Wednesday, June 29, 2011

McBloggery 2 - "A Voice".

Well, all I can really say is that timing is everything. It's a damned shame that McBloggery is finally coming together right NOW, as I am in the midst of "issues" dealing with feelings, etc..traceable back to my marriage. It happens once in awhile. It's ultimately a good thing, because I end up discovering at least ONE thing about myself and what makes me tick, and why.  However, the end piece being "good" does not make the crap I go through (insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, crying, yelling, depression,distraction and lack of concentration- and last but not least, dwelling on past issues )  in the interim any easier as it's happening.
Anyway as I mentioned, it's too bad that McBloggery is finally up and running in it's beginning stages right now, in the midst of my mini crisis because I simply can't concentrate on the subjects at hand. I completely skipped last week, which was also the first week. I couldn't get my act together, and it made me disapointed in myself. Rather than beat myself up about it, I am moving toward NOT failing this week. As a matter of fact, I have already started my "A Voice" blog - but cannot finish it currently. It's a terrific subject - my daughter finding her voice and standing up not only for herself, but many others that lack direction and acceptance. As a matter of fact, I have a FEW inspirations for this particular blog subject. I just can't concentrate on it fully. There is too much going on in my own head to be able to clear the way for what I WANT to write about. I am going to shelve the post I already started and just pour out whatever comes. The only thing I do know for certain is that my submission for "A Voice" is going to be me, finding my voice - and calling out some deplorable behavior from people who have sworn love to another- and the long term devastation it causes in the people subjected to it.

It is always amazing to me the amount and severity of destruction one person can reign upon another's life. People in general have so much power. Power to sculpt and change another person's life. To mold the very way a person starts to think and view the world around them. A mother for example is a child's first interaction with the world. If patience, love, kindness and a genuine joy for life is shown by mom - what sort of initial outlook do you suppose that baby is going to have on the world around them? While mothers begin this molding, the entire family obviously contributes. The interactions between family members and the interactions with friends and strangers - all those around baby- begin to form what "normal" means to the person being molded - in this scenario it's a baby.
Let's look at another scenario. Let's look at my scenario. In my particular case, my mom was loving and caring. She worked around the clock in order to support us both, because she divorced my alcoholic father when I was two.She did absolutely everything she could to support and be a good example for me. To be both parents, because my father at best, was an inconsistent influence. Which was a good thing. He was not only always drunk - literally always - but he was also abusive.That little tidbit was discovered when I was 14. My mom stopped visits, reported him and took me to therapy.

My lessons? The woman does all the work raising kids. The woman is responsible when things go right, and when things go wrong. The woman picks up the pieces. The woman moves on no matter what wretched thing befalls her family, because she has to. If she doesn't, who will?

What then, were my lessons regarding the man? Basically that they are defective, destructive and abusive.

Want to guess who I married?

Well, he wasn't an alcoholic - but the rest of it panned out perfectly. The irony is that if he HAD been an alkie, I probably would have been fine. My ex-husband was a "happy drunk". He had fun, relaxed and was nice to everyone when drinking. He didn't drink often. He still managed to be nice to others,most of the time - but I do think some of his particular sociopathic tendencies did come out to certain people now and again. Employees of ours, maybe some of his more honest family members or friends.

My point in all this is I was sort of a blank slate when I met my husband, on what a man does, and who he is in a relationship. My mom dated when I was very young, but had a traumatic experience fairly early on, and stopped. I didn't ever have a man around to show me what they do. What their value is in a relationship. How they interact with you when they love you. All I knew up until this point is that they hurt you and disappeared. While it sounds like Im blaming my marriage on my parents, I am not. I am saying I didn't know what the dynamic was supposed to be between two people who loved each other. But I most certainly don't blame anyone for my choices but myself. So,when the proverbial shit hit the fan and I realized I was smack dab in the middle of an abusive relationship, it was basically just too late. I had no idea how to extricate myself, and if I am honest here, I didn't want to. Not because I like being mistreated, or because I  thought I deserved it - yet. I just thought it was normal.

