Monday, May 23, 2011

It's not just a T shirt.

I have been having writers block on any kind of funny story for a week or so now. So I am going to do something rare and be serious here today.

Run while you can. Its never pretty when I get serious.

I am a slooooooooooooow learner. I also have the curse of empathy. I can feel others pain. Damn it.

Back in the late 80's I lived in Little Rock Arkansas. I don't know how much has changed since then but at that time Arkansas had three things going for it. It was a state of natural beauty, it was the most overtly racist place I ever lived (I could write a slew of depressing posts on that topic alone) and like racism wife beating was common and socially acceptable

I volunteered at a battered women's shelter in Little Rock for a little while. After the fourth time I watched a lovely intelligent women come in battered and bloody then GO HOME with the sick sumbish a few days later (He has changed now!) I really could not take it anymore. I simply am not tough enough. That stupid empathy thing.

Fast forward a few years.

A nice young couple moved in next door. They had been there about a month or so when on a Saturday night I was sitting on my porch drinking a beer. Their kitchen curtains were open about 3 or 4 inches and a fast movement past the curtain caught my eye. He had her by her long hair pulling it back and down to turn her face upward making it much easier to smack around.

I am not a violent man (I'm sticking to that story too) and this guy was ten years younger than me and in far better physical shape. Logic was in no way involved though. I was seeing though this small red tunnel filled with floating white dots as I bashed in through his front door. At that point he had her by the throat but he audaciously yells at me "What they fuck do you think you're doing?"

As I strode purposefully across the front room to the kitchen I did not answer out loud but I was thinking "About to get my ass kicked by a much younger stronger guy!"

I guess something about my demeanor tipped him off though because suddenly he let go of her, dropped to the floor, curled up into a fetal position and started begging me not to hurt him. I do not mean laid down, I mean he DROPPED to the floor. I had been bracing to get my ass kicked so I was taken aback just a bit.

The words of my hero/philosopher Robert A. Heinlein popped into my head at that moment- "Bullies do not want to fight, they just want to hurt people." Ah that explains his behavior but sadly that sword cuts both ways. At that moment I was a bully because all I wanted to do was hurt him. What have I become? All my fury for the bastard evaporated once I realized what a worthless little chicken shit he really was cowering and begging on the floor. Well for a few milliseconds. Then I looked up at her bloody face and then I was on the floor too whaling on his crying curled up ass. Wish I could say I regret my loss of control but beating a wife beater feels good. Feels damn good.

Guess who grabbed my arms and begged me to stop? I'll never forget those words "STOP! Your hurting him!"

It was the women's shelter all over again.

I stopped for her but I made him grab some clothes and leave. He tried to come back a few times but as soon as he pulled in his drive way the tunnel vision would return and out my door I would charge. Then he would rapidly back out of the drive way. After a week or two of this I started to think "Maybe, just maybe  I can save just this one."

Ah self delusion is so important!

She moved out so she could be with him again. She was nice enough though to stop by my house while the movers were loading up to let me know that she could not stand to live next door to me anymore what with my interfering with her life and oh, yeah, she *hated* me for the damage I did to her relationship.

How sweet of her.

Fast forward a few years.

My littlest sister married one of these bastards.

That is all I have to say about that.

Fast forward a few years to a month ago...

Remember my story "Tall Tales"- Read the first 5 paragraphs again.

As I said in the story I made several friends that night including the attractive blond showing off her scars and her husband. I have spent several evenings at their house since.

I had uneasy feelings though and stopped going over there.

The last two Saturday nights in a row. I have been awakened by the girl with the scars asking for help. At least she is smart enough to run out of the house mid beating. Then she calls me and like the slow learning dumb ass I am I crawl out of a warm comfy bed to get her and take her someplace safe and listen to her woes.

Both times she is back with him within 24 hours.

So how many decades does it take a nerdy redneck to learn? ">= 4"

The tough question is what am I gonna do next time? I tell myself I won't even answer the damned phone and just go back to sleep.

But I know I won't.

Self delusion is so important though.

Speaking of which- why the fuck do these women go back to their abusers? My mom did things to me until I grew up enough that I was physically strong enough to stop her. When I was 16 I joined the Air Force and got away from her and never, EVER went back.

When I went to her funeral my relatives kept saying to me "My god, you are so strong! How can you not cry at your own mothers funeral" I would just stare at them. They were there. Ya know when I "fell" through the glass coffee table or when I ran into that door and got all those stitches in the side of my head.   The question is why would I cry at her funeral. But I guess it's hard to believe your sister/wife/aunt/niece is a monster so you wonder aloud what is wrong with ME not to cry at her funeral.

Self delusion is so important.

But no, I'm not bitter, why do you ask? :)

Thanks for letting me blitch tho. Wish I could say I felt better now. 26 hours of sleep did not help either. I had a bout of hysterical laughter going last night. That might of helped but apparently hysterical laughter is disturbing to the roommates. Go figure. My bad.

