Blog: Floating the Abyss
by SoulfulSurvivor

Abusers & Pets

Pets are expendable

Date:   4/20/2011 9:05:01 AM   ( 11 y ) ... viewed 6964 times

One of the most disturbing aspects of my personal experiences was how the former abuser seemed to "love" animals, and yet used them to terrorize and/or punish my children and me.

When we began dating, I was riding in competetive equestrian events and had trained my Labrador Retriever as a gun dog for duck hunting. I also had cats, was a docent at a city zoo, had volunteered at a humane shelter, and I had a deep and abising love for all animals and a clear understanding that human beings are stewards of Nature, and not owners.

The former abuser acted as if he was supportive and encouraging of my training abilities and interest in animal welfare, but he actually disdained it and used pets as tools and weapons of vengeance. The first "red flag" was, "Why are you wasting your time training that dog when we could be spending time together?" The phrase, "spending time together," translates from abuser-speak into, "having sex" or "getting high." After the marital contract, my lovely dog developed an incurable disease and was euthanized, and I couldn't bring myself to attend the proceedure, but the abuser said that he would - I'm almost certain that he didn't, but he used that episode against me, for years, to not only take advantage of the inconcolable grief that I felt, but also to point out what an ungrateful cowardess I was and how I "owed" him for attending my dog's euthanasia.

Over the years, we had many, many pets: rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs, fish, and birds. The abuser claimed that he was "allergic" to cats and presented reactions whenever it was convenient to suit his needs. Off topic, but an example of the lengths he went to set me up was during a visit to a friend's home who had several cats. He left the bedroom in the middle of the night to sleep in the car because of a "cat attack." In retrospect, and almost an epiphany yesterday, the abuser's "allergy" forever excused him from ever interacting with this specific friend in her own home, again. Back to the allergy: the abuser hated cats because he clained that they were "too independent" and didn't display any "loyalty or respect" for their owners. Another screaming, flapping, waving red flag. What is interesting to note is that the abuser never experienced an allergic reaction when he was living in my parents' house, where we had cats. Now, granted that he may have been sensitive to cat dander, but his reactions were inconsistent with a true allergy.

Pets were gotten as a reward, and just as quickly discarded to punish AND to remind the rest of us that we were all expendable and could be easily replaced. After my father called in a favor and saw that the abuser was hired into the Postal Service (after being kicked out of the Coast Guard), he spent 4 months working and "saving" for my son and me to join him in our new home while I stayed with my son at my father's home. During a "visit" to the abuser's apartment, he gifted me with a chocolat Lab puppy and I moved to our new home with my son. Later, the abuser purchased a Rottweiler and the Lab was given away. I trained both dogs and the abuser would routinely tease and torment the Lab, while revering the Rottie as a "real" dog - something that represented power in his warped mind. So, whenever the abuserh would tease or torment the Lab, I would object and BEG him to stop, and he would respond with, "If she can't take it, then I'll just get rid of her." Which is precisely what he did.

The "family" vacations that I took my sons on were always a time of dread for me and our sons. Of course, the abuser never planned vacation time to coincide with vacations which effectively excused him from participating in my family gatherings. He remained behind while I took my sons to different places for reunions and so forth. Whenever we were gone, pet loss would occur. Birds would escape from their cages or die, rabbits would be mauled and die in the night, and dogs would run off, never to be seen, again. One Sheltie that we purchased for our eldest son was deliberately released and abandoned in an affluent neighborhood during one of my "family" vacations. The dog despised and feared the abuser and took to defecating in the house and, specifically on the abuser's clothing and shoes. So, the abuser decided to abandon my son's dog while we were away and unable to do anything about it. Rather than placing an ad or taking the dog to a shelter, the abuser abandoned the dog because it didn't "cost anything" and drove home the fact that he was capable of following through with threats to "get rid of" us - he had been threatening my son and me that he was going to "get rid of" the little dog if we failed to correct the defecation issue, and he did just that.

When the Rottie developed hip dyspalsia and became so infirmed that she bit our youngest son, I had to make a very painful decision. She was 5 years old and we had tried to find a good home for her without children. The only interest that we saw was from a canine security company, and I wasn't going to leave her to that ugly fate. Once again, I had to euthanize a pet, and this time I was with her. After that horrible and grievous event, the abuser accused me of "killing (his) dog" without a good reason. This accusation would come right out of the blue with the sole intent of generating guilt, especially in front of the children. This exercise was intended to demobstrate to my sons that I was cold-blooded and the intricacies of the decision was never open for discussion. The abuser even blamed me for his having abandoned the little Sheltie while my sons and I were away by telling my sons, "Your mother even TOLD me that it was okay!" So, my sons had a false perception that I was not only the decision-maker, but that I could (and, OULD) discard on a whim.

For an abuser, pets are only Things to be used and abused, according to the abuser's immediate need to exert control. But, Soulful, didn't Hitler love his Alsatian dog, what's up with that? Abusers "love" their pets (especially dogs) because they present unconditional loyalty and love for their masters and owners. They are also a source of immediate gratification to an abuser - for an abuser to see their pet cower in fear is almost orgasmic to them. Seeing an animal helpless and fearful gives an abuser a visceral sense of power, control, and false respect. Abusers confuse FEAR with respect, even with animals.

So, the constant influx of pets was simply a parade of helpless victims and objects of example for the abuser. The "worth" of a pet was guaged only in reference to its ability to present the illusion of power - the Rottie was trained very well by my efforts, and the abuser was never quite sure whether she could be instructed to attack him. Fear = respect, yes?

Brightest blessings!

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Comments (18 of 18):
Re: I stayed becau… msavo… 9 y
Re: Non-romantic N… Soulf… 11 y
Re: Accepting "Tru… Soulf… 11 y
Re: Accepting "Tru… Athin… 11 y
Indeed, no remedy.… Soulf… 11 y
Re: False Hope kerminator 11 y
what the heck?! SoulfulSu… 11 y
ACK! Double post… Soulf… 11 y
Re: Fear and Explo… womba… 11 y
This IS a touchy s… Soulf… 11 y
Powerlessness of C… Soulf… 11 y
Re: Spirituality, … Soulf… 11 y
Re: Spirituality, … #1161… 11 y
Re: The "Sex Facto… Soulf… 11 y
Re: The "Sex Facto… Soulf… 11 y
Re: Divide, Conque… Soulf… 11 y
Re: Divide, Conque… #7883… 11 y
Re: Divide, Conque… Soulf… 11 y
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Abusers & Pets  11 y
Turning Point  11 y
Exit Strategy  11 y
Predictability & Familiarity  11 y
Reclaiming the Self  11 y
Grand Deception  11 y
Fear and Exploitation  11 y
Grim Subject, Yes?  11 y
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