Big Bully Boys

“You’re always at work!” a hateful soon-to-be X said to me.  He attempted to imprison me in one of rooms in my home — the one that was set up as the new income producing “guest room.”  It was OK if he was on call 24/7.  I worked 7/24, but my work never received respect. If he built something – it was an engineering feat.  When I painted walls and wood, it made everything come to life.  What did I hear?  “You just painted it . . .”

So cunning (con-ing) it was for me to pay rent in my own home – to work there.   Slowly, steadily my income was drained as I deposited my salary the  “joint account.”    I inquired about work outside the businesses to get additional income so I could have money.  Nope. “Just work your business more.”  So I did.  I worked and worked — and built and nurtured more amazing businesses.

It was just a few months earlier he said, “Get a job!”  Then came “You can’t afford this place” followed by “You don’t want to share the profits.”  — and those were the less ugly comments. The abuser used sever bullying and fear tactics to destroy everything I built for over 20 years.

The next-door un-neighborly lawyer joined in the stalking and harassment every Sunday afternoon that fateful summer of 2011.  4.5 years later, the knot is not officially untied.  Starting over has been the biggest challenge in my life to point. Yet, I always remember how precious it is to be free from attack. Freedom is a crucial element for living.

Stop Bullying in Schools Bullying stops here.

Advertisements

55 Alive

The number 55 may conjure up thoughts of control and restrictions.  A majority of state highways have the speed limit set at 55.  Studies over the years determined a reduction in fatal accidents after the highways reduced speed limits — from 65 & 60 down to 55.

My own state has a “Stay Alive – Drive 55” campaign to promote responsible driving, accident reduction and knowledge of traffic laws.   Citizens who want to reduce their auto insurance rates can participate in driver education courses about driving more defensively. The course is available to drivers age 55 and over.

Image Image

Drivers push the limits on the highways in a cat and mouse style game with law enforcement using the “everybody does it” expression to justify speeding.   I survived over 20 years with a person who used a radar detector to thwart authorities so he could drive anyway he chose — even at 140 mph — with ME in the car.   It was not exciting. It was not acceptable.  It was designed to show control and terrify me.   “I’m a good driver” wasn’t acceptable in response to my “Don’t drive like that with me in the car!”

Image

The paralegal who works in the law office that handled my divorce said I was the first person who cracked through the radar detector of control.   She was exceptionally perceptive in her analysis.   When someone has been as persistent and convincing through manipulation as a con-X — law enforcement and the legal system fail to recognize the pattern of abuse.  Until this year. . .

Anyone who is a survivor knows, physical wounds can be easier to heal than mental or financial abuse.   There has been an awareness of bullying in schools and communities, yet that information and knowledge lags far behind in a domestic relationship where an abuser is allowed to control through a license from the court.

55 is also the official age to be labeled a senior citizen.  Sure, when I was age 19, 30 seemed far off.  When I “reached” age 30, 40 seemed probable.   Then I “became” 40 — and 50 was likely.   This year I “turned” 55.    I celebrated — ALL day on my Birthday AND throughout the weekend.

I’m SO happy and relieved to be 55.

My future is uncertain at this moment, yet It IS certainly GREAT in comparison to living with abuse.   My father (d. 2009) , known as “Mr. Safety” asked me throughout my life: “Do you have enough money to live on?”

Image

“I secured my safety first, dad.” “I apologize for the money that was robbed from you and me”, I said when visiting his gravesite recently.  Now in the next few months, I expect that my financial future will be secured as well.  Not through revenge, greed or manipulative means, but through financial facts. This year is the beginning of a new life for me and that gives me hope for the brightest future ever.

55 and Alive to THRIVE.

More about being a “senior” in my next post . . .

Paint it Purple

This month is promoted with much ferver and funding as Cancer Awareness Month.  My local newspaper arrived on Monday — every page in PINK.   October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.    I doubt there will not be any purple pages printed providing information about “DV.”  It is still a taboo topic.  Victims are afraid to step forward.  It took 14 years after sexual abuse was perpetrated upon boys on a prominant state college campus for victims  to speak out.    Justice was finally served — and the healing could begin for the victims.

 

The same consideration is not given to a DV victim in a marriage — a wife. There is a legal loophole that the abuser has calculated to his advantage.  Police will not be worth the 911 call. The abuser will cover his tracks immediately, and no-one, including legal counsel will bother to address the seriousness of the crimes.  A wife becomes “marital property.” The cops and lawyers don’t want to admit that they won’t, can’t, don’t care to address the seriousness of the abuse.

For a majority of the population, it seems to be easier to address a physical illness than it is a mental or behavioral epidemic — abuse.  “Bullying” is the new catch phrase used to describe the problem rampant in schools.    I’ve even heard the dismissive comment “he knows how to push your buttons” — all in denial that vebal attacks as well as financial, sexual — all fit under the term ABUSE.   

“Unfortunately, rather than being a safe haven, the home remains one of the most dangerous places for many of our citizens,” says Attorney General Jim Hood from Mississippi.   

I’ve experienced the CONtrol from an abusive relationship first hand.  It was classic abuse — cooercive, conning, cunning.   In my case, I wasn’t even safe at work.

Love has no list.

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Bully Pulpit and Paper

A notice was in my in box from Facebook was waiting for me today. I don’t always have time to click and open all the notices, but this came from a long-time family member. There has been quite a lot of press for the last couple years about bullying. I contend that bullying is the precursor to abuse — so we need to keep working to train all ages to recognize and reduce bullying before all our lightly funded Domestic Violence Centers are even more overloaded with victims. My title’s history comes from an expression by Theodore Roosevelt from the early 1900s.  (He had trouble with his BULLYing wildlife — many were mounted on his walls.)

“A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now… even though they said………… they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home. Copy and paste this if you are against bullying.”

As a survivor of DV, education is only a step in providing important information. No matter how much we know and understand, there are ways a “bully” or full fledge abuser can be slow and cunning in their effect to slowly take over and work against another person. The signs are there, however they can be masked through “classic” techniques and many modern means.


Click here for instructions to make an origami swan.

The “crumpled paper” analogy provides a visual and physical teaching tool and will reach those who make the choice to apply it to their life long learning. Sadly, there will be some crumpled papers that will be tossed in a trash can, burned in a barrel, passed over by police — and lost to the legal system.

For those of us who stay true to a higher “CIVILized” character, the behavior of bullies has to be stopped before it becomes CRIMINAL. The line of demarcation is not very wide.

I experienced clever, slick long-term bullying within the walls of a former “marriage” and “home.” I also experienced first hand the bullying through insensitive funded institutions, community counsel and predatory placement of proprietors.

My final solution to the bulling I’ve had to bear?   Turn the crumpled paper in to an Origami swan!