I’ve just written on a younger cousin’s Facebook wall to say that I’m here if she needs me because, clearly, I’d missed something important that was going on due to my own angst. I told her that I’ve adopted a new motto: Strength above all! However, a second part of that motto has taken shape. The whole thing is: “Strength above all! Family above all else!”
I believe in that motto wholeheartedly. That is not to say that I won’t or shouldn’t have bad days, they are inevitable. What it does say is that I will push forward and through those bad days to get to the other side. I may take a little time along the way to get angry or upset, but in the end, I will prevail.
I look back on the obstacles I’ve had to face to reach this age and they are many. I can lay here in bed and recite my tale of woe as well as the next person. I can also bet that my tale would trump that of most people. However, wallowing in it, unless answers may come from doing so, is pointless. It is in my nature to examine inconsistencies and information voids from all angles because I need answers before I can let go and move on. Nevertheless, the goal is to move on. It is when I feel trapped with no way out of the pain–physical or emotional or both–that I engage in self-harm or self-destruction.
People will do inhuman, inhumane, unspeakably cruel things to other people. Much of the time, it is simply for the perpetrator’s amusement. At other times, the perp plays with other’s lives in front of an audience so that they can feel better about themselves. They are like the sick, twisted individuals who pour flammable liquid on animals, set them on fire and laugh as the poor creature is cooked alive. I wish there was a criminal penalty for intentional infliction of emotional distress but there isn’t. Retribution can only be had through a civil suit because the act of intentional infliction of emotion distress is an intentional tort (i.e. personal injury). In most jurisdictions, even though this is a recognized harm, it usually cannot stand alone. The assertion must be predicated on another, primary assertion.
What recourse do victims/survivors of heinous emotional battery have? Not many. The most important thing is to recognize that what happened was perpetrated by unimaginably cruel “people” who barely deserve to be considered human. In other words, you, the victim/survivor didn’t do anything to deserve what happened.
The second thing that may bring some small comfort is that, at the end of the day, these sick and twisted individuals feel worse about their own lives than you should about yours. They see kindness as a weakness and trust as a way into your soul to wreak havoc, cause as much damage as possible and then get out. Some will then attempt a coup de gras and lay all the blame and responsibility on you! Their warped sense of themselves colors everything they see and touch, often projecting their own beliefs and reactions on to you. The perps lack a greater understanding of the world. Therefore, empathy is, for them, impossible. Looking for empathy in them is a waste of time that could help nurture the goodness inside yourself.
I have been forced to learn that, while there probably is a reason for the perp’s actions and words, you will likely never know it because they don’t know. The only thing that is known is that being cruel to others makes them feel better. It becomes an addiction that can only be “cured” by having someone stand up for themselves and say “No! You will not poison me with your bile.” Better yet, say that in front of the bullies’ friends. They generally run in packs, btw. By doing so they have witnesses and a cheering section to validate their anti-social behavior. Be that as it may, running in a pack can be used to the survivor’s advantage. Standing up and saying “No!” in front of the perp’s audience will most assuredly cause him/her embarrassment and pain. It will cut more deeply than any knife. Furthermore . . . and this is the really important part . . . you will feel better about yourself. You will realize the strength inside of you. It is a scary proposition to stand up for yourself, especially when others are silent and/or are telling you to be silent as well. You must challenge that paradigm to its fullest and shout your resistance against abuse, the perps AND their enablers. I am strong. YOU are strong. Why? Because we are survivors and this is what we do.
I look at myself now and consider what I’ve accomplished in the last decade. Even after three major operations, one of which nearly killed me because I came thisclose to bleeding out and had to be put in a coma for a day so my body could have the strength to heal, I learned to walk again three times. Indeed, I had to re-learn everything about the way my body moves. Worse yet, I had to do battle for myself when I was least able, but I did it, although Mom vehemently disapproved of my method.
I am scheduled for another major operation to repair or replace the prosthetic knee that was put in in 2010. It was supposed to last 10-15 years, possibly even 20 if I was careful, but there is something very wrong with it, most likely because I fall a lot or the benign, but highly aggressive tumors in that knee have returned. My bet is on the latter.
I’ve also absorbed a lot of losses these last five years due to death. I think there’s only so much someone can lose and not lose their own minds. I came very close to trying suicide again but realized my babies need me.
I’m still working out the kinks in my life, but I think I’m going to be OK. Right now. I need to be kind to myself, refrain from unreasonable expectations for myself and remember that I didn’t make anyone hurt or harm me. I did not provoke another’s words or actions, and believe that I am a good person who I deserving of love and respect. If someone uses and abuses me in any way, they have no business in my life. Period. No matter who that person may be.
I. MEAN. BUSINESS!