Tag Archive | physical abuse

Goals

goals

It has been close to 30 years since I was first struck by the man who would become my husband. After numerous brutal beatings, three children, non-stop threats of murder if I dare leave, in addition to my own prayers for my life to end so I could be free of the abuse…somehow, I survived.

The depth of my fear, fueled by my hate, gave me a pinpointed focus to raise my children and upon the last turning 18… get the hell out! Well, that time is upon me.

I’ve been counting down the days for way longer than I can remember.  Once they became a realistic number, I thought to myself… this is about to get real.  FAST!  Then before I knew it, the days went from 365 to less than half of that number, to within the same calender year and now… mere weeks.  Now, mental preparation.

There is still so much to get done before I go.  Loose ends to tie up.  People I want to explain my inevitable absence to.  And then there is my family.  I allowed my sister and mother to enter into my secret life and read my blog.  When they had a full understanding of my life thus far they seemed genuinely distressed over what I had been through.  My parents had only known about one episode early on but I did a good enough job hiding the life I endured that they had no idea it continued, most especially not for 25+ years.

Since absorbing that I most definitely do intend to go through with my exit plan, my mother and sister seem (to me) to be more concerned about what they need to do to protect themselves than they are about anything I will be going though.  The words, “how can we help” have yet to be spoken.  As these last days are closing in, these words, or lack thereof, have shaken me.  Although I do have friends that have offered their help, I can’t help but feel very much alone.  I’ve been taken back to a mental state where I need to fend for myself, and fear has kicked in.  Worst of all, every specific I had planned for this exit, I now feel unsure about.  I’m second guessing, feeling anxious and deciding whether or not I need to make changes.

On another note, I work from home.  I guess that being helpful or hurtful is up for debate but the point is, I work.  And I do so for many hours a day.  Yet, like many, many others, I live from check to check.  I have been able to put some money to the side for this event.  However, I did not start doing so until the end date was too close for comfort realizing I was broke.  So yeah, my resolution…save something…anything!  I am very much aware that is not nearly enough.  This has added panic on to every other emotion I’m feeling.

How the hell, where the hell, what the hell…am I going to do?  I do not like borrowing.  I’ve had to in the past and it’s just so uneasy for me.  I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.  Unrelated to financial issues, when asking for help – on any level – I’ve been let down more often than not.  So even being here right now, asking, begging, is surreal.  This is so uncomfortable and I apologize for even attempting to have the audacity to think anyone….everyone… doesn’t have a million other things more important to donate money to than me.

I am not even close to a special case.  There are so many of us.  Abuse victims.  And although I haven’t felt like a “victim” for a long time – due to my abuser’s very painful rheumatoid arthritis (lucky me) – Now, I am just a victim of my own poor financial planning.  I don’t even know where to start in asking people to donate, or what an appropriate amount is to ask for.  All I can think of is that if I can afford to pay rent for at least six months, then maybe I can be less stressed about the initial “hiding” period.  My son will be with me and I am not going to be ready for either one of us to be out and about, at least not for the first month or so.  I need to make sure we are completely safe.

This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever pulled off.  If there is just one aspect of it that I don’t have to worry over, I would be beyond appreciative.  Once I am fully free, paying it forward will be in using my voice and being as loud as possible for those of us that are still in hiding.  It has been 30 years since I was abused by someone who claimed to love me, and it is clear that this epidemic is far from over.  It’s not even close to ending with me; there are so many others out there.  Every anonymous account needs a voice.  A new fight I look forward to getting into head on.

For those of you who find it in your heart to donate anything to me… I thank you in advance and will be forever grateful.  If you are unable to donate, please share this on your social media.  XOXO

Click here to read my full story.

Meanwhile…

…back at the ranch.

This seems like as good a time as any to update y’all on what’s been going on.  Before you get too excited, my address hasn’t changed.  Rest assured, when that day arrives the accompanying blog post title will be straight to the point with something like…I’ve Moved or My New Address Is or more appropriately…It’s Finally Over! Nevertheless, there are a few things that have been happening in between all of the poetry sessions and lack of [this is my life] blogging.

