Please help me understand/Domestic Violence Question - page 5
First of all I have to say that my on line persona doesn't even compare to my real time personality. Writing never has been my thing, I can never get the words from my brain to my typing fingers... Read More
Nov 24, '05For those that have been in, or are in abusive relationships, do you think there is a certain personality type that is more apt to be abused? What are the common denominators? What do abused folks share in common?
Nov 24, '05I used to think that if any man hit me, I would beat the crap out of him. But hey, I also said I would never put myself in that situation. When you are in that situation, hopelessly entangled in that situation, it is like your entire reality changes. Chris used to tell me that the only reason he hit me was because he loved me so much that his emotions were overwhelming. He said I was lucky to have a guy who was jealous of any attention I received from other men (yet how lucky am I if I get beat up because someone looked at me or hooted at me from a car driving past?). When Chris killed a man trying to come after me when I had finally broke up with him and changed the locks, he was only given time served and psychiatric inpatient counseling for a year because the strong emotions he was under made him temporarily insane. I moved out of the state while he was in custody. His mother worked for the DA's office and gave him my new address (thanks a lot!). He was given longer inpatient time because a "plant" (psych worker disguised as patient) was in the facility and Chris told him all about how when he got out in two weeks he was going to come kill me and then kill himself so we would be together for eternity. No one but a battered woman can tell you how insignificant a restraining order is. When he couldn't find me he killed himself, and his parents blamed me. They still do. They always did. I had some guilt feelings, not because I believed I was to blame but because I felt relieved and even jubilant when I got the news. I no longer have to jump when I hear a noise outside. That freedom and feeling of survival are what I carry with me- that and a nose that makes me look like a boxer. Breaking it twice and separating the cartilage from the bone will do that to you.
If you are in this situation, get out. You must believe that it will only get worse with time.
Nov 24, '05Quote from BipleyI believe that a lot of them are nurturers, and so they feel they can "help" the man and change him, and that makes them feel needed. Plus abusers can be deadly convincing when they are "sorry". Also it seems many were abused as children. My father was a drunk and a prescription drug addict (now my sister is addicted to painkillers, so I guess the legacy continues) and used to abuse me physically and emotionally.For those that have been in, or are in abusive relationships, do you think there is a certain personality type that is more apt to be abused? What are the common denominators? What do abused folks share in common?
Nov 24, '05Quote from LoriAlabamaRNYou took the words right out of my mouth. I was always the "sweet little girl" in school. I was neither popular nor unpopular. I was friends with everybody and tried not to look down on others. I feel compassion for everybody, even those on death row. I didn't love my ex but I felt sorry for him because his mother was an alcoholic drug addict and he had been born addicted to crack. He would tell me after he hit me that he would get help. I believed him and wanted to see him through this. I never ever give up on anything so giving up on trying to change him would have killed me--no pun intended. These men are so convincing when they lie that they could convince the pope himself to believe it.I believe that a lot of them are nurturers, and so they feel they can "help" the man and change him, and that makes them feel needed. Plus abusers can be deadly convincing when they are "sorry". Also it seems many were abused as children. My father was a drunk and a prescription drug addict (now my sister is addicted to painkillers, so I guess the legacy continues) and used to abuse me physically and emotionally.
Nov 24, '05Quote from BipleyBipley... you sound confident. You sound as if you've already learned how to believe in yourself and be your own best friend when needed. That's such a wonderful thing, and I hope that I'm right in assessing you that way. But, many women were not raised to have that confidence in themselves... many women have found themselves with very low self-esteems still seeking somthing to "qualify" themselves as "worthy" as they've never heard it (from their dad or whatever). Some smooth-talker comes along and he knows the balance between giving her what she has so longed for while beginning to lay the foundation of being in "control" upon her life from the beginning. Hindsight is 20/20, but she is so taken by the "special" way he treats her that she doesn't see the many "red flags" going up like a parade in a bull rodeo.I am aware of stats, I am aware of a patient's reaction to her abuser in an ER setting. That doesn't help me to walk in his/her shoes. It doesn't help me to relate to what is going on in his/her mind. That is what I am looking for.
