Tag Archive | abuse

Am I Here?

She sat in the car. Feeling numb and sluggish. Thoughts floating in and out of her mind. How did it come to this? How had her life ended up here? She was a young girl once, with dreams and ideals. She had goals for her life. Ending up a useless, sick middle-aged nobody wasn’t one of them.

Growing up was hard. Her parents weren’t ready for such a monumental job as parenting. They were young and immature, but it’s not their fault her life went nowhere. Yes, there was the almost constant physical and emotional abuse in the house thru the years, but she had good coping skills. She was a people pleaser, always trying to do the right thing, be the “good girl”, the “good student” the “good” everything. She didn’t always succeed, but more often than not, she did.

She wanted to be a lawyer. She wanted to do family law, so she could help children from abusive homes, help women break away from controlling husbands. But as senior year came, the reality of needing either alot of money or huge scholarships, slapped her square in the face, and life happened instead.

She got married, to a controlling and abusive husband. Had three beautiful little boys, who she loved with all her heart. Not having a career, or a loving relationship, left her alot of time and energy to place all her love on those boys. They were her life. They are who she lived for.

She stood between them and her abusive husband when he wanted to instill harsh discipline. She made sure things stayed “just so” around the home to keep the peace. She made excuses for the boys when their rooms weren’t tidy or their grades weren’t stellar. She made sure to always scrape together enough money to give the boys wonderful birthdays and Christmases! Seeing them open their gifts or blow out birthday candles with the glow of pure innocent happiness…made all the bad things in life worth going thru.

The years passed, the boys grew. The older they got, the less they needed her. She still stayed the “buffer” between the kids and the rest of the cruel world. Sacrificed all she could to make sure they were happy. The oldest, Christopher, was the first to move out, at 21 he was in a serious relationship and moved in with his girlfriend. He was such a good kid growing up, much like his mother, he was a pleaser. She worried most about this one though, as he was just a tad on the “sensitive” side. He felt things deeply and and felt as though he was not the perfect person he thought everyone expected him to be. Much as she herself felt.

Her middle son left a year later, off to California to live with friends. This about ripped her heart out. The thought of not having her child within a car rides distance was almost too much to bear. But with texts, emails and Skype, she was learning to deal with this “bad” situation, much as she had to learn to deal with so many “bad” situations in her life.

At 18, her youngest Kyle was the last one at home with her. Her baby. He had become the closest to her emotionally of her children. Probably a bit more sheltered and fussed over, being the baby of the family. He seemed to really have the most empathy. He tried to look after his mom. He was the one who noticed when she started to lose weight and stay in bed somedays. He was worried about her, but he was leaving for the Army soon, his dad thought the Army would “toughen” him up. Kyle wasn’t interested in being tough, but felt he hadn’t many options but to join up.

Why get out of bed? She thought one morning around 10am…what’s the point? Would anyone even notice if she didn’t? Other than the dishes in the sink, that might be the one clue to anyone that she wasn’t around that day. What’s she going to do now? She has raised her children and now they are gone. They no longer needed her. Her husband only needed her to bring him his beer and keep his house clean.

The days dragged on and on…the only bright spots being the calls and visits from her sons. They weren’t very frequent though…they were busy with their own lives now. It hurts to feel you put all your love into these little lives, only to grow older and more alone with very little love in return. She felt fatigued more than anything really. Her whole body ached somedays, so she did the chores that couldn’t be ignored and that was it.

At Kyles insistence a year later, she saw her physician for the fatigue and weightloss. They drew blood and performed some other tests and she went back to her daily existence. A week later, she received a phone call. The doctor told her the news right on the phone,..the news wasn’t good, nope, not good at all.

Pancreatic cancer. Which equals “Death Sentence.” She was in a fog the first week after the diagnosis. Just stumbing thru her days, mostly in bed…even her uncaring husband didn’t ask anything of her. She didn’t want to tell the boys right away. She didn’t want to have to draw up the energy to console THEM.

She didn’t have much time left at all. Less than three months. How would she get everything ready in such a short time? Especially when the last month would be a mostly bedridden one? She went about making her own funeral arrangements and after a week, finally called her sons. But none of the three could seem to agree on a good day for them to come for a visit, they were all so busy, with work, relationships, vacations…she told them this was important. She needed them to come.

