Abuse me once….

There’s an old saying; “trick me once, shame on you, trick me twice, shame on me. It is sage wisdom that holds up to the test of time. To be tricked, is to not know what is being perpetrated upon you, so it’s not your fault. Ah, but to let it happen again, that’s on you. When someone show’s you their true intentions, or lack of integrity, take notice! With verbal and emotional abuse, you need to be even more diligent because it’s not always so apparent. If a partner is abusive once, there should be no opportunity for him* to abuse you again. NONE. Because he will, and you will either make excuses, or it will become an insidious type of abuse that you don’t even really realize is happening, until you have either wasted so much time or have become trapped, or worse.

I write of what I know. I did not have many male role models in my life and the lacking somehow caused me to put men up on a pedestal. If only my father had lived to see my fourth birthday, I knew my life would have been so different. Not that my life was bad, but I had a deep aching for a male figure and the sort of love that only a father can give. As a young girl, my favorite Uncle would visit from South America. Each time he left, I was bereft down to the core. I would cry and cry. In the 1960’s, it was not common place to send a child to counseling, but I clearly needed it; just to sort out my confused ideas as well as properly grieve my father’s death, which was never really explained to me. He collapsed from a stroke and then I just never saw him again.

Upon becoming a young woman, the desire for a father figure morphed into the desire for a husband figure. I was 14 and my first boyfriend was five years my senior. We dated for 3 years and not until he was faced with the idea of losing me did he ever treat me with the kindness and respect that every young woman deserves. It’s important to know that the pattern of accepting abuse begins somewhere, so you need to stop it before it starts. For me, the worst incident was during a verbal argument in his car, he drove to a scarey state mental institution. He took me to the gates, told me that’s where I belonged and forced me out of the car. It was terrifying. There were no cell phones, it was too far to walk and it was pitch black out for God’s sake! I never told anyone about this, because I felt ashamed, like I somehow deserved it. This was the behavior of a manipulative bully. He made me feel like I had no control and left me in an unsafe position. I suppose he came back to pick me up, I don’t remember, but I do remember I continued to go out with him.

I was clearly in an inferior position; I was younger, naïve, and cared more about the relationship than he did….until I didn’t. And THAT is when I regained my power. Suddenly, I was treated like a princess, taken out and showered with gifts. This is fairly typical behavior of an abuser. When I finally cut the cord, he “escalated” humiliating me and physically attacking me. Not so bad that anyone took notice; and I will admit I hid it. He ripped my bathing suit top off of me in my front yard, as my mother lie in a hospital bed in the back room of our house. He ripped it so hard that he gave me a “rug burn.” Driving off in his hot shot car, he left me in shame to gather the strips of fabric and run inside before any of my neighbors saw what had transpired. I quietly opened that back door, slipped past my gravely ill mother and went upstairs to get dressed and wash the tears from my face.

Later standing outside my house with my best friend, he came back and threw a $20 bill at my feet. “Buy yourself a new suit,” he said, without an ounce of remorse, as if that fixed it. He drove away staring at me with venomously. As soon as he drove away, I took the bill and ripped it to shreds so he could see. He reversed the car, got out, and twisted my arm till I was on my knees, forcing me to pick up the tattered bits of currency. Once he was gone, I made a joke of it to my friend; found every last piece, taped it together, swung it in the air, and triumphantly said “Grateful Dead tickets, on me!” I never wanted my pain to be seen or appear weak. So humor was my armour.

The next boyfriend didn’t come for a year or so. He was no charm either. He was a controlling, cheater, who was “OK” as long as I played by his rules; if I didn’t, he was cruel and vengeful. (Thankfully it didn’t last long because I truly fell in love and that relationship got me away from him.) I don’t blame myself, but I accept responsibility for my part in it. That is important to me in order to heal.

This pattern would continue despite my best efforts to halt it. Some of these men went on to be, to the best of my knowledge, good husbands and fathers. Maybe it was me? So when it came time to choose a permanent life mate, I picked someone totally different. Guess what? He was the worst of all, and genuinely was a danger to women.