Life is not so precious to me that I would prefer to live in hell for many years vs. die for leaving an abuser. If I had a choice of one or the other, I would choose death. Life is precious, and too short. But I'd rather have a short quality life over years and years of life as an abused person.
My response to you is exactly why I have kind of avoided my own thread! What is in my head doesn't come out well on a computer screen and it has a much different tone vs. the voices in my head. I knew I would come off as insulting. In real time I am extremely compassionate and caring. On line I come off as a big 'ol B. So as to not insult people I have tried not to post much in this thread. I knew my questions would bring about sensitive issues for folks and I didn't want to sound different from my intent.
Next thing you know, they say their "I do's." Okay... now this is the way that I can understand it. Anyone of us women knows that just the thought of being slapped around would make any one of us wonder why one would stay and allow that to continue. But, it simply doesn't start that way. Actually... it started when they were dating and he was still being "sweet." But, it was that comment he made to her on the first date of going to that place that she was accustomed to that he would prefer that she didn't talk to her male friends while she was out with him that was the first building block in what was to come. She, of course, not wanting to be mis-understood during this date was taken aback some, but sweetly agreed to not let that be a problem for him. By the time they are married... it starts almost immediately. Not the physical abuse... but, the emotional and mental abuse. He tears her down with his words, makes her constantly doubt herself even more than she did before (with her low-self-esteem), and ONLY when that has started taken its toll on her and putting her in a postion of "trying to do better" does the physical abuse start. It doesn't start on a regular basis, but only regular enough to keep her confused and lost within this new experience going on in her life. And, of course, each time, he blames her. "If you hadn't have done this or said that or acting this way... I never would have hit you." He is EXPERT at keeping the focus off of HIM as being the problem and making her focus on herself. She's already lived a life of trying to do something praise-worthy, so these words only serve to make her feel that it's her and she has to try still harder.
Leap forward now with me to the day when this has now become the "norm" in her life. Keep in mind that this controlling guy has managed to halt all normal relationships between this woman and her family and friends. She can't HAVE a regular relationship with them because he either demands all her time or he interrogates her after every visit forcing her to assure him that she didn't talk about him and wanting a play-by-play of any conversation she's had with them. By this time, she is waking up in the mornings and looking in the mirror at herself and wondering who she really is... she has lost herself... literally. She can no longer remember what she was like before this relationship began. Did she have a sense of humor and laugh a lot? (Can't remember...) This loss of self-identity only intensifies the messages that she has now been hearing from him for a while now. She is worthless, can't do anything right, etc. But, even when the day comes that she gets a glimpse within herself that maybe HE has the problem... by then she realizes with what a psychopath she lives with... he threatens her life... he threatens her children... he threatens her family... She has TRIED calling the police in the past, but they either tell her they can't do anything because she doesn't have any physical marks or they tell her in the home that's in her name only that they can only give her 5 minutes to get her stuff and get out of her own home, cause it wouldn't do any good to make him leave, cause he could always come back later, so better that they stay long enough that she leave. She no longer has her own well-being to think of, she is living a balancing act of living hell of also trying to protect those she loves as well. And, she'll be DAMNED if she allows him to do to her family what he has done to her. But... who will help? Who will listen? Oftentimes, her cry is unheeded or at most left a major disappointment to her.
So, tell me... have YOU ever felt backed into a corner with no one to help you? Have you ever felt that you had to take "whatever" upon yourself just to protect those you love? I think of those who like frog legs. I've heard that those frogs... they are put into regular water and slowly brought to a boil. If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he will jump out. But if you place a frog into a pot of cold water and and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot tub, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death Same with the abused woman... the abuse starts out so slowly that they are already in boiling water before they realize any danger. And, by then... they've already tried calling for help to no avail (legally), and now have others to think about, not just themselves. Be THANKFUL if you were raised with the support and praise to believe in yourself and not settle! Some were not and have either had to grow and change the hard way... or possibly still finding themselves a slave to what they got sucked into at one time by a smooth-talking (yet controlling) guy.
I hope this helps to give you a little more insight and understanding into this very real problem!
