Monday, May 17, 2010

Lost but not forgotten

Speaking with a woman in her seventies yesterday one of the first things she said was I have been married for 54 years. Before I had a chance to say congratulations she had already spit out how mean he was and the physical and verbal abuse she had endured through out her marriage. Her bond with her children, her decision to stay in a marriage with a violent alcoholic and her new independence since his death. One thing that took me by surprise was despite the visuals scars that could be seen on her body she shared a little information that since his death it has been a transition to sleep alone. As I listened my mind raced, Saint, Martyr or Victim? Five children, no drivers license, her parents gone at an early age, isolation, no siblings. Wow! I thought how badly the odds were stacked against her.
One of the other women who was working their today was quite opposite in her early 20's married and divorced the first year of her marriage. Independent, confident and appeared on track, though inside still suffering from the broken dreams of a future with whom she had believed to be her partner in love and life.
The two women dealt with life in the times that they lived through. One endured, one got out before children were introduced to a marriage. I thought there is a method to God's madness on the road we travel, but honestly the power and the answer lie with in us. Education being key, I knew more than ever that maybe it wasn't about how to get out that was so important but identifying the poison traits of dysfunction before you ever enter into a relationship. I compared the two stories one had a support, friends family and a network, the other was alone in the world, without friends, isolated and alone. I now realized the importance of the network and the new found ability to swallow and digest the signs of a victim. What were the common factors those who were seriously abused had a heart. It was almost as if the predator was hand picking their choice of victim for life. Those who they could string along with promises, only to over and over disappoint them with outburst and strikes against the soul.
As the conversation with both of these women continued my only response was to them, I don't know the answer or the why of it. I only know that we experience what we do for a reason. What have you learned what difference can you make in another persons life. As I was introduced to various members of the family of both women, the elderly woman who found strength in her children and the younger woman who had an extraordinary bond with her daughter, I shook my head to the evils of being human that had surfaced in both of these womens lives.
Some of us feel trapped and others strong enough to stand up for ourselves. One has to remember the fear and lack of fear in both of these situations. The younger woman feared staying a relationship, the other one feared for her life at the thought of getting out. As I hugged each woman felt their struggles on the journey, I also felt their courage to share, educate and allow me a glimpse of their trouble world.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I attended a seminar and it was I wouldn't say irony but the similarity of stories amongst the women were frighteningly common. It wasn't like I was inquisitive it started rather unexpectedly.The woman in the hotel shop was talking about weight and I told her that walking and running was a good way to speed the metabolism, she went on to speak about the damage to her knees from her ex husband who repeatedly abused her. But the stores didn't stop with her, women who were high profile some how began sharing their stories with me. One of the women said you have a presence about you and I happy to have made your acquaintance. I thought what and why is that people felt they could easily open up and it occurred to me, as one woman said recently "you are so real. " Real? Does that mean they know I relate? That I am open? That I understand? What did real mean in this situation. After so many stories and the different ways people deal with situations it was more clear to me that fixing the woes of the world was more difficult than preventing them. Here is where my dreams begin as I saw prevention as a way of identifying the red flags before a person ends up in a relationship, with the stalker, abuser, insecure,dysfunctional, insanity, distrustful person.
Many of the women said the flags were clear but it took them years to understand them and many divorced and many did not. My mine a bit frazzled jumped to our youth, teaching people the importance of respect and trust should begin at home but if not than it is our place in society to give especially to our young women opportunities that will allow to avoid negative situations that would be harmful to them in the future.Rarely are the their not signs, some and many of them, had hard working partners, who didn't drink or do drugs and yet they were in violent situations. So many times it was asked if it is a learned behavior?
One woman she had a softness about her and a quality that was quaint it was hard for me to believe anyone could hard this mild mannered gem. She spoke of the stalker mentality, she said early on she thought that must mean he loves me. The choosing of clothing, the dressing up to attract other men, just to prove that you belong to them. We are possessions, we are not owned, we are not to be paraded. The lack of trust that a person does not even give space to an individual is not a sign of love, it is a weakness and a sickness that only gets worse at time goes on.
Imagine you are at a all woman's convention and a husband shows up he see's a man there, could be a speaker, waiter, musician. He gets unruly and he accuses his wife of lying and the threatens are verbally and he shouts I want to punch you in the face right now. You are a liar he yells, you said there would be no men. After the episode he says how much he loves you, than he is back to himself that you are embarrassed to be with him. No where in his scenario is there any signs of love.

Isolation is the tool of a controller.

Choosing your clothes and make up is not a compliment, as every woman is capable of choosing her own wardrobe.

Having women friends is not a crime and the mutual bonding is necessary for growth.