When they finally arrived, each grumbling about what a kink this visit was putting into their current schedules. She had worked all day on a big dinner. Glazed ham, garlic mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, white corn, homemade biscuits and gravy. By the time the table was set, she was in so much physical pain she could barely carry the meal to the table. With tears in her eyes, she began serving.

Noone noticed that she didn’t eat, just pushed food around on her plate. The men all carried on a boisterous conversation about current affairs, politics mostly…the one topic she couldn’t stand to talk about or even listen to.  They laughed with their father, joked with him, agreed with most of his views. Have they forgotten how this man behaved toward them growing up? Don’t they recall his tirades? Do they even remember their mom having to stick up for them or keep them from being harshly punished? Do they remember her staying up with them all night when they were ill? Or staying up to help with a last minute science project? Do they recall her holding them, rocking them or consoling them during each of their youthful “crisis” of the moment?

Do they see her as a person? As a woman? As a little girl who sat in the woods, dreaming of the day she would be in a court of law, sending some abusive man off to jail for the atrocities he had his family endure? No. No, they see her as mom. Nobody amazing or special. Just someone who was there whenever they wanted her to be, but who disappeared when they didn’t need her.

She was disposable. She was invisible. She, who had always tried to so carefully “control” her little piece of life…was nobody. But, she wasn’t going to let cancer control how she would die. This she really could control.

Of course the boys all cried and expressed their grief over the fact that she was indeed going to die. She patted their backs, and hugged them and dried their tears. She assured them that she was in no pain and that although she would be leaving them, she would always be in their hearts, and would be forever watching over them from Heaven. After a week of this, they all had to get back to their lives…and she got back to her “non” life.

But now, here in the car, with soft ocean sounds coming from her cd player, the engine quietly idling, she was once again dreaming. With her eyes closed she was once again that little girl, sitting on a stump in the woods…the sun shining down thru the leaves. The trickle of the nearby creek being the music then. She dreamed of the life she thought she’d have. She was important. She was “good”. She was needed.

To that she drifted off to sleep, in a heavily medicated fog, mixed with the carbon monoxide from being in the car…in the garage…for most of the day, without ever having been missed, by anybody.

 

I WAS Here

Being forgotten is worse then not being noticed.

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We teach people how to treat us…

It’s a well known phrase, “We teach others how to treat us.” So very true. If you allow others to treat you like you don’t matter, then of course they wll. We have to try to make sure we convey to people that we are worthy of respect. That we are valuable people. The very first time someone, whether a boyfriend, friend, girlfriend or family member treats you like you are “less than”, and you let it slide…well then it becomes easier and easier for them to do it and not feel bad about it.

I think sometimes we get “used” to being treated like we are not important. Maybe it starts with something as simple as not being thanked for something you did for someone, you let it go, and then the next time you do something nice for that person, they don’t feel a need to thank you…maybe they begin to expect it. Or maybe its allowing someone to call you stupid or dumb or ugly…even in jest, well it again becomes easier for them to do it in the future.

This is especially prevalent with young women. They tend to have self esteem issues sometimes, even when raised to try to prevent that, as women I think it is just a part of growing up in todays society. We start dating and are so happy to have a boyfriend, who at first treats us like we are the only girl on the planet…then slowly they begin to let little things slide…they don’t compliment us as often, they don’t take us out as often or buy us little things anymore. Date night becomes laying around the house in sweats watching tv. Sometimes it is even worse, we allow them to literally become verbally or even physically abusive.

This doesn’t happen to “uneducated” women. It can happen to very intelligent women. It happened to me. I have been in a very abusive relationship IN THE PAST, where he started out like Prince Charming and ended up like a very frightening monster. The evil look would appear in his eyes and I would literally be afraid for my life. But then he would apologize and act “nice” for awhile…then it would happen again and again and again.

Why would I allow someone to treat me that way? Why would I put up with it? I wasn’t ugly or stupid or needy…but I let it happen. Now I would never allow it. I’m stronger and have learned how to NOT be treated like some shabby old shoe. We become used to what we are used to.

I hope and pray that I have taught my kids and others how to expect to be treated well by others and to treat others well. I look around and see the way humans sometime treat other humans, and it really astonishes me. Don’t we all have feelings? Don’t we feel others pain? Or even just treating someone like they don’t exist..would we like that?

When we love people, we treat them like they are loved. No one is perfect and we all have bad days where we are bitchy or snarky…but when it becomes the norm to treat someone badly, then there is a problem, and one would hope the person being treated badly would note it and do something about it…but sometimes its such a slow process we don’t even realize it’s happening.

