Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There is Hope

I spoke with a friend today and though many times I think enough has been said, I am encouraged to write, educate and document moments of my own life. My dear friend said "give other people hope." I thought about that where I have been , where I am now and where I am going and what it took me to rise above it. It is true that writing in itself is therapy. In documenting my life I have been able to surface above it the negative. I am not sure where to start, so I will start from the beginning of my young adulthood.
Family life was extremely dysfunctional. I worked from an early age and attending school left really no time for socializing with people my own age. When I met the man who would become my husband, I look back and I don't really know what I thought. Life seem to be a day for a day with many struggles. Dysfunctional a family we were still taught morals, so there were many red flags, control being one of them, aggression, possessiveness and poor decision making skills. These are a few red flags that you recognize in a person but don't in your teenage years know what they mean. It was simple things at first, closing off contact with other people, not letting me have time with girlfriends, threatening my employer, staying at my place of work all day. At first I like many young women confused some of these signs with wow, he really likes me. Sometimes and I believe this to be true, dysfunction needs two pieces of a puzzle in interlock. You can't be an abuser, unless the other partner allows themselves to be abused. So I realized not only with my own daughter but with other young women that it was so important for them to understand the red flags of dating. What is socially a part of the norm and not is important for us to recognize and to get away before one becomes a part of the sickness. There were other issues that were never really acknowledged, how one treats you, compassion, respect and the importance of not giving in or up ones own personality.
Somethings were a minor adjustment, not seeing eye to eye, morale and religious convictions and our choices and responses to life. Of course you love a person or you wouldn't commit to trying to make a marriage. If a person and I mean any person, friend, lover or partner of any kind, belittles,downs your look, clothing, body, personality than one must take a serious look at whom they choose to surround them self with. At no time should one feel less than, hurt, Verbal abuse is real and it doesn't just hurt but it sets in motion the key of dysfunction insecurity. Once insecurity is unlocked abuse is set in full function.
Most things appeared minor some of it I just brushed aside. Flaws in ones character and the unrealistic set of goals where neither see eye to eye are all something to take note of. But I think it did start with sex, men will say " women use sex to control a man" and a woman says" that "man uses force in sex to exert his position as ruler" In reality aggression really has no place in a loving relationship. There is definitely a good and bad feeling that can be had. It is seems like the steps that chip away at a persons being are started even before they realize it. Sex between two people should be a loving experience and yet there are so many crazy things people do that just don't feel right.
I chalked a lot of the red signs up to being " old school" But as I am learning it is not about old school, or even the victims insecurities abuse is about the abusers insecurities. It is amazing how many have problems where alcohol and drugs have no part in.
If sweet talk doesn't work use fear. The abuser has many tools in which he uses to control his partner. They are extremely confusing because sometimes they are camouflaged as being a sweet action when in reality they are placing guilt. Many people have heard it, Look what I do for you, I am so sorry, it will never happen again, but I love you, I didn't mean it to happen.
Neglect, many people don't think of neglect as being abused. Oh but it so high on the abusive list. We as humans have many needs to be met, some of them are interaction, growth, education, community, this is where isolation comes in. These are all very, very minor and some may thing abuse is not yet prevalent. But as they say the wheel is being set in motion and period of outburst are part of the abuse pattern.
Easier at times to recognize the good in a relationship than to dwell on bad. If you have a good re pore and you have trust, respect, compassion and love, with no gaps in between than you will have avoided the foundation that is set for abuse.
I found that abuse is also a pattern. That there are steps to it. I have heard referred to as the honeymoon stage. It is where they are on good behavior and everything seems positive, promises of change. But that gives way to episodes that are unforgivable. One person doesn't need to be beat black and blue to be abused. Pulling hair, kicking pushing,bending arms behind their back, belittling are all unexceptionable behaviors. Some situations escalate and others seem to avoid the major explosions.
Breeding Fear it is amazing that a person doesn't need to be hit to create a situation which breeds fears. I can remember several situations, I try to forget them but some of the more difficult ones remain. I can see his face he is filled with hate and ugliness, I am not sure what is wrong, he has the gun in his hand, he is in the middle the yard and bullets are flying through the air, he is screaming, I am not sure about what,yelling for the neighbor to come out to kill him. Why is he doing this? I don't think to call the police oh it would be such an embarrassment, it would end up in the paper and everything. I need to calm him down, he is ranting, I am not sure about what, screaming about a car on the road cutting him off. None of it makes sense, I am afraid and not, I grew up in a dysfunctional home, I had myself convinced I could handle it. I talked him into putting the gun down after about twenty minutes of him screaming and shooting the gun off. My son running through the woods to get the dog that got loose, ducks the bullets flying past him. I don't think it was right to try to handle the situation, he had been on a verge of a break down many times and each time he reached for the gun to kill someone else or to kill himself. I was taught to be afraid of the system as much as I was afraid of the man who gave me more of a dysfunctional life. Here I am telling people to get help, but I didn't believe help was out there, part of me still doesn't that is the sad part, I don' t believe real help is out there. We are taught to fear the police, the courts and the system which threatens to disrupt an already disruptive life.

