The Hell of Emotional Abuse

Do not discount yourself. So many people compare themselves to others. They decide they aren’t in hell, exactly, because ‘someone else has it worse’… I say stop it. Stop. Yes, some people have it worse than you and some people don’t. That’s normal. But that does not mean you are not both experiencing a form of hell.

If you are in an emotional abusive relationship do not say, ‘at least I’m not being beat every day’. All that does is discount what you are going through. I promise you, I wished he would just hit me, just get it over with already. If I’d had a damn bruise I might have moved out sooner… but you see? I did have bruises, I had bruises on my soul. Just because someone doesn’t throw a fist into you does not mean that person is not abusive.

Do not discount the implied violence and the soul wrenching guilt trips. Do not discount how you feel. Emotional abuse is like taking a trip on a crazy roller coaster in pitch black. You have no idea if around the next curve you will be falling into the abyss or climbing a mountain. You have no idea from one moment to the next whether you will be loved or hated. That feeling in your gut, that spark of fire burning there? That is your sign of how things truly are.

If you are scared and you can’t figure out why. If you are worried about the stupid shit that doesn’t even matter, things like messing up and forgetting something or not taking out the trash or having the car filled up or whatever… shit that doesn’t matter in five years… If you just can’t seem to be good enough no matter how hard you try… Or even worse, you’ve been put on some stupid pedestal and so if you make the slightest, tiniest error, you’ve failed… Yeah. Those things. Just because you don’t have a bruise doesn’t mean it’s not abuse.

So what if he doesn’t yell at you, yelling isn’t required either. There’s still the looks of displeasure and the cold shoulders or, heaven forbid, the silent treatments. Emotional abuse is one of the most destructive forms of abuse out there. Rather than destroy the outside of a person the inside is the target. The very being, the core of who you are, is the target. Not only do you have to fight it by yourself you begin to wonder why you fight and then you quit and you forget why you had any worth at all.

Then you begin to believe his lies. His lies that there’s no one else who could possibly love you. His lies that you may need some anger management because you burst into tears because he’s disappointed again. His lies that the only reason he stays is because he feels sorry for you, for there’s no way you’d ever survive on your own because you are just too stupid.

You can’t even do the checkbook right. Don’t you even know how to add? Seriously? Why would you buy something for you? Why on earth would you get yourself something from the store? Who cares if you like oatmeal or grits when no one else does? Why did you buy that? Don’t you think you need some rest? You look tired you should go to bed… And then gratefully thank him and go to bed only to be awoken an hour later because you need to put the kids to bed and turn out the lights and lock the doors because that’s your job and if you don’t do it then it won’t get done… How dare you get angry when all you have to do is take care of the house and kids! He works for a living, he pays for everything. You should be grateful… but you look so tired honey, why don’t you go get some rest.

What do you do then? How do you defend yourself from an enemy who is constantly changing? The only thing you can count on is that his mood will be different in a few minutes, maybe better, maybe worse. Some recognize it as ‘walking on eggshells’ trying to be quiet. No matter what step you take you make noise. There just isn’t any thing you can do. Emotional abuse is like that. It’s so far deep into the cave that you don’t know how to find your way out again. You are so lost that you begin to try to make the best of the dark and the dirt and the rocks. You’ve forgotten that there really is air and sky and rain and wind and not just the stale, old musty, mildewy dirt. When you are in the midst of an emotional abusive relationship it’s hard to find your way out.

So, yes, you are living in hell and yes you are in a hell just as bad or worse than others. Everyone’s hell is different but this one is yours. Do not discount yourself, do not make light of the fact you have no bruises. Hell is still hell and there is no comparison.

If I have described your version of hell then forgive me. I find peace in finding words. Words can draw pictures that help others to see.

thank you for reading,

me

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Jealousy? Where did you come from?