I just hope that everyone, young women, men, old women and men…make sure we do not allow others to treat us like we either don’t matter to them or that its okay to hurt us, in any way.

Let’s all just treat each other with some respect…what a concept.

Trapped

She is trapped in this life

In her role as mom and wife

Violence for the last forty years

Hazy due to too many beers

Uneducated, irrational and afraid

She had no options, so she stayed

In a house so full of abuse

At the hands of her husband and son, there is no excuse

Beaten down emotionally

She cries constantly

With no means to live on her own

She’s trapped and feels so alone

She drinks to numb the pain

Not caring if they look at her with disdain

If her high blood pressure don’t kill her, the stress will

She thinks death may be easier as she swallows the pill

Filled with anger and frustration all her life

With an aura of rage you can cut with a knife

Now in her sixties, what’s she to do?

She thought life would be different, this much is true

So she smokes and she drinks and she waits to die

Because she IS trapped, and that’s no lie

Her daughter has offered to take her in

But she refuses to burden, even her kin

The yelling and screaming and fists flying

It’s the no end in sight that keeps her crying

Her energy is slowly sapped

She drinks alone…feeling trapped

The Little Girl…part 5

Here she was.  In teen jail.  With girls who were BAD.  For real bad…like run away from home, sell drugs, kick your ass bad! The gurards made them strip and shower…with no privacy.  Led them down some very plain and scary halls, the color of barf.  They were led to the “dayroom” it was equally ugly and scary.  Threadbare carpet, puke colored walls, dingy and ripped couches, an old tv and a pool table in the middle of the room.  There were groups of girls just staring at them. ” This is it,” she thought to herself,  “This is where I’m gonna die.”  There were girls in there who had run away from home in New York…she wondered why anyone would run away to Indiana?  These girls were not looking to make new friends.  Thankfully she only had to spend a couple hours in the dayroom with these “hardened criminals.”  It was time for bed.  Atleast she had her own room.  Cement walls.  Toilet anchored to the wall.  A stone cot with the thinnest mattress in existence.  She didn’t sleep a wink of course.  Her mom came to get her the next morning and the judge gave them probation, then expunged her record later.

Lesson learned…atleast to never steal.  Now partying?  That was a different story.  The girl continued doing well gradewise in school, but she was left alone alot.  She lived in an apartment complex and became friendly with a couple of guys who lived there, and their apartment was THE party place in the area.  Parties every night just about.  Older people than her mostly.  But they treated her cool…she felt like a grown up with them.  Little did she know, they didn’t care how old she was…not at all.

At one of these parties, they kept her supplied with plenty of alcoholic drinks…one after another.  She trusted these guys…they were her friends!  She was like their little sister!  She learned…a little too late…not really.  She passed out.  When she woke up, someone was on top of her…she was being raped.  She tried pushing him off, she cried out…it was dark but she could see who it was…she scratched him and he slapped her and called her names as he got up and told her to get out!  She left, went home and showered.  She didn’t even think about calling the police or even telling anyone.  She knew it was her fault.  Her fault for drinking and partying with them.  She never told.  Soon after she got her first REAL boyfriend.  She was soo in love with Mark!  He was extremely handsome, tall and funny too!  They became inseparable.  They would be together for the next four years.  Those were good years…but they were young, and it just wasn’t meant to last. 

After Mark, she met Jeff.  He was four years older than her.  He was 22, and experienced…and mature, or so she thought.  He told her all kinds of stories, and she bought them.  She was so hungry for affection, she just wanted to be loved.  There were signs he wasn’t going to be good to her.  But she didn’t pay attention to them.  They married.  He was abusive.  It started out as just emotional abuse, but she didn’t think it was that bad.  So, he called her names…big deal…right?  Ok, so he slapped her once or twice…isn’t that how all relationships are?  Next thing she knew she was pregnant.  She was thrilled!  A baby!  Something all her own to love!  And to love her!  She was so excited about this baby!  She quickly started scouring garage sales and stores for baby items!  She was on a budget, but she made sure she would have everything perfect for her baby!  The pregnancy went well, she and baby were healthy…Jeff continued the emotional abuse, left her a couple times, had affairs, but she continued to take him back.  She just thought this was the way it was.  After the baby was born, life went on.  She loved her baby girl so much!  She was perfect! The marriage continued on it’s path of destruction however.  She did leave him once or twice…but always got conned into coming back.  He would beg and plead with her to return.  He would promise to never hit her, never yell at her and to never cheat on her again…but again and again, he did just that.  Then she was pregnant again.