Nov 24, '05Quote from QuailfeatherOne reason that women stay in abusive relationships is fear. Many abusers threaten to kill their victims if they leave. Statistics have shown that during the first few weeks out of an abusive situation, the woman is at a high risk for violent retaliation by her abuser. Restraining orders offer little protection when an abuser is intent on harming his victim. We had a tragic case just last month in our community. A woman left her husband of many years and was granted a restraining order because he had threatened her. A few weeks later, he shot her twice in the head and once in the chest with a concrete-nail gun. Then he turned the gun on himself. He survived...she didn't.
This OP is blaming the victim. Hopefully this doesn't affect your nursing care of abused persons. If you don't even have the sense to be compassionate of a person's basic suffering, I don't see why I should be compassionate of your intolerance. No way.
Maybe you could be mad at a society that allows men like the lawyer in a previous post to keep visitation rights or a legal system that only issues spineless restraint orders that don't protect an abused woman. Or unsupportive families that don't provide safe places for abused wives to go. There are plenty of more deserving objects of your contempt than the victim.Last edit by bluesky on Nov 24, '05
Nov 24, '05Why did I stay?
Over time, it started slowly - I was very young and trusted him completely but didn't trust myself.
It started as psych abuse...being made to feel stupid, passive aggressive behaviours on his part...I thought I was doing something wrong
It progressed to verbal abuse...I believed what he said. I had no one to tell me otherwise...
By the time the physical abuse began, I thought I DESERVED it and that nobody else cared. (Let me point out here that NOT ONE nurse, doctor, fellow church member, professor, marriage counselor or friend was willing to talk about the abuse! Nobody wanted to "go there" - I will never be that ONE provider who is afriad to go there!)
It's a brainwashing. You cannot think normally or perceive the world with trust in yourself. You believe what HE says, you become what he tells you you are. Stupid...worthless...and you REALLY believe it. In fact since you are so stupid and worthless, you prove it to the world by staying with him...It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as much as it is an abusive spouse fulfilling prophecy.
You know, I think the most we can do for people in this situatioin from a provider standpoint is:
A) be willing to talk about the abuse and develop an emergency escape plan with the patient
B) dont make the person feel stupid - they already believe they are, dont reinforce the idea
C) Make them feel valued as an individual and a human. Seeing that someone values your well being and conveys to you that you have worth as a human can sometimes be the break point.
I made a friend in my latter year of nursing school who did all three of the above for me. She made me realize that I wasnt as stupid as he said, I had a lot to offer to my family, kids and patients, I was worthy of love of concern...
12 years later? Remarried, to a wonderful guy who wouldnt DREAM of hurting me in any way. Looking back I know now I didn't have to tolerate what my ex dished out, but when you are standing in the tunnel, you cannot see the light. I have a story I wrote about it all - It's long, but I'd be willing to post it here if someone thinks it might help them understand the situation of domestic violence.
Nov 24, '05The story...
The Monster Under the Bed
Where exactly did it all go wrong? She sat in the shade of the trees in the oversize adirondack chair and sniffled a bit. Holding back the tears she was fighting, hoping no one could tell she wanted to cry. It had all started this morning with a cup of coffee and the children's book she had found lying in the bottom of the magazine basket. Illustrated with manner and deliberacy, simple words and concrete ideas, full of flight and imagination. She remembered the dragons and the knights in shining armor...they had clamored around her knees at one time for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and grape Kool-Aid. All that had changed now. She sat staring into the morning sun, wishing for that magical world to come back. Wishing for the days she had spent with her children crawling through underbrush in the nearby woods, landing on the moon and still managing to have supper on the table in the evening. Somewhere, between a bottle of whisky and a marriage gone sour all the fantasy was gone, The children stone like and hardened. No more laughter echoed through the house now. She was alone. Summer was etching its way into the earth and sky. Another day and another summer came back to haunt her.
Startled by the sound of a cry, the usual morning alarm clock in her house these days. She rose to make a bottle and get breakfast and change diapers. Finding Marcy the 7 year old in the living room watching cartoons, she scooped her up and hugged her, setting her back down on the floor in a fit of giggling. Marcy's giggles followed her up the stairs and into the boys' room where she lifted a tiny boy from his crib after changing his diaper and his wet pajamas. Robbie was peeking out from under the bed and reaching for her ankles whenever she stepped near. As she bent to look for him, he covered his mouth with chubby fingers to keep from being discovered, eyes sparkling in the shadows. A handful of dry cereal, 3 bananas and 2 bowls of cereal later she lifted Kerry from her bassinet and changed her diaper as well. The older two children migrated to the living room to watch cartoons, and Kerry had to take a feeding break so that James could be lifted from his high chair and placed on the floor to crawl and edge his way along the furniture on shaky little feet. Hands had to be wiped in the meantime and Kerry protested loudly.