And yet another emotion… jealousy. Wow. This one kind of surprised me. But recognizing it I understand and I’m OK with it. (Which also surprises me. I seem to be constantly surprised at how my reactions have changed over the last several years.) So rather than hide from it, from this new feeling, I decided to bravely and carefully take a closer look at it. I somehow trusted myself to be able to handle what I found.

What did I find exactly? I decided to call it jealousy but it’s not a green with envy kind. It’s more of another discard to a point. The man is dating someone and honestly that’s what I’ve been hoping for. I’ve wanted him to get his mind off of me and want to get on with his own life so I wouldn’t be a target anymore from his old life. I’m glad that he’s dating, it’s good. And yet, with the realization of it, I still felt the discard. The reminder that I’m not important to him. Why would I be important to him? I never have been, why would leaving him change that? Silly me.

What’s going on inside, then? Where did this emotion come from? It’s my kids. I love my kids and I want them to have amazing lives and I want what’s best for them. The problem is, I want to be enough for them and I’m not. I could never be, either. Kids need both their mother and their father to develop into healthy adults. Preferably neither mother nor father is a complete jerk, though. I’m worried my kids, especially my youngest, will meet his girlfriend and come to love her as she love me. As if she doesn’t have enough love in her to love both of us! Of course she can. I’m just jealous because of fear, because I don’t want to lose someone else. I’m jealous because I love her beyond my own breath. And my fear is unfounded. The future ahead has so much possibility and it can be good.

How can him dating be good? Maybe she could help him be a better dad. Maybe she can help him clean up his mess and make sure my kids don’t come home with lice again. Maybe she can make sure they actually sleep in their own beds in their own rooms for the first time in two years. Another woman could turn that house upside down and make it a home again. And that would be good for my kids.

And yet? I remember how my life was with him and I remember how he lives and how he behaves and how everything is always someone else’s fault and how I could never in my wildest dreams be good enough for him. I remember how I fell for him and how easy that was way back when. I remember how terrified I was just to go home. I feel sorry for her, if she does choose to stay with him. I pity her for I will not warn her of him. She will have to learn for herself. She’s an adult after all. I pity the fact that if she stays she will wonder what happened to her life in twenty years. She will wonder how on earth she let all of her dreams go. That is if she’s able to. I know so many who have given up on their dreams and died internally. It may be that she is no different from him.

It would be nice, though, to not care anymore. But, that is who I am and I am learning that I’d rather feel how I feel than go back to the chaos. I’m in love with living now and having my down moments is just part of life.

thank you for reading,

me

Being Weird

Weird – out of the norm; state of being that allows unique and unfamiliar traits to be represented; not going with the status quo; being true to oneself; living an abundant life…

I like that word, weird. It’s very useful when you experience an emotion you’ve never experienced before. It’s useful when trying to describe something that is good but completely new. Weird.

I have found that I use that word frequently lately to describe where I am. As I come closer to graduation I am confronted with the fact that I get to choose my life. Weird. I get to decide whether to relocate or to stay local, whether to keep in touch with some people or not. I get to decide if I want to work in a hospital, or a clinic, or a store, or on my own. It’s like I have a multiple choice game, a choose my own adventure kind of life ahead of me. I can decide for myself whether I like the ocean or the mountains or the plains or whatever. I don’t have to do what I’ve always done any longer. The only word for it is weird. Weird.

Why is there no word for being able to choose your own life? Why is it that people typically fall into a place and just make the best, or the worst of it, rather than change the place? Why is it that all of the decisions in the past were based on what other people thought, or did, or didn’t do… why did others pave my path instead of myself? Weird. Seems it’s more common than not that we don’t actually choose which direction we go. Why not?

Why is it we are constantly trying to prove ourselves to people we don’t know or don’t like? Why do we try to do things that we know we don’t care for? Why do we work in places we hate, live in cities we can’t stand, and never ever dream? Weird.

