This. All of it. The ex used to rage in front of me and the kids and end with “I’m just going to blow my fucking brains out!”
Then he would leave with his rifle, leave his phone and wallet on the kitchen table…and somehow blame me that the kids were afraid of him…and I believed him. I started frantically trying to put them at ease; normalize his behavior, for want of a better term; so that when he got home they would let him near them without breaking into tears.
And when it ended, I was the one who wound up looking crazy and fucked up. He was regarded as the 'protective parent’. A term he used in the retelling of why we divorced to our 3 year old to such an extent that he retold it to my family at a reunion.
My mother almost hit the roof. I’ve never seen someone so ready to draw blood.