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Damaged Goods

This is something that has come to my attention lately too. Worth a read and remember not to be too hard on ourselves, we are still healing. x

Battered Wife Seeking Better Life

Recently, I’ve been noticing a few personality traits that I now realize are related to my being in an abusive relationship for so long.  None of them are new but I am just now seeing how so much of me is netted into this lifestyle.  A little over a year ago, I had written a blog post called Survival Mode after reading another blog post (That Wasn’t Me…This Is Me), which triggered an understanding/clarity of how “we” -the abused- get sucked in so deep to a point where we are almost physically and mentally incapable of getting out.

People who have never experienced Domestic Violence or abuse in any form, are typically the ones spewing all the oh so popular catchphrases, such as…Why didn’t she just leave?  What those people don’t understand is that it’s so much more than a woman saying, I love him, and then all of a sudden – CURSE…

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Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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I have a condition called Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

‘Complex’ being the operative word.

Since *very* recently having an episode I thought I’d share, in a nutshell, how it works for me.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is usually the result of a huge life changing, traumatic event.

Complex PTSD is the result of long term low level stress, interspersed with high levels over a long period of time, such as the stress and anxiety that is caused by abuse.

For me, CPTSD is like an emotional game of Jenga.

Half of my triggers come from what other people would consider innocent, innocuous events. Though I have a handle on it for the most part, when the game of Jenga begins, it’s hard to undo it.

Each event lays a block to build the tower. A little Stress here, a little anxiety there.

As each block adds up, the stresses, though small in themselves, all add up to a bigger one. Unless I spend time undoing each block as it arises, they stay. The small knot of anxiety in my stomach gets bigger and bigger. I brush it off. Life has to go on, right? I rationalise, it’s not that big a deal. The other half of my triggers are entirely sub conscious, hyper vigilance makes it easy for anxiety to seep in and bypass all my defence mechanisms. I’m often not even aware of why I feel anxious, I just know that I do.

So the blocks, they build. The more anxious I am, the less I can think straight. It’s as if my brain breaks. I can only explain it as a thick fog that descends in my mind and clouds everything. My thought processes become erratic, I can’t concentrate.

Inevitably, something eventually unbalances the tower. Usually something that feeds into the self loathing that accompanies being so anxious and failing to do anything about it.

JENGA! That’s when the tower falls. By now, I’m fairly useless. Defensive, terrified and so deeply sad that all I want to do is sleep it all away. By then the repair process is going to take time. Mostly time with me finding the strength to pick myself up and begin again.

I’m not the nicest of people when I’m like this. Which doesn’t help either because I feel useless enough as it is. Add guilt and shame to that and it’s like a living hell.

I want to run away. Escape. But really I can’t, because I can’t escape myself.

It lives within me. I am working on it. I’m ill and I have to accept that. I have to accept that I hurt the ones I love when I am ill too. That’s very painful to accept.

But I’ll keep going and I’ll keep trying to get better. Sometimes I know I can get better. Other times I feel I am destined to always be like this.

This is my experience of CPTSD in a nutshell.

Thanks for reading. x

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He Wants To Clear His Name. 

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This is the story of a man who wants to clear his name.

A man who wants to prove to world he isn’t what his ex wife says he is.

You see, he lost him temper. A lot. Not with everyone. Mostly with the woman he claimed to love.

He shouted at her, he called her cruel names, he kept tabs on her, made sure she was ‘behaving’, he screamed in her face, threatened to get physical with her, told her she was ‘useless’, ‘stupid’, ‘a disgusting creature’, a ‘bitch’, a ‘nobber’, ‘a fucking useless waste of breath’.

He did this because, he said, she was ‘inadequate’, ‘difficult’, ‘stubborn’. He did it, he said, because ‘someone had to put her straight’, and because ‘she needed to know what was wrong with her’.

He justified his reasons, over and over again. And when she cried, when she broke, and she asked him to stop, he promised he would every time. Only he didn’t.

Eventually he didn’t even promise to stop. Eventually even the apologies stopped. It was, he said, all HER fault.

She took him to Relate Marriage Counselling, in a last ditch attempt to help him understand how much he was hurting her. The counsellor said, in the first ten minutes of the first session,

“What you have just described to me is a form of domestic abuse.”

Domestic Abuse. Verbal Abuse. Emotional Abuse.

He was abusing her.

Still, he didn’t stop. He still shouted, screamed and said horrible, horrible things to the woman he claimed he loved. He said the counsellor was “talking shit.”. He said that the woman that he claimed to love “wouldn’t know abuse if it jumped up and bit her on the arse.”. He said his sister went to Relate and said they were all “Crap.”, so nothing that was said counted for anything.

He abused her because she ‘deserved it’.

So, battered and bruised on the inside, the woman finally plucked up the courage, after years and years of being told she was too useless to do anything on her own, and she told him to leave.

He wants to clear his name. He cannot accept that he was abusive, he doesn’t want anyone to think he was, or could have been. He is enraged that she told others what he did to her. He says, “Anyone living with you would find out what I had to put up with.”. He says it is all her fault. She’s a “useless, stupid, selfish cow”, and it’s ALL her fault.

He wants to clear his name.

With his family, his friends, his children. So what does he do next?

Does he walk away with dignity? Does he say, “I’m sorry this didn’t work out. I’m sorry for my part to play in that.”. Does he respect that this is her decision? A decision that she, as an adult, can make, for whatever reasons she feels are valid, whether he agrees or not? Does he focus on the divorce NOT affecting their children too badly? Does he stop drinking excessively?

No.

He wants to clear his name.

So he wages war.

