For years I have shared advice to help you find your voice and use it. I have encouraged you to share your stories of abuse, so that others can learn from your experiences and all of us can begin to heal. That’s been me for the last few years.
The one that refused to ever remain silent.
Well, I have to confess that I have remained silent about one abuser, until lately. I need to talk about this now because she doesn’t ever seem to want to take a break. From ruining life events to suffering my newly formed friendships, she finds a reason to attack me every single day. I should be used to it by now, right? Especially when the victim isn’t supposed to say anything about it, because it’s just too embarrassing. It’s shameful to admit it. To point the finger and say, “Do you know what she does to me?” Let me tell you, a human being can never get used to being mentally and verbally battered, unless they get a lobotomy, or they die.
Instead of cutting off all contact with her I have continued to lift her up to my friends. Reassured them to keep seeing her even though they thought I might be hurt more by their connection. I have planned around the ruins of birthdays that she took a piss on and holidays she convinced family to eject me from. I would laugh at the insults she shared with others and play off the times she told people how much she hated me. I even faced the Internet smear campaigns waged in her honor while being called horrible names by someone I thought loved me.
I wasn’t blind. The trail of popcorn left behind always led back to her, even though she had a lot of help. For a long time I tried blaming others for her dysfunction, but I always knew who the kingpin was. The patterns and cycles of abuse are like a road map. I know she was physically and mentally abused, so she abuses now. Being self aware will save me from following in her footsteps, but I’m only human and it’s just a matter of time, and holding it all in and tamping it down, before this abuse will start to leak from the fissures in my soul onto every one around me.
Not being able to talk about it, or write about it, meant I began turning that abuse inward on myself. I started eating and stuffing my feelings down my throat with fried chicken and candy. Eventually the abuse started showing up on my hips more than it ever had before. I kept my fingernails chewed to the quick and bloody. I would cry at the drop of a hat and on a few occasions I have thrown things, just to hear them shatter and break, kind of like my heart was doing.
Why didn’t I run?
I could continue a relationship with her like nothing was happening, because she would always show back up with a peace offering and told me how much she missed me and how much she loved me. For a long time I still believed her, but I don’t anymore.
I used to think she didn’t know how to behave. I tried to teach her by the example of my unconditional love, and she would bask in that comfort, until the next cycle of abuse would start for her and she was off to the races again, leaving me trampled and bloodied in her wake. I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I love you. Isn’t there a Greek folk song with those same lyrics? The cycle was so predictable that now I can see it coming before it builds that toxic head of steam. I try to prepare myself, but sometimes it can still catch me off guard. Some vicious and malevolent morsel she saves for the punchline trips me and I fall flat on my face once again.
I have often wondered why the word “love” is such an easy one for her to say to me. Nothing she does anymore feels like love to me. I stay because of love. The love I have isn’t for her though. The love that makes me stay is the love I have developed for myself and for my resilience and strength. I stay because I am learning how to include this in my life and still keep it at arm’s length. I know what love feels like and I know I have the strongest support system in place to catch me every single time I slip. Perhaps I’m stronger than even I’m aware because with each cycle of her abuse, I seem to become tougher. The recovery is swift and I can move on quicker. I still firmly refuse to compromise what I believe though, in order to deal with it. I’ll still be the same person, just invincible, once I start telling my own truths.
I just needed an outlet to get it out of my head. So like any good writer, I sit at the keyboard and I bleed.
One of my friends asked me why I cared so much about it. She asked me why I was more angry with the person repeating the abuser’s lies than I was with my abuser. Why didn’t I say something to her to make her stop doing it?
Don’t you think I’ve tried that?
It doesn’t work.
But where in the book of common decency did it become “okay” to repeat mean gossip?
If you’re wondering why I just don’t walk away from her, it’s because she’s family. Walking away from family is a special kind of No Contact, even though she’s convinced most of the family I thought I had, to walk away from me if they wanted to keep her. I have to figure that she needs them more than I do and that’s just the way it’s going to be. I can’t miss something I never really had.
Allow me to put it into a different perspective for you.
Have you ever seen a woman stoned to death by the men in her village because she might have done something a little different than their custom? It doesn’t even have to be a big deal to anyone else, but once it’s decided she’s wrong and needs to be punished, she’s put in a hole the men dig and she’s made to take the sting of the rocks hitting her all over her body. Once the first rock is thrown, it’s only a matter of seconds before the next rock comes flying through the air. They strike her chest, her legs, her head and her face. The cuts open, blood runs mixing with her own perspiration from fear and bruises are blackening all over her skin. They keep throwing and throwing until the woman eventually falls to her knees and collapses from the pain and the bleeding and the suffering. And still they keep throwing the rocks.
“Stoning, or lapidation, is a method of capital punishment whereby a group throws stones at a person until they die. No individual among the group can be identified as the one who kills the person.”
You see, she knows she’s going to die.
Can you see the correlation between repeating malicious gossip and stoning?
No one will know who is metaphorically trying to kill you, because it’s just one person in the group…throwing stones.
But why would you even care so much about that? It’s just one little old rock. Right?
It can’t hurt that much. Right?
How about I chunk a few dozen rocks your way? Let’s see how you like it.
I am already smart enough to know that this person is never going to change. I’m pretty sure she’s just not capable of it anymore. But if you’re not intelligent enough to know not to participate in the drama of meddling blather from a person that has that much time on their hands, then I have no hope for you either. When you just can’t help yourself except to repeat it to others that also know nothing about the situation, that’s makes you just as culpable as she is. Maybe you and your “friends” enjoy hearing about someone else and their misery? Well if that’s the case, then don’t expect me to keep quiet and not call you out for it.
You’re an asshole, by the way.
This is my life and I am the one in control over who is in it, and who is not. Do not ever forget that.
If you are being abused always remember that you are the one in the driver’s seat of your own life. Don’t wait around and don’t play by another person’s rules. Get out of the situation. Find a way to work around the toxic drama. And kick anyone to the curb that tries to shame you.
Besides doncha know?
People that live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Until next time this is Madeline Laughs and I think I’m going to have a sweet iced tea and visit with my best girlfriends today. ❤