But “He Said He Loves Me,” Lies from the Pit of Hell, and Boiling Frogs

love and lie

I’m not into telling people how to live their lives.  If I had the cash to buy myself a remote mountain retreat with an indoor pool, hot tub and Internet access to have everything I need delivered to me, believe me, the only people I would communicate with or see face to face would be people I want around.  That would be less than 3 people on most days, up to a maximum of maybe 10.  Quality matters a lot more than quantity as far as humans with whom I choose to share physical space.

I think that sometimes my outlook has to do with the fact that I am still recovering from and will always probably be recovering from the effects of toxic relationships.  I have been bitten enough times to be a lot more than twice shy.

My default in relating to other humans, if you are familiar with the first stage of Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development, is mistrust. As far as being in my inner circle, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.  It’s practical and it’s pragmatic on my part to be wary, especially if you have endured what I have endured at the hands and whims of others.

I don’t share this to troll for pity.  I don’t want anyone’s pity.  For the first time in my life (and that’s 50 years, folks) I am thankful for where my life is right now, and for what I am NOT putting up with.  I am not getting the hell beaten out of me by older siblings and by the kids at school.  I am not working for psychotic, coke-head bosses, nor am I working 80+ hours a week for a pathetically inadequate salary.

I am not married to an idiot who didn’t want his own son and proved it by signing off his parental rights for the low, low price of $7500.00 in back support.  I am not married to a drunken sot (who admittedly was a slight improvement over idiot #1) who put on a good show in front of people, but behind closed doors engaged in more than enough verbal, emotional, financial, and yes, even physical abuse at times over twenty years to last many lifetimes.

boiling frog

I’ve seen the metaphor of a frog in boiling water- the hotter the water gets the more of a tolerance the frog has, until he just boils to death.  I didn’t know what normal was, so as the heat got hotter I blamed myself.  I tried harder. If I could just do more, earn more, if I could be something other than a frumpy klutzy nearsighted scared puppy…

It wasn’t normal to have to sleep in the car because of the loud music and tirades in the middle of the night.  But he claimed to love me. So I slept in the car many nights.

It wasn’t normal to be tossed around by the hair.  But he claimed to love me. So I cut my hair super short, so he wouldn’t be able to get a grip on it.

It wasn’t normal to make excuses for Jerry’s drunken behavior or to try to mediate between him and his drunken friends.  But even through his drunken stupidity- he claimed to love me. So I kept making excuses.

It wasn’t normal to clean up after a 40 or 50 something year old man with the toileting skills of a toddler and a supreme ability to trash an entire house in minutes. But he claimed to love me. So I kept cleaning up after him.

It wasn’t normal to be ordered to do laundry, cook and clean right after coming home from major surgery. But he claimed to love me.  So I tried to do what he wanted even when it was against medical advice.

I didn’t have the clarity of mind or the sense of outrage I should have had to simply get out of the boiling water and to jump out of the pot.

Nothing was ever enough. By the time Jerry died I finally understood that there was nothing I could have done that would have been good enough to keep him from abusing me. Whatever was in his psyche that caused his behavior didn’t mean I had to stand and take it.

It’s easy to see the best course of action from the outside of the hot pot- get the hell out- but when you’re on the inside of it, it’s normal, it’s familiar, it is reality, even if it’s killing you.

I made excuses with the best of them.  I was afraid of losing my housing- which was a very real fear because the house we lived in was provided by Jerry’s employer.  I was afraid of being alone.  I felt worthless because he kept telling me how nobody else would want a weird and physically “damaged” person like me and that I should be grateful for him.

He mocked me because of my surgical scars and reminded me constantly how physically unattractive I am.

The longer he’s been gone, the more I can see the bullshit and lies more clearly.

I can look into the boiling pot from the outside and say no way in hell am I going to land in there again.

If anything I would want to teach by example, even if the example is of what NOT to do.

Don’t stand for being degraded and controlled.

Fight for your child(ren) to the death no matter what that might look like.

Remember that you have the right not to be abused.

 

 

 

 

People Are Frustrating and Vexing, but Solitude Brings a Strange Kind of Fun

  warmandfuzzy

I am not the poster child for things touchy-feely.  I loathe strange people touching me (even getting my hair cut is an adventure, though I endure it because I can’t cut my own hair with any degree of accuracy) and generally I’m not too thrilled about being groped by those I do know.  Unless they’re dogs, and that’s OK.  Why, I don’t know, but dogs are safe, at least for me.  Even when I was a little kid and was terrified of the world, from my sadistic oldest sister to unauthorized insect life, I had no problem climbing the fence and snuggling up to a 120# Rottweiler.

rottweiler

It’s not usually the big dogs you have to worry about.  Unless you’re up to mischief, that is.