Who is it that decided we would grow up and be a doctor, nurse, teacher, lawyer, game designer, architect? Did we decide it? Did we really choose? Or did we ‘take the advice’ of our parents, our teachers, our peers? Did we try something and fail and decide with only one failure to just give up? Did we decide we weren’t good enough? What a terrible loss! How did we decide to give power to others on how we live our own lives? Why didn’t we just do what we felt best? Why didn’t we get out our hatchets and carve our own path instead? Weird.

I love the word weird. I love being weird. I love creating my own life how I feel is best. I love the fear that comes with the unknown, the knowledge that if there’s a twinge of fear that it’s good, that I will be challenged. I can feel the fear, the excitement, physically. Now that I am learning to listen to myself, my own feelings, now that I am doing that I am beginning to use my body as a measure of which way to turn. If there is a crushing feeling in my chest, if I cannot breathe and my heart begins to break, then I know that is the wrong direction. If the fear is there, the anticipation, the opening of my lungs, the breathing deeply and enjoying the breath then I know that that is the better choice, the better path to follow. All of this time has been wasted listening only to my head, listening to the lies others have told me, and not listening to my heart. Weird.

Maybe we could all be a little more weird. Weird in our own individual ways. Maybe we can actually step up and into who we are meant to be. Maybe we can actually tell it like it is, speak truth in love and let others know how we feel. Maybe we have to start with ourselves. Maybe we need to learn to listen to our dreams, our own individual purpose. There is hope, there is peace but to get there you have to believe. Believe in yourself and trust in your power to accomplish more than you’ve ever knew possible. Let fear be your friend and your guide, who knows what’s on the other side of the bend? It may be a life that you love.

thanks for reading,

me

Life is for living

Live dangerously. Take chances. Dream. We all come into this world the same way. We all leave it the same way too. We are born and we die. We know how it begins and we know how it ends, why not make the middle more interesting? That’s the living part.

I’m tired of living vicariously through others. I want my own adventures, my own chances to fail. I want to live for the sake of living. It’s interesting, coming to the end of my school career. I’ll be a licensed pharmacist by this time next year. So what am I going to do with it? Who am I going to be? How do I want my life to look in ten years? five? three?

It’s easier to know what I don’t want than to know what I want. I don’t want where I’m at. I don’t want to get up, go to work, wish I was off, go home, go to sleep, and get up and do it all over again. I can hear my ‘friends’ saying, “but that’s what growing up is all about”. I can hear them saying, “get over it.” But I don’t care what they say. I don’t want that and so I am not going to put up with that either. I can hear them again, “you’ll learn” and totally discounting me, thinking I’m naive and that I just don’t know anything.

But I do know. I do know a lot. I’m not a kid, I’m in my 40s. I’m not naive, I have an incredible grasp of life. Maybe that’s the problem? Because I have such a grasp of life and because I understand how amazingly fragile it is, maybe that’s why I refuse to let it slip away unnoticed. I refuse to give up or give in. Not ever, never again.

I will not let my life go unnoticed. I will not let the days slip by without recognizing the love and the pain around me. I write. I write to save my memories and to remember my dreams. So what do I want in the next few years? Freedom, peace, adventure, love. I know something others around me don’t realize. I know that people do live lives they love. I’ve met them and I want to be like them. I’m not saying I don’t love my life now, I’m saying that I am not content to let it be this way forever. I am content that today I will go to work to learn and that I will be challenged and tired. I am happy to do that today. Even tomorrow and so on for weeks, months, maybe even years. What I am not content to do is allow my work life to be my only life. I will play and I will live.

thank you for reading,

me

Random Thoughts This Morning

1 – Why do people find the bad in everything? It seems so much easier to find the pitfalls, the mistakes, the ‘it didn’t work’ parts… why can’t we start to see the great things? Why can’t we see the beauty? I posted on Facebook asking if any of my friends sail. I got a lot of positive comments such that they like to but no one really does. I had two who said they would love to go sailing with me but I’m not sure I’d be in the same stadium as them let alone, alone on a boat… then there’s the one comment “the happiest days for boat owners are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it.” REally? Then why do people keep buying them? Why do people actually live on them sometimes? The downer really got to me. Burst my bubble some. I try hard not to do that to others, I’m sure that I do but I try not to.

