Since we are on a angry roll...but we have recently learned that anger can me our friend...let's roll with it...
Do Not minimize abuse. Do Not call it something else. Do Not deny it or its damages.
In recent times women, children...or anyone who has been abused is being likened to having post traumatic stress disorder...after all. next to actual acts of war, abuse is one of the most stressful things a human can live through.
What you are living through is unique to you; but also universal in many ways.
Abuse can be being hit, being beaten, being threatened, being raped, being manipulated with emotional or other types of blackmail, fearing for your life or the lives of your children...and a whole host of things barely covered here...the point is...if you feel you are being abused, there is a strong possibility that you are. And since we know it is not ok...blogs like this were created to help you find the resolve to get out and get help.
Since denial is still so freaking prevalent in my family...many family members will be just finding out about the abusive situations I have been through as they are reading this blog...or my novel about it scheduled to be published soon...
So let's catch the denial bunch up...the denial bunch not only includes the ones who knew and did very little at those times...but it also covers the ones who still deny it today...here's the recap...in case anyone reading feels that I have no idea what real abuse is...and am just a drama queen in search of attention...(you know who you are and you are very sad...)
I have been slapped, slapped to the point of having my eardrum busted, raped (including, but not limited to, sex while asleep), choked, pushed out of a moving car, called every name in the book, thrown up against walls, punched, threatened, forced to watch threatening behaviors, spit at, had things thrown at me, had threatening messages left on my answering machine, held up at gun point, handed a loaded gun and asked to kill someone else, tripped, kicked, and someone abused both of my kids (to the point of crushing the skull of my 7 month old son)...just to name a few things...these things started in 1984...and were not completely eradicated until 2001ish.
There is no slicing any of that into my being a drama queen...women who are abused are not drama queens...they are suffers of abuse...they are suffers of post traumatic stress syndrome...probably suffering a great deal from depression...and may have had issues even before the abuse started.
When a person has been damaged...and repeatedly...and they ask for help...and hep is delayed...not forthcoming...or not offered at all...they will become even more and more damaged...in my case their self-image and confidence are shattered...their judgment takes a significant blow...they begin the downward spiral that is relevant to any other form of co-dependency or addiction...an otherwise bright and capable person can become a shell of once they once were. And the more it is kept in the dark...by the person suffering... by well-meaning family members...the more hideous it all has the chance to become.
In many of these cases the person being abused has a chance to going into therapy...only to find out that they had issues before...and only to find out the reason abuse had become so prevalent was just how much dysfunction had been ignored in their families of origin. Many abused women who are not able to get help...or who just haven't hit their own personal "rock bottom" may even start to self-medicate their pain from abuse in the form of drug and alcohol abuse as well. I was never a fan of street drugs, and I cannot drink more than 2 drinks without being drunk; so I found other ways to self-medicate. I ate. I shopped. I tried to befriend and help people who were even more messed up than I was. But deep down I was hurting from abuse and not able to get away from the destructive patterns and habits. As is the case with a lot of abused women I became just as bent and broken as the men abusing me.
I can only liken it to falling into a bunch of briers and getting cut and injured and being unable to get up out of it. And so to passers by...the people who do not stop and help...well all they hear is a lot of yelling and pain coming out of your mouth. And as they continue to pass by, not helping, you start to yell at them as well because they did not help. In the mean time the injuries are becoming deeper and more severe...pain is causing nausea...blood is pooling...infection is settling in...and in the name of "personal responsibility" you are being faulted and yelled at yourself. The words "emotional nightmare" hardly scratch the surface.
The most important to remember when it all gets ugly...and it will get ugly for almost everyone who is ever abused...is that the only way to stop the pain, get help for the infection, and heal the wounds is to get the hell up out of those briers. If you have family to help...great! Friends to help...great! But do not wait for anyone one else to help you in order to try to get yourself out. It will be painful. It will make you cry and scream. You will be damaged. You will need help from people outside of your circle. You will have to "do the work". You will feel like giving up...but do not give up!
Authority figures, strangers, women's shelters, church members, friends, and a few sparsely placed family members (who actually bothered to take our calls) are the ones who helped us...the other people in our lives felt we were unworthy....to help...to listen to...to redirect...to whatever...
I became someone I am immensely proud of...someone I would have coffee with, you know...
But I could not have become that had I not extricated myself from the briers of abuse...had I not faced the pain...the humiliation...the loneliness...the fear...the lowliness...the frustration...the anger...and all of the other things that had infected my wounds.
I started college from a women's shelter...a very good shelter...I was scared....alone...one of my kids was in therapy...I was in therapy...and my son was permanently disabled...it was not fun...it was hard...I cried myself to sleep on a pretty regular basis...but I got up every morning...knowing I was sane...could become healthy...and could love and provide a better life for my little ones.
Years later I would graduate from college...a PAC-10 university...yeah!!! I was so happy...and exhausted...and overwhelmed...but I did it! My degree will most likely afford me things I could not attain without it...but do you know the best thing it did? I do not care if my degree collects dust from here on out...it afforded me being able to set a great example for those little children of mine...and that alone was almost worth everything...
So I have to say...I AM HERE...YOU ARE NOT ALONE...YOU CAN RISE ABOVE YOUR SITUATION...DO NOT STAY IN AN ABUSIVE SITUATION...GET EMOTIONAL HELP....PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR KIDS...AND HOLD ON TO WHO YOU MIGHT BE SOME DAY!!!
My dreams may not be your dreams...but your dreams are attainable...your wounds can be healed.