Damned Empathy!

Ok, I will try to be funny (well as close as I get to it anyway) again soon.


Jenn3128 said...

I think its easier for them to go back then to try and find a new road. It's so easy to get stuck. I say, don't give up, you never know when you might help.

Erika said...

It's frickin' hard to be alone! But despite your friend going back, having you to rely on (over and over again) may make the ultimate difference in the long term. It doesn't feel like you're making progress, but you may be.

tammy said...

I knew all along you were a good guy.

It's sad & frustrating when they won't, or can't help themselves stay out of an abusive relationship. I agree with Erika, just keep doing what you're doing, maybe one day it will make a difference.

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

I don't understand it either. I have been fortunate enough to not ever have been in a physically abusive relationship, but mentally abusive? That's another story altogether. It made it damn hard for Mr. Dizzy when he started coming around and things started to look serious.....I kept pushing him away. But, he stayed there and I was finally able to see he for the good guy he is. And here we are 25 years later (tomorrow, actually!) and I would marry him all over again, because he makes it so damned easy! :)

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Oh, and? I agree with Tammy. You are a good guy.

Lap Band Gal said...

Thanks for your humorous/funny comment on my blog today :)

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

@Jenn - Yeah, you never know, a few more decades of this and it just might work out sometime.

@Erika - Harder than being a punching bag?

@tammy - OK, I'll give it another 20 years of effort but NO MORE!

@Mz. Lizzy - OK, I'll give it another 20 years of effort but NO MORE! LOL

@LBG - Huh? Funny? You thought that was a joke? :)

Crazymamaof6 said...

Way to go Rob. You are a good guy but I knew that.

Some people get stuck in the cycle. Leaving is hard. They like the attention that pity gets them. They don't know a better way. They believe the bull the abuser tells them.

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

@ Crazymama - Thank you Julie. You know it has always been a personal philosophy of mine that there is no one correct answer to any given problem. So your variety of answers not only make perfect sense but fit my overall philosophy as well!

jinksto said...

I think the others are spot on...

Nailing the fire exit shut to keep people using the fire stairs as a smoking area doesn't help anyone when there's a fire.

Letting the abuse of your friendship continue can't happen either. As others have noted it's a safety valve that gives her a quick out and an easy way back in. "he was mad, I made him mad, he didn't really hurt me, I just got scared and left"

Keep the door open, make the questions hard. Explain the pain that this causes you and then tell her that you're glad to suffer that pain. Show her that men aren't abusers... abusers are. It's an escalating conversation every time it happens. In the end you're going to have to ask her what color flowers she wants you to send to her funeral.

She HAS to get that this is not normal. That men exist who care for women rather than hitting them.

I want to say that you should call the cops for her when she calls you but that'd be the same as telling her not to call. So probably not.

It's a tough situation my friend. I don't envy you.

The way I would deal with it would be... different. It would also be wrong.

The Onion said...

I am really behind on my post reading and will admit to skimming...until your post. It's so hard not to get involved in those situations, but what emotional hostage taking. There is a statistic that says it takes the abused spouse 7 times before being successful.

I am sorry for your Mother's abuse. No one should have to deal with that as an adult, let alone a child. Huggin' ya.

Justin said...

Thanks so much for sharing this.

My wife has a mother who is often very emotionally-abusive to her family. She's always been that way. She has some very diagnosable personality disorders and mental illness (and she's convinced she's not the problem). For the longest time, my wife felt that as the oldest daughter, she had a role to play in the family, and as such she needed to put up with the abuse from her mom.

Like the battered woman going back to her husband because "he's really not that bad," or because she really wanted that relationship, we continued to answer the phone when my mother-in-law would call. We continued to go to their house for Sunday dinners, even though we dreaded it. We would often think "Maybe this phone call or family gathering will be different." Sometimes it was, but usually it was more of the meanness. And you never knew who was going to get the bulk of her crap.

We have now moved on. We don't answer when she calls, and we've broken off communication. It's better for us to keep our distance and try to retain some positive memories of the nice times with that family. Otherwise, if we try to talk to her or spend any time with her at all, we just end up hating her more.

After 11 years of marriage, we feel we have finally succeeded in cutting ourselves off from her.

This new freedom is fantastic!

And, similar to you at your mother's funeral, we really don't know if we'll be sad when my mother-in-law dies.

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

@VC Jinksto - Thanks for the long and thoughtful reply. I *loved* your concluding line!

@The Onion - OOO0000 thanks for the hug! I needed it.

"Emotional Hostage" Like my virtual Cuz's last line I LOVE that term.

@Justin - I am overwhelmed at all the quality comments here. Thank you so much for yours. Thank you for sharing as well. I only hope things get to the point where you will cry at her funeral.

What a small goal to have in life, "May my children cry at my funeral" such a small thing and yet some people fall short of it. A very sad thought.