Many years ago I befriended a young woman named Sadie. (I’ve changed her name to protect her identity and also to avoid a potential lawsuit- I’m not kidding). She was independent, a little bit crazy, and a skosh passive aggressive. However, she had a good heart and a keen sense of humor. I enjoyed her company and we became fast friends and college study buddies at UNLV. Sadie was in a relationship that was incredibly unhealthy; she had been for years and years. For the record, I am not condoning her actions but I think it’s worth sharing because 1. passive aggressiveness is never the way to solve problems and seems to only end with a fat high-five to the face and 2. as time has past, her erratic behavior is now morbidly humorous to me.
Once upon a time there was a likable but irrational girl who didn’t know how to release her anger in a healthy, “adult” manner. Sadie was at her wits end. She constantly vented about her emotionally and physically abusive partner and I was constantly urging her to leave him. Instead of communicating with her husband, or leaving the relationship behind her, she decided to get even in the only way she knew how to: by adding laxatives to her husband’s brownie batter. & by the way, this is not a metaphor for Sadie ‘running away from her problems’. Or perhaps it is two-fold, a metaphor wrapped in a truth. Lol. I’m straying from the topic at hand. Sadie literally added ex-lax BY THE BAR to her brownie batter, baked them, and watched her partner EAT the diarrhea-inducing brownies. She was unhinged and her husband spent part-time on the porcelain throne and part-time on the bathroom floor that night.
I received a phone call the evening of the incident. She didn’t bother with a greeting, she just dove in with, “I have a small problem. My husband is sick and it’s probably because of something I did.”
I immediately stopped what I was doing. “What’s wrong with him?” “Is he okay?” “Should I come over?” “What did you do?” My last questioned triggered this response:
“Well, I found pictures of another girl on his phone again. & messages on Facebook. He’s cheating again. This woman is married with kids! I am so fed up, Susie. Anyway, we fought and he broke everything in our apartment…things got out of hand like they always do…the neighbors below us heard him destroying everything and came up to check on me…he cooled down, ate dinner but I kind of…well, added some ex-lax to his brownies.”
I was stunned. “Sadie! My God! What?!” I didn’t know how to process her admission. There was a long pause and I could hear him groaning in the back ground. I heard the water running and could hear muffled voices, and then a door shut.
“How many pieces did you put in the brownie mix, Sadie?”
“Pieces?” She sounded confused. “Oh, no. I didn’t even realize I could uses pieces. I used bars. Two actually,” she whispered with a guilty tone.
“Two bars???? Sadie!!!! That is insane!” Sadie sighed, “I know, I know…but he smashed nearly everything I own.” Long pause. “I have to make sure he survives the night so I’m not…you know charged with man-slaughter or something.”
“Does he know you did this? Are you okay?”
Sadie was talking to her husband through the door. “I’m bringing you more water, honey,” she told him sweetly.
“What? No! I told him it was probably food poisoning from his mother’s fried chicken.” I stifled my laughter but my mind was blown. “I’m totally fine but do you think he’ll survive? He’s refusing to go to the hospital. Oh, god, I wouldn’t last a day in prison.” She murmured nervously into the phone.
“I have no idea, Sadie…this is not good. You need to watch him closely. I think it’s rare but still…that’s a lot of ex-lax to recover from.” I shook my head in astonishment. “Why in the world would you do this?” There was silence on her end as she pondered my question. “Susie, I don’t know. I’m crazy. I wasn’t thinking clearly. I felt like this was my best tactical approach.”
“NOOOOOOO! This is the opposite of your ‘best tactical approach’. You have to leave this marriage, Sadie.”
“Listen, I know. I gotta go, though. I have to nurse him back to health so I can leave him when he’s…you know, not sick from ex-lax that I slipped into his brownies.”
Apparently, Sadie slept next to the bathroom door and was relieved when he stepped over her the next morning and proceeded to get ready for work, grumbling about his mother’s chicken.
Please, let me be clear that I am not making light of her reckless behavior OR women in abusive relationships. If you’re in an abusive relationship the best thing to do is leave the situation and then seek therapy to help heal and grow from your negative experience. I don’t think it should’ve escalated to this.
After the hush-hush brownie incident (in which her husband made a FULL recovery from, I might add) Sadie needed my help moving out of their apartment. I was happy to do it and she seemed grateful to move past that tumultuous chapter in her life. But damn, I made sure to never cross her. & I always gave a hard pass, a raised eyebrow, and a giggle when she offered me any baked goods.