With Kerry back in her bassinet and asleep for a couple of hours, It was time to dress and do a few household chores. She read them the story of the princess and the pea, followed by a dozen nursery rhymes. She played on the floor with them, chasing the three giggling youngsters around with a miniature Mac truck whose only cargo was a lopsided, nearly hairless teddy bear. Cajoling them into shorts and pullover shirts was the next feat of the day, with shoes and socks to be the major battle. But this was accomplished and soon they were headed out the front door, 2 little bandits' armed and caped and 2 babies in the stroller. Off to the jungle or the land of the lost, or maybe the Great Wall of China. She never knew what dangerous and faraway lands today's adventure would take them to. Robbie waved his plastic sword at each passing car, his faded blue towel of a cape fluttering behind him, and his tiny cowboy boots scuffling along the sidewalk. Today, he said, He was going to slay the dragons and rescue the princess mommy.
The hibiscus glowed pink in the early morning sun. The neighborhood was slowly coming to life, the distant sounds of lawn mowers starting and sprinklers raising their heads. The coffee was dark; becoming cool but it didn't seem to matter now. She stared at her feet warming in the sun. No more tears. Just a rawness, no blood, only flesh.
With the youngest children in bed sucking their thumbs and nightlights turned on, the dinner dishes done and the washer and dryer whirring away she sat on the floor with Marcy at her side, Robbie in her lap and a story book on her left knee. The voices changed, little voices interjecting with peanut gallery observations. Hushed quiet voices. Quiet for fear of disturbing the monster. The water flow in the bathroom stopped and the children burrowed closer to her. The sound of a distant closet door and a few hangers rattling made them look up at her pensively, fear shadowing their eyes and worry appearing across their brows. Then the slam of the dresser drawer and a bellow... The color drained from their faces, just as it must have from hers. The closet door closed loudly and this sent them scurrying up the stairs, away from mommy and away from comfort.
She closed the book at her knee, sliding it carefully underneath the sofa so as not to disturb the skirt, so as not be noticeable if he should put his feet there. She pulled the laundry basket nearer to her and began folding clothes, wanting instead to go and reassure her children, to put them to bed with kisses and giggles and love, to smile at them sleeping and run her fingers through their hair. She could feel their fear wafting down from upstairs. She only prayed they did not feel hers. She was startled by the presence behind her when her thoughts were interrupted. "Where is my other pair of new underwear?" "What did you write a check for five dollars to the school for?" The questions came, the nightly game show. Always broadcast on the same channel and always the same contestants. Always uncomfortable and baring questions like a truth or dare game gone bad. None of her answers were right, and if they had been it wouldn't have mattered. Fueled by a twelve pack of beer or a half bottle of whiskey, the questions quickened in pace. "What do you do all day?" "Why aren't the floors mopped?" "What the hell do you think you are?" "How can you be so stupid?" And then the questions stop and the accusations begin.
Fear escalates in her now, creeping into her throat, searing her eyes. Day in and day out it is like this. She is always too stupid, too ugly and never good enough. Day in and day out, When she dares to sleep he awakens her to accuse and question and make her cry. He belittles the children, belittles little parts and pieces of her. Dread takes over and she prays the baby does not choose now to get hungry. She tries to drown him out, tries to think what life would be like if her children had a real father, A father who wrestled on the floor with them, who read to them and loved them and held them and comforted them. He could feed their dreams; make them safe when no one in the world could. She could not keep them safe from him though. She knew the time was coming, had started to creep under the door, when they would be as much his prisoners as she was.
She often asked herself why she didn't leave, why she stayed. She knew the answers. He would find her and kill her. He would hunt her for the rest of time. He would deny her a very existence. She did little more than exist now, but while he was gone from the house, at least her children would know what normal was. Some day he will quit drinking. Some day money will not be so tight, some day it will not be so hard to keep up with the Jones's. Some day she would find a way to escape. Right now, they had food, a roof and a mothers love and that would have to suffice.