So. In the proper order, last month, my blog turned 2 years old. What?  How have I been blogging for two years?  How have I been talking about this Godforsaken subject for two years?  And how the hell have I still been here for two years?  I know.  Except what I see is… oh man, those two years FLEW by and I can smell the finish line!  I know it’s hard to really fathom how and why I’m still here but I’ve discussed that already.  And in all honesty, the violence is no longer there and there are minimal to no verbal outbursts at this point in time. So it’s really like sitting in a waiting room watching the clock with the stereotypical grumpy elderly folk we see on television who complain about everything.  In fact, funnily enough, while I’m doing the necessary legwork for my exit, he seems to be in a nesting phase for the future of “growing old together”.  It’s really pathetically entertaining because I already know how the show ends.

Something else new and exciting (NOT) that has happened is that I turned 45 this month.  I know, how joyous.  It’s all good because I still feel super young.  Probably younger than I should which must be a good thing, right?  For longevity and all that.  And even though I consider myself pretty keen already, I’m really starting to get into the endless possibilities that the future holds.  It’s not just about living my life, this life, free from drama.  Now it’s more like…what else is there?  What have I been holding myself back from that I may have not even realized.  Even the smallest nuance of change will be a big thing.  And with each little thing will be an ever evolving me.  A friend of mine always says he’s a work in progress. Now I get it.

Okay, now hold on to your seats because this one is a biggie.  If you’ve been following me since the beginning or have read my story in full or are just happening upon this blog for the first time…you’ll get it.  Look at the title of my blog.  I just turned 45.  This has been my life for the last 28 years. I knew the time was approaching.  I could feel it coming.  I wasn’t sure how the hell I was going to do it or what I was going to say but… I told my mother.

I know.  You’re like…she totally already knew.  Yes and no.  She knew of an incident that happened in the past.  She knew I left to go to the shelter a million years ago.  And she knew he was an a-hole.  But she had no idea to what extreme. And she sure didn’t know it’s been going on this long.  I was concerned about telling her because I didn’t know how she’d react to some of the things I discussed about my past.  People have a funny way of interpreting the written word.  I didn’t want anything I wrote to sound as if I was blaming anyone else, especially her, for my predicament.

The day after my birthday, I spoke to my mother on the phone.  I told her that I had a secret.  I reassured her that I was not ill and I figured I’d lighten the mood and told her not to worry that I wasn’t going to “become Bruce”.  With that, I explained how no one ever knew that I liked to write and that I’ve been writing since I was a teenager.  I told her that I started blogging a couple of years ago and that I felt like now was the appropriate time to share it with her.  I didn’t mention the topic.  I had shared the blog with my sister a few months ago and she was with my mother so she was there as a sort of buffer.  Then I waited three long days until she read it in it’s entirety.

My sister seemed optimistic when I told her I was ready to share it. She was glad I was ready.  I was nervous but hopeful.  After writing about it for the past two years, I feel somewhat detached from it now.  Like, this is more of a story to me than the reality of it being my life.  So when my mother called, I was almost more concerned about the writing critique than about the overall horror of this breaking news.  I knew it was going to impact her.  I kept checking with my sister to see if my mother was okay while she was reading it.  Being a mother myself, it’s almost more painful knowing after the fact that your child went through something so unimaginable and even though you were right there you had no idea of their despair.  So I knew her emotions would take her all over the place.

You can all breathe a sigh of relief.  I’m not really sure what negativity I anticipated but her response was anything but.  We live in different states so it’s hard to really discuss this openly  now without being interrupted by people on both ends walking in and out of the rooms we’re in.  I’m thinking a more in depth face to face conversation is in the near future.  All and all it was a positive response. Another huge bolder has been lifted off of my chest. Another person knows and I’m still breathing. Another person who knows ME knows.  The wall is getting lower.  That’s almost as scary as the actual departure!

Now that I am older and wiser (not THAT much older – or wiser), I can see a lot of the err of my ways.  The biggest is… I chose to stay silent.  If you don’t act as if you need help, how can anyone know it should be offered?  I was a pro at covering up mental and physical warfare.  So for anyone that may have known of even one incident or suspected any future incidents, I tried my hardest to keep it hidden so that I would never be confronted by anyone. Either for fear of having to admit it and be embarrassed that it was happening or for fear that they’d try to help me leave and then all hell would break loose.  The same hell that I had been trying to keep from happening since day one.  So I slowly removed the possibility of anyone finding out by just removing mostly everyone from my life.  I kept it down to the bare minimal and the further the better.