So, what does this have to do with you? There are many reasons people tolerate bad behavior; mine were very low self esteem as well as a lack of any healthy “couple” role models. We don’t even realize we are accepting abuse because we don’t have a healthy frame of reference. We make excuses, put other people’s feelings ahead of our own, or just start a bad pattern at a young age and never know how to fix it. I tried to fix mine, and I made it worse!!

I’ve gone to many Billy Joel concerts in my life and he ALWAYS closes the show by saying “and remember, don’t take any shit from anybody.” He has told millions of people that countless times. It’s such simple advice. If you are not treated with the respect you deserve, that is NOT love. You will just end up feeling worse and worse about yourself , till you end up with a full fledged batterer, mental abuser, or emotional terrorist. That charismatic, handsome, person who stole your heart is not going to suddenly become thoughtful, considerate, and kind if he did not start out that way. Most abusers are in fact usually quite charming and adept at gaining trust. With time, however, they subtley change and we grow to accept behavior that would make us cringe if we were to witness someone else as the recipient.

No matter what age you are, think about this. Abuse can be blatant or subtle. Learn the signs!

  1. Teasing or putting you down in front of others
  2. Caring so much about you that you feel smothered
  3. Controlling what you wear or your hairstyle
  4. Undermining your hopes and dreams (belittling you)
  5. Cutting you off from any friends or family (isolation)
  6. Making you think YOU are the one with the problem (this is called gas lighting in extreme cases)
  7. Trying to make you doubt your own perceptions (crazy making)
  8. Extreme jealousy (controlling)

Now this might all sound very obvious or benign, but it’s not. Most abusers who do not seek help, do not suddenly get better. Remember my first story? He showered me with attention and did a total 180 degrees, however, when his efforts didn’t work, he got violent. Was I fearful for my life? No, but we live in different times. Bad behavior in general has become more accepted. Domestic violence is an incredible and growing problem that is, in my opinion, not being addressed seriously enough. One in three women murdered were killed by an intimate partner. It is for this reason that we need to talk to our young girls about relationships before they start dating. Teaching them boundaries and self respect will help them to pick suitable mates as well as friends in general. Point out unacceptable behavior when the opportunities arise. Encouraging young women to seek other outlets that are as equally fulfilling as a relationship will give them much needed balance in there life, such as career, hobbies, friends, etc.

Abuse me once – you showed your hand. That’s it! – Easy for me to say, because I only see this in retrospect, with a lot of counseling, and more than “a little help from my friends.” In my golden years, I remain alone by choice and am taking the time to discover my true passions. There is no one like you! YOU deserve a happy life that includes neither pain nor abuse. Choose wisely, and when necessary walk away quickly. Trust me! It will be awful, but honestly, there is a happier ending waiting for you down the road. And it might not even involve a man. YOU get to choose the life you want. And honestly, don’t take any shit from anybody!

  • Authors note: This article was written for a site for women, but men are abused in relationships as well. If you are a victim of abuse – please reach out to a professional or a local support agency.

Reprinted by permission © 2017 scrappygirllifehacks.com  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Hello c-ptsd. Who the hell are YOU?

When I was three years old, the day after the last happy Christmas I ever remember, the world went black. It was bright and brisk and my father stood in his gray tweed winter coat, off to get groceries. I was the outcasted baby. “Daddy, they won’t let me play with the track set!!” His eyes twinkled. “Aw come on guys, let the little one play!” He gave me a snuggle and off he went to do my mother’s bidding. That was the last time I would ever see my father upright.

My older brother and sister continued playing with an incredibly cool racing car set; cutting edge for 1964. Why were there only 2 cars??? I went up to my parents room. My mother was not such an ally. Concentrating on her paperwork as I lamented the injustices that an almost four year old, youngest child must face, she basically ignored me. Suddenly, my brother, ashen faced, came running up the stairs and my mother was down the steps in a sprint. If words were exchanged, they eluded me, but even a three year old can understand urgency.

