Posts Tagged 'emotional abuse'

Creeping Into Sadness

This is the time of year it gets bad for me.  The holiday season.  October through at least Februay. A reminder of how screwed up I am, how much of an idiot I am for wanting to be loved especially by my family, how I’ve failed at everything, how I’ve deluded myself in thinking that I’ll ever really be good at anything.

I still don’t have a new job but then I haven’t applied to any because I don’t want to be fired again. But I hate relying on my parents for help and they hate helping me. I’m the failure and the lost cause.

And I keep thinking that if I could fully internalize and believe that I am this horrible, miserable failure, that if I could just get it then my parents would love me. And God would love me or at least notice me. I would finally be doing things right. I’ve worked so hard at doing things right and yet I never seem to get it right. It’s like I’m missing some big, important piece that if I just figured it out or found it then everything would be perfect. I would finally be loved and acceptable. Or if I could just say the right words, be the right way then things would be perfect.

Like, after Mass on Sunday I went to the health fair they were having and had my blood glucose/cholesterol tested and my blood pressure taken.  I only really wanted the blood glucose taken and which came back okay but the cholesterol was supper high as was the blood pressure.  But I was sleep deprived and they said that affects pressure. But the cholesterol had me worried but reading the release form I figured it wasn’t that much of a worry. And I checked the my last cholesterol test results and they were much, much lower. But I’m still worried because it means that I really do need to lose weight that still won’t have any long term effect on my health. I should add more fiber and try to move more but that’s really it. But they also said to get it tested a few more times so I shouldn’t worry about it. But I still am because I only know how to worry and not let go.

And I’d like to exercise more but with the GERD and the damage I did to my right arm over a year ago (something so bad that I’ve lost function and mobility but without insurance I can’t do anything about) I can’t do as much as I like.

And trying to fix my sleep schedule is hard because except for Mass and Adoration I have no real reason to get up early. And sleeping for more than two hours at a time just isn’t happening righ now. And sleep aids just don’t work for me.

Add in the attacks after my last few posts which don’t help either. I hate trolls because they sound so “right”, that really am the idiot and moron they say I am and that I need to shut up and put up because I deserve it.  It’s how my mother and others treated me and repeated to me growing up.

So yeah, bad time of year. And no meds though I didn’t have them last year at this time either.

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Walking On Eggshells

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I spent most of my life after my sisters were born walking on eggshells around my mother.  I never knew what was going to set her off.  Though most of the time it didn’t involve me doing anything. 

I was always afraid.  Afraid of the explosion.  Going from quiet monster to raging bull running down Spanish streets.  And I was always in the way no matter where I hid. Rage, rage.  Screaming and yelling.  I could always hear her, no matter what.  The venom dripping.  The insults, the put downs, the damning me to hell.  Nothing calmed this beast because she loved to rage in her power.

So I was always afraid.  Terrified of setting her off.  Never knowing the trigger or location of the trap.  My sisters never had to worry about the raging bull.  She might raise her voice at them but apologize and then point the finger at me and then the bombardment would begin.  They only had to deal with upset that would soon calm down.  I was the only one who had to face rage.

I was terrorized into my fear.  And constantly abused to stay there. My mother loved to see my cowering and hiding, my shivering fear.  She fed off that fear which made her feel powerful.  She didn’t have to carry out threats, only make them.  I was that afraid and believed all too well what I thought would happen.  Threats were never carried out but I believed the lies.  They only had to be true once.

Not just the going to hell but also being arrested by police (I was still a young child) because my mother would have called them to come and get me.  Remember,  the lies were absolute truths to me.

I still live with that fear.  Still afraid of setting someone off, though not my mother so much, any more.  But afraid.  Constantly afraid, especially of failure because no one likes failure so that gives them permission to rant and rage and hit.

A Story About Ants

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Creepy. I hate these things. Sorry if this pic freaks you out. It freaks me out.

A few years ago, I had a major ant problem in my apartment. Thankfully, they were confined to a few specific areas but they caused me a lot of anxiety and stress. Nothing I did worked.  So I told the apartment manager.

What did she do?

Nothing.

She told me having ants in the apartment was part of living in an apartment and that nothing could be done.  She said it was no big deal. She wasn’t going to do anything.

I was hurt.  I felt disrespected and helpless because she did not take me seriously or care what I had to say.  