Friends and family at arms length worked best for me.  Over the phone relationships were even better.  That way, I was able to breathe.  No sudden pop ins.  No expected dinner and drinks at my house.  In living that way for so long it became normal.  So much so that people would joke with me that they were going to pull a drop in.  I would laugh.  It was all funny ha ha but I would be physically panicking.  What if they were serous?  For years my abuser wouldn’t care about arguing in front of other people.  of course nothing insane.  Just him having an a-hole opinion about one thing or another to show how he was a big mouth.  So to avoid the possibility of that, I would just shut it all down.  Lights out.  Television off.  Everyone in one room.  No one goes near the door.  Don’t even open the refrigerator so the light doesn’t go on.

Nowadays, I think about how it will be living on my own.  Mostly, I look forward to the silence and in all honesty, being alone.  I’ll probably be like that for a while.  However, once the dust settles, I think it will be easy to merge back into “society” so to speak.  Life on the other side of 45, seems to be bright and shiny.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do…God help society.  🙂

Human Shield

Memories pop in and out of my head all the time.  As if playing a game of tag with my consciousness.  Sometimes they fade as quickly as they come in.  Other times they linger and make me ponder and replay scenarios over and over.  Of course, this never happens at a convenient time.  Either I’m in the middle of working and need to concentrate, but my brain has other plans and decides to hijack my thoughts, or I’m exhausted from the day and just want to sleep but can’t because now I’m thinking.

This is what happened last night. So bizarre how our brains work. It’s a never ending game of word association…or actually, thought association.  Layer after layer of one thought linking to another.  All I wanted to do was sleep when I started thinking about what I have going on this weekend and boom, I’m back there.  Not sure why.  When they say everything happens for a reason, does it also mean your thoughts too?  Is this a post I was supposed to write? In all honesty, I have been meaning to write about this.

As part of my self-healing process, I had began meditating a while ago. Almost immediately, I started becoming very aware of things. Things from the past. Unexpectedly, meditation was cleaning the dirty windows in my mind and I was able to get a good look inside. And here I thought it was going to be all about peace and tranquility. Ha!  I remember all of a sudden understanding why I made certain decisions that I did.  Just like that, clarity.

In the early days of my situation, while I was still dating my abuser, there had been incidents that happened outside.  He usually didn’t do anything in front of a crowd, since obviously his behavior was a secret.  Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean people didn’t see what was happening.  Could they have been walking by and thought we were just rolling around in the grass lovingly?  I guess.  Although, being punched and strangled doesn’t fall into the same category, maybe they blinked during the more aggressive and less loving moments.  Regardless, I’m sure some people saw and knew just what was happening.  Even more so than I did at the time.

I remember telling my Ex once, that if he ever saw anything going on NOT to approach the situation.  My abuser always, carried a knife on him.  And he was never afraid to use it.  In fact, I think using it turned him on just a little.  Maybe even a lot.  My fear was deep and I was scared to death that if anyone I knew approached him in the heat of battle he would use it on them. Most especially because when he was in a rage, he was no longer there.  It was something else within him that took over. Almost like he was fighting his own demons. So imagine being in some blackout state and someone approaches you telling you to stop? No.  I was not having him possibly hurt someone I cared about.  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

As time went on, after we were married, his threats became more specific.  He now was threatening me with harming family members if I ever attempted to leave.  Once, he made a threat towards my family members who lived out of state. I laughed. What an idiot. He doesn’t even know where they live or how to get there. Really? He clued me in to the map I had hidden in my drawer that he took and made a copy of, which was now safely tucked in his work locker. So yes, now I believed him.  He could get there if he truly wanted to. They never even met him.  Why would I contemplate leaving and possibly have him think I was hiding out of state and go there and hurt my innocent family?  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

Easier targets were my immediate family that lived locally. He knew were they all lived.  He made his threats. Always vicious. Always during a heated battle. Always believable. There was never a reason to brush off what he said as -all talk no action- because he was indeed THAT GUY. He only calmed down from what he was known to be once our first child was born.  It’s laughably sad that this life I was living with him, was him…calm. Calmer than what?  Hannibal Lecter?  Hitler?  All I know is, I didn’t want to know.  No need to hoist psychotic threats towards my family because no one is leaving.  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

Unaware of my own actions at the time, I had started distancing myself from people.  My friends, my family.  Anyone who he would have the chance to use against me.  Plus, in keeping a distance, I could also keep my secret.  After all these years, only now have I come to realize that I had made myself into a human shield.  In order to protect those I loved, I blocked the threat.  Even if they were only words, I believed him.  So I did what I thought was necessary.  I was young and had never heard someone spew such hateful and vindictive words.  Especially to a person who they claimed to love.  All I knew was, I could handle it.  I could take the pain.  Just leave everyone else alone.