She remembered thinking that she could keep her children safe, that he could never destroy them. She would never allow him to do that and yet he had, even after he was gone. After he was gone he continued to eat at them, to scrape and wear them away. He was like a slow growing tumor the doctor could never get the last particles of. The tentacles grew and spread, wrapping themselves around the hearts of her children and around her heart. Divide and Conquer he said, and divide he did. When did the journeys to the jungle or the mountains stop? When had they all put their swords away? She yearned now to gather them all back into her arms to read them the stories children love and to steal them away from him as he had stolen them away from her and stolen them from themselves.
Weekends were no different than the rest of the week. He worked all week, rarely taking a day off and generally finding somewhere else to go when he did. She had her children to herself, and they had her to themselves. In the late afternoons, the shadows fell across the house, apprehension rose within it, and the tension became even visible. His homecoming always brought hushed voices, moving quietly as though skating on cracked ice. The wrong movement or noise could bring his ire upon them all. It always started with the belittlement, accusation that they could never be what they wanted, that they never would be more than what they were to him. When he finally calmed enough to speak reasonably, he demanded an apology as though he were the one who had nothing to be sorry for. All that was left, was an empty feeling surrounded by shells of skin and bone and reflected in hollow eyes. A dull sadness and helplessness took over, fed by the time and distance. Two worlds existing in one house. He was an intruder into their magical world.
Reflection crept over her once again. She buried herself in thoughts of the years since the divorce and how it had changed her. She had thought of herself as their hero, risking all to save them. The trouble was it was too little too late. She had waited too long to get out. They were infected then, filled with the hatred that filled him, and they had no where to spill it. Instead of praise and worship, she was resented and unrespected. No longer sweet smelling chubby children, they wore shadows in their eyes. The same shadow she wore was the one she wondered if any of them could ever remove. Pain for all they had lost crept in on her. Lost childhood, lost magic, In the end they had all even lost each other. Now her fear rose to wonder, wonder if they would each have other back. Worries about whether or not they would all be mother and daughters and sons and brothers and sisters again. The evolution to this realization had taken years. Today was the day it chose to strike, like a cobra hiding in that magazine basket with that book. Breathless and speechless she sat in the sun with the pain creeping over her in waves. It was all too much to cope with at once, the cancer spreading again. But she had rescued them before; she could rescue them again. She wondered how many times she would have to rescue them before they believed.
Many nights he did not acquiesce after 2 hours of questioning and accusing. His voice escalated up the stairs. She knew the children were cowering under their covers as he loomed over her downstairs. She felt the shackles tighten around her heart and her soul. Objects began to fly across the room, she scooted slowly across the floor not wanting to make any sudden moves but wanting to put herself between him and her children. He followed her at the same pace with his words continuing, picking up the occasional shoe or toy as he it fell into his path. He emptied the basket of folded laundry onto the floor in a heap. He berated and belittled. He started up the stairs and she stood up between him and the bottom step hoping to distract him back in to the room and away from the children. He moved towards her and she backed slowly up the stairs in front of him. She began to protest, to beg him to leave them alone. He wanted to "talk to them" he said.
She stood fast in his path. All she could do was deny the captor and hope she didn't suffer too badly for it. He shoved her aside and she caught herself from falling a couple of steps below as he continued up the stairs above her. He woke the two older children from their beds and began interrogating them about their mother. He not only interrogated, but he fed them lies and demanded that they verify that they were true. Lies about men and money and things children know nothing of. Robbie began to cry. The monster reached out to strike him in the mouth but instead caught sight of mommy in the doorway holding his precious bottle of whiskey. He lunged towards the doorway and she ran down the stairs with the bottle. He followed her, catching her just at the bottom of the stairs. She had thought about this earlier. It wasn't the first time she had had to distract him to keep him away from the kids. He grabbed the bottle from her and broke it over her head.
