If there is one thing I learned from the police transcript of a taped phone call between my brother and his final victim, it is how expertly abusers use their intentions to manipulate people:
The first time I read the transcript, I thought the jury could go either way (had my brother not died before the trial). His confession didn’t seem as cut-and-dry as the detective made it out to be on the affidavit for arrest.
But when I showed it to my husband, he said, “He was going down.” To him, it was as airtight as a guilty plea.
I couldn’t see it then, but I was still falling under my brother’s spell:
I was still internalizing his manipulations, still thinking: But he loved me. He’s no monster. He didn’t want to screw up my head.
Two years later, after getting over the initial shock and re-reading the transcript…
My mother-in-law touched down in Salt Lake City like a tornado twelve hours after I called–reluctantly–to inform her that her son is in the hospital with a mysterious illness.
“It could be meningitis,” I told her, though deep down I knew the culture would come back negative.
That morning, when I woke up to an empty pillow on my husband’s side of the bed and a voice mail from an ER in a suburb forty minutes away, I dry heaved before I hit play, envisioning a morgue drawer sliding open and me saying, “Yes, that’s him.” I was certain he had careened off the road or crashed his Honda FIT into an electrical pole.
For two weeks, he had succumbed to mysterious “spells,” crossing his arms over his chest…
PTSD I tend to view PTSD as a military problem. Someone I know applied that to me the other day. Really? Then I realized she was right, I do have it. Does having a label help, no but understanding some of the symptoms seems to. There are valid reasons why some things set my teeth on edge and make me uncomfortable. I know get over it right? Well that doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried very hard and it just doesn’t work. Can anybody out there tell me how to “just get over it?” Didn’t think so. If something happens and you lose a part of your body, you don’t get over it. You learn how to cope the best you can and work around the missing part. No one expects you to just get over it, but they sure do if you have had traumatic events in your life. You hear things like that was so long ago, how can that still be bothering you now? Everyone has stuff, just deal with it and move on. The list of helpful comments goes on. Granted this conversation doesn’t have a place in day-to day conversations, but one would hope when you are sharing the depths of your soul with someone they would understand. Not expect it to change because you know what caused it. It just doesn’t work that way. I hate to have anyone put their arms around me from the back, I stiffen up every time and my heart starts racing. Is this a normal reaction to a loving embrace? No of course not, but it is mine and I can’t fix it. I wish I could. I also don’t do very well when people yell. Sorry I just don’t. If you are yelling at me be assured I am no longer present even if my body is. Written 6/2/2015 Sometimes I want to sit on a post awhile before I publish it.
We just made it through Mothers’ Day and now it will be my mother’s birthday in 2 days. Seems like this time of year is just hard. It was always my favorite time of year. I love spring and the flowers blooming, sunshine and warmer weather. This time of year is the best. Maybe it helps to deal because I have sunshine to balance out the gloomy feelings? Do I send a card or not? I haven’t for almost two years. Do I even want to open that door a crack? What is the worst thing that could happen? She might take it as a sign I want to talk? Do I, no it is too raw to think about talking.
.”Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ ” – Mary Anne Radmacher
This has been one of my favorite quotes for many years. It says much of how I have lived my life. Always trying to do better. Who was I trying to please? This is a place for me to express myself and share some of my journey to becoming whole. A little of who I am. A 60 year old woman, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, new sister and friend. I retired from the USAF and Air National Guard after 26 years. Worked in non-traditional roles and helped open a few doors. This is just my first dip in the pond, I hope by reading what I have written it may help someone else who is struggling with similar issues. But for now this is all.
I found this in my drafts, I thought I had published it. Sigh…
So here it is now as a little bit about me. I was abused both sexually and verbally with the occasional beating for good measure. I don’t share my blog on FaceBook. It is too painful and personnel. I don’t think it belongs there. I am open to sharing with people to help them on their way, but I like to try to keep FB as social and who wants to read this there? Not me anyway. I did share a post about a teen who committed suicide after public shaming, it struck a cord with me. The cut hair is what did it. You see I ran away from my abusive home. Several times. After the first time my beautiful waist length hair was cut off so “I wouldn’t look like every other little tramp on the street.” I was offered a choice at the time, but I recognized it wasn’t really a choice at all, that was what was expected of me. I hated it so much. I was 15 at the time. I really don’t ave any contact with people from that time in my life. I even changed my name. When asked about it (name change) I reply Debbie died. I was 19 when a friend looked me in the eye and asked me what I wanted to be called. Major wake up for me. I was so surpired that someone would ask me what I wanted and mean it.
“I had a nightmare,” my father-in-law says, his voice hoarse and weak after a stem cell transplant for lymphoma. “That Rod climbed through the window of my hospital room and attacked me.”
He and my husband are chatting on Skype, something they never used to do until his father got sick. In any other context, it might look like redemption: a son and father healing a rift. But already, I am suppressing an urge to yank the laptop from my husband’s hands.
Rod was a felon my husband’s parents invited into their home for a faith-based Restorative Justice program. A felon who manipulated my husband into playing the “wee wee game” with him in the bathtub, amongst other things. The “wee wee game” is exactly what it sounds like: genital fondling.