This pregnancy wasn’t as easy as the first.  She couldn’t work through this one.  Jeff continued his ways, but at this point she was only staying for the security of having a home for her babies.  Once her second daughter was born…she knew she had to get out.  She started to see the fear in the kids eyes…they were HER eyes as a child!  She moved back home with her mother, until she could get on her feet.  But would she ever?

to be continued

Try to find a little something each day to make it a holiday!

Hello world!

So…gonna try this blogging thing once again!  I had one a couple of years ago…but didn’t follow through.  I love writing.  Always have.  I feel that writing is therapeutic, getting out all your thoughts…frees up your mind.  This blog will be a journal of sorts for me.  I will talk about my life…they say every person has a story, some more interesting than others.  I of course feel mine is interesting…I have lived through alot, starting of course the day I was born into a very dysfunctional family on Friday October 13th, 1967.

My mom and dad were 19 & 20 when I was born.  Not really ready for children…but they tried.  Unfortunately my dad was a drinker and immature, not ready for the responsibilities of a family.  My childhood was wrought with chaos, alot of screaming, fighting, abuse…one of my first memories was me running down our driveway, in my brand new white pajamas, in the rain going to get help because my dad had my mom bent over the counter with a knife to her throat, I was going for help and fell in the mud.  I got to the neighbors house and he went to my house and told my dad to stop and tried to talk him down, but my dad threatened him and he left.  That was when I decided I had to protect myself because no one else could.

Growing up was filled with alot of that sort of drama.  Being drug out in the middle of the night in my pj’s to drive around to every strip club/bar in town to find my dad.  Fights.  Me and my brother hiding under beds while the adults fought.  Being verbally and physically abused.  I quickly became the “pleaser” of the family.  Do everything you’re told and do it well.  I excelled in school.  I loved the outdoors, the woods, the park, the cemetary…I lost myself in books!  Reading was an escape for me, I could “go to another world” where it was nice and fun and exciting!

My teen years were a bit better, although my parents were both drinking at this point, I had learned to block all that out and to mostly take care of myself.  My grandparents were very good to me growing up, and I got to stay there on weekends alot.  They spoiled me in a sense…I felt so safe there.  My grandmother is my hero.  She just turned 90!  She is and always was a very strong and independant woman.  She raised 4 kids all on her own, while working in a factory.  She herself had a very hard childhood and that is where she got her strength and character, as I did.

I always felt growing up like I wasn’t “good enough”…like every other girl/woman I saw was somehow “better” than me.  Better looking, smarter, nicer, funnier, cleaner, classier, better dressed, just better.  These insecurities led me to some bad relationships, that in retrospect were similar to my parents…controlling and abusive.

However, I did manage to put that behind me.  Got married to a good man.  Had two wonderful children, although they are six years apart due to my having a few miscarriages in between them, which was tortuous to go through at the time.  But my children are and always have been my number one priority in life.  I never wanted them to have to go through the things I did as a child.  I wanted them to feel safe and loved…and they did.  Not that I was a perfect parent, we all make mistakes.  I have forgiven my parents for my childhood, they did the best they could with what they had, they were young, uneducated and struggling financially for alot of years.

I became a nurse, and loved taking care of others…I did that for about 10 years, then stayed home with my children.  I have always considered myself a strong woman, but I never knew how strong I would have to be until a tragic event that occurred on November 3, 2005.

I was having “female troubles” for many years.  Before this time I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Degenerative Disk Disease, but other than that, fairly healthy.  The physician that was treating me for my “female issues” found cysts on my ovary and after some discussion we decided to have them removed.  It was supposed to be a strait forward procedure using a laproscope, which is supposed to be safer with an easier recovery.  Of course every surgery has risks…oh boy do they.

