It’s not uncommon for the wives or confidants of famous criminals to pen novels about their experiences with the convicted — think My Friend Dahmer or The Stranger Beside Me. What is uncommon, however, is for the author to be in such great denial about the reality of their situation. Which is seemingly the case with Tammi Menendez, wife of convicted murderer Erik Menendez.

In her 2005 memoir They Said We’d Never Make It: My Life With Erik Menendez, Tammi described her deeply strained marriage with Erik — who was convicted of a double life sentence without parole for the 1989 murder of his parents. In excerpts obtained by Radar Online, Tammi wrote, “I cry myself to sleep. I didn’t realize it would be this difficult.” Question is, what did she expect?

Additionally, the now 56-year-old blamed the prison system for the distance in her marriage to Erik. “Being married to you is a hard and painful life. It’s the prison. This pride-swallowing place. It takes almost an hour or more just to get in here,” she wrote. “The guards sometimes treat me like an inmate, without any respect. I hate this place, Erik.”

Despite the restrictive reality of prison life, Tammi insisted in her novel that the two make time for romance, even if briefly. “I reach up and slip my hand around his neck,” she wrote. “I lean into him until I can just about feel the steady pounding of his heart, my chest meets his; I lower his head and raise my lips to his. I kiss him like I’ve never kissed him before. I kiss him for a long time, until the guard taps on the microphone.”

Erik is currently serving a life sentence at the Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, CA, after being convicted for the double murder of his parents José and Kitty Menendez. Both Erik and his brother Lyle Menendez shot their parents at point-blank range on Aug. 20,1989 and were later sentenced in 1996. Erik met his wife while behind bars — he and Tammi have been married for 19 years, while his brother Lyle has been married to Rebecca Menendez since 2003.