I guess…well, actually, I can’t guess what his tactics were. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, his threats worked. I stayed put. He got his punching bag and dinner on the table too. Eventually though, the verbal threats got closer to home. It now stayed within the home.  He always threatened to kill me. That was a given. The easy go to.  However, on a few occasions, he threatened to kill me and the kids. And of course himself.  But who cares about that if we’re all already dead, right?  Here’s the strange thing.  Although I believed he was capable of these new and improved threats, a mother can’t distance herself from her children.  Now that I’m writing about this…this may actually be the turning point in where I became the one he now fears.

I see your threat and I raise you a…go right the fuck ahead.

Reverse psychology.  It seriously works.  Especially with the weak minded.  This guy is out of his ever loving mind if he thinks he’s going to continue this game. So I one up’d him. Guess what loser, if you kill us no one has to hear your mouth ever again! Helloo…bonus!  Bet you didn’t think of that one.  So I played that card.  At this point in time, he was definitely running out of steam.  He was getting older.  His rheumatoid arthritis was setting in.  And I was halfway to the finish line.  His words no longer frightened me like they once did.  It’s not that he lacked intensity or imagination with what he tossed my way but I was tired of it.

Never did I hold back from speaking my mind over the course of the marriage because it might result in bodily harm.  My armor was strengthened with each blow.  The more that came my way, the more I survived, the more I could take.  Holding my tongue was never an option.  In fact, that may be the one thing that has truly kept me alive all of these years.  Verbal abuse would now work both ways.  It may not be the right thing to do but it got done.  An idiot flinging wild threats every which way eventually bounces off of this human shield.  Being a knowledgeable and calculating user of words has it’s benefits.  Mind games.

Present day. He fears me more than I fear him. My inner Italian Mobster is present daily and he never knows what I’m capable of. I’m partial to the phrase, what goes around comes around and karma is coming to collect.  I enjoy the confused look on his face. He has been playing very nice for a while now as I remind him of the choices he made. For example, he might say to me, I love you. And I’ll say, I’m sorry to hear you have that problem. He’ll say how that hurts his feelings and I’ll say, aww it did…now imagine I said that as I punch you in the head with my knuckles.  He then puts his head down and walks away.

The good news is, he is fully aware that I’m leaving.  I’ve thrown it out there in random conversations almost in a way that seemed as if I misspoke.  He too has brought it up in a matter-of-fact sort of way, saying he knows what I have planned.  In a very non-aggressive manner.  As of late, the bulk of my days have been non-aggressive, thankfully.  So I’m leaning toward the belief that this will be a peaceful exit.  At least until he realizes there will be no return.

Not gonna happen.  Not this time.  I got this.

The F-Word

It’s about time that I make an appearance and talk about things. There seems to be a build up of thoughts and emotions that have clogged the flow of words from getting to this screen.  For several weeks now, I’ve had an emotional surge and have wanted to come here immediately to release.  Of course, work and life get in the way and all I end up with is my weekly Haiku, which I love, but my life is not all about counting syllables and rhyming.

So.  Here I am.  Mid thought.  Hoping to dump out a bit of what has brought me here without it being all moshed up, and after reading you think…what is she even talking about?  Maybe I should start jotting down thoughts as I have the urge to write just so that I don’t forget what it is I wanted to say.  Anyway, here’s hoping I don’t start rambling and that this makes some sense.

As part of my “self-healing” process, I’ve been taking part in an online chat group with some other Domestic Violence survivors that I’ve met over the last two years.  It takes place on Twitter every Monday night at 9pm EST under #domesticviolencechat – brainchild of Lindsay Fischer (aka @LinsFischer) usually accompanied by her trusty group assistant, Amy Thomson (aka @AMarie9619).  There has been a decent round robin of participants.  Some people stop by every week while some take a pass depending on the topic at hand, as it could be triggering.  Others, I’m sure, just read along without saying anything, if only just to know they’re not alone.