Fear from the abuser, fear of the system, fear of letting out those dirty little secrets.





Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crazy is ..bringing children into a world and not loving them.

Spoke with someone from when we were kids. It made me think about a time that I had pretty much digested. One of the questions was why? Why was my sister so abused and she was. My father called it discipline, but it was anything but. You don't beat children till they bleed, you don' t make them stand on rock salt bare foot in corners till they can no longer stand. Yet that is exactly what my father did. It was a rather strict life style you either followed the rules or you were punished sometimes it was, no let me rephrase that, it was always unnecessary punishments.
My sister was very attractive she had sunshine in her eyes and a warmth in her smile. Dating was forbidden, talking to boys were off limits. I can honestly say that I don't really know why he chose to punish so aggressively. Could have been laughter or smiling, or being children. Lights out, than lights better be out or he would come up those stairs swinging that belt. It is funny if I think about it I can actually here the shuffle of his footsteps. I didn't want to go back, " don't you dare move!" if you jumped or cried he would swing that much harder. I remember the later years easier, if my sister skirt was wrinkled it would be a reason to beat her, if she put make up on, if her hair wasn't fixed right, if she spoke to a boy, if she was late coming home from school, if the dishes were not clean enough, if the table wasn't set, if she smiled, if she laughed, if she cried.
Didn't want to go back...no I didn't, but here I am. I see the gravel, the empty lot over grown with weeds, the railroad tracks, the river. the greyness of it all. I am not sure why my parents are yelling, my elder sister always got yelled at. "Take your little sister to her room," almost as if mother was prepared for an argument with my father. Get the little ones out of here! breaking glass, screaming, all night long, I couldn't sleep unless the train was going by... I learned to love that hum. I was nine years old, this particular argument escalated. My mother grabbed a knife, my father tried to take it off her, she was stronger than you would think a woman could be. My father turned to go out the door. Not once, but twice she placed the knife in his back, he called out for my elder sister as he fell to the ground. My brother and sister tried to stop the bleeding, it seem like forever till the ambulance came to take him to the hospital. Like the many times before and after he refused to name my mother as the perpetrator. Can't sleep, can't cry, holds my dolly. Every thing will be okay, daddy will be alright. Mothers eyes red filled with tears and rage. Why was this happening, did she hate him so?
The next day was quiet, my older sister spent the day cleaning broken glass. I went outside to play ball, the other children were not allowed to talk to me. Stay away from her, her parents are crazy. "Your mom is crazy, your mom is crazy!"Some of the children whispered, others chanted. I can remember their names, one day they were friends playing and riding a bicycle the next they were told to stay away from me. Was I bad? Is this why my parents did that? I was afraid, I was alone. We never spoke of it, we never asked questions. It was the secret that everybody knew. It was a rather confusing time, two people who held each other, hated each other so much that they destroyed each others lives. I talked to my Dolly's allot, I escaped into a world of fantasy. Children can be mean, did they know we were hurting inside? did they know we were confused?
I spoke with my eldest sister recently, she said"momma should have died when she jumped from the bridge" She said it would have been over, instead it happened over and over again. The short years of childhood were filled with violence, suicide, ugliness, punishments verbal and physical. The knives are hidden everywhere, don't touch them momma will be mad. They are under the sofa, under the pillow, in my bed, under the cushion of the rocker.She said "If he comes back in this house I'm gonna kill him" I heard the polices sirens I ran to the window, momma yelled at me" she said "run, run to the window, look for your daddy!" Were they taking daddy are they taking him away again? I feel like I am in the room I can see her holding a hatchet she is really mad, she really is mad at him, she keeps repeating she is going to kill him. She yells really loud to my sister, "I told you to get these children out of here. " She grabs my hand and puts my coat on, we go to the park and my sister see's her friends, I play on the swings. I am alone, "don't play with her, her parents are crazy." I have been alone my whole life, keeping the secrets so well hidden, that I myself had forgotten them, or did I?

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