Mental cruelty

I do not understand waging psychological warfare on another human being…unless perhaps it is during an actual war.  In which case, I’m still adamantly against it, but it makes sense in a life or death situation.  I will never understand  random pathological liars merely for the sake of mentally torturing someone.

I think of the movie Sybil and how that mother just got her kicks by knocking down her daughter literally and figuratively over and over.  It makes no sense and that is the cruelest abuse of all.  Typically, I’d look at abusers and be disgusted, but also know that they’ve their own demons they’re fighting and feel some sort of compassion, even if only a little.    Randomly waging mental abuse on another person for no reason except for the sheer pleasure of it, is just senselessly cruel and disgustingly sick.

How do you even fight back against that?  I do not believe in fighting back.  I believe in turning the other cheek…but what happens when both cheeks are raw and bloody and the slapping continues?  You can’t call the police for help because it’s all figurative…the only wounds are mental and emotional.   There is no “crime”.  No laws have been broken except moral laws against humanity.  There is no protection from this except to escape.  And what do you do when there is no escape?  When the abuse has so damaged your spirit and your thinking that the fight or flight response has left your resources and you can only hover in the corner waiting the next attack and praying that this isn’t the one that kills you…or hoping it does just to finally be free of it.

Is revenge ever righteous?  I fully realize it’s often warranted, yes…..but is it ever appropriate?  I’ve always believed that living well was the best (and only appropriate) revenge, but I’m learning that in some cases, the abuse itself prohibits any chance to live well. What then?

There are some seriously ill people in this world.

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I am Dave’s naive boiled frog

Frogs-R-Me

Frogs-R-Me

Years ago, before children, before college, before Dave, I was in therapy for a physically abusive relationship.  I can remember the insane feeling the “cycle of abuse” created in me.  The conflicting feelings of loyalty and compassion and what felt like “love” (at that time) versus intelligence, self respect, and happiness.  I vividly recall feeling disgusted with myself and embarrassed  that someone “like me” could be in such a relationship.  The very same kind of relationship I had scoffed at.  This didn’t happen to intelligent people.  No one with any self respect would ever get “caught up” in such a ridiculously futile concept and experience of “love”.  Anyone with any sense would know that this was not love and would leave such a relationship regardless of the effort or consequence of doing so.

This kind of thing only happened to other people.  So when I opened my eyes one day to find myself bruised and cut and making excuses, imagine my surprise!  I went to therapy because I felt crazy…  and was certain I was crazy.  As I cried and asked how someone like me could get caught in this web, the therapist told me this story and it stuck in my mind forever.  She said:

Do you know about frogs?  No, I don’t really know very much about frogs.  Well if want to cook a frog,  you boil a pot of water and drop the frog in it.  The very minute the frog hits the boiling water, he jumps out.  So, if you really want to cook this frog, you have to put it into temperature-comfortable water and then  turn on the heat.  This way, the water comes to a boil slowly and the frog just hangs out adjusting to the rising temperature.  By the time he realizes the water is too hot he’s already being cooked and can’t/hasn’t jumped out.   Ahhhh….  That makes sense.  This is how abusive people work.  They increase the heat slowly so that the victim is smack in the middle of being boiled before he/she has even realized it and then jumping out is extremely difficult because the cooking has begun.  The natural mind-set of the frog has already begun being altered.  He no longer thinks clearly or even fully understands the situation he’s in.

Ahhhhhh….I get it.  It really could happen to anyone because abusive people are rarely so stupid as to just start the worst of the physical and psychological horror right of the bat.  They start in small ways until you get used to that and then slowly increase it until you’re being cooked and do not know how to just jump out of the pot anymore.

How did I get here again?   At least, I was young and naive the first time around.  Just having escaped from a lifetime of childhood abuse.  One, I was desperate for love and affection.  Two, I really knew nothing else, so the natural progression would be that I would enter into abusive relationships.

