Thursday, March 24, 2011

SURVIVAL Part D: Physical and Psychological Abuse

  As far as I am concerned there are not many excuses for resorting to physical or mental abuse and or violence. I suppose with regard to physical abuse, there are only two justifiable reasons. First, the obvious is self defense. If someone is physically attacking you, I believe you are justified in fighting back. This doesn't always mean you will be strong enough to stop the abuse, but I feel it is only natural to fight back as a means of survival. The other instance would be to help defend another person, especially a child, a woman, the disabled, and someone who is ostensibly weaker than the abuser. Physical abuse is not only limited to a man against a woman, but also, woman against woman and even man against man. If the abuser has a size and weight advantage over the victim, even if it is two men, sometimes society allows such abuse, because after all it is two men.
  I have been a victim of physical abuse. I was living with a guy who was much bigger than I am. This nameless person, who in the beginning of the relationship, was a great person. Over time however, he changed. This change was the result of drugs and alcohol. I found myself involved with a person, who would stay up late at night drinking and doing cocaine. Naturallly, as a result he would sleep until time to go to work in the afternoon and then repeat the cycle all over again. Meanwhile, I was working at a job and spending much of my money and energy fixing up his house. All the while he was saying he would put my name on the mortgage, that never happened.
  Finally after a year and and a half of living this way, I had had enough. When I confronted him on these issues he flew into a rage. Suffice it to say, I found myself lying on the floor, while his 230 pound body sat on my 155 pound body, with his hands around my neck pounding my head into the floor.Thankfully I was able to escape. I ran out the door, barefoot, with no coat in December in Chicago.
  I spent the night at a friend's house. My friend called the guy I was living with and he was inconsolable. He was ranting and raving, claimed he had a gun and if he saw me he would killl me. He was in such a rage fueled alcohol and cocaine, that even to this day I believe I escaped with my life.
  After he left for a ten day Christmas trip to his family's home in Detroit, I made my move. I rented an apartment and went back to his place to retrieve my furniture, clothing and other personal belongings. In my absence before he left, during his binge, he took a knife and slashed all fifteen paintings I had created. I was shocked and dismayed at his lack of respect for the paintings I had worked so hard on, with passion, to create. Any chance of working out our problems ended in my mind, with the physical attack.  I did not deserve it, and was not going to live that way.  When I saw how visciously he had destroyed something so precious to me, I knew any respect I ever had for him was gone.
  When you lose respect for another there is nothing left. In his absence I moved  all that belonged to me to my own place. I never saw him again. I spoke on the phone to him only once. I told him what he had done both mentally and physically and it's affect on my life. I think I may have wished him well but there would be no chance of a reconciliation in any form.
  Subsequently, a year or so later he sold his place, made a huge profit, some of it from my investment of money and sweat. I never got  a penny. He moved to Florida, and about a year after, I heard through mutual friends, he had ended his own life. Upon hearing of his death my initial response was, "what a waste of a life."
  It  was a sad circumstance for him and his family. I had tried to get his family to intervene on his behalf. Perhaps get him into some sort of rehab program, as far as I know that never happened. I realize his family was in denial about the seriousness of his problems.
  It has taken me along time to forgive him for what he did to me. I realize that forgiveness is somethng you do for youself not for the person being forgiven. Carrying around hatred and venegence for another only allows them to still have power over you.
  What  happened to him, what he chose to do, deeply saddens me still. What a tradegy for him and his family.
 For a long time I kept those slashed paintings as a reminder of what he had done. A few years later I became involved with another guy, who asked me why I had not thrown them away. I told him I never wanted to forget what he had done to me. My new boyfriend said he felt that it was unhealthy to keep those as a reminder. Forgiveness would never come  if didn't throw away the ruined paintings and move on. He was right, I took his advice, threw away the paintings and began the journey to forgiveness. He also said you can forgive someone without forgetting, this was life lesson. Don't let yourself let another person have power over your happiness.
  I realize that there are victims of physical and mental abuse, who continue to live in that environment. I understand fully that it is scary to move out on your own. I understand many women stay in abusive relationships out of fear, because of their children, lack of money, lack of education, and a million other reasons. No other human being, no matter what their sex, has a right to physically or mentally abuse another. I know it takes strength and tenacity to leave and start over again. You must beleve in yourself, know that you are loved by God and you are never really alone.
  I wish it were possible to transfer strength from one person to another, because I would gladly transfer some of my strength to anyone who has become a victim of abuse in any of it's forms.
  Know that strength comes from God and God is within you. Your job is to pull it out from within, do it for yourself first, so that you can pass it on to your children, and your children's children. Just because you have been a victim does not mean you must remain a victim.
  Let go, let God be your strength, take it from me, it works. I do it all the time.

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