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I think the name says it all.

Eventually, she did call an exterminator to come and spray but only AFTER somebody else said something.  And I still felt that she didn’t care.  I had been dealing with the problem for a significant period of time and her ignoring my request for help told me my voice and concerns did not matter.

So now, any time I see ants in my apartment I feel those feelings again.  Thankfully, it is just a few and they go away after a shirt few days.  But I still get stressed out seeing them.  I don’t hate ants but their presence reminds me of not being heard, about not being taken seriously, about having my voice silenced because it wasn’t something she wanted to hear.

That particular apartment manager was a major problem and I suffered stress, anxiety, and threats from her.  She even threatened to evict me if I didn’t quit my job and find another.  Trust me, the situation was bad and she had no legal right to do anything to me.

Thankfully that manager and that set of problem neighbors are gone.

So I have a much better apartment manager now and the neighbors still coukd be better.  But I’m still leery of asking for them to come and deal with anything.  I do my best to keep my head down and be quiet.  It may not make me any friends but I feel safer, if only marginally.

I won’t get hurt.

Why write about this? Simple. 

A victim telling their story about abuse and being heard and believed is important.  Too many people want to silence the voices of victims because it is not what they want to hear.  By silencing victims’ voices, the abusers are given tacit approval for their actions and acceptance and it implies that somehow the victim is at fault.  Silencing minimizes the effects of abuse and how dangerous and harmful abuse really is.

Silence says abuse is okay.  It says the victim is a liar and making things up.  It denies reality.  These are lies.

Victims need to be able to feel safe, to be able to tell their story in their own way and time, to be believed and taken seriously, and to have support and healing.  Victims are people, too.

Liars, Thieves, and Cheaters

I’m done with Josh Duggar.

But I’m not done with talking about how abusers affect their victims.

They are liars.  They lie about the fact that they molest children, hit children, yell and scream and threaten children. They lie about hitting women, raping women, threatening women, isolating women.  They lie about hitting men, raping men, threatening men, isolating men. They lie to their victims about how the abuse is not abuse, that it is okay, that it is their fault, that if they tell something very bad will happen.  They lie to the victim’s family and friends about how they are really a good person, about how safe the victim is with them, about how the victim started it, about what they are doing isn’t wrong because other people do the same thing, about how the victim brought it on themselves, about how they doing this because they love the victim and that it is in their best interest.

They are thieves.  They steal the victim’s innocence, stability, security, mental health, safety, trust, judgement, physical health, sexual health, self worth, dignity.  They steal their voice. And they throw their stolen goods away.

They are cheaters.  Many cheat the criminal justice system out of justice by never facing arrest, trial, conviction, and prison.  They all cheat their victims out of a life free of abuse.  They cheat their victims of healing and closure when they do not face the criminal justice system.  They cheat their victims out of telling their story and being believed by the lies they have spread and their appearance of being a “good” person who could not possibly done the things they did.

So abusers are liars, thieves, and cheaters. They are abusers.

Quiverfull and Catholicism

Part Five

I have already pointed out that Quiverfull is a man made misinterpretation of Scripture.  The last three posts in this series have covered the effects of Quiverfull on mothers, children, and fathers.  I now want to deal with Quiverfull and how Catholics are embracing this dangerous belief.

Many Catholics have seen the Duggars on their TV shows with their emphasis on having a large family, eschewing birth control and advocating a prolife stance as being compatible with the Catholic faith.  On the surface, that’s true. 
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Yes, the Catholic Church encourages large families.  Yes, the Catholic Church is against contraception and abortion. Yes, the Catholic Church holds to a prolife stance.

But the Catholic Church teaches that being prolife is more than just having babies. 

Large families are encouraged but parents are permitted to space children or not have children at all if there are serious reasons.  For some women, having children could kill them and is a valid reason to abstain.  A mother’s life is just as important as the baby’s.  A woman does not have to sacrifice her life just to get pregnant. 

Women are not baby making factories.  Women are people too.

Children need mothers and fathers. If the mother deliberately puts herself at risk to get pregnant, and she dies as a result of becoming pregnant, she has robbed her children of their mother at the expense of another siblings.
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The Catholic Church is against contraception because it places a barrier between the couple.  It also divorces the two intertwining purposes of marital sex: unity and procreation. You can’t divide them.That division turns marital sex from a selfless intimate vulnerable self-giving to a selfish act that divided the couple.  It’s saying ” I only love you this much and therefore I’m going to keep part of myself to myself.  You have to share me with me but you have to share all of yourself.”  Sounds arrogant and self-centered, doesn’t it? 