Ummm….okay, so now what?  Now what the hell isw my excuse?  I’ve been to therapy.  I’ve been beaten, manipulated, guilted and taken advantage of.  I’ve been to the magic show and even gone backstage to learn how it works.  How on earth do I find myself captivated and stuck again in the midst of nothing but smoke and mirrors from which I awake to consciousness bruised and beaten.  Maybe not physically, but that makes my scars and chronic painno less.  Although no one can see the abuse anymore, I feel the effects of it on my heart and my self esteem every day.  Every day, without exception.  I do not need people to see it in order to validate its existence.  I feel it myself.  And I’ve been out of that childhood home for long enough and undergone enough therapy that I know my feelings are real without needing someone to acknowledge that I’m feeling  them to make them real and valid.  How in the hell did I get back to this place?!  Making excuses for his behavior and making excuses for my acceptance of his behavior.  HOW IN THE HELL?!

And how did it get HERE?  How on EARTH did this relationship, my God-THIS one, the only purely healthy thing I have EVER known (!) become THIS…the VERY same abusive bullshit I’ve been dealing with since my earliest memory???!!!!???

I want so much to think that it was this from the start but I was unable to see it, but I KNOW it wasn’t!  HELL, that’s WHY I’m stuck in it NOW.  If it had shown signs of ever being ANYTHING like what it has become, I would have run like hell from the start.  I HAVE learned THAT much in 30-some years of tolerating abuse and trying to survive among manipulative abusers.  Wow!  I am good.  I have learned how to turn even the gift of a healthy relationship into straight-up, no messing around, blatant and literal ABUSE.  I am the ultimate masochist. 

Is there any hope for someone like me to allow something healthy?  Even if I’m not fooling myself and it did start out healthy,  then what does that mean for me?  That I can even force THAT to turn into abuse? What’s the best case scenario for me then?  The alternative is that it wasn’t healthy; that after everything I am still that naive little girl refusing to see the flashing red lights warning me that abuse is coming/happening, only I’m not that little girl and I have knowledge and experience of the “boiling pot” method.

Oh my GOD!  Dave Kennedy is as bad or WORSE than any abuser I’ve ever known.  Good Lord, even the worst of my physical abuse came with a honeymoon period afterward/before.  Now, I don’t even have that to keep me involved.  I don’t get that period of sweetness and butt-kissing to keep me allowing this.  I only have my memories of a healthy, happy love from SO LONG AGO….which I am DESPERATELY, PATHETICALLY grasping with ALL my strength, while simultaneously having the life sucked out of me, but refusing to let go. 

WHAT IN THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH ME??!!?!?!  DAVE KENNEDY IS AN MANIPULATIVE, ALCOHOLIC ABUSER AND NOTHING MORE.  Whatever he was three years ago, this is who he is now.  Watever made him into this (IF he wasn’t ALWAYS this) does not matter.  He IS this NOW.  He is a loser who abuses and uses women and doesn’t even have the conscience to feel bad enough to try to be kind afterward.  He just gets crueller and crueller every time I allow him to abuse me.  His abuse grows more when I feed his ego and ALLOW it, while making flimsy excuses about the wonderful man he was THREE YEARS ago…Good God, IF he even ever WAS that..maybe that was manipulation to…maybe that was just an extremely successful “turning on of the heat”?

WHAT IN THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH ME??!!?!?! 

Indignation

I have the divorce and I’m grateful for that.  I want an annullment.  I’ve wanted this for several years now since shortly after the divorce.  I can’t understand why my ex-husband refuses to cooperate!  We are legally divorced, so why would he be unwilling to give me the information the church requires for an annullment?  This is confounding and frustrating! 

And why on earth would his girlfriend (the one he cheated on me with during our marriage) also not want to cooperate with an annullment?  Because she is so jealous, I’ve even skipped requesting the information from him, in an attempt to honor her insecurities and their relationship.  I’ve given her the control…going to her to request the information so my attempts could not be misconstrued as an attempt to connect with him.  I would think she would be delighted for the church to disregard one of her boyfriend’s previous marriages?  If we were granted an annullment, she would no longer be guilty of the sin of adultery.  Seems it would benefit everyone involved and do no harm whatsoever to a single soul.  

Please, someone explain to me why these people won’t cooperate with this?  It is such a simple and mutually beneficial endeavor that I must be completely missing a critical element that stands as a huge deterrent for them.  This makes no sense at all to me! 

Why should this be so difficult?  If they are going to prevent me from obtaining an annullment of a senseless, horrible marriage…  if they are so madly in love as they want people to believe…  if they are going to spend the rest of their lives together……….  WHY?????

