Category Archives: emotional abuse

Faithfully

This was originally a post on my Facebook page.

**This is actually the second time I’m writing this post. The first one is lost in the ether somewhere because I tried to add art after writing it. AAARGH!**

Broken-Heart-Music-smallerI have learned to be very, very careful about what I share online. If someone knew what to look for, they’d find that I’ve been a traveller on the net for about 20 years, give or take one. Therefore, if I’m writing this on Facebook, of all places, then I really, really had to write. There is another place I can write, but I do so under a pseudonym that only a few know as me. This time, *I* need to write this post. Me.

I’ve been sitting at my dining room table working like hell to get WickedWomanMag.com up by *mumble*mumble* while listening to iTunes. It’s just me, my really f’ed up wrist, my laptop, the occasional head butt from a puppy to say, “Don’t forget about me!” and my work. I was concentrating like a laser when I had to stop.

There are some songs that we not only hear, but feel in our bones. It doesn’t matter whether it is a sad song or joyous. Whenever we hear it, there is a swell of emotion that we really can’t explain to anyone. For me, one of those songs is Journey’s Faithfully.

The sentiments expressed, the experiences, the longing are all well known to me. I loved two men at the same time when in college. One of them was a “music man”–a roadie for a couple of bands—so he wasn’t around as much as I would have liked. I remember a couple of times when I went to spy on his apartment building which was easy enough since it was across the street from our favorite bar. Now I think my little reconnaissance missions were hilarious, especially when I had my best friend at the time help me with them. Then, all I had was the longing.

As an aside: What I would give to have a photo taken reminiscent of the John and Yoko bed photo! Visually, we were gorgeous together. He had a thick mane of very wavy, deep, bright red hair and pale skin. My skin, obviously much darker, had the right highlights to make, particularly, a black & white photo stunning. I have thought of that shot many times, especially after I ran into a salesmen at a music store that could have easily been his son. He wasn’t.

The red head and I had several little “talks” about the formality of our relationship. Neither of us were monogamous. How could I be with another guy a little over an hour away? The thing about the red head was that I could really be who I was. All those intimate urges were on overdrive, yes, but it was much more. He was a gregarious Irishman and I was just happily me when he was around. Man, did it hurt when he had to go to work, though. I *hated* seeing him drive off. He was my “music man.” Faithfully.

Another aside: I think I felt most alive when I got to watch a basketball arena turn into a concert hall. It is complexly amazing. I remember watching my red head, (although I don’t think he was mine quite yet), running cable and climbing scaffolding to hang lights. When he was finally some version of “mine,” I got quite “excited” every time I saw him working with cables, especially light boards. Remembering the metamorphosis from arena to music hall now really makes me long for that experience once again. I’ll put it on my Bucket List. Before Mom died, I was going back to our alma mater for grad school. I’d planned to ask if I could take over as the advisor to the student organization that handled concerts, among other things. I am a Roach Patrol alum, after all, so I know a little about what needs to happen.

The other man I loved was, and may well end up being, the love of my life. I hope he doesn’t, because I can easily do better. Having a chronic, debilitating condition plays havoc with the love life. Good Lord, I could go with either sex and I’m still by myself! Actually, I don’t really mind it right now. I’m too busy and I have a lot that I have to do because I’m the only one who can. WickedWomanMag.com has got to go live in the very near future. Indeed, me sitting here typing this a second time has totally screwed the pooch with my night, but it had to be done.

It took me a whole year and a little more to finally get the love of my life to take me seriously. I wanted him. Period. Dot com; dot org; dot edu. I may have been a few years younger than most kids in college, but I felt the electricity the very first time we actually met. That S.O.B. played with me like a cat with a mouse, too. It is fairly humorous now, but it was anything but then. Looking back, he was so bad, but in a way that wasn’t evil. That would come later. I still ended up crying my eyes out over him both before and after we got together, but those instances were forgivable. As I said, he wasn’t truly evil or cruel then.