The same happens when marital sex is all about procreation (babies). It does violence to the marital union. It also demeans and dehumanizes the couple because focusing solely on creation saying that the parents are only genetic donors, not loving parents. Objects instead of people.

Catholics who follow Quiverfull are following an ideology and not Catholic moral theology. They think they are being prolife when they are really valuing a certain ability to give life. The baby is an acceptable life. The child is not. A girl is only useful in growing up, getting married, and having more babies. It’s all about numbers, not about unique souls who are to love God and their neighbors and to do God’s will.

The Catholic Church says ALL life is sacred. We are all made in the image and likeness of God. Not just babies. Children and teenagers and adults and the elderly and the sick and the physically impaired and the mentally I’ll. Everyone.

Quiverfull is an economic valuation of life. If a woman can keep producing children, she has value. If she can’t produce or produces too few, then she has absolutely no value or little value. She can be judged and harassed and abused and ultimately shunned and kicked out.
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It judges a woman by her reproductive organs and abilities and not the whole, unique woman. Women are not just able to carry a child and give birth. They are people, worthy of dignity and respect. Women are made in the image and likeness of God, just like men. They are not inferior creations. Their ability to give birth is a facet of them, not the whole of them. If a woman cannot have children or does not have children, she is still a whole woman.

Her reproductive abilities do not define her whole being or existence.

This thinking is what those who support birth control and abortion say about women. Both do not think highly of women. Quiverfull and abortion supporters focus solely on a woman’s ability to give birth. Both devalue it but for different reasons. Quiverfull wants to reduce women to machines. Abortion supporters want to reduce women to sex objects.Neither are the freedom offered by God. Both are destructive and do violence to women and families.Both are selfish.

Quiverfull does violence to families especially since it is tied up with other fringe elements and beliefs such as Patriarchy, Dominionism, restrictive.homeschooling, courtship, and fear of the government. It is all about division.

Love is not part of Quiverfull beliefs. I’m not saying families who practice Quiverfull don’t love each other but love is not part of the beliefs and can be a very conditional love. Conditional love in that parents only love their children if they do exactly as the parents want, follow the exact same beliefs, marry whom they choose, and have more babies, repeating the cycle.

Quiverfull and Fatherhood

Part Four

(Warning: Graphic images)

Quiverfull is largely centered on women and babies, with a heavy emphasis on babies.  Men are largely breadwinners, provide half the genetic material, and the main discipliners.  Men are expected to fulfill specific roles.  Nurturing and hands on parenting for fathers is discouraged in Quiverfull, except for corporal punishment.

Quiverfull gender roles are largely derived from a theological belief called Patriarchy.  It is also called complementarianism.  Men are considered the head of the family, spiritual and physical.  Their wives are to obey them in everything but sin, though sometimes even then (see Debbie Pearl’s Created to Be His Helpmeet for examples).  The justification comes from Ephesians 5:22-24 where St. Paul lays out wives being submissive to their husbands (while ignoring verse 21 which requires mutual submission) and Genesis 2:18 where God created a helper for Adam, the first man. 

(I could go into a refutation of woman as inferior helper and slave but the are multiple places that reveal the truth.  It is part and parcel of Patriarchy and comes.from Genesis 2.)

Since Patriarchy is an authoritarian belief system, the justification to abuse others using the Bible is rampant.  Women are kept financially, physically, and emotionally dependent on their husbands.  Husbands may beat, harass, threaten, rape, withhold money and support all in the name of being the head of the family.  And say the God approves.  I’ll get to children later in this post.

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Men in Quiverfull are just as hurt by its beliefs and practices as women and children are.  While there is nothing wrong with being the sole financial provider, men are usually expected to be the only provider.  Many lack a decent education due to restrictive homeschooling with its emphasis on religious beliefs and practices and disdain for government educational standards. 

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Many receive the equivalent or near equivalent of a high school education.  Many times the education is barely eighth grade level. Many are forbidden from going to college or can only go to an unaccredited Christian college.