If they are going to choose to stand in my way with this, I desperately wish I could at least understand why…

The set-up

She had become almost timid over the past few years of ordeals with not-so-very-nice people.  At times wondering who had taped the “KICK ME!” sign to her back and how in the hell to remove it!  It all had actually gotten so ridiculous, it would make for funny stuff in a movie, although her character would have to be portrayed as that ditzy, silly blonde girl that grates on your nerves after awhile.  She could never play it as that perpetual victim, she abhorred even the though of anyone seeing her as such, so the dumb blonde was all that would fit in with the story events. 

One of her neighbors was a lady who lived across the street and had two daughters the same ages as her own.  Her name was Connie and their children played well together.  She’d only chatted with this her twice briefly when their children were making plans together.  She seemed a nice enough person.

So on Friday she had been invited by this lady to go to the summer gathering in the park her town held every Friday during the season.  She was surprised at the invitation, as she was becoming rather suspicious of people (particularly females) who would be suddenly kind and/or friendly to her.  She declined the invitation with appreciation at the invite.    Connie was downright insistent.  This seemed odd, as she hardly knew the lady.  Between Connie’s insistence and her own daughters’ pleadings, she eventually gave in.  She thought she was being too jaded and suspicious.  Here was a neighbor who was being friendly and inviting her to spend time getting to know each other better and all she could do was be afraid of the kindness.  She realized how this could be why she maintained such suspicions of people.  Somewhere along the line, she had stopped giving people chances to demonstrate that they were just being kind and friendly.  She should be grateful to be invited and take this opportunity to get to know this lady better, not hide in her house, afraid.  She let her guard down and accepted.

So they went.  Connie’s cousin was coming as well.  It seemed a nice little group and the kids were so excited she was coming that she let herself relax a little in the car chatting with her neighbor.   The park was busy with all sorts of people, as it typically was.  This was a popular summer event.  The children scattered off as soon as they arrived.  This left the three adults together.   The ladies each ordered a beer and went to stand in the grass where many people stood around chatting with old friends they probably always ran in to at these events.

About 5 minutes into this, Connie says to her cousin, “So, do you think I should mention what we have in common?”  The cousin, obviously knowing instantly of what Connie is referring, agrees with a fast up-and-down nod.  What in the world?  What could this be about?  She just stood there in their little circle smiling and waiting to find out.  Connie says, “The strangest thing happened awhile back….”

“Oh really?  What’s that?”, her stomach feeling nervous as she asked…

Well, one night I got a text message in the middle of the night from some guy.  I looked at the message and just ignored it because it was so late.  Then, when I got up in the morning, I saw that guy’s truck parked at your house!  So, do you know Dave (last name here)?

Her knees instantly felt as though they would give out from underneath her and she fought back the urge to vomit.  “Yes, I do know him.  W were engaged awhile back.  Actually, he was just at my house last night.  You must have seen his truck there just this morning?”

“No. I didn’t see it.  This was awhile back.” 

“Well, Dave and I go back years.  I love him and he comes over rather frequently, actually whenever he wants.  This is just what we do.  We’ve always done this since we separated a few years ago.”

“Good.  Dave needs that.  He had a pretty bad childhood and needs somene to care for him like that.”

WHAT?  No, he didn’t have a “bad childhood”.  What are you talking aout?  Did he tell you that?

Confusion and nausea combined forces to set thet world off in a fast spin.  The ground felt unsteady as she desperately tried to stay calm and relaxed during this awkward conversation.  All she knew to do for protection at this point was to keep smiling, smiling, smiling….  do not let on that the world is spinning and she couldn’t catch her breath….

She explains that Dave didn’t have a “bad childhood”, that he had wonderful parents who loved him very much.  His mother had passed away tragically when he was in high school and that was horrible, but there hadn’t been any abuse.  She explained that she couldn’t believe Dave would portray his childhood like that, considering his father was his very best friend and Dave was quite open about that fact to anone who knew him at all.

Connie says maybe she misunderstood him and then explains how a year ago they went to a movie together and had “hooked up four times”.  She explained how Dave had volunteered to drive her home from the bar one evening a year earlier when she had been very drunk.  She acted as though she knew his entire life story, even Tracy (a girl he had dated for a few weeks after the two broke up two years ago), even disliked Connie because she had gone out with Dave.