Downstairs, in our foyer, on a mustard plaid tufted couch, that I would kill to find on craigslist today, lay my sweet, crumpled father. I stood in the doorway with my sister as we watched my mother kneeling beside him, not quite sure what she was doing. I could hear my terrified 12 year old brother as he fumbled with a rotary phone, desperately trying to reach the operator to get an ambulance. I felt bad for my car hogging brother. “Is he going to die?” I whispered to my sister. The words left my lips, even though I had no idea what they meant.

My father’s relatives came; stoic stern figures, nothing like my always jolly, playful, daddy. My mother was whisked away in a white ambulance. Dusk had turned to night. It was as if my father took the glow of day with him, forever, and I was left with these odd, cold, people who had apparently hosted us 24 hours previously. Us three kids were in our rooms, sent to bed. In my crib, I heard hushed tones in the hall outside my room. It was dark, it was bad. I fell into a fitful sleep and never slept a dreamless peaceful night again.

Five months later, it was spring. I heard the mail slot clink and ran to pick up a pile of letters.. I brought them excitedly to my mother. I am not sure what was in that pile, perhaps a hospital bill, or a Social Security check, maybe nothing, but something made me ask “when is Daddy coming home?” My mother was shocked. I supposed she had told me already, that he died that night, the day after the best Christmas ever. If she did, I didn’t remember. Somehow, in some sort of brain glitch, for many years my mind believed that in that pile of papers lay the horrible truth that my father was gone forever.

It’s funny what kids think when they don’t know the truth about anything; trying to piece the world together from snippets of random information. Years later I found out we weren’t told till after the funeral that my father had had a stroke; not particularly fair for my 12 year old brother, and not particularly enlightened for my Dr. Spock reading mother.The word “closure” was not not in use yet, but I am reasonably certain that we didn’t get any. And so, that is basically how my life began.

Twenty years of therapy unearthed the notion that maybe, just maybe, this is when my horrific sleeping problems started. I can pretty safely say that in the middle of the 1960’s when I lost my dear sweet father so suddenly, who I would never truly know, my complex – ptsd began. But no such thing existed back then. If a mental “wound” develops before we know what it is – is it sort of like when a tree falls in the woods?

Hello C-ptsd – I wish I never met you.

PHOTO CREDIT: The Atlantic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Counseling


Words CRUSH – even years later.

In July of 2007, my borderline personality ex took his own life. I was left to sort through the wreakage that he left behind. For a person that was neither highly educated nor intuitive, he carefully and methodically spent months brilliantly preparing his dramatic exit, so that the world would continue to see him as the victim and those he loathed as villains. What kind of distruction did he leave in his spiteful maniacal path? Only time would tell, and only those enlightened few will notice!

Hmmmm, how do you exact revenge from the grave on those you leave behind?  Murder/suicide is often the headline grabbing choice, but maybe you would rather be more subtle. Maybe you don’t want your legacy to be that you were in fact a  cowardly  piece of excrement. So how can one obtain the greatest impact while preserving their “false self.”

Certainly you wouldn’t want to hurt your own children, but their mothers, ah ha! That’s who you need to punish and you hurt them the most via their own children. The fact that they are yours as well is incindental. Sorry, the kid’s are just a casualty in this war. So you will take their innocent souls, turn them against the people who might save them and infect them with our own insipid sick ramblings; twist them with your paranoid ideas.You have become very adept at this. You did it to their mothers. You do it to ANYONE who challenges you or gets in your way. You are good at it and YOU are a monster. It is second nature. So you proceed to make vegetable soup out of your childrens’ emotions; injecting them with your sick masogonistic, paranoid ideas. It doesn’t occur to you that you are the lowest piece of garbage on face of the earth. OR that hat they will struggle for years to feel good again or have healthy relationships. All that matters is that you will have the last laugh, and that you will come out smelling like a rose. Poor you, all the injustices you suffered, you could not bare it any longer.

So you leave this earth. You disinherit your kids, which isn’t even the worst of it. You turn everyone against them, leaving them with little to no support, except the mothers whom they’ve grown to hate (google Parental Alienation Syndrome). Some of these kids will thrive. Some will turn to drugs, or sex or crime, or gambling or become abusers themselves. Others will be perfect little soldiers; ideal citizens, until one day, a small thing, a semingly insignificant thing pushes them to the brink; and they crumble.