Last week, the topic was forgiveness.  “Forgiveness of our abusers, of ourselves and of others who were not there for us either by choice or ignorance.”  I had made the suggestion.  I’m sure we had covered this topic a while back but forgiveness seems to be one of those ever evolving enigmas.  As survivors begin to heal, I think, their thoughts on forgiveness change.

(Way back) In the beginning, when I started to share my story, I discussed the elusive Missing Ingredient.  Forgiveness.  I pondered “How can I forgive my husband for years of abuse?”  What I came up with were reasons to forgive myself.  At that point, only two months into pouring out my story, I wasn’t sure I could ever forgive my abuser and I certainly wasn’t sure I was ready to forgive myself.  I understood all of the reasons why it is beneficial but it was still too early.

Yet again, two months after initially discussing this topic, I posted Forgiveness 101 and still  I was unsure of where I stood.  I had read an article by Deepak Chopra, which read in part:

Some people are so ashamed that they can’t bring themselves to tell anyone their secret. The result is the worst kind of guilt, that festers inside with no chance for relief. If you feel that you have this kind of deep guilt, you must still find a way to believe that you are forgiven. You may have to take baby steps to get there.

In reading back my post and the article, I could see how close I was.  Just on the outskirts of understanding the necessity of this “F-word”.  I knew somehow it was key but I wasn’t sure how to obtain it and I wasn’t even sure I deserved it – let alone give it away to my abuser.

Since then…it’s been something along these lines:

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.” ~ C.S. Lewis

And by that I mean, I can’t pinpoint when it happened or even how I’ve changed but I can feel something different.  It’s this bizarre internal feeling.  Almost evolutionary.  Maybe enlightenment.  I’m not sure.  All I know is, I feel good.  Mentally.  For the first time in a long time, my mind is clear and focused.  It’s weird.  Kind of like an out of body experience.  As if to say, I’m aware of my awareness. If that makes any sense.

So back to last week’s #domesticviolencechat group session.  I didn’t think about it when I was in the moment.  It wasn’t until someone retweeted my comment:

“I forgive myself for falling prey to my abuser. I was 17 and didn’t know how to ask for help.”

Wow.  That’s an eye opener.  First thing, apparently I forgive myself.  Kudos to me.  And the other thing, which is huge, is that I don’t think I ever allowed myself to acknowledge the fact that I was indeed a kid.  Probably because back then, when I was a kid, I was so intent on being a grown-up.  Plus, I had a lot of responsibility at a young age, so I always felt grown-up.  In comparing me at the age of 17 and my own daughters when they were that age, I was a grown-up!  There’s no comparison to the way the kids are today and the way we were in the 70’s and 80’s. Granted, it was a different time, no matter where you were raised.

Nevertheless, this statement I made, almost unaware, really opened my eyes.

I was a kid pretending to be a grown-up who got caught up in a world of unexpected trouble with no real skills on how to get out of it. For those of you that can’t comprehend the intensity of the situation that child was in, for those of you that judge her choices and for those of you who think she deserved everything that came her way…I forgive you.

Most of all, I forgive her.

______________________________________________________

My story starts HERE.

Read more about Lindsay Fisher.

Read more about Amy Thomson.

Healing Wounds

Today’s prompt words made me think of the phrase “Not all wounds are visible.”  Along with my own personal story, there are many others that have been through the same situation.  There are some out there that think because there is not physical violence that they are not in an abusive situation.

This haiku is for all of us.

Haiku Challenge #56

Prompts: Luck & Hope
Time will heal all wounds,
Hopefully that phrase is true,
If so, we’re lucky.

Unraveling

As per the official definition, it would seem, on any given day I am prone to becoming unraveled.  Typically, in the preferable term which would be to free from complication or difficulty.  This is actually on most days.  That’s a good thing.  I have found that by telling my story, not only out in cyberspace, but also with each – real life person – that knows me outside of this box, I am becoming disengaged and untangled from this web of lies that had become my life for so many years.

Then there are days where I become mentally unraveled.  They are few and far between but they pop up every once in a while.  For so many years, I disconnected from the people I cared about and probably needed to be around more than anyone else but because of the life I was living I hid away and secluded myself from all.  Now that I am so close to being truly out there about all of this [once I’m out of here I’m OUT to everyone] and no matter how much of a relief that day will be, I think part of me wants to retreat and take it all back. Hide it all away so no one knows why I left.  Just leave and be free and happy and not have to explain all of the crap that has manifested into becoming this grandiose escape plan.