She says, “That’s odd.  Tracy and Dave didn’t date very long and it was quite awhile back.  Dave made her walk home one night because I was on a date, he saw me, and he got really jealous; they stopped dating right after that.  It was never any big love affair, as Dave and I kept seeing each other the entire time.”

What in the f— was this all about?  It was clear the sole purpose of inviting her had been because Connie had seen Dave’s truck at her house that very morning and had probably seen him when he returned mid-day(while she was at work) to look for his watch he had left there.  Why would this lady bring her here to ask her this? Why?   Could this not have been better addressed in the privacy of her living room?  It was obvious Connie wanted information about Dave and his relationship with her, yet she simultaneously tried to act as though she knew his whole life story…

This was freaking bizarre!  She had to get out of there NOW….  The world was a shaky, tilt-a-whirl ride and she had to get off RIGHT NOW. She had no one to call to pick her up and she could not let her children know of any of this.  It would break their hearts to know.  She walked away from the two ladies and phoned her dad, quickly explaining the awkward situation and the fact that she was desperately afraid she was going to break down and cry right there in front of the whole town if she didn’t get out of there fast.  Her dad agreed to come immediately.

Connie acted so surprised, “Why are you leaving? You don’t need to leave.”

“Thank you Connie, but I feel incredibly uncomfortable with this whole situation.  I’m rather confused and caught off guard right now.  I really must go.  It seems strange to hang out with a bar hook-up of the man I love, who has been at my house at least five times in the past week and whom I woke up with just this morning.  I’m not mad at you, but I just feel very uncomfortable with this.  I’ll definitely be asking Dave about all of this.  It’ve vey awkward.  If you’re dating him, I apologize.  You can have him.  He doesn’t need to be coming to my house anyway.  I just care about him and have never stopped him because of that.  I’m not trying to interfere in his dating life.”

“I don’t want him”, Connie says.

Yeah, right.  Why all of this then?  She didn’t buy that line for a second, but her head was just so damned confused, she couldn’t trust anything and it took every bit of focus and strength she had not to break down and cry right there.

“I’m going to talk to Dave about this, Connie.  It’s all very upsetting and confusing for me.”

“No, please don’t.  Let’s team up together against him.”

WHAT THE FUCK???????????  Her?  Team up with this chick against Dave?  What on earth was this lady’s deal?

“Connie, I’m sorry.  I will not do that. I care deeply about Dave and he is where my loyalty lies.  It will always lie first with him.  I’ll have to discuss this entire conversation with him.”

She walked off to meet her dad driving by the corner of the park to pick her up.   She went home and just sat there staring at the wall, trying to clear her mass confusion and waiting for the tilt-a-whirl to stop.  Dagnabit!  She didn’t understand what on earth had just happened and was too overwhelmed to sort through it.  She hated that she was so easily confused by people like this.  She never knew how to respond to this type of thing because she couldn’t take it all in.  It was too much.

It wasn’t until late Saturday that the whole thing started clearing and reason started piecing things together.  Wow!!  How manipulative it had all been!  That wasn’t a very nice thing to do. 

And to think, she had forced herself to go, actually thinking this lady was trying to befriend her…

Hateful girls need prayers too

I’ve experienced a great deal of unexplicable meanness and hatred from various people I’ve let into my life.  Too many to count actually.  Below is a list of the major experiences; only the one’s that greatly impacted me or my life and/or for rather long periods of time.  Although it is far from comprehensive as to their senseless hateful acts, I’ve written briefly what being friends with them was like…

