In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Friday, January 2, 2009

No longer living with the enemy

In light of my last post, I would like to thank you for the kind and loving support you have shown me. Your words have given me strength and although I wish I could say we are back to normal, we are at least working through everything and moving towards bringing back the sanity, peace, and love into what we call our sanctuary…our home.

It’s hard to keep my mind from going back to last Saturday night, when I can still feel the evilness of that night, in my home today. I can still hear the yelling, and the meanness, and feel the fear I felt in being attacked…how I felt frozen in the fear and disbelief that this was happening in my home. I remember how I felt so caught off guard…so powerless…when every attempt I made to stand up and defend, were silenced by him. I remembered in that moment, the all too familiar feeling of being scared to death…of giving over my power to someone else. This attack brought back a visitor of my past…fear and the sick feeling inside that is left in the wake of meanness…and now I am working on cleaning it out of my heart and my home once again.

Pure meanness, loud angry words, manipulating and good with words, good at making a lie sound like the truth, proud arrogance and full of self righteousness…people that have the ability to crush you and make you feel small with their words or their fists, controlling and dominating… bullies or abusive people…they have been a part of my life from the beginning. I have been on the receiving end of these kinds of attacks way more than I would like to admit and have worked hard at staying away from them. Meanness scares the shit out of me yet I am tired of crumbling underneath it’s wrath.

Although I have now made peace with my father, he was the source of much meanness and fear, while growing up. Even though I have forgiven him I still do not feel comfortable alone in a room with him. He taught me to fear and how to walk on egg shells around anyone that showed the capability for meanness. I learned the fine art of taking meanness with a smile and how to pretend that it had no affect on me…I learned how to numb myself to my feelings in the aftermath of an attack. I also learned the art of making excuses for mean behavior which somehow justified it’s presence. I learned at a young age that meanness is not predictable and that no matter how “good” I was or how much I tip toed around trying to make the mean person happy, whatever it is that I would do, would never be good enough. I believed deep inside my core, that somehow I was defective and that it was me that brought out the meanness…I made them act this way.

I learned after years of counseling and reading the many books on the subject, that it was rather normal that I found my way into the arms of “boys” or men that treated me in the same ways. Even though my marriages and relationships with these kinds of people felt very normal in one sense, I knew deep down that something was wrong. In spite of this, I never thought of myself as a “victim” instead, I thought I was to blame. I had no idea how to stop the madness or my choices to be with the very kinds of people that I feared. Living with the enemy, was the theme of my life…the person with whom I loved and lived with…whom I tried to please and make happy by being everything they wanted me to be, were seldom happy with me.

This life of living in fear…of choosing to live with the enemy, ended after having my eyes opened up by a counselor. His response to my saying, “But, he loves me,” (which, for some reason was making his abusing me acceptable) was “Of course he loves you and one of these days he is going to love you to death.” This woke me up from my slumber and thus began my journey of healing and taking the power back from all those I had given it to.

It’s been a journey of much self discovery and I came to realize just how much I hate meanness…how much I hate those things that equate meanness…and how much I hated living in fear. I wasted many years living that way and now that I have not lived with it for some time, not living in fear…not living with the enemy has been my “normal”. Having evil enter my home and display meanness in such a way, brings me back to the place of fear. It shook up my home and my world and has reminded me of all that I have fought to get away from.

I have shared with you that I have a wonderful husband that treats me rather well. He has never raised his voice towards me…has never said mean things to me nor has he pushed me around because he’s bigger then me. Meanness is not part of his nature and I can honestly say that if it were, I would not be married to him. Although he hurt me by not standing up to this meanness, he truly is sorry and has his reasons for acting in the way he did, that night. I can forgive this and I know somehow we will come out stronger in spite of any ill intentions of a bully.

After all that has happened in this past week, I am left feeling thankful that this meanness and fear are no longer a normal part of my life. I thank God every day that I don’t live with the enemy…that I live with someone that is on my side. Now that it has come for a visit into my home and ignited old memories and feelings, I am trying to sweep it out of my life once again. I don’t like mean people…I despise meanness and all that it equates. Even more, I hate it's affect on those that takes it's brunt. No matter how hard I try to understand it, I don’t think I ever will. I need to figure out how to stand up to it and not run from it.


Midlife Mama said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing your pain; I'm sure it was difficult. But sometimes shining light into the dark corners banishes the evil.