War against the woman he claimed he loved. The woman he claimed to have respected. He wages full on war.

He shouts, he gossips, spreads lies, shouts some more, he uses the children as weapons, he shouts “You’re a bad mother, I’m calling social services!” in front of their children. He keeps coming into the house where the woman and the children live, barging in saying “This is MY house.”, even though he can see the fear in his children’s eyes, the fear in his soon to be ex wife’s face.

He wants to clear his name.

He watches who she sees, who she talks to. He stalks her online activity. Even though they are separated she is his constantly on his mind. He gets drunk and behaves appallingly, frighteningly, threateningly. He destroys the marital bed because he’s convinced himself she is sleeping with other men in there. He rifles through her bedroom, through her personal and private belongings, looking for ‘evidence’ of her ‘seeing other men’, they are separated… and it is none of his business… but he doesn’t care. This is war.

He wants to clear his name.

He says, suddenly, she’s a bad mother. She was a good mother before, but now she has left him, she is a bad mother, selfish and thoughtless, neglecting HIS children. He encourages the children to play her up. To pry for him too. He rewards them for bad behaviour and for reporting things back to him. When she tries to discipline the children he runs to the kids’ rescue, and says that their mother is mad and crazy and, he will take care of them and protect them from ‘her’. He doesn’t support her, even when she is right. He wants them to live with him. They’re ‘his’ children and his ex is mental for leaving him. That’ll hurt her, he thinks, with no real regard for what the children need.

He wants to clear his name.

He fights over the money, using the children here too, by encouraging them to live with him so he’ll not have to ‘reward’ his ex with any of ‘his’ money. He fights and fights for more and more. He doesn’t pay any maintenance, he doesn’t want to have to give ‘her’ any money to help ‘her’ out. He says the kids probably won’t even see it, she’ll probably spend it ‘shagging around’. Even though this was never her nature for the previous 16 years.

He wants to clear his name.

He won’t pick the kids up, he doesn’t want to ‘babysit’ for her while she ‘goes out with men’. Later, he will pick the kids up, but only after shouting at her for 15 minutes. She finds a new home because she cannot live anymore with his constant intrusions, and she is fortunate enough, through this hell, to find a new loving and supportive partner. Now he can’t pick the kids up because he feels ‘uncomfortable’ at her house, he says she’s ‘shacked up’ with her new partner, so he keeps dropping the kids at the end of the long drive. She says the kids are too young to be left like that, and asks him to please drop them at the house. He says “no way”. So she puts her foot down this time and says that he needs to compromise with her, that he can’t keep behaving like this, she says, “When you’re ready to talk sensibly about the kids you can see them.”

He takes her to court.

He wants to clear his name.

The court says he should pick the kids up and drop them off properly. The courts don’t want to listen to the huge folder of ‘evidence’ he has brought along that ‘proves’ how terrible a person she is. They want him to move on and behave like a sensible parent, “Let it all go now, the past is gone.” the judge says. In court he says he has, he will, he sounds all very sensible and convincing. But he hasn’t. He can’t.

He wants to clear his name.

The story continues, in a never ending loop. Everything she does is, in his opinion, up for his scrutiny, to be judged, shouted about, gossiped about and condemned. On and on and on and she feels as though it will never end. She just wants him to go away. But,

He wants to clear his name.

He wants to prove to the world that his abuse was justified, that SHE is the problem, that HE is just fine.

But he’s not. If he was, he’d stop. But he can’t stop because he can’t live with the truth.

The truth is that HE ABUSED HER and in his constant and unrelenting attempt to clear his name, he proves and illustrates this time and time again.

He can never be free from what he has done. Not because she won’t move on and live her life. But because he won’t let her.

This is my story, and for the first time in a long time, I am owning it. I am that woman and I have lived and I am still living this hell.

I said at the beginning of our break up, and I still say the same,

I just wanted him to stop.

Do I hold much hope of him stopping? No, I don’t. If this last year is anything to go by, he isn’t stopping anytime soon – even though he a new girlfriend (I wish her the best of luck), even though there is nothing to fight for any more, even though the damage to the children needs repairing now, not perpetuating.

So i just keep breathing and living and being as happy as possible. I roll with the punches (for want of a better phrase).

I write here to, because it helps and, hopefully, it will help others going through similar too.

Love and light.

Abuse happens in all kinds of relationships, though abusers are often men and victims are often women, we know very well that this is not always the case.

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We are looking for your stories of abuse to feature. Many small voices make one LOUD voice.

Domestic abuse damages in whatever form and here at Many Small Voices we hope to gather the stories of those who have survived abuse into one resource to help and support those who are still victims. We also hope to support survivors through recovery once the abuse has stopped because the scars are still there and will remain forever. Support after abuse is just as important.

We are not experts, just people who are passionate that domestic abuse, in whatever form it takes, must be stopped.

If you think you or someone you know needs help please take a look in our links page to find a list of organisations that strive to help support victims of abuse.

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Pin the Tail on the Victim

Great post.

Lessons From the End of a Marriage

It’s rare that a news story makes me angry. But this one managed to get under my skin and infuriate me.

A teacher in California has been fired after her abusive and threatening ex husband showed up at her school, violating his restraining order. The school was forced to go into lockdown until the ex was apprehended by police.

After the incident, the private school put her on leave (and removed her children from the school) and refused to issue her a contract for the next school year. They cite their fears of the potential threat that the ex has to the students and faculty of the school once he is released from jail.

Deep breath.

I get the fear. It is extremely frightening to have an unstable person show up at the school, threatening students and faculty. I know. I’ve been there.

I’ve been there with the biological father…

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