  1. Marni A.: The new girl in 4th grade.  She gave me grape Bubble Yum Lip gloss for Christmas one year.  I just knew we would be best friends forever!  When we moved to middle school the following year, she wrote me poems about how I was her 2nd best friend (her best friend went to her previous school).  Marni was smart and pretty.  She had the nicest parents.  In the 5th grade at middle school, she became friends  with Heather C., a girl I didn’t know at all because I had no classes with her.  Marni and Heather C. campaigned a secret committee to hate me.  Marni would call me after school and say terrible things about Heather, trying to get me to agree (I couldn’t say anything bad about Heather – I just didn’t know her at all).   She would tell me all the terrible things Heather had said and done to her, just to get me to say, “That’s terrible!  Why on earth would she invite you to her house to be so mean to you?”  The next day at school, Heather C (who I only knew by her face and had never spoken to in m life) would be “mad” at me.  Heather was really tall for a 5th grader and when she was mad at me(my entire 5th grade year), I was scared of her.  She was always telling people she was going to “kick my ass”.  I didn’t understand this.  Marni would be my best friend and write mean notes to me about Heather and then Heather would take them to the principal, claiming she had found these hateful notes in which I had written bad things about her.  The notes always included swear words and I did not swear.  Marni was really good at imitating handwriting.  It was almost a gift.  She could forge a note from her mother that was always accepted by the teachers at school. I never got in actual trouble for these forged notes about Heather, but for a period of time I was in the principal’s office regularly discussing these notes Heather would claim I had written.  I guess maybe Marni wasn’t as good at forging my writing?  Marni had a new best friend every year of junior high and each year, although I was her 2nd best friend, she would collaborate with this new friend against me for the duration of the year, meanwhile still being my friend when no one was around to see.  Usually these new friends of hers were girls I did not know and I spent a great deal of time perplexed as to why Marni’s new friend each year was consumed with hatred toward me.  Although the little things like the phone calls trying to get me to say bad things about her friends I did not know, I could usually sense the other person was on the line.  It wasn’t until around the end of the 8th grade when I started putting it all together.  When I think back to this, I’m amazed at my innocence and my devotion to this hatefully mean little girl.  And I always wanted the other girls to like me so I never did speak badly about these girls I didn’t know.  No matter what Marni would try to say they said about me (gosh, they didn’t even know me!) or the terrible things she’d claim they did to her (but why was she still their friend if these things were tue?).  I would always forgive her and take her back when she got into a fight with her “other best friend” and it was usually only a few days before she would find another one and start a new campaign against me or make up with the last one and begin again.  This stopped around 9th grade when I was Marni’s “1st best friend” and from there she just started liking whatever boy I liked and did a similar ritual with them behind my back instead.  I remained “friends” with Marni A. until the day I moved frojm this school and even after for awhile.  She eventually married the boy whom I had a crush on for the last two years I went to that school.  She  always called me while they were dating, trying to get information about him and telling me how badly he treated her.  The few times I visited her, she would get consumed with jealousy if that boy and I were in the same room together.  We grew apart after that. I have no idea what she’s doing in her life now. 
  2. Heather C.: Terrorized me directly and daily during my entire 5th grade year of school and randomly through the 11th grade.  She never stopped hating me for reasons totally unknown to me.  (See above.)  To this day, I have never shared an actual direct conversation with this person, nor do I know anything about her except that she was really tall, very mean, and was friends for a time with my best friend, Marni A. 
  3. Shannon W.: Marni A.’s best friend in the 6th grade.  Very similar story as the  one with Heather.  The difference is Shannon and I became friend in the 7th grade, after Marni was done with her.  Shannon was that girl who was mad every other day at someone and would try to get people to gang up against whoever she was mad at that day.  Unlike Marni, Shannon didn’t outright lie though and her “campaigns” were brief and always remained about whatever imagined slight she had experieced with the “target” girl of the day.
  4. Alana S. (and crew): A group of girls I was friends with briefly in the 6th grade.  Well, I thought we were friends until one day they gave me a letter with a .99 cent sticker on it, saying “This is what you are worth” with all of their signatures at that bottom …and I realized they probably didn’t like me after all.  I’ve never figured out what this was about.
  5. Kathy B.: A girl in my high school who was two years older than I and had a really bad repuation for nbeing a mean, mean bully.  Never had a conversation with her, but in the 10th grade, her best friend, Debbie, liked a boy who liked me.  After a basketball game one night at school she randomly came up behind me and smacked my head, knocking me down.  I never told anyone and I never figured out why she hated me so much, other than maybe that deal with the boy her friend liked…
