Friday, February 29, 2008

I Am So Angry

I am sitting here in tears right now, so angry about the hurt I am seeing so many around me experiencing. I read AmyB's posts - on her blog and on the fora - and I hear the anguish, the pain, the sense of loss, and the sadness. I don't hear weak. I don't hear lost. I don't hear arrogant, either. I hear normal. Amy is not alone in this. There are many who have recently come out of the Kimpound who still feel that tug of the familiar.

Why do I care? Why does it move me? Because in them, I see me.

As I said in my last entry, abuse comes in many forms. But it is still abuse. And the repercussions are basically the same. Through my own experience I learned so very much. My hope is to be able to use that to encourage others - to give them maybe that one thing that they can hang on to, so they know there is nothing wrong with them, that they can break free of this.

Think of it like this. Most of us have known someone somewhere, usually a woman, who has been living with an abusive mate. Might be physically abusive, or maybe no physical to her violence, but emotionally abusive, or violent to things but not people. As an observer, we stand back and look at the situation and can't understand why she doesn't just leave. Pick up and walk out the door. We may have spent hours and hours talking to her. She calls us when he's "that way" again. But, for reasons we can't fathom, she either never leaves in the first place, or she does but her resolve quickly dissolves and she is right back again. Frankly, we get tired of it all. If she doesn't want to help herself, well, we just can't fix it for her. Eventually, we turn our backs on her. Or we start to ridicule her or belittle her for being weak, or a saddist, or whatever else. We don't understand, but we simply don't have the stomach to deal with it anymore. That woman may be our mother, our sister, our friend, our daughter.

What we don't realize is that she never thought she would end up that way. She never dreamed this would be her life. She didn't recognize it in the first place. Looking back she realizes there were signs, but she didn't heed them. She may even tell herself that she made her bed ... and as my mother used to tell me ... now sleep in it. And she certainly doesn't understand why she stays.

How do I know? What gives me the right to speak to any of this? Because there was a time in my life where I was her.

One day, I was standing in the kitchen, backed into a corner. The corner made by the kitchen counter and the cupboards. We were yelling at each other. Every button I had was being pushed - all at once. I became aware that the drawer with the knives was right next to me. All I had to do was open it ...

And that is the moment I knew it had to end. He had to go. I know without a doubt that the Hand of God intervened at that moment. I didn't open the drawer. Later that night, I opened the door. I wish I could say that ended it. It did not. It took much more. But after that night he never stepped foot in my house again. And even though the relationship was only 8 months old at that point, it has taken YEARS to move past it. I don't think I'll ever be the person I was before. Uneffected. I was so sure that I was smart - I had lived through so much to that point in my life. I had dealt with more things by that point than many people deal with in a lifetime, and done it with dignity and self respect (well, that one is questionable, in retrospect). I was way too savvy to ever be caught up in something like that - the big A word. Not me. And since it couldn't happen to me, then it must be something else. There was something I wasn't seeing - that if I could just see it, it would be better.

That feeling had more to do with me not being able to break away than any other factor, I believe. For me to walk away would be to admit that I wasn't able to care for myself the way I thought I could. That little voice inside me that protected me from harm failed me. That was very, very difficult to admit. I was vulnerable, and to me that was a dirty word. For me to admit that I had been decieved made me look at everything else around me, too. People that I thought were my friends, really weren't. For a period of time it was like I was walking on sinking and shifting sand. I'd put my foot on what I thought was a stable place only to discover that it was just an illusion.

Today, while I weep as I recognize the emotions that so many others are going through, I am thankful that I've been changed forever. Maybe most importantly, I am far more compassionate than I ever was before. I have had many opportunities to reach out to others and offer hope and support. And I've learned that in doing so, they may not change their circumstances. I can't make up their minds for them. They have to walk their own road. What I can offer them, though, is my story. Or glimpses of it, anyway. Enough for them to know that they aren't crazy. Man, I sure thought I was for awhile. I thought I was having a breakdown.

It is so important for those of you Kimkins survivors, who have gone through enough of the healing process that you feel whole again, to share your stories. I so encourage you to do so. Yes, it is risky. Someone might ridicule you. Someone might try to take advantage of you, thinking that you are weak. Some may try to con you. And you may allow yourself to believe in people who end up abusing that trust, which can cause other people to ridicule you. But someone, somewhere may just be saved by YOUR story. Your story told as only you can tell it.

And it is amazing how much healing comes through that. For one thing, it gives your experience meaning. I don't ask God "Why?" any more. When you watch someone else break through and you realize that your story played a tiny part in helping them do that, all the risk pales. And the "Why?" becomes crystal clear. I'm so very thankful that I serve a God that uses every little and big detail and experience for the good. That gives my life meaning. And those hurts become tools - tools in the hands of a living, loving God. Tools that bring healing to hurting people.

Sorry to ramble today, folks. Just feeling a bit emotional. Until Later ....