That day in November, I was in pre op on the gurney, with my husband at my side.  The doctor came in, we held hands and said a prayer.  I was wheeled into the operating room.  I remember very little until around April…other than periods of agonizing pain in my abdomen, screaming out in pain, trying to climb out of the bed, tubes being inserted in my nose and down my throat, lots of needle sticks, horrific hallucinations due to the drugs…I mean nightmarish delusions that seemed so real, I was traumatized by these illusions and can still vividly remember them today.  That’s what I remember.  Now what my family and medical records reveal is this:

During the procedure the doctor punctured through my intestine with an instrument called a trocar.  It went thru one side and out the other.  Now a hole of this size should have been recognized, but for some reason, it was not.  The doctor could not do the operation laproscopically as planned and had to open me up to do it…he did, then sewed me up and he left for Disneyland.  I left for the ICU due to peritonitis and ended up on a ventilator and IV’s and Central Lines in my chest.  I was in a drug induced coma.  My family was told to make arrangments for my death.  My insides were basically eaten up with infection.  The next surgeon who went in there said my intestines were like wet tissue paper in her hands.  She could not repair the damage.  Over the next year I endured around 15 abdominal operations, some small, some major.  Some of my bowel was removed.  I had ostomies…that leaked constantly and caused skin damage.  I had a wound vac attached to my abdomen.  I was fed thru a catheter in a vein in my chest.  I spent a year in and out of the hospital…mostly in.  I missed family birthdays, holidays.  My children were11 and 16 at the time.  They were traumatized to say the least.  My husband was so scared and stressed.  He spent every moment he could with me at the hospital, but he still had to work and be at home.  My family would stay with the kids and help keep the house going.  My poor grandmother who was in her 80’s was worried sick and at my home cleaning and cooking and caring for the kids.  It was a horrible time for all of us.  Today I am alive thankfully, but somedays I feel like it may have been better if I had died.  I live in constant pain.  My abdomen hurts constantly due to neuromas, adhesions and a ventral hernia.  I have no muscle wall over my abdomen, my intestines/organs lay right under the skin.  I wear a binder 24/7 except when showering.  Coughing, sneezing, laughing and blowing my nose cause major pain.  I can’t eat alot of foods, no raw vegetables, no brocolli, no beans, no red meat, no nuts…nothing that can cause gas or that is hard to digest.  I must go to a pain doctor every month and must take strong narcotic pain killers to help dull the pain that I am in.  I spend alot of time in bed on days that I just hurt too much to do anything, even with meds.

There was a time when I thought dieing would be easier.  But I now feel that God spared me for a reason.  I am not entirely sure what that reason is yet.  Possibly to help others in some way.  Whatever the reason, I know this…I have survived alot of adversity in my life.  Sometimes I ask “why me?.”  I have pity parties somedays…but mostly I just plug along in life like everyone else.  I put on a brave face everyday..atleast to the outside world, my immediate family knows my pain.  Unfortunately they are affected by my disabilities as well.  They see me doubled over crying like a baby.  They feel helpless because there is nothing they or anyone can do.  But to everyone else, I look “normal” I don’t show my pain to everyone.  I don’t want pity. I don’t want any attention drawn to me.  Therefore I walk strait and tall…even when my abdomen screams in pain.  I focus on what needs to be done and I do it.  I am living life. 

One thing I can say I have learned from this is:  Just because someone looks healthy…doesn’t mean that they are.  So next time you see someone parked in the handicapped spot get out and walk jovially into the store, don’t assume they are fakers.  They may be hiding their pain/disability due to pride.  When that waitress seems a bit short in her responses, maybe she has a chronic pain condition or illness.  I just want to make the most out of my life that I can.  I want to do what it is I am here to do.  I read inspirational and self help books voraciously! 

I am back in the healthcare environment and loving it…I am hoping it will be a permanent career for me!  On top of the above mentioned ailments, I also have a bloodclotting disorder and must take blood thinners for that, and recently have developed tendinitis in my elbow and a torn ligament in my knee…lol, so……lets just say my medical bills are phenomenol!!!  We will never be out of debt!  We had to sell our home last year and now live in a rental.  The medical bills just keep coming!  While the money only trickles in…ahhh, such is life.

Anyway, so that is my first blog!  Don’t worry…they won’t all be this “me, me, me”…I am capable of writing about stuff other than me and my health problems…I think…?  No really.  I love humor and intend on showing that off a bit here…although it tends to lean toward the sarcastic side at times.

This was just an “insight” into what has made me…ME.  Background if you will.  It felt good to type this all out.  I know it’s long!  I promise they won’t all be novels.  Like my friend TJ says, blogging is cheaper than therapy!  And God knows, I can’t afford therapy!