  6. Heidi B.:  My only friend at my new school when I moved during my senior year.  We were totally inseparable for a few months.  Until a boy she liked (and she pretty much liked every boy in and out of school) liked me instead of her.  So she started putting anonymous signs on my locker saying I had various STD’s.  I was so new at this school and wasn’t even sexually active at the time, so I could not for the life of me figure out who was doing this or why.  I would spend hours after school crying to Heidi trying to figure this mystery out.  Toward the end of the year, someone finally caught her taping one of these on my locker during class and told me.
  7. Julie I.: A girl I became friends with in my late 20’s, thinking all the childish bs was over and real friendship with other females could be created.  I was recently divorced at the time and Julie slept with every guy I went on a date with.  There were only 3 and only one that I actually ended up caring about.  She also scammed $1,500 from me in the form of a cell phone I loaned her that she talked on constantly and eventually decided she wasn’t going to pay for.  I had to pay the bill so that my phone wouldn’t get shut off.  She married the man I liked.  They were married for 6 months.  After they divorced, she started coming after me, threatening regularly to “kick my ass” whenever we crossed paths.
  8. Brandie Z.: A beautiful girl on the otside with no morals and a burning hatred for anyone who is happy.  We became friends shortly after Julie and I.  I had to sit on the phone for hours (yes, literally hours!) each day, listening to her complain about every thing and  every person in her world.  This poor girl was just immately miserable.  And although most people consider her very beautiful, she’s consumed with jealousy toward everyone.  She prefers dating married men because they “don’t complicate her life and can’t usually stalk her due to their marital situation”.  She thoroughly enjoys the game of getting someone she doesn’t actually want to leave their wife and children.  Somehow this seems to reassure to her how beautiful and wanted she really is….  ruining others’ relationships.  Brandie doesn’t allow her friends to have other friends.  She’ll leave them in a pinch (or put them in one) in a heartbeat, if there’s a man anywhere in the midst that she wants to have sex with or steal from his current S.O.  She was friends with my Dave (oddly enough still is).  She loves to tell people (now and then) how pathetic he is because he wants her so bad and tries to get her to be with him all the time, when she’d just”not interested in him in that way.”  Interestingly enough, she claims it’s a headache to be her because every single one of her friends’ husbands or boyfriend’s “really  want” to be with her,  and not her friend whom they’re in a relationship with.  Brandie was consumed with jealousy when Dave and I fell in love and became very happy together and committed to each other.  Not jealous because she wanted Dave, but furious that we were “annoyingly happy” together.  She laid guilt trips on me daily for spending any time at all with him.  She would threaten suicide, saying she had no friends to spend time with anymore because I was always “off being happy with Dave”.  She was so demanding of my time and emotions that there was often little left over for anything else and after I started dating Dave there were NO times when I didn’t feel guilty for not “being there for her” (every second of every day, for hours on end).  After years of spreading my time and energy way thin to “be there” for this girl, eventually, she put me in an extremely  precarious situation, then begged me not to tell Dave what she’d done.  Then she told Dave a totally different story, claiming she just “couldn’t hide the truth” from him.  Because  I had lied to him for her, Dave lost his trust in me and decided Brandie was his “true friend”.  Although Brandie tried to play both sides of this and keep us both as her friends, I no longer trusted Brandie and ended my friendship with her.  I wished her well, but explained that I didn’t understand why she had done that to Dave and me and that I could never trust her again.  Not only is she still ‘best friends” with Dave to this day, but I’m certain she’s had sex with him behind her new boyfriends’ back, in order to further encourage Dave’s absolute loyalty (and devotion) to her and to better prove how “madly in love” with her Dave really is. (Still not exactly sure what inside this girl feels so terribly threatened to not think that every male she comes across is just dying to be with her?)  Dave seems to really believe Brandie is a true friend to him and still believes her story, unable to believe that she helped ruin his happy relationship and that she tells rather insulting stories about what a schmuck he is for “desperately wanting her” for all these years, in spite  of the fact that she does not want him and tells everyone that he’s a schmuck. 
    Now (even in our 30’s!), she does the whole “I’m going to kick your ass” thing to me whenever I see her in public, still hating me for my brief time of happiness and (maybe?) for ending our friendship.  Apparently moving on is not an option for a girl like Brandie.  She is still miserably unhappy and hatefully bad-mouths all of the people in her life to most anyone who will listen. It is mentally and emotionally exhausting to be around this girl and experiencing happiness is not an option,unless you can hide it really well from her.  Because if she even thinks she smells happiness on you, brace yourself for the inevitable crash and burn… and a few back-stabs for good measure!
  9. Angie W.:  Pees on your head then smiles sweetly at you and tells you it’s raining.