I transferred to a larger university my sophomore year. Going back to visit friends where I first entered college was tricky. I wanted to spend time with them but I also wanted to get time with my love. He was seeing the woman he eventually married along with a few others on campus—or so it was believed. He didn’t always know when I was going to be in town and I didn’t always know that he had time or would make time for me. Actually, while exploring the possibilities, he did make time to see me.

Once we got “together” and he came to visit, I was a floating ball of happy goo from the moment I saw his car pull into the drive until he left. He was my heart. He HAD my heart. But, again, we weren’t exclusive. It wasn’t impossible, but it sure would have been impractical, especially with the girl he was seeing there on campus with him. I hated that, but I also knew I would not thrive in such a small school.

All in all, we were together, if somewhat ambiguously, for 17 years. One of the darkest times was when he asked me to come visit him at home several years after we’d both graduated. When someone brings you across several states to meet his parents, the natural thought is that things are about to get serious—finally! I think that trip was a test that I failed. I think I know why, but it is really immaterial. He told me of his engagement to his college girlfriend, then about to become a doctor, just as I was leaving his home (bastard) to visit a cousin nearby. For better or worse, he told me, “I almost chose you.” I don’t remember what happened next other than more tears than I’d shed in my life until that point. It’s all a blur.

It is hard to say which I remember most, the longing for him when he wasn’t physically or emotionally available or the joy, for the most part, when he was. I’ve written so much about him over the years that a publisher inquired about a book some years ago. I couldn’t write it then. Now I can and will, although I’ll have to change the names to protect the whining, bitching and moaning incredibly guilty. Once I get WWM up and running smoothly, including hiring a managing editor at some point, I can breathe a bit.

I mentioned that he hadn’t turned evil prior to his marriage. He was quiet, had mad skills as a DJ, super smart and probably in or near the genius IQ range, sweet, gentle when needed, but he did have a very evil side that I’d known was there for a long time. I knew nearly from the beginning that he was the kind of young man who could either choose to be a good and decent person or be a cruel, evil and non-consensually sadistic person. At some point during his marriage he chose the latter. I would give a lot to go back and stop him from choosing the wrong side, but I can’t. These days, if there COULD be a sinister motive for someone’s actions, that is his default assumption. I’m sorry, but I believe that’s quite twisted.

What happened to my caring, generally upbeat, beautiful young man? I dearly want to know what made him turn into someone who could be so utterly hateful, cruel and sadistic, particularly to me—someone who’d been totally loyal to him and, with one exception, shown him nothing but love. Hell, even when I was hurt and angry with him I still tried to be decent about things. I wish I could say the same about him. I can’t. He has become a textbook narcissist and it just makes me sad. What he did to me as the narcissist he’s become is very private. I’m struggling with how to write about it in the book because I’ve never experienced cruelty on that level.

This decades old rock ballad called Faithfully has a kind of magic for me. Most of the time, if I truly listen to it, I start crying. I’ve barely held back the tears tonight, but I wanted to get this post done. I know this song. I’ve felt this song. I’ve been this song. Indeed, I’ve been this song twice in my life in two different ways. The fact that I’m sharing this on FACEBOOK is fairly well amazing to me. However, as I stated when I began, I needed to write this and not my alter ego. I did this for me because this is what is in my heart. For reasons that probably won’t become clear to me for a while, I needed to remember. Faithfully.

Whew! I didn’t know all that was in there. Now I need a cigarette. It’s too bad I quit smoking. 😦

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Revenge

I have encountered three narcissists in my life: a cousin who lives to torture me while playing victim; some guy I was seeing who loved to tell me why I wasn’t good enough and watch me hurt until someone clued me in to narcissists and what they do for the sheer joy of it, and; Glenn T. , who will sing some version of “Poor Pitiful Me” if I let him. Oddly enough, the cousin and Glenn both decided to wave their “I’m the only and sole president of the Narcissist Club of America” flags around the same time. The thing is, I didn’t know there was a pathology until the second listed abuser came along and someone recognized the behavior pattern, after which I did my own digging.