The people around them, who you brainwashed as well, will not connect the dots. They will not recognize your sick handywork after so many years. However, the mother’s will know, if they are smart and tried to learn about the devastating disorder that took over your personality and mind. They will know. But it won’t matter, because you have rendered them powerless. YOU have planted seeds of doubt and lies over the years.No one will take them seriously. THEY are hysterical, they are bitter, they are the reason you were forced to sink to such depths. (If you are reading this and a victim of abuse, please know that this is utter bullshit.)


So NOW the mess is left in the caregivers laps – (I speak as a mother because that is my perspective, but I am sure there are men who have endured the same hell.) We are left with angry, brainwashed, broken children. Grieving, confused, disenfranschised, they will not recieve the support they need because the dysfunctional families that spawned them will want to disavow any responsibility. No one will want to really look at how sick the individual was. Things like that don’t happen in a vacuum. Everyone in the family is infected in some way or another.The whole family needs help, but few get it. Everyone just wants this ugliness to be over. But it’s not.

For the people that truly love the children that are left behind, they won’t want to admit the extent of the damage. They will say well meaning things like “she will be fine!” “time heals all wounds” “it wasn’t that bad!” and the granddaddy of all ignorant insults “people go through much worse – they should be stronger.” There is nothing more frustrating than people who speak athoritatively about things they know nothing about. You will find this archaic narrow minded thinking most often, in my experience, in men over fifty. Do not turn to them – you will want to rip your own hair out and just feel more alone than you already do.

I don’t have answers – I have anger. But I will. There is no force greater than an angry mother lion. One thing that I HAVE learned through all this is that it is admittedly really hard for everyone involved to deal with mental illness, me included.You can’t help but second guess yourself. But when teens go on shooting rampages you will hear the echoing refrain “where were their mothers????? Someone MUST have known that something was wrong! ” We are an indignent jugdemental society, and until we educate ourselves and have some kind of compassion instead of judgement, we are all doomed. Do you know someone who is abusive to a child? Do we even know what abuse is anymore?

I was going to turn the focus of this blog towards autoimmune disease; the frustration and shame that is involved in it. Did you know that most autoimmune diseases start with trauma? I guess all people who let trauma effect them are weak. I am here to tell you – that’s utter nonsense AND you are not alone -The ignorant people who make you feel worse and try to blame it all on you can go fuck off….cause honestly – I have had it with this selfish, self involved society that doesn’t have a bit of compassion. My blessings to all of those who have suffered at the hands of a monster or who have had to watch silently while those they love suffer. I refuse to be powerless any longer. I wish everyone peace.

*****PHOTO CREDIT*****



How 2 Get Along with the Opposite Sex

Stay Friends! That’s it.

The photo connected with this post means so much to me. It is a picture of me with one of my best friends. It was taken shortly after Christmas last year. My dog had to be put to sleep after a long illness – I was alone – I couldn’t bare to bury him by myself. My friend Chip came over with his “girlfriend du jour,” helped me bury little Alvin while  the Beatles reaffirmed that “I get by with a little help with my friends.” The three of us gave him a lovely funeral, and the friendship of this man was as important to me as the friend I just lost.

These is something really special about a platonic relationship between a man and a woman. It transcends sociological and biological norms. It is something to be treasured, and I do.

How 2 Detach with Love

I am trying to catch up on my writing, so I am not quite sure why I picked this difficult subjuect matter. I can’t really give a quick tutorial on how to detach with love; there are so many variables. I can tell you, that in my life, this has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

We all encounter toxic people in our lives, unfortunately sometimes they are our bosses, our teachers, or even our parents. Sometimes they are friends we picked when we were young, with different priorities and ideas. They can be emotional vampires, manipilators, guilt mongers or shit stirrers, and as we grow up, we start to recognize them for what they truly are. The catch 22 is that by that time, we’ve grown to love them or, in the case of family, we’d never consider the option of detaching. We can love these peoplle, but sometimes, conitinuing an unhealthy relationship to keep the peace, is not at all peaceful. It’s a hard decision to make. Continue reading “How 2 Detach with Love”