Cut and bleeding, dazed and scared, she somehow managed to do what she could not do before. She ran for the phone picking up the cordless and retreating to the bathroom without him seeing what she had done. She called for help and waited, knowing he was laying low now that he thought he had seriously injured her. She locked the bathroom door and prayed silently for salvation. He came to the door and demanded to know what she was doing in there. When she did not answer he began to bang on the door and she told him she was just cleaning up the blood, speaking in gasps of surprise and pain. Then a doorbell rang and he began to yell through the door "What have you done?" demanding that she call and cancel the request for help. She would not wilt this time. She had been this close before, but she might never be again and so she stayed silent. When the doorbell did not relent, he went to answer it. He opened the door to a couple police officers, the broken bottle of whiskey and small pools of blood on the floor in the foyer behind him.
Freedom would and was still taking years. Despite divorce and distance he still held them captive. The sun was becoming hot and bright. She downed the rest of the coffee in the bottom of the cup that was now cold. Some days remembering was just too hard, just hurt too much. The monster still slept under the bed...
Nov 24, '05gauge . . . . your story broke my heart.
A very graphic way to describe domestic abuse.
Nov 24, '05My mother married my father 41 years ago this month. He is bipolar, a mean manic mostly, untreated for about 40 of those years, and tremendously verbally, emotionally, and occasionally physically abusive. He had a breakdown when I was a toddler for which he was in the hospital for about three months, but which I don't recall and only heard about in hushed whispers from my mother later after he had a delusional breakdown last year. He was on his needed med regimen for a couple of months, but in typical fashion started picking and choosing which pills and how much he would take. He goes in for the farce of his q3month medication management appointment with his psychiatrist, and tells him everything is going well. My mother sits quiely, knowing that if she dares say anything about how well it's NOT going, she had better be prepared for death or something worse.
I resent my father tremendously for his failure to treat his mental illness (pointless, I realize), and the emotional abuse he inflicted upon myself and my siblings growing up. My brother still has no concept of how to be a decent man and husband and father. My sister suffered years of abuse because she thought that's what you did in a relationship. I briefly started down that path, but managed to pull away - insight comes but you have to be in a position to accept it.
I had resented my mother for not doing _something_ to prevent her children from being exposed to this. It took some time to realize she can no more conceive of being in a different life than one can imagine how to live without oxygen. It's not even in the realm of possibilities for her. Of course, her father cheated and abused her mother, so why would _she_ think there was any other way. My mother did what she could to shield us, and I know my father has always been hardest on her as a result.
Somehow, these thoughts seem appropriate on a day when many folks will be with their families. My birth family is close enough that a trip home for the holiday is not out of the question, but we're here, ready to go to the home of friends - the family we've made as opposed to the one society dictates we should be spending the holiday with. I realize I can't control what goes on between my parents and by extension what my siblings choose to do in their relationships, and what my brother will be teaching his two children about what to expect from a "normal" life.
I realize not all or even most cases of abuse stem from mental illness, and it throws in a whole host of different issues, but like Bipley, even though I have eventually some to an understanding of the logic employed by my mother in staying with that man for 41 years, there remains a small part of me that will always be perplexed. When I see the picture of my mother at 18 and wonder what was in her mind then and the things she has seen and endured to get to where she is now...
Nov 24, '05First I don't agree with the poster who states that Bipley is blaming the victims here. I believe she's showing compassion by trying to understand the why, what goes thru our minds when we do stay. Maybe I'm wrong here and Bipley you can correct me if I am - but I get the feeling that you want to know why so you can try to figure out a way to help other women.
I swore I would never stay with a man who hit me. I watched my uncle beat my aunt for years and never understood why she stayed with him. I don't know that there is a set personality type that becomes the abused or even the abuser for that matter. My ex came from a good home and was never abused himself. It started with the psychological/emotional abuse but I didn't realize what was happening. He was so convincing, he would back up his statements of my worthlessness with "evidence".
The first time he hit me, we were in a huge fight, I can't remember exactly what I said to him but it was one of those really viscious comments that is said in anger (I'm not blaming myself for this anymore, just giving you some background), and he smacked me across the face. He was immediately sorry, he shouldn't have hit me, but I made him so angry with my comment. It made sense to me, after all when I got smart mouthed with my mom she would smack me across the face too. I didn't see it as him blaming me - I thought I was honestly at fault. Abusers know how to manipulate, know exactly how to twist everything around so you really do believe that everything is your fault not theirs. They are so convincing in their arguments.