Glenn T. has always been his own worst enemy. He listens through the filter of his projections because he fails to grasp that most people aren’t like him. Most people do not operate with an ulterior motive in mind and they certainly don’t operate with the most twisted and perverse ulterior motives in mind. That is the way he thinks. That’s the way he gets his kicks. I guess marrying another narcissist, mean girl, bully and the attendant conjugal “benefits” aren’t doing it for him anymore. Oh well. Not my problem.

My problem is two-fold. The first is that justice should be meted out to Glenn T. and his spouse because, in this case, the fairness demands such. In this instance, since neither perpetrators are going to admit their abusive acts or voluntarily do penance, justice could arguably take the form of revenge.

That brings me to the second fork of this problem.

Although I have no idea exactly who is attributed with the saying, there is the aphorism that living well is the best revenge. It is also said that revenge is a dish best served cold. What does this mean when put together?

Justice, (i.e. revenge), will come when it is least expected and when I have the will, the power and the money to exact a four-star Zagat rating. Until then, I will take care of myself and do those things I want to do with my life. I will have a life well-lived.

A “Wow!” moment

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!

Writing about abuse

There is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while now. It is about my history of being an abuse victim and then an abuse survivor. Wash, rinse, repeat. Without a doubt, the majority of the abuse I’ve experienced is emotional. However, a great deal of the emotional abuse is tied to sexual abuse. I sat up in bed after watching programs on the DVR that needed to be erased and told myself, “I’m going to do it.” I tried and I couldn’t. You see, it isn’t enough that I write about my own experiences. I have to include the statistics and other data because that’s what one does when one is a finder of fact. It’s second nature. However, when I began searching for the stats I used to know by heart, I found that my insides began to throb. I felt as if there were some tumor growing in the center of my rib cage as I read. Finally, I had to accept that, at least for now, I can’t do it. That isn’t to say I won’t be able to do it tomorrow or the next day or next week. I just can’t do it now because I’m too close to last week’s events surrounding Glenn and reading old journals that definitely portrayed him as an abuser. Granted, his method was emotional, but it was definitely abusive. He plans to continue, but I’m not a teenager or a 20-something or even a 30-something. I, very literally, have a spine of titanium. I forget that a lot of times because I’ve been conditioned by experience to believe consciously or unconsciously that the abuse–be it emotional or sexual–was somehow my fault and that I am wrong to fight back. The part about it being wrong to fight back is something I lay squarely at the feet of my mother and her family. For them, perception was/is everything. You didn’t complain. You quietly endured whatever and whoever befell you like a proper lady. I had to learn that I had a right to defend myself. I still have to actively remember to remember that fact when it shouldn’t even be a question.

I need to write so badly that I ache. I want to scream and shout and pound my fist into the wall because I so want to write but I can’t. I can’t because I’ve written so much about this one person and one subject that I’ll lose the little family that’s developed here even though I started this blog for myself and myself only. If people chose to take the ride with me, great. If they decided to by-pass it, oh well. Now, I’ve gotten spoiled. It’s sort of ridiculous, really. If I want an audience per se, I can go on over to my other blog and write something that will get attention and publicize it. I don’t do that here. This is the space I set up where extremely few people know who I am, leaving me free to write whatever the hell I want to write about. Well, right now, I need to write about abuse and I need to write about Glenn and I need to make what’s in my head real by putting it in writing. The only thing I want to know about Glenn is why he’s been so damn hostile ever since I came out to him 20 years ago. The string of homophobic hatred that came across my screen that fateful day was shocking and as deadly as ninja throwing stars. It was so shocking and damaging that I actually forgot about it until I read my journal entries. Asking him is pointless because he’s not talking to me. Even if he were, he’d never actually explain anything. He never has and he never will. It’s as though he believes he’s got some God-given right to do and say whatever he pleases and not explain or talk about it at all. And if you’re outside of his circle, you are fair game to be mistreated in any way that amuses him at the time. He did it to me for two years as I “chased” him, something to which I will readily admit. I was 16 at the time and he was Glenn.