It was because I thought I was in love with him, and because I had no idea this ISN'T how a man and a woman interact in a relationship. I was, in fact, desperate to keep the one and only relationship I valued. When things weren't BAD, they ranged from "okay" to "great". I am not a shrink. I don't know if this is true, but this is how I see it: He really did love me. As much as he could anyway.Whatever love meant to him, he felt it. When things weren't bad he did kind things for me. He took me out, he bought me things,he made sure we were taken care of and had what we needed and what we wanted. We had a family. But he was also afraid of me. Afraid of losing me. He felt inferior to me. So, he mistreated me. This, I didn't realize for a long time. Like maybe last year.  And I still have to remind myself that he did what he did because of his own issues, not because I deserved it. He could only feel big when I felt small. He could only control me through violence and threats - and only barely. Anyone that knew us can probably vouch for the fact that I did not lay down and be silenced easily. I was opinionated and rarely failed to make my point.I chalk up the fact that no one seemed to realize that he was abusive to his happy go lucky attitude- and the fact that I just dont appear to be the type to take being abused.

Even privately, which was a very different dynamic to our public personas - if I knew I was going to get hit, I pulled out all the stops. I recall vividly one afternoon he was saying some pretty nasty, vile things about me and how I deserved whatever my father had dished out- and making me feel small. Small and dirty and unlovable. It seemed that the more I ignored, the more he pushed...and I finally figured out he was just begging me to act so he could take the next step. I knew he was eventually going to make the fight physical, and then it would be over. I was sick of waiting. I wanted this to be over now.  So the next thing out of his mouth that was full of poison, I spit in his face from about 6 inches away and he punched me in mine.
Fight over.
Does that mean I made him hit me, like he always claimed? Does it mean I deserved it? Does it make him right about me? Hell, I don't know. I don't think so. I can personally guarantee, on my kids, that it was coming - I pushed his hand- but it was coming regardless. I just couldn't take anymore verbal abuse while I waited. He had made up his mind long before I acted.

I think all it means - to me at least - is that I would rather have been hit in the face than in the heart. Punches hurt at the time. Words hurt forever. He made me believe I was so unlovable on any level that he was doing me a favor by being with me, and that I only had friends because his friends were doing him a favor by associating with me. Cause he was THAT wonderful, and I was THAT worthless.That my opinions and aspirations were not only laughable, but things I should be ashamed of having. Isolation was easy to accomplish, because he bullied and controlled me to the point that all of my friends and family were all but gone from my life.You obviously cannot control someone who has back - up, right?  We associated with his friends and his family. My mom? Well, she was our babysitter. As long as she served a purpose, she stayed.

I can only assume that much in the way that my first relationships formed me, his formed him. I know certain things about those relationships that lead me to believe I am on the right track. I  remember deciding to not dick around anymore, to not always protect him, to just flat out say something to my mother in law one day after a fight. I was just fed up. They were over for dinner, as was our weekly routine, and the ex and I had literally stopped fighting as they walked in the door. Translated, means that we had argued, he was as nasty and demeaning as ever and had pushed me into a table. Then, as his parents drove up, he "flicked the switch" and was "normal". I don't have that switch. I still thought he was a piece of shit, and if I was going to feed his family, I was also going to feed their minds. At some point in the evening I said something along the lines of how it was so nice to live with someone who solved every problem that faced them by putting their hands on me.
His mother's response, without missing a beat was "You need to learn to be nicer, and not act up."
To ME.
I think it probably would have been a more productive thing if my ex had spent his formative years with a wrecking ball. Now, looking back on it - I do wonder how much - beyond what I have heard - my mother in law put up with in the course of their decades of being married.