So I cry, lash out, and cry some more.  Try to explain and not blame and then wish it all back into my mouth so that none of the words were ever said out loud.  Delete the account and voila no proof I actually spewed out all of the atrocities of my life.  So that it would all boil down to one day I just got up and left.  No explanation.  There she goes…moving on.  People could chalk it up to a mid life crisis or what have you.  It wouldn’t matter because I wouldn’t owe anyone an explanation.

But then what?  All of this junk would still be inside of me.  I can’t even imagine having all of this nonsense still bottled up.  I can barely remember what it feels like when no one knew.  It seems like that was a lifetime ago.  Part of a different person’s story.  Something I read about halfheartedly because I couldn’t connect with the storyteller. Ha. If only. Truly though, those fleeting moments when I wish my secrets were still my own happen as if an out of body experience.  I’m not even really sure what triggers those thoughts.  Maybe just in knowing how close I am to being on the other side of the mirror my subconscious plays games with me.

The real deal of the matter is that…it’s so freaking close I can almost touch it.  It’s simultaneously awesome and scary as hell.  The day I’ve been waiting for, for what seems like an eternity, is at hand. Literally – at my fingertips.  The closer it gets the more hungry for it I am.  Salivating at the images my mind paints of what it will be like when I am sitting here writing about how it all went down, smooth as can be.  Background noises of my choosing – or blissful silence.

In the past year and a half, I have allowed six people that know me in the outside world to read my blog.  People I was comfortable with knowing the real situation.  For a while now, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to let my sister and mother in.  I wasn’t sure how well that would go.  I was unsure whether or not it was the right time just yet.  Would I even know when the right time would be?  Should I wait until I’m closer to stepping out of the door?  What if telling certain people at certain times of my journey is exactly what I’m supposed to do?

Last month, I found a letter.  It was a letter my sister wrote to me when I was leaving to go to the battered women’s shelter – way back when I was 21 years old.  Mostly, she had written the lyrics to Mariah Carey’s song “Make It Happen”.  The rest was telling me she loved me and knew I could do this, and how when this passes I will start a new life.  That I would never forget what I had been through but it will be in my past and all of it will make me a stronger person. My sister was only 16 when she wrote this letter to me.  I thought, how sad that my 16 year old sister had to write this to me.  Even sadder was that I was 21 years old and on my way to a shelter for battered women.

When I came across the letter I thought, maybe now is the time I should share this, my story, with her.  After all, I am beyond the embarrassment part of my story.  I think I’ve come a long way in how I’ve told my story and what I’ve learned from my story.  As I started to tell my sister there was something I wanted her to read, I found myself saying…I’m proud of what I’ve written.  I’m proud that I have shared my story and I’m proud of where I am now as opposed to where I was the first day I sat down to write my very first blog entry.  And as I’ve done with everyone else I’ve shared my story with, I sent her the link – and ran. Lol.

After she read it in it’s entirety, she told me how even though she knew some of it, she really didn’t know how deep it was and how long it was going on.  She said how, now, it all made more sense.  The person I am, the way I am – makes sense.  She also said…what a great author I am (still debatable) and that she was proud of me. Aww.  I’m not really sure I’ve ever heard those words – for real. I’m sure they’ve been said. At some point. Over time. By someone. Parents, relatives. Who can recall?  It’s all just fleeting words in a fading memory. This is now.  It’s real.

Above all else, I am proud of myself – as I continue to unravel myself from the past and move that much closer to the future I was meant to have.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

Damaged Goods

Recently, I’ve been noticing a few personality traits that I now realize are related to my being in an abusive relationship for so long.  None of them are new but I am just now seeing how so much of me is netted into this lifestyle.  A little over a year ago, I had written a blog post called Survival Mode after reading another blog post (That Wasn’t Me…This Is Me), which triggered an understanding/clarity of how “we” -the abused- get sucked in so deep to a point where we are almost physically and mentally incapable of getting out.

