Choosing my own path
Date: 4/19/2011 7:39:01 AM ( 25 mon ) ... viewed 439 times
A "turning point" is something that provides a personal epiphany - an event or episode causes us to rethink and make a decision or choice. It's probably called a "turning point" in reference to a fork in our Life's Path - one way goes off to the left, and the other heads off in the other direction. Nobody can make that choice for us and we are ultimately responsible for which direction we choose. For victims of domestic violence and/or abuse, we are constantly presented with these options and the mere act of making our own decisions can be almost paralyzing. How often is a victim reminded of how useless they are and what a burden they are?
In my case, it was the effects on our children that began to cause me to think about the Truths in our family dynamics. My eldest son had begun to act out to the point where he was shoplifting, breaking and entering, and behaving violently in school. The former abuser had nothing to do with the endless talks with teachers and administrator except when doing so might result in a diagnosis so that my son would be medicated for one thing or another - medicated as a form of behavior management and NOT because of a serious medical issue. Then, there were the threats that the abuser would make to send my son to "juvenile hall" if he kept on acting out. My youngest son was the future victim and would act out to a minor degree while the abuser would blame the older brother for "teaching him how to" misbehave, lie, etc. If I tried to advocate for my older boy, I risked consequences beginnin with the abuser screaming at me (in front of both children), "WHY do you always try to undermine my authority!?" We were all accused of a failure to "respect" the abuser which, translated from abuser-speak means "FEAR" the abuser.
At some point, the abuser worked up the idea to have my mother move into our home with us, charge her a rent, and this would help relieve some of the financial stress that were direct results of the abuser's inability to take our financial obligations seriously, and his refusal to discuss our situation with me like a reasonable adult. I agreed to the living arrangement with the sole hope that my mother's presence in our home would deter the abuser from perpetrating all of the violence - my mother's presence might cause the abuser to settle down. The effect was quite the opposite.
Abusers of all types present an exceedingly unrealistic sense of entitlement. They "deserve" higher wages, social status, "respevt," and the power to harm others because of their childhoods, and any othe viable excuse. The former abuser was no different. He believed that he was entitled to both of my parents' financial status and literally demanded that I obtain money from them because, "it's our money after they die, anyway," and, "They OWE ME for taking care of their daughter!" So, when my mother moved in with us, she began paying "rent" for a 12X12 room and "her share" of the groceries. By the time I made my exit, my mother was paying for her "rent," all utilities, cable, medical copay, prescription copays, groceries for everyone, gasoline, and a counseling therapist that I saw on the sly. And, the intended abatement of abuse and violence only escalated and became more intense.
My "turning point" was a culmination of many things: abuse on every level, continuous deceptions by us both, and seeing interactions between healthy couples that didn't resemble our dynamics in any way. I knew that I was dying emotionally, and that I was wishing to die, physically, and my fear of the unknown was finally overshadowed by the Truths of my situation and that of my sons. They were watching, absorbing, and learning how to be effective as an abuser and a victim.
One afternoon, a truck pulled up in front of our house and a guy came onto the porch and announced that he was there to reposess furniture. In front of my eldest son, I lied and said that the people that he was looking for had moved out. The guy was rather dubious, and rightly so, but he left after a few minutes and I burst into tears because of my lying in front of my son, and for not realizing how truly dire our financial situation had become. That, and the abuser's lack of remorse for the humiliation combined to cause the camel's back to break. This was the personal epiphany that affirmed that I needed to get out and that remaining would certainly kill me, and my children.
My Life's Spark did not want to be extinguished, forever, and I made the decision to leave when I finally realized and clearly understood that it was never, ever going to "get better." The former abuser engaged in 3 sessions of marital counseling after I demanded a divorce, and promptly quit when the counselor wondered how neither of us had sent the other to the hospital. I continued going because I fully intended to leave, and I needed to generate courage and conviction to get out and STAY gone from the abuser.
Turning points present themsevles on a daily basis. To evolve from a victim into a Survivor only requires us to take that leap and face the Great Unknown with a hard eye and stern determination. "It could always be worse," was one of my mantras that helped to keep my feet on a better path. Yeah, I worked hard and I didn't have all of the "Things" that had been amassed during those dark years, but what I DID have were the fruits of my own labor and effort. What I had was mine, alone, and I didn't have to beg anyone for anything unless I wanted to. Nobody was threatening me and all of the "poverty" was wonderful in that I was finally free to make my own way in Life without asking permission to live.
Brightest blessings! And, enjoy the typos - some of them are truly funny!
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