Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Silent Crime

I love the snow!!! 
My nice neighbor (across the street...not next door) has a snow blower and surprised me today by taking care of my little driveway and sidewalk so I didn't have to do that.  Then Maggie and I went out to clean 5" of snow off my car.  Not sure why cause I'm not planning on going anywhere and it'll be around 40* tomorrow and will melt anyway.  :) Then we did her favorite thing and played Frisbee.  So much fun to watch her romp in the snow.  A short walk...then I was cold and done.

Stupid Computers:
I had to go to the sheriff's office yesterday to be fingerprinted and get a background check.  I found out I was wanted in 3 states.  Just kidding. 

The State of Ohio is requiring me to keep up-to-date on this so I can continue to take care of the clients I have.  They don't want to pay me if I've turned into a wanted felon since the last time they checked.  When I got home I had a call from the deputy that performed the fingerprinting.  Their computer system didn't work right, prints didn't go through to Columbus and could I please come back and do it again.  Don't know why they can't use the other prints I've given them over the years.  I haven't changed them.  Even carrying hot dishes when I was a waitress hasn't burned them why do it again?  Oh, well, at least its taken care of for the next 3 years.

I watched the Presidential wanna-be's the other night on the latest debate.  Have to say, I was impressed with the way Newt Gingrich handled the opening.  Felt kind of bad for the host but have to say he had it coming.  I want to hear about issues...not personal life.  Not right now. 

Serious Subject:
I mentioned in other posts that I have a serious issue I'd like to talk about and I really do welcome feedback on this.  It's a silent crime that affects so many people it should be illegal.  But it's not.  Women and children are most affected by this but the elderly and yes, even men, can fall into this category.

I say "silent crime" because it's usually never spoken of when it's happening to you.  And it's never reported on a police report because it's not illegal so the police aren't going to do anything about it.  There is usually only one person that can stop this act and that's the victim.
This "silent crime" is verbal abuse.  Sound mild...not too bad?  Maybe not, unless you're on the receiving end of it. 

Someone can steal your car or your electronics or your spouse or maybe even your personal identity.  But they can be retrieved.  What someone steals from you with verbal abuse is your self-esteem and that's far worse.  To have your confidence stolen, your pride and the person you really are, is a crime.  I know of a number of women and children who have been victims of verbal abuse.
I have been a victim of verbal abuse.
It's like being an abused wife.  Without the bruises.  At least not the kind that someone can see.  But there are bruises nonetheless.

And it's just as hard to walk away from too.  Children are trapped unless they have one parent that can get them out of it.  The elderly being cared for by verbally abusive children are trapped.  You begin to look at yourself and he/she right?  Am I really stupid?  Am I really unable to do anything right?  Am I really all the things he/she says I am?  Once the doubt sets in, the self-esteem begins to seep out. 
But it's not always like this, you say.  We have a lot of good times together.  A lot of laughs.  And he/she always apologizes afterward.  What does that sound like?  It sounds like all the stories you hear about the abused wife who was beaten by her husband.  And it's excuses.  Excuses for someone else's horrible behavior.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.   Hmmm.......why did we learn that as children?  Words do hurt.  Maybe not the painful, instant hurt that fists do.  But a longer, more intense hurt that you feel to your very soul.  The pain and bruises of a fist will fade away in a few days or a week.  The pain of words will linger on for a very long time.

Recently I was cleaning out some shelves under my printer and I came across a few notebooks/journals I had written in when I was in my abusive relationship.  I sat back and read them over and wondered what the hell was wrong with me that I would let someone else do this to me.  Was I really so insecure then that I thought this was better than being alone?  I cried for the woman in those journals and the life she was missing.  After reading and reminding myself of what was so easily taken away from me...I threw them all away.  I didn't want my 4 children to find them someday when I'm gone and know the extent of what their mother had gone through.  We are really close, but this was something I could never share with them.  I was ashamed.  I didn't do anything wrong and yet I felt too ashamed to admit to my children what was going on in my life.

I was divorced after 19 years of marriage and was now in a relationship with "the love of my life"....a man that made my heart flutter at the sight of him.  I was in my 50's and it had been awhile since I'd felt that flutter and that fullness of love.  And then eventually things changed and he gradually took control of my life. 

"But I loved him"...famous last words.  We really did have a lot of good times together.  Then I would do or say something that he didn't like (I sliced the tomatoes too thick or put too many onions in the fried potatoes, or God forbid, I put the window down on the car until the air conditioner turned cool) and suddenly, out of nowhere, I was a stupid bitch.  I won't admit to all the other names he called me during his rants but trust me when I say it was bad. 

Then a couple days of walking on eggs and it would be over and things would be good again.  I lived with this off and on for 7 years until one day, after an explosive outburst on his part, I cried on my daughter's shoulder.  And that was the beginning of the end.  With Michelle's support and insistence, I was able to move out a week later and it was the beginning of my new life.

Now, approximately 8 years later, I live on my own and am so proud of my life.  I have self-esteem, pride, confidence...all the things I should never have let slip away because of a man that felt the need to control me.  I can eat what I want, when I want.  I can come and go as I please.  If I lock my keys in my car, so what.  There's no one to tell me I'm stupid.  I can cry at movies without fear of being humiliated.  If I want to read my book for an hour...guess what...I can!  And I can slice my damn tomatos any thickness I want!  I'm smart and capable and how dare anyone try to tell me differently.
One thing I do believe.  It was my fault.  It was my fault that I let him do this to me.
If you're in this kind of relationship and just aren't strong enough to move on, please reach out to someone to help give you the strength.  I promise you, it will get better and so will you

Quotes of the day:
“... you don't have to wait for someone to treat you bad repeatedly. All it takes is once, and if they get away with it that once, if they know they can treat you like that, then it sets the pattern for the future.”
― Jane Green, Bookends

“The language we use to communicate with one another is like a knife. In the hands of a careful and skilled surgeon, a knife can work to do great good. But in the hands of a careless or ignorant person, a knife can cause great harm.” - Unknown


Tari said...

Sticks and stones may break your bones...but words will hurt forever :o( I too know how it feels. My therapist says that my biggest issue is judging myself. Felling as tho I am not good enough. Always seeing fault in me and everything I do. It all goes back to the words...words being drilled in from a very young age and randomly reinforced through out the years. You are right tho...It does get better :o)

Karen said...

You never forget though. I still hear his voice in my head everytime I do something stupid. Its just a matter of my 'believeng in myself' being stonger than his words. And you can feel "good enough" again. Hold on to tightly to that.

Karen Lynne said...

I have commented twice and it will not publish or I will find that I have three comments. What am I doing wrong.

Karen Lynne said...

What a message! Proud of you for sharing! Hope abuse victims find your blog and find strength to believe they too are important and worthy individuals.

Karen said...

Thank you. Writng it took me back, had to wipe away a few tears, but it's all good now.