emotional violence

Apparently we women aren’t talking about the devastation of being played as much as we could.

We would do well to share this kind of pain more, lest we think we’re alone when we are not.

To this day, I don’t know just how long I was deceived and used. I have a better idea than I did four years ago, but, really, I suppose I’ll never know for sure.

The article above is about as visceral a description of what it can feel like as any I’ve read. It certainly fits my own experience.

Here you go. What one woman said: “He created a fantasy persona for himself: the little boy lost. He uses it to trick women. And he targets the clever ones. He uses his looks to deceive women – not a good look but a hurt, vulnerable look. I used to think there was something more to it with him but now I think he’s just a piece of rubbish.”

I’ve experienced the little boy lost more than once. One man I lived with for some years and another I was married to for decades. I’ve seen this apparition in the workplace as well.

I’ve done my best to sidestep these individuals in the workplace and, honestly, I’m not seeing anyone these days, four years on from the moment my world was shattered into a million pieces. I suppose I’m forever going to hold a piece of my heart and myself close and away from any person I chose to see. I think that’s probably okay.

Think about it.

If someone made unilateral decisions that affected your health, financial security, and children’s well-being, if they deceived you (even in the presence of colleagues, therapists, children, grandchildren), if they physically and emotionally abused you over the course of a long relationship, if they exploited you sexually, if they left you and then began living with another lover, and then they proceeded to claim they were the victim of a divorce “they never wanted,” and they told a very mis-matched set of stories to some other people, including your own children, would you be content to say relationships are complicated and slather on the forgiveness for the gaslighting and other abuse?

I’m up to my eyeballs with people saying “forgive.”

Whatever I’m doing is helping me recover from a long term situation of abuse. If someone wants to call it forgiveness that’s fine. I call it living life. I’m quite done with people telling me that forgiveness is for me, not for him. I don’t need to forgive. I don’t even need to let go.

Fact is, I’m not all that angry anymore.

The water has gone under the bridge and it’s been flowing on downstream for quite a while.

20 Oct 04 013

It feels good to NOT define myself in terms of a partner. Through my entire life, I’ve rarely given myself the space to look at myself outside of some kind of primary relationship, aka “a partner.”

Life as a mother doesn’t define me completely either. Our relationships with our offspring are so dynamic that change in those relationships feels normal.

All of the “shoulds” encapsulated in my marriage became a trap. It may not be that way for you. I’m glad for you.

By the time I was able to end my marriage, I was living on a daily basis with disrespect, deception, and cruelty. I could see power being wielded over me by all kinds of expectations, including sexual expectations.

Coercive sex takes many forms in a woman’s life.

What’s life -affirming can get lost.

That water flowing downstream? I’m there. Plenty of debris has been left behind. I’m still here. I’m flowing on.

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About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a mother of eight. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in family, gray divorce, Life changes, resilience and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to emotional violence

  1. It sounds like you have had some really harsh experiences and that you a a real survivor – stronger and lovelier than ever 🙂 … you should be proud. I loved your lines about life as a mother and partner not completely defining you. Thank you for being my Saturday morning inspiration xx

    • Thanks for the kind words. Right now it is what it is. I let myself be fooled for a long time. I guess I didn’t grow up with the skills needed to avoid some of the hurt in my life. But. Good has come through all of it. My Kids. The life I have now. I hope you have a good day!

  2. Carolyn says:

    Good for you! I have never bought the “forgive” theory. When someone deliberately hurts you, they do not deserve your forgiveness. But I do not want to suffer the bitterness that goes with not forgiving; so, I choose to not care. I believe the worst thing you can do to a person is not care about the space they occupy in your world. Just ignore them and don’t give them so much as acknowledgment. And laugh if you can. Luckily, I have never experienced the kind of abuse you have had in your life. I have had two major things happen as a result of others’ deliberate actions. I have not forgotten or forgiven. These people no longer occupy more than an occasional passing thought. I don’t care enough to give them more than that.

    You have it figured out.

  3. Self deception is a facinating corrollary to emotional survival. Forgive yourself as well

    • It is, though it only lasts so long. I suppose sometimes it can go on until the very end which is not a happy thought. If I let myself dwell on how long I let it continue, I could get depressed. Letting that go is a type of self-forgiveness I think.

  4. Fuck forgiveness. I don’t even know what that word means. Sure, you need to get over the seething, gut-eating anger, the bitterness. We all need to get over that and move on down the river. But to forgive? What a vague word. What an unexplainable concept. Better to say, “I will never let you hurt me like that again. I know the true you now, and I’m sailing away forever.” As for forgiving yourself, nice thought, but you didn’t do anything wrong. You don’t need forgiveness. You already gained wisdom.

    • Yes! Good stuff. Only reason I talk about forgiving myself is that thing where “I should have seen this; should have known.” It’s not really forgiveness that’s needed though. It’s looking at it, moving away, and moving on. When our kids get caught in this kind of web of deception and see and hear things they never should have to – then it gets even more difficult. But you’re right, even self-forgiveness is a kind of quasi-religious, new age-y weird and unnecessary burden. I did have to go through a stage where I stopped telling myself I was an idiot. Like your meme – I know I’m not the idiot, not really.

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