2 – I have a friend who is thinking of leaving her marriage. How can I help her? She sounds so much like me but she’s so much earlier in it than I was. I don’t want her to destroy a marriage that could still work yet I don’t want her to stay in it if it will destroy her drive, her love of life. I can only tell her to trust her heart but I want to make everything better. I think often that marriage should be more of a time limited contract. If everyone thought, “if I don’t straighten up then she (or he) won’t renew” then maybe we’d behave better? Let’s say every 5 or 10 years you have to decide whether the other partner has kept his side of the deal. Has he supported her? Helped keep up the house? Has she helped him? I mean, it doesn’t really matter what the role is, so long as they are agreed upon. And a clause that says you can get out if you find you just aren’t compatible? Why would someone stay if they aren’t happy anyway? My ex was never happy, yet he didn’t want a divorce? That just didn’t make sense to me. If he hated me so much then why wouldn’t he leave? Oh well.

3 – So do I get a boat? I still want one. I still imagine the feel of the boat rocking under me day and night. I imagine waking with the sunrise, or with the storm. They both delight me. I imagine living wherever I want to live, leaving and coming as I please and taking my home with me. I imagine being able to still come to land when needed, working for 3 or 4 days a week and still being able to enjoy my home. I imagine I would be the black sheep of the family, because I prefer my own company to theirs. I imagine living a life of adventure, where I can love on others and I can still have my peace and privacy… I know there will be downers but they aren’t me.

4 – I spent the day outside yesterday, the weather was perfect. I laid on my blanket under a tree and studied and read and just rested my soul. It was wonderful. I so much prefer to be outside than inside no matter the weather. I have two weeks left to this rotation and then I have a month off. It’s beginning to feel as if I might actually make it, I might actually graduate in May. The questions remain what will I do then? I have a lot of the what, just looking for how. How can I convince my family that living on a boat is a good idea? How can I learn to sail without having a boat yet? (I will be spending a week on one in south Florida after graduation.) How can I be sure I’m doing the right thing? How do I get a job that will allow my random, crazy ideas? How can I live the life of my dreams? “Trust my heart, it sees things my brain refuses to see.” The more I trust myself, the more excited I become about living. I never knew how much more life was out there when I was in my dungeon!

And so we all begin another week, another day, another morning. May this week be filled with love and passion and dreams that come true.

thank you for reading,

me

Boat living? Can I do it?

Sailing. Am I really wanting to live on a sailboat? I mean, I’ll have to learn everything. Everything. I’ll have to downsize to almost nothing and learn how to sail and learn all the laws of the water and learn how to take care of myself on a boat… everything. Is this something I really want to do? I’m beginning to fall in love with the idea. The idea of leaving this damnable town, the idea of living wherever the hell I want to live. The idea of living with so much less enthralls me.

The question is not “can I do it?” The question is “do I want to, and if so how?” I have learned over the last several years that when I put my mind to something that it eventually comes into existence. So the possibility of living on my own sailboat is there for me. Other people are doing it and therefore I know that I can as well.

This past weekend I decided to take my kids to the marina about two hours away. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to see the boats and the water. I often go there to get away, to get my head to sit right when things at home start to build up. I’m always running away to the ocean. I wonder lately why it is I’ve never lived next to it when it’s the only thing that helps me to breathe? Why am I living in a landlocked town? Why am I not next to the water like I dream to be?

I took my kids. They weren’t thrilled about getting up early on a Saturday, and my daughter was furious about not being able to play with her girlfriend. They both got over themselves pretty quickly when we got there. I’d never taken them there before. It was beautiful. We had so much fun walking along the waterfront, spitting at the turtles to make them come closer, and dreaming about the boats. My daughter, the one who least wanted to be there, is now excited about the possibility of living on a boat. And so am I.

So what will it mean to live on a boat? Living a minimalist lifestyle is a lot cheaper than what we are living now. This could be counted as a pro for us. Oceanfront property every day of the year? Another positive. A small space to live in? I’ve always loved my smaller places and besides, I’m not a big person. The freedom? This one is big. My body yearns for freedom and has fought for the freedom I now have. The people? Those whom I’ve met are great.

But, the cons… the weather? I love the changes in weather, I’m addicted to watching it. I love rainstorms and sunny days. The question is “how will I love it if I’m on a boat?” There’s a good possibility I will love it just the same. Working… working is another possible con. If I park in the marina and not at a slip I’ll have to use a dingy to get to and from the shore for work. (I’m now thinking of opening up my own sea side pharmacy somehow.) This could prove interesting in poor weather. What about the cold? What about the heat?

The more I learn the less I know. Yet living on a boat is beginning to sound like a dream. A dream about to become real. I’ll keep you posted.

thanks for reading,

me

Silence – The Dark Side

I have a theory… silence kills. I’ve experienced it. Silence can be a very terrible thing. Silence keeps people from sharing their stories for fear of being chastised, punished, beaten, ostracized and made into villains. Silence? What keeps society from knowing how their neighbor is being beaten each night? What keeps friends from knowing that their best friend is being bullied? Or their best friend is beating his wife? Why is it that abuse is so quiet? Silence.

I wonder what would happen if people quit keeping secrets. I mean, what if you actually knew how much your coworkers were getting paid and they knew how much you were getting paid? The business would have to be more fair in its payment schedules. What if you knew what other students grades were and they knew what yours are? Would you work harder? Or would you work less? You would have a better idea on how the teacher graded. What if, instead of lying, what if a woman could tell you that her husband shoved her into the wall? What if you already knew that he was dangerous because when he was mean to his girlfriend she told the world? Would you be there still?

What would happen if men would treat women as human beings and not pieces of meat? What if women took pride in themselves and only accepted men who treated them well?

I’m trying to form this one thought that’s been bothering me for a long time. I feel like if there were a community discussion where women and men could speak freely about what is going on at home, that we would find out that abuse is rampant. I think we would be able to see the depths that this goes.

These are some statistics from 2015 in the USA, when I left my husband. I can guarantee you that each and every individual who was in an abusive situation felt alone, felt that they had no choice, and felt scared of telling others. Take a look. 1 in 3 women? If it’s not you then take a closer look at your friends. *this is from ncadv.org

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetime.1
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience severe physical intimate partner violenceĀ in their lifetime.1
  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.1
  • On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.9
  • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.10
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.2
  • Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.2
  • 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.2
  • Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.2
  • Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.2

This is epidemic, it’s not sporadic. Women and men and children are scared for their lives, and they have the right to be. What doesn’t have to happen is the silence. What if we started asking questions? What if we started listening? What if we, the survivors and victims, had room to speak? What if we began screaming from the rooftops? What if we stood up in our churches and demanded they step in? What if we quit being silent?

Abuse continues because we put up with it. It continues because we allow our friends to be treated poorly. It continues because there are too few who are willing to speak up and when they do speak they are punished. Their friends don’t know what to say and so say nothing, or quit being with them. Their family refuses to believe them and so they do nothing, and instead question their truthfulness. Their co-workers blame them. Others think they are whining, and still others think they need to toughen up. What very few actually do is believe them and provide them with a way out. Even when a woman calls the police for help she will very often not press charges.

What can we do? What if we started a revolution? What if we always knew when a man hit a woman? What if we always knew when she is threatened? The reason this continues is because people get away with it. It continues because of the secrecy. What if victims were no longer blamed and no longer felt the need to be silent? What if a man knew, absolutely knew, that if he hurts his wife that the world would come crashing down his door? What if?

thanks for reading,

me