My husband combs his fingers through this curls, a tick he acquired ever since he landed in the hospital…
Indecision it plagues the best of us from time to time. I think it is even worse for those of us who are estranged from all or part of our families. I know it plagues me to no end. You can see it throughout my writing. As I look back through my life it has always been a sticking point for me. First while trying to break the cycle of abuse, to later trying to figure out “Is this normal?” I used to tell a friend of mine she was my normal stick, because mine was broken. Turns out many people’s are and I think that leads us to being indecisive. What if I’m wrong? What if the way I’m looking at things is warped? So many what ifs, but you know what? Everyone has them. It is important to look at things from all sides when you are able to;but, it is also important to not allow it to disable you. I feel I’m starting to wander off point a bit, but so many well meaning people add to our indecision with comments like “But she’s your ____.” or “Its family you have to forgive them.” “They are the only _____ you will ever get.”
Those comments not only hurt us they heap on the indecision if you aren’t careful. This is a very hard journey at times, don’t let other people; no matter how well intentioned they may be add to your struggles. It is ok to be unsure, or to stand fast as your journey takes you. Be kind to yourself and take care.
Being new to this I couldn’t share the above post. Must have hit the wrong button or something, so I posted the link above. This post hit a few spots for me and I wanted to share.
Mother’s Day is now passed and I didn’t contact mine. While I still feel guilty for not, I also feel a sense of relief. I can’t help but compare how I’d feel in her shoes to how I feel. Not that I would have made the choices she has. I think by now in my life, I know that without a doubt. I would have reacted differently. I feel a sense of loss all the same. Maybe that will never heal, but I am hopeful that it will. I hope that the love around me will help with that healing. I know I am deserving of that love and am seeking to convince my heart of the same.
I no longer wish to engage in self destructive behaviours. I am in counseling to help with that. To help the heart learn and believe what the brain knows. For me that has been a lifelong struggle. I asked when do I get to move on without dragging my past along with me. Stuff happens shouldn’t we be able to move on? I want to be free. I will work towards that end.
The next hurdle is my mother’s birthday, it is just one week away. I get to go through all the same stuff again. Why do I feel such a sense of terror at the thought of contact with her? I have tried to answer that question many times. She can not harm me, but she can still push my buttons. Yes, I am working on that. I don’t know what scares me most the thought that she will answer or that she may refuse to even talk to me. While I choose to not have contact it is my choice and I feel in control. If she is in control have I lost control of the situation? Small steps towards reconciliation was brought up and my first reaction was NO! Is that my final answer? Do I really not want to ever see my mother again? I can’t answer that right now. I am still to fragile to consider it. I guess that will be subject to change as I go through this process.
Other people although well meaning are quick to say “but it is Your Mother and you only get one.” You HAVE to have contact, you must forgive, you must respect and so on. While I know they think they know best, they simply do not. I wish that for just one moment they would stop and consider that not all of us have had the same experiences in life. Some mothers are not deserving of love and respect simply because they gave birth to us. Some mothers made really bad choices, then refused to talk about them when confronted. Some lied. Some beat us and let abuse continue even when they knew about it. I still have so much anger to work through right now. The lies and not wanting to even talk about it hurt the worst I think. Starting to sound like a broken record so that’s all for now.
I feel anxious & guilty for even having written this out. Mothers’ Day is the worst! I just sent flowers to my MIL for her birthday and Mothers’ Day. I feel like sending flower to my mom with a card that says “I forgave your husband, how about you forgive mine?” But I know I won’t. It is too scary. Why am I terrified of conflict with her? I don’t think I really want any contact with her, but it is constantly lurking in the back of my mind. Too many times of hearing how I will miss her when she is gone. I already miss her, or the mom she used to be long ago. More later.
Two days ago I had an incident, I won’t go into it here a it is way too painful right now. I don’t even know what the full consequences will be yet. I know I am very anxious and have made the decision to go back into counseling. I have been very happy lately and I think way down deep where we don’t want to look or poke around I feel I don’t deserve to be happy. Why I feel that way I’m unsure I have some theories but I think I will leave it to the professionals to unravel. I will be seeing the same person who cut me loose this winter, but I believe he will refer me on this time. At least I will be asking him to. I can’t get in until May 11th, but they do have walk in if I can’t wait. I’m still unsure at this point if I can or not. I usually want to jump right in and start tearing into problems and get them sorted out as soon as possible so I don’t obsess over them and work myself into a state that is even worse. I can’t help but think this stems from my childhood and the abuse. Which leads me to, when is it over and we are healed? Is that just a pipe dream, or have I just not found the right combination of drugs and counseling? I have done the work and come very far, but it still doesn’t seem to be enough if I still act out. Why would I put everything I have at risk and punish myself in this way? What am I punishing myself for? I know I have a hard time accepting love, there is always that little voice telling me I don’t deserve it. How do we shut that voice up? Just like the voice that tells me I am not pretty. I don’t have the tools to shut it up entirely, I need to work on that. My husband told me I have been in swings of late. I have to believe him he sees things I do not. He tells me I have been behaving in a Narcissistic way lately. That is one of my worst fears. I know many times of late I heard my mother come out of my mouth and that always horrifies me. I think this is enough for today. We will see what the next few weeks brings.