My father was not mean nor abusive; that being said, he was not tolerant of imperfection and did not suffer fools gladly. He also gave me the impression that if I did not behave properly, he would kick me out of the house. My parents, loving though they were, had the misguided idea that withdrawal of love and affection teaches children to obey and respect. In addition, they didn't tell you what was unacceptable behavior; they simply punished when behavior was bad and praised and gave food when behavior was good. I've equated this to the electric fence method of child raising. You put the child on a path, and line the path on both sides with electrified fencing. As the child wanders down the path of his or her life, as they begin to stray from the straight and narrow, they get zapped. After awhile, the child learns to stay in the middle of the path, but they have no idea why. They just know that when they stray, they get zapped. Fast forward to age 18. Child is sent off to college to live on their own, and the electric fencing is removed. Then that poor bewildered child has no idea how to make proper decisions or guide their own life, because the only thing they learned was passively avoiding being zapped.

And this is what happened to me. I never learned how to make my way in the world because I was never taught. I was taught how to avoid the zaps; not how to make good decisions. Also, what it taught me, was that if you're not perfect, no one will love you. I've suffered from feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, and fear.

My first husband was emotionally absent. My second husband was emotionally abusive. I so can relate to the walking on egg shells thing. That is a horrible way to live.

It sounds like your husband is really sorry and knows what to do in the future. It's a terrible thing to go through, especially when it reopens old wounds. But you are handling well and I applaud you for that. Good for you for standing up for you.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I can relate to alot of what you are saying. I hate that feeling of walking on eggshells. I am so glad that you now know that you don't deserve it in your life.

The Incredible Woody said...

You are a remarkable woman. I never knew mean until I met my husband's father. He could make you uncomfortable without ever saying a word - he just had a mean presence. I thank God my husband realized how wrong his father's actions were and has taken steps to be sure that he is not like him. Thank you for sharing. You and your family will remain in my prayers.

Stepping Thru said...

I too lived with an abusive spouse and know the fear of upsetting the boat. I remember all too well the physical and emotional abuse and the pain that it caused my soul. I didn't come from an abusive family so I bowed up and confronted this man way too many times and suffered horribly for it. Thank God he is dead and I will never have to face that kind of abuse again. My husband is the most loving and caring man alive and he has stood up for me and beside me through some terrible confrontations with his daughter. I think your step-daughter brought that big jerk to your home because she knew what was going to happen and wanted to cause you both the misery that she must feel deep down inside. Work with your husband through this and I pray that if it ever happens again that he will have the strength to stand up and put a stop to the evil.
My first thought was that those precious babies do not have any business living with someone so volatile and aggressive. If he was so willing to confront the two of you then think about how easy he would find it to pounce on those defenseless babies. Be careful.
You have overcome so much in your lifetime and you will prevail in this matter too. You KNOW where your strength comes from. Much love!

Midlife Slices said...

Dear Lori. I'm happy to hear you and your husband are working through this. I just hope that you never let that person or persons in to your home again. Never give them the opportunity to intimidate you. I knew abuse, as well. It's caused many scars that will never heal but I also became much stronger because of it. I pray for your family and your strength. ((HUGS))

thistle said...

Lori...i've read both these posts and all the comments you received in response. I am so sorry you had to go thru that at what should have been a very happy time for everyone. My heart goes out to you and i commend you for taking a stand and removing yourself from a very frightening situation. And i agree with the comment that your step-daughter probably knew exactly what was going to happen when she brought him along. Which is even more evidence of this girl's instability and inability to make good decisions. Here's my nosy neighbour professional opinion(for what it's worth) I think that you and your husband need to really discuss whether or not you should let them back into your home. Ever. It just seems like things spiral out of control so quickly, and it is impossible for you to pre-plan how to deal with each situation as it arises. Exercise your custodial rights...if the mom has access, perhaps supervised visits in a neutral setting would be more appropriate. You have the right to feel safe in your own home, and the right to refuse them entry. I know it's tough with the little ones...but i think that the comment questioning the parenting ability of the boyfriend is valid. Might also be time to consult with a lawyer and/or family therapist to determine the way to go with this.

My thoughts are with you...this is tough crap to have to deal with. But not impossible. Here's hoping your new year gets better and better.

Life with Kaishon said...

I feel sorry for mean people because I know in the end- Love wins. Love always wins!

I was with a friend tonight whose life has been made miserable because of a step mother. Her father will not even talk to her or see his children now. She is grown and has 2 children but she always feels like she is missing something because her Dad is not in her life due to the step mother. I think that being a step mother would be a very hard thing to be. I can't even imagine! I am glad your little people have you! So glad!

Braja said...

That was wide open...and brave. I don't know that you have to find a way to stand up to's as easily disabled by walking away, girl.....

Fragrant Liar said...

Reading your words really cut right through my heart. I too was an abused wife. My first husband had many insecurities he was good at hiding, but he always knew that he had me to bully and push around -- not that I took it. I fought constantly to keep myself above it, but putting him in his place only fueled his anger -- which over time became constant. He hated me when I left him and took our four kids, but he then immediately became a deadbeat dad. I know today he is full of guilt and regrets, so it's true that what goes around does indeed come back around.