I’m sorry, but I have to say this: that S.O.B. hurt me. I know that was his plan and that my pain gives him pleasure. He is a non-consensual sadist. That, too, was part of his tirade that day a decade ago. He’s like a domestic canine-wolf cross. You never know what behavior you’ll get. Will it be more wolf-like or more domestic canine? He can, and frequently is, quite cruel. He is also quite charming when he chooses to be. As a former mutual friend said, so I’ve read, he’s frequently overwhelmed and confused. This is true. His way of dealing is to run or strike before he feels he’s about to be struck (figuratively, that is) or both. Reading, he’s not someone I want to be with again. He’s got a domestic canine side that I loved dearly. Now, the only thing I experience is the rabid wolf. Mind you, I absolutely love and adore wolves and give most of my meager budget for charitable causes to efforts to save wolves and to the ASPCA. Therefore, in a sense, I’m libeling wolves. *looks west toward Michigan and beyond* Sorry guys!

I am trying to recover as quickly as possible from last week. I need to move on because I wasted an entire week on him that I really didn’t have to waste. To show how hurried I’ve been, I wrote a thousand word post, thought I’d uploaded it, didn’t see it hours later and went to look for it in “Drafts,” then realized I’d erased all of my drafts to create more space on my iPhone. I wanted to scream. I feel a lot of pressure to “get over it” even though I know it’s not that simple. I feel a pressure to just shut up about it already and I can’t. I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just set up another blog where I am the only person who can see what I’ve written.

OK, I think I’m beginning to kind of understand what I’m feeling. Some of my thought pattern is the PTSD rearing its head. I have noticed that I feel as though I’m on the edge of a cliff about to fall off if I take one misstep. I also feel as though no one will like me if I say one more word about HIM. Honestly, I don’t want to write about HIM, but how do I not and still write about the pain I’m in? I can’t have it both ways–at least not here.

In trying to write about my experiences with abuse, I ran across a list of some of the effects of childhood sexual abuse on the site PANdora’s Box.

  • Long term effects of child abuse include fear, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor self esteem, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships.
  • Clinical findings of adult victims of sexual abuse include problems in interpersonal relationships associated with an underlying mistrust. Generally, adult victims of incest have a severely strained relationship with their parents that is marked by feelings of mistrust, fear, ambivalence, hatred, and betrayal. These feelings may extend to all family members.
  • Sexual victimization may profoundly interfere with and alter the development of attitudes toward self, sexuality, and trusting relationships during the critical early years of development.

That’s not the full list, but what’s there describes me. I have tried so hard to overcome the filth of my mother’s second husband since I was in my 20s. I’ve probably made a lot of progress, but right now, I feel as though I’ve failed myself and others. My head knows that I’ve made a great deal of progress and asks who these “others” are. I think the “others” are those who couldn’t get close to me because I was afraid. Those I did allow in were often abusive themselves and subsequently abused me. I have to fight to maintain self-esteem. It took me a lot of time to accept that I deserved better than HIM. Having done so, I’m afraid of slipping back because I have so many questions. I’ve never been good at accepting that there are questions about people for which I’ll never get answers. I’m the kind of person who absolutely must understand things of importance, especially when what I’m trying to understand is an emotion or act be it mine or someone else’s. I know a lot of people who hate the word “closure,” but it is what I truly do need. Otherwise, I am left with holes that are very dangerous because I will inevitably try to fill them with either another person or some idea I’ll settle on that may not be very complimentary to me.

OK, I’ve written nearly 1500 words. It’s time to end this. I’m at the same place I began. I have a knot in my chest and I want to scream.