was systematically closing her off from any life outside of him, just as abusers are known to do. But what he did to the kitten was inexcusable, vicious. It was truly shocking.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This was one of the amazing parts of writing this book. i don’t know much about abusive relationships, so i was able to just listen and write what each woman told me. To me it was obvious, and after Gina read the story herself, she realized some things too. You’re so right about the “systematically closing her off” part. It happened pretty slowly, and imagine, eventually women must find themselves alone and with no one to confide in.

      Agreed about the kitten. That stayed with me for days.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello, Kathy. I know that the divorce rate (which I suppose is an indication of unhappiness) is high in the USA and probably in many countries. My wife and I moved to our current home 12 years ago. During that time I’m aware of five divorces or separations that have taken place on my block alone. So many people don’t get along

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heeeey!!! Do you know I just realized that I don’ t know your first name?

      FIVE divorces??? That’s quite a bit, especially within 12 years. It probably is that some people don’t get along, but I wonder if they kinda knew that before they tied the knot

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh that kitten! I think Bryan probably felt inadequate in many areas of his life, and his abusive behaviour was about asserting control and power, but perhaps also deep down reaffirming just how shitty he feels about himself. I think people feel the need to show they’re in a ‘successful’ relationship for many reasons- once you start letting the cracks show and confide in others about the challenges of a relationship, the options are to fix it, end it, or stay as is and not only compound the misery, but struggle with a sense of lacking integrity. Verbalising your challenges gives you ownership and responsibility to act- hiding the uncomfortable truths about their relationships from family / friends is a way to avoid the ownership and responsibility.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I knooooow, right? After I spoke with her, I couldn’t get the image out of my mind for days. I agree that he probably felt inadequate. (False sense of) control and power is what motivated him.

      Now, what I really like here is that you say, “once you start letting the cracks show…the options are to fix it, end it, or stay.” Right. Now, you are kind of accountable to someone other than yourself because any “good” friend or family member is gonna be like, “Hey…what you doing about Bryan?”

      Ownership and responsibility are two things I’ve learned that people don’t always want to face.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Late night!?! After posting, the word ‘accountability’ came to mind- I could have said it a little more succinctly. Yes, a lot of people would rather blame or play victim (and not saying that there aren’t cases where people genuinely are victims, but even then, you can only remain a victim for so long). Such great conversations coming out of your book! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Certain men, we are jealous. It ranges from neglect from a mother at a young age or even from an educator. Just missing out on that maternal kudos that some of us yearn for makes some of us jealous. Even if said man is receiving everything from a woman, once she gives something else attention, men like this get jealous. Even if the attention does not measure up to the attention she gives her man. Some of us has a bitter cold streak where we don’t like free spirited, fun loving, warm women who are very loving and inclusive.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Truuuuuu.. Sounds like some people that I used to really really like. There’s a difference between a man who can recognize that this behavior stems from such + such and works on it(alone or as a unit) and the man who smashes every heart he’s given, always pointing the finger.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Wow. I’m glad you weighed in Tareau. It sounds like it all comes down to self-worth. If we’ve missed something growing up, then we tend to equate that with worthiness and then we seek it forever. But it also sounds as if once we’ve found it, we want to hoard it because we think if we let it go, then we might not have it anymore, hence the jealousy. Thanks for this. It’s helped me to think a little bit more.

      Liked by 2 people

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