I hope your husband understands his role in protecting you and your family from interlopers, which includes a daughter with an agenda that allows her to act out in inappropriate ways. His daughter will never learn acceptable behavior (and unacceptable) if he doesn't do this for you -- and for her.

My heart goes out to you as you continue to heal from living with the enemy. There are many out there, and your home be your safe haven -- no exceptions.


Claire Marie said...

Lori I pray for your peace. I am hoping that you and your husband can sort through this somehow. It is all seeming so big right now but I think in time it will dissolve and normalcy will return.

Laura said...

I just read this post and the previous one and all I can say is that I am crying. I'm drained by the meanness in my life, and the meanness in other people's lives, and how utterly stupid it is. There is nothing to become from meanness. I would think that this need to control should be the one true sin, because how can I person become who she is supposed to be when being bent by the intentions of a bully.

evil and her bully boyfriend, I hope they don't have a chance to infect their children. You are doing a wonderful thing raising them.

My father is absolutely unable to stand up to ex-man. When ex-man told him that he would call the police on him for trespassing, he could not speak. I think I prefer that inability to "rise" to the occasion than someone who can so cavalierly play with people's lives.

All the healing and moments of insight to you.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

My neighbor has a sign posted in her garage (my entry preference) that says: "Mean people suck" Nuff said.


Jason, as himself said...

Smart Mouth Broad stole my line! It's a good thing she isn't mean, or I wouldn't be able to forgive her for it.

SciFi Dad said...

Like you, I have been an absentee blogger for the bulk of the holidays, so I am just coming across these last two posts tonight.

So first off, great post.

I am sorry you had to go through all that, but in your past and during this holiday. All you can do is remember the lessons you've learned, and try to impart them upon your little people. (It's not much in the way of advice, but it's all I've got.)

he calls me gramma said...

hey friend, hang in there, as long as you have custody of those children, she's treading on thin ice. be sure to document her visit and exactly what happened in case you have to use it sometime. also maybe the next time you are with the judge you can have scheduled visits(yes there is such a thing) with her so you know exactly when she is coming and also you have the right to not let her friend into your home. hopefully there won't be a next time. if there is, just call the athorities to have him removed from your property. don't make it easy for her. you're a toughie, you can stand your ground and i believe your husband will stand by your side if it happens again!!
thinking of you! take care.

For Myself said...

Oh my. Hold those children close, and treat yourself just as well as you've been treating them.

I like what Braja said, too. You walked away, which was smart on so many levels.

I'm really, really sorry you had to revisit all of this, but I have learned that there is ALWAYS a lesson to be learned.

Peace to you, friend.

Tricia said...

Lori, I too am sending you virtual hugs. What a terrible experience and I'm so sorry, but also glad to hear the strength you feel in continuing to pursue a life free of abuse. Wishing you all the very best!

SSG said...

living with someone that is on your side, that is a great phrase and a great thing you have there. It is so good to be part of a team. And I can relate to you, I am a "pleaser" too, and always try to change myself and dont feel good enough and want to be the best for the other person. I hope, like you did, that I am changing and learning to like me more and not feel so bad. You and your husband are a team and can achieve much together, I hope you can both be strong and put this behind you. No-one deserves to be treated the way you were. How these people acted is wrong on so many levels. I wonder why we have to go through much "walking on eggshells" and feelings of inadequacy, why it takes so long, before we can be happier again and find a nice person to have on your side. You never know til its too late, when I got married I did it for all the wrong reasons, with the wrong person, but it wasn;t til 3 years later I realised it.

~sWaMpY~ said...

I read this post the day it was posted but didn't leave a comment because I just didn't have the words of comfort I that thought might help. I've thought about this ever since and decided to come back and leave this...(it is from a session I had with Dr. Phil many many years ago when I was felt like I was walking through hell)...I hope you take it in a positive way and know that I leave these words wrapped in hugs for you... "When you allow a person to cause you so much anger and pain and hurt and turmoil, etc., you have given THAT PERSON control of your life."
I have a toxic person in my life who I've had to learn to look at in a "generic" fashion. It's not easy and takes a long time and a lot of focusing on the positive other things in your life. Your thoughts are your reality and when those thoughts are negative toward someone else, you are adding that toxicity into your body.
You know you have succeeded in untangling yourself from these toxic tentactles when you can look at THAT PERSON with sympathy.
Question: How much of your day is spent thinking about some aspect of THAT PERSON?
Try to focus on happy thoughts when she starts creeping into your mind.