A lack of education hinders many from getting a decent job or at least a job that would financially support a large family.  Men may even have to work multiple jobs to support their families. This leaves men overworked and even overwhelmed.  But the emotional health of men is not a concern. 

Men also have to live up the false standards of Patriarchy.  They are expected to be the spiritual and physical head of the family. Patriarchy says that men be authoritarian leaders who give orders and make demands that must be obeyed immediately and without question.  Disobedience and other infractions are to be punished with corporal punishment, i.e. spanking.  Disobedience is rarely or vaguely defined and almost an always arbitrary condemnation.  It can be much worse if the parents follow the teachings of Michael Pearl and his book To Train Up A Child.

(I suggest the site http://whynottrainachild.com to refute his teachings and to learn about gentle Christian parenting)

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Threatening a child. Threats may include things such as spanking, loss of friends, damnation to hell, being kicked out of the home, etc.

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Michael Pearl advocates parents start spanking as young as three months.  This baby was the victim of abuse but if the parents were followers of Pearl’s teaching then this could be a result.

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A child that has been on the receiving end of corporal punishment, probably been hit with a thin stick.  Again, fathers in Quiverfull are expected to spank their children for disobedience and any other reason they decide.

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Mothers, too, can and will spank their children in Quiverfull.  This particular picture gives the impression the mother is spanking in anger, something parents in Quiverfull allege they don’t do.

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One potential object used to spank a child.  Many children are spanked on bare buttocks with things like this spoon, hair brushes, paddles, and belts though this is not an exhaustive list.

Men in Quiverfull are not permitted to be hands on (except spanking) or nurturing.  Their fatherhood is defined in activities they do outside the home (work), their “God given” gender role (spiritual and physical head of the family), and their “God given” ability to spank their children info submission.  Men in Quiverfull are denied their whole being to fulfill man made gender roles.

Doing any of these is frowned upon or even forbidden.

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Remember, babies and children are women’s work.  Men are discouraged from being tender, gentle, and nurturing. It’s all about rigid gender roles rather than discovering how God made you to be and working in partnership with their spouses.  If men do do these things, it’s not talked about or hidden. 

Also, not all families in Quiverfull spank or spank to excess.  There are higher incidents of abuse and definitely a greater emphasis on obedience and physical discipline and corporal punishment in Quiverfull.  Rigid gender roles plus fringe religious beliefs plus lack of education plus limited finances plus other elements create an environment that encourages or at least greatly excuses abuse.

Men are just as hurt by Quiverfull as women and children are.  Their victimization is covered up or not even acknowledged.

I Get It

I get it, okay?

I get that I am a failure. 

I get that you’re disappointed in me.

I get that you hate helping me.

I get it that you wish I was dead.

I wish I was dead.

I get it that it was my fault that I was fired.

I get it that it’s my fault that I’m still unemployed.

I get it that people are embarrassed by me.

I get it that there must be something fundamentally wrong with me.

I get it that I should never have been born.

I get it that I’m just a mistake.

I gett it that if I had just shut up and put up I would still have a job and you wouldn’t have to give me money.

I get it that I should forget standing up for myself and just let people walk all over me.

I get it that I should work on pleasing others and never worry about what I want.

I get that I am a bad girl going to hell.

I get it that I’m unlovable.

I get it that I’m stupid even with two college degrees.

I get it that my only purpose is to get married and have kids and obey my husband in everything even though I’m not married.

I get it that I’m ugly and fat.

I get it that I should hate me. And I do.

I get it okay.  I’m keeping my mouth shut and letting you run my life so you’ll be happy and I’ll be miserable which is what you always wanted. 

If I could just break my arms or slit my wrists, everything would be better. 

I keep applying to jobs but I haven’t heard back from any.  So still a failure.  I know my parents hate helping me and are going to cut me off soon.  My mother has always considered me a failure and a loser and hates helping me in any way and tells me constantly how much a disappointment I am and how I’ve failed her my entire life.  She also reminds me how stupid I am and how my younger sisters are so much smarter and much better off financially and how much prettier they are and how many friends they have and how useless I’ve always been compared to them and how they were perfect children while I was always needing to be punished.  She doesn’t need to use words now to tell me these things.  She just has to call me and I already know the conversation.

I keen doing what everybody wants but nothing gets better.  I do what I want and everything gets a hundred times worse.  Some days I really want to die. The pain is so bad and nothing I do makes it better.  What’s the point?


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