November 28, 2011
It is nearly impossible to get people to understand
People mean well. Those who share our lives with us want us to be happy and want us to have a good life, and this is the reason that at the same time and while they mean very well, they do not understand that every abuse victim and even abuse survivors do not need a cheering section – they need the people in their lives to at least listen to them even if they cannot fathom the reason why most abuse victims, even though they want to leave are afraid to. I know this monster very well, as this is the monster that, yes, even as the man can barely breathe without wheezing, I still am very afraid of him and it is two-fold these days, because of his health and because truly, someone who has limited time left in this lifetime really hasn’t a care in the world and truly has nothing to lose. The idea that if we run away we will be safe is only partially true. No one thinks about the idea that not everyone’s situation is the same even though everyone’s situation may have similarities.
This is not to imply that there is no and will be no escape – I have always maintained that everything in this life is temporary. There is always an end to everything, even and namely the experiences which hurt us and break our hearts, even the things that make us look at ourselves through shame colored lenses. Even if whatever happens, happens – nothing is forever except for Love. We Love our Selves and that is the main reason why anyone who has been the victim of someone else’s abusive hand or words or both seeks relief through escape, through (yikes) the arms of another person who will give them what they never really had, through whatever means it takes, and sometimes – no, not sometimes …all the time – we end up, 9 times out of 10, emerging victorious when all is said and done.
But there are still those in between times, those times where you are in the mindset that you need to plan your escape and you need to plan to do things differently because most assuredly there is nothing that is not in constant flux when living the life that I and many other abuse survivors have been through. You do what you must in order to get away from all that is your reality. You change what is your own so that instead of it being both of yours together there is something in your life that belongs to you and only to you, and usually it is an intangible thing that you seek out because the intangibles are the things that no one can touch but are also those things that mean so much to anyone who can now call themselves a survivor. I am a survivor. I have been told already by a Kahuna that I am part of what I am calling the “Great Mahele of the 21st Century”.
According to those in the know, the Great Mahele was meant as a means to ensure that the indigenous Hawaiians – the natives…my ancestral bloodline…would be recognized as the original landowners and made it so that they would not lose their rights to the ancestral lands. In that same line of thought I think of the current Universal climate in terms of things Spiritual as being the Great Mahele and epitomizes the idea that indeed, the meek are currently inheriting the earth and we are doing so in great numbers. While this is all fine and good, there is still the idea of the Now and the Now dictates all that is at this moment and at this moment there are a lot of people being victimized by the ones who they are emotionally dependent on and dependent not by choice but because after so long of being victimized they have come to the point where they have been worn down by the emotional batterings they have endured. This is not their giving up but is rather their letting go.
Never assume that by my saying that abuse survivors are letting go of their shit as meaning they are letting go of what they have been through – I promise you that is not what they are doing because you can never let go of something that teaches you as much as being the target of someone else’s demons. You never forget the first time that it happens, and you never forget the bewilderment of being both angry and intensely afraid, and you do not ever forget leaving and being found and