People who have never experienced Domestic Violence or abuse in any form, are typically the ones spewing all the oh so popular catchphrases, such as…Why didn’t she just leave?  What those people don’t understand is that it’s so much more than a woman saying, I love him, and then all of a sudden – CURSE PUNCH KICK – and her saying, I still love him.  I’m sure there is a percentage of that scenario but it’s not the norm.  At least not for me, and I never understood that mindset.

Once upon a time, I was normal.  I don’t know when exactly because apparently I’ve been carrying the burden of abuse around for such a long time.  Let’s just go with the topic of boyfriends.  Okay.  So, I was normal.  Dated guys.  Never got hit.  Never got mistreated.  Never got spoken down to.  And then I meet HIM.  Once he realizes I liked him, the game begins.  I chase, he ignores.  I ignore, he chases.  I date someone else, now he’s in love and can’t live without me.  Now, this could have all been part of his own personal issues with shyness and not knowing how to relate to females in general, or was it premeditated?

The beginning of the end.

When we officially started dating, we had known each other for about three years.  So, he knew my background, my ex-boyfriends, who I associated with.  Being that he was telling me I was his one and only, he slowly started to manipulate his way into my every day.  And since it was a new relationship, seeing each other every day is normal, right? This is where the manipulation began.  It was slow but very steady.  Convincing me not to talk to other guys because I was his girlfriend now.  Until I didn’t speak to any of my male friends.  Even ones that there was never any romantic involvement with.  Next were my girlfriends.  He either didn’t like them or they didn’t like him and it was easier if I just stopped hanging out with them.

As time went on, the textbook abuse code of behavior was activated and carried through almost methodically which began with the ever so subtle isolation of friends and family, followed by jealousy and control, criticism, sabotage, blame and anger …. just to name a few early warning signs – aka – I wish I knew then what I know now.

“It is not this massive oppressive nature that comes at us all at once. Instead, it innocently seeps into our everyday consciousness until it’s all that we know.  Even though the little things seemed so big as they were happening, by the next “BIG” incident that last one could easily be considered almost nothing. I learned the dos and donts of what makes an abusive man angry and quickly and without conscious knowledge I knew just exactly what would rock the boat and so my main goal from day to day was NOT to rock it.”

People wonder how we get so brainwashed that while all of this abuse is happening years are passing by and we still haven’t left.

Like I said in Survival Mode:

“As the years go by you just learn how to respond. What facial expressions to use and when to just answer yes or no without a story behind it. People wonder how you can live so many years this way…truth is, when you are so busy living from day to day just trying to make it through the day without a hitch, time friggin flies.”

And now here I am, still surviving.  Attempting to heal from within so I can heal once I’m out.  I can tell that it’s working because everything is becoming more clear.  These “traits” I mentioned in opening…are the side effects of my life.  One of which came to the surface last weekend when I snapped at someone I love, telling them to “shut up” because they were suggesting I do something a different way than I was doing it.  My brain heard a command and my defensive reflex took over.  I later apologized, explaining that in order to deal with being spoken to a certain way for so many years, my brain instinctually created a sort of coping mechanism which unfortunately reared it’s ugly head with the “shut up”.

The thing is, I never realized this reflexive response. Or maybe it didn’t strike me the same way before.  This person’s response was a look of hurt and disappointment causing them to walk away from me and leave without saying good-bye, and it hurt.  It hurt me because I hurt them.  It made me realize – which I also explained – that there are so many other things that I’m not even aware of that are ingrained in me because of this and I probably won’t even know until I’m away from it. On top of that, I won’t know how long it’ll take me to undo it all.  At the end of the day, they understood.  And I was left wondering what other attributes will pop up when least expected.

Unfortunately, I’m sure there will be plenty.  I’m aware of some of the PTSD symptoms I already have, which suck.  I have finally become very aware that I suffer from intermittent depression – mostly extreme sadness and episodes of crying spells.  Currently, dissociation seems to be the flavor of the month…past few months…maybe longer.  I’ve been unable to focus (usually when working) for at least six months or longer and daydreaming is another symptom.  I seem to “check out” often – sometimes mid conversation.  I thought that was just selective hearing. 🙂

It seems to be a good thing that I am starting to become more aware of all of these issues.  The more I understand that which ails me hopefully the faster and easier the healing process.  We’ll see.

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If you have been in an abusive relationship, you should read Effects of Domestic Violence posted on The Joyful Heart Foundation website.  It is very informative.

My story starts here.