While I was married I was ashamed to be myself. Now that I am not Mrs.Anyone anymore I am ashamed  that I allowed my family to be put at risk because I was afraid to leave and didn't have the self esteem to try. I am ashamed that one of my reasons for staying was that "he was a good father" and I didn't want to rob him of his six children, or them of him. The shame comes from knowing now, that he was NOT a good father.In addition to financial support, a good father would have made his entire family come first. He would have guaranteed that his children loved and respected their mother and treated her, and all women like gold, by demonstrating it himself. He would have taught them to be kind and care about people.

This father of six daughters and one son was molding these children to show you loved someone by belittling, hurting and abusing them. By using one against the other. By making them too afraid to have an opinion...fearful of having a voice. By accepting that treatment, I was reinforcing that version of love.

Today, I use my voice to show my children that no one can make you feel small unless you allow them to.
I use my voice to stand up for myself, for them, and for people we care about.
I use my voice to say that I wont ever take that from anyone again.
I use my voice to ask my friends to promise to bitch slap me if I do.

I use my voice to ask you to share information on Domestic Violence with anyone and everyone....but especially to educate yourself and to help someone you know in a dead end situation, if you can.

I chose this subject because I am trying to find MY VOICE, to be able to share firsthand things that have shaped and sculpted who I am and why I do things I do- share them with the one person who deserves to hear it from me directly.  The person I can't break old habits for and feel safe enough to share my thoughts and opinions without expecting a retort or condemnation.
I am so sorry Zachary, for all of the crap you have to put up with because of how the way I think was molded by another, hurtful, mentally unfit man. While I understand if you cannot, I do hope you stick it out and be patient. I feel that underneath all this...somewhere in there...I am a pretty amazing person. I'd have to be, to be able to hold a candle to you. Thank you again, for showing all 10 children in our home what a man, a father, a partner really is. You ask so little of me, and I fail to give it every time. It's just SO hard, but I'm trying.

 I choose to have a voice these days is to simply pass on information, whether it is my own experiences, or simple cold hard facts and statistics. Knowledge is power. Maybe ONE man or woman in an abusive relationship will find the tools in something I say or share and find their way back to their own voice. With that in mind, please explore these links. I've lived it, and these pages speak volumes to me - maybe someone you know can use them.

Please take the time to look. Take the time to forward if you know someone who may benefit. Always remember that your computer history can be, and in a lot of abuse cases, IS searched. Browsing on public computers (library, internet cafe, a friend ) rather than their own home PC, may be safer for someone in a DV situation.

You Are NOT Crazy
this link in particular shows the difference between Abusive vs. Healthy relationships - Even after being out of my relationship for 7 years, this one stops me cold. Validation is a powerful tool.

The Cycle of ViolenceThe first, most obvious step out is to realize the relationship is actually abuse, that YOU aren't causing it. It's also one of the hardest steps. See if this looks familiar to you.

Safety Planning
unless the victim has unlimited resources, they most likely cannot just walk out the door. These are things to consider.

Links to Womens Self Defense

Signs of Abusive Relationships
Do you wonder if what you or someone else is experiencing qualifies as abuse? If you need to wonder, it most likely is.

learn just how prevalent abuse is

I include these links because I was 15 years old when I met my ex husband. I stayed with him until I was 31. I wasted 16 and a half years thinking I didn't deserve better... there are girls all around you today that feel the same.

Love is Respect

Break The Cycle

Teen Tools on Dating Violence

Love is Not Abuse

 Last but not least

How Can I Help Someone I love Who is Being Abused?

Please contact local authorities or women's shelter if you are in immediate danger. Get out fast, get out now. There is nothing in your home that you can't live without, except you and your children. If you need to make that immediate, life altering decision, choose to leave. Next time you may not have the choice.


Judith Yeo-Dufour said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I personally wat to know EVERYTHING I can about DV. Been there, done that, NEVER,EVER going back!!!

Anonymous said...

I cried the other night after reading this. No one deserves to go through what you went through. I hope you realize how loved you are now and I hope that your goal of being able to talk with Zac - really communicate - will be met and that writing helps you do that. Remember I am here anytime. :-) Michelle