the ex-mil is dying. the woman who verbally and psychologically abused me the entire time i was married to her son probably won't make it through tomorrow. i'm almost glad. i almost see the problems she's had lately as a karmic response to the abuse and anger and bitterness she heaped out on other people. my only concern is making peace.
okay, not my only concern. i am concerned about my kids too, particularly the little ones. the older ones are fairly close to the same place i've been, particularly kitten. kitten hasn't seen her, or wanted to see her, since before she went into the nursing home. she got tired of grandam's mouth. grandma would bad mouth me while they were there, she was abusive to their father, for all i know she finally started being abusive to the kids. for grandma, kids hit a certain age and become as much fair game as anyone else. i can still remember how she expressed her disapproval for another grandchild whose hair turned redder as she got older. grandma thought she dyed it and let everyone know in no uncertain terms she was stupid for choosing that particular color. i knew then that my own kids were in trouble, that they too would eventually become verbal punching bags. i'm not sure if jewel hit the age for that kind of thing, but i know kitten had.
i told kitten to ask dad to make an appointment with her counselor. she made a comment about wanting a female doctor, so i told her to ask dad about that too. i hope she does, she has a lot of resentment towards grandma. she needs to make peace more than i do.
i've moved past victim to survivor. but i don't think i've made peace with any of it. i still have to fight the things she said about me, still have to deal with the memories. i still get just as upset when i think of some of those things like the day she followed me into my room and would not leave until her oldest son and husband came and took her out. her parting shot, "well! i never get that emotional!" she had been in my private bedroom trying to talk to me after a 12 hour shift and refusing to leave for over 45 minutes. to say i lost my top would be putting it mildly. her whole point to the visit? that she controlled our housing. which she did at the time, she just wanted to make sure i knew it.
then there's the times in the car or at her home when she had to make sure i knew how stupid i was. my opinions meant nothing and there was no possible way i could actually have studied anything enough to know what i was talking about. i eventually got to the point where i told my ex that i was never going any place with her in a car again and that i would hold onto the keys while we were at her house. i was never getting trapped anywhere with her again. i left her house more than once, and even left my own place a few times just to get away from her abuse.
then there was the bid to control my children's lives. i was a home schooler and she completely disagreed with it. she had reported me to the truancy department. i called the rutherford institute and they worked something out with the district that allowed me to homeschool. i know that must have stuck in the old woman's throat. then her oldest son bumped my rent up $200 3 days before it was due. i couldn't pay it, they knew i couldn't pay it. i went to the local social welfare office to file for homelessness help. when they called her, she indicated that i was homeless because i refused to pay the rent - nothing about a rent hike or that i had no time to come up with the money. so the homeless worker refused to help me find a new place. i was finally forced to sign a lease agreement with the ex's parents. she added the following to the agreement: i agree to send my children to such and such school or be evicted from the home. there was absolutely nothing i could do. i signed and lost my control over my kids education.
i still remember the day i finally started taking my life back from her. i don't remember what she called about, i do know she started in on me again with the bullshit.
me: okay, that's it. you will speak to me with respect or i will hang up.
her: don't you dare hang up on me!
me: then you will stop talking to me like this.
her: i will talk to you any way i please!
click. phone rings.
her: don't you ever do that again!
i think she called once or twice more, then she never spoke to me in a disrespectful manner on the phone again. i took control. shortly after, i took control of going anywhere in the car, then having the keys so i could bail. it wasn't enough to save our marriage, but it eventually saved me.
maybe i don't need to make peace. she took a lot of confidence out of me. when i finally got away from her, i believed the tapes she put in my head: i was a miserable, worthless human being who didn't know how to raise my children, could never have a valid opinion in my head, and wasn't smart enough to actually learn anything. i know much differently now. i have come a long way. i have value. i have found my place, my foundation to my happiness. i'm doing just fine with my kids. i haven't been able to homeschool, but that has more to do with finances than ability - i know i would have done just fine if i could have afforded it. and i know my limits. my son would have gone to school regardless. my opinions are valid and i am graduating with honors. i learn, i know, i am smart, creative, and talented. she tried to take that all away and i've taken it all back and then some.
maybe that's the only peace i need.
and maybe the tears i cry now are for the anger and bitterness i still hold inside and need to let go of. maybe the real peace that i need will be a long time in coming, or maybe it will all finally wash away when she goes.
when you're an abuse survivor, it's the same as any other kind of survivor. you take it one day at a time.
having its original qualities unimpaired as (1) full of or renewed in vigor, (2) not stale, sour, or decayed, (3) not faded, (4) not worn or rumpled; not altered by processing; not salt; free (1) from taint (pure), (2) of wind; experienced, made, or received newly or anew; additional, another; original, vivid; lacking experience, raw; newly or just come or arrived; having the milk flow recently established <a fresh cow>