The only dog I can remember having any kind of problem with was Andy the Chihuahua, but he was likely the product of many generations of inbreeding, and from the moment he was whelped he was certifiably messed up in the head.  He was my cousins’ dog, and even they couldn’t touch him.  It’s a good thing that pathetic little Andy, with his  high-pitched, constant and annoying yappy voice, severe underbite and thick cataracts,  (I think the wretched thing was born blind) didn’t live past the age of five. I’m surprised he lived as long as he did.   I think the only thing that saved him was that he was too evil for the cats to eat him.  He reminded me of a wind-up toy with an over-wound spring.  Such a toy will go like blue blazes- for a little while- then it just dies suddenly.  I think it was reported that poor Andy bit the big one mid-yap.  I don’t think he was very much missed.

psycho chihuahua

Andy the psycho Chihuahua is the exception, not the rule in the canine world.  Humanity is the exact opposite.

There is a sad irony that I feel safer with animals that technically are the same species as wolves (canis lupus familiaris is not far removed from canis lupus lupus after all) than I do with fellow humans.  But I do.

I’ve gathered from my own observations that “normal” people (begging the question, “Who defines ‘normal’?,” though I know I am most certainly anything but “normal”) generally have an easy time relating to other “normal” people.   While I’m usually looking for excuses to avoid excessive social interaction, as too much of playing that game wears me out, the “normals” blithely seek out more opportunities to be in each others’ faces.    I have to work at the communication game.  Really. Hard.  I have to consciously know which façade to pull out, and what (figurative) costume to wear for which occasion.

I have to pay attention to things that come instinctually to most, such as eye contact and body language and tone of voice. Otherwise, if I’m not paying attention, I just stare straight ahead and bellow out everything in a loud monotone.  I have acquired social skills- and over the years I’ve trained myself to practice them well- but that whole hoo-hah wears me down, just as the social dance energizes most people.

hermit

Sometimes I’d like to tell the whole world to bite me sideways and say screw it all, (and I would if I had the scratch to live as a recluse) but necessity dictates that I have to put up with other people and their shit.  Maybe it’s wrong or arrogant or selfish of me to see things that way, but that’s just the way it is.  That’s my reality-constant vigilance and constant anxiety, because I have to pay close attention to every word and every movement, at least when I am under others’ scrutiny.

Maybe that was where Shakespeare got the notion that all the world’s a stage.  Performing is hard work, and sometimes I just don’t wanna.

I don’t have to play the game with dogs- or even cats for that matter.   With them I can just be.

There are times I do enjoy the relational hoo-hah and find it a strange kind of fun, but it’s fun that I really only need in small doses, and even when I do enjoy it, it wears me out.  Right now I’m exhausted, and in a way I wish I could beg off human contact for a few months or so.

14corolla

What I really need is a nice, long solitary road trip.

I could use one of those trips where I leave, go somewhere randomly, do whatever, and then come back.  The last time I really did that was back in 1987, and I caught hell for it.  Of course, going 500 miles out with $150,  in a car that had no air conditioning, leaked oil horribly, had 4 balding (different sizes and treads) tires and a top speed of 45 MPH wasn’t a good idea and I wouldn’t dream of trying it today, especially without a phone, but those were different times.   Cell phones were expensive toys hard mounted in expensive cars back in 1987.  I was a young punk and wanted to do what I wanted to do, even if I didn’t have much scratch and my car was a very distressed, high mileage ’79 Subaru DL.   Today I would be afraid of being raped and robbed (well, in my case, probably just robbed and shot) if I would happen to get stranded.  Today I have plastic (though I am quite loath to use it) a modern car, a phone, GPS, roadside assistance and a (always loaded) .357 Magnum.

I’m not nearly as trusting as I used to be.

Jerry would have nine kinds of fits if I did something like that.  He would accuse me of being out trysting with some smoking hot young stud even though he (especially) should know I have the sex appeal of stale saltines and wet socks.    In reality he would miss subjecting me to his tirades, and would miss me fetching his food and beer.

Yes, a solitary road trip would be most delicious.  Even a day trip would be good.