No one can ever know exactly why an abused person stays, it's so hard to explain even when I was the abused. I often look back and wonder why I didn't leave before I did.
Bipley, I think you really do understand more than you realize. You were a freshman in high school before you realized that your home life wasn't "normal". Then it took you several years before you could leave. I know that was because you were a kid at the time and couldn't do anything. You spent those years preparing to leave. It really is similar. No, I didn't think it was normal the first time he hit me, but he was really sorry. It took over a year before it escalated into more regular abuse. It slowly became the norm in our relationship. Once I realized that things weren't right and that I wanted out, it took time to prepare to leave. I would pray every day that I would live long enough to make it out of there. It took about 2 months before I could leave, the longest 2 months of my life.
I know this post is getting long but I want to say to everyone who has also shared their story - THANK YOU!!!!! You all are a blessing to me (and to others I'm sure) - I know now that I'm not alone. Even today DV is a stigma that isn't talked about and I sometimes feel like I'm the only one who has been thru this.
Nov 24, '05Quote from widow2RNActually, I wasn't raised that way at all. While it was far from Beaver Cleaver's family (I believe I am dating myself LOL) I wouldn't change a moment of the way I was raised. I learned some tough lessons that turned into interesting and useful skills today. I can spot manipulation coming from quite a distance. I can usually read people quickly and well. My childhood wasn't easy but really, whose is? Being a kid is tough business, not at all what some people make childhood out to be (carefree, not a worry in the world, blah blah blah).... Be THANKFUL if you were raised with the support and praise to believe in yourself and not settle! Some were not and have either had to grow and change the hard way... or possibly still finding themselves a slave to what they got sucked into at one time by a smooth-talking (yet controlling) guy.
Maybe this is why I don't get this whole thing. I can read about it, I can hear the stories of others, but maybe the reason I can't fully wrap my brain around what is going on inside the mind of the abused is because it's not in my personality make up to be an abused person in that way. We all have our weak points and our strong points. I don't know, maybe one of my strong points is such that I couldn't allow such abuse.
I could have quite easily been the child version of an abused spouse. The setting was right, the abuse was there, but I didn't put up with it. I would fight back. I'm the youngest of three girls. My older sisters, to this day, will say that I was my parents biggest nightmare. I called them on their actions and behaviors and I had the ovaries to retaliate. (going to the police, etc.)
I don't know if I am explaining myself well. A good example for me is when I was old enough to learn to read. My Mom gave me a book by Frances Farmer called, "Will There Really Be A Morning?" For anyone not familiar, FF was an actress with mental illness in the 1930s or so. It was likely quite mild mental illness. Her parents were able to control her by the constant threats of putting her back in the "insane asylum." That is before mental health units and people were treated horribly. Ice baths, insulin overdoses, straight jackets, rat infested cement living areas, basically... torture. Medical students would practice procedures on these folks because it was believed mentally ill people didn't experience pain. Mom loved FF enough to put her in a place of torture for "help." It was emtional rape and emotional control.
My Mom had me read this book as soon as I was old enough to read such a book (10? 11?) and then after having read it, we discussed it. After that point if I didn't clean my room she would tell me that only mentally ill children don't clean their rooms and she would have to get me "help" like a good mother should. Then she would remind me of Frances Farmer. For each bad deed on my part the subtle threats of an old fashoined insane asylum were used.
This stuff worked on my older sisters but it never really worked with me. The initial shock value was effective, but I quickly figured out what was going on and it backfired on her. Today my sisters believe that the reason this didn't work was because I was more intelligent than my parents. I'm not so sure about that. I don't really know why similar techniques worked soooo well on my sisters and not me. I would stand up to my parents. I paid for it, but I still continued to do it. I recall one time my Mom was screaming at me telling me what a little B**** I was. It stung! She really meant it! I refused to let it show that she was getting to me. So I smiled sweetly and reminded her that she always did say I was just like her.
Maybe some people aren't hard wired for this type of manipulation. Maybe it's a source of personality traits, individual strengths and weaknesses, I don't know. I really don't think I am (or ever have been) a person that this kind of manipulation would work with. Yet there are other scenarios that I would absolutely cave and submit to "X" consequences where others would fly right on by.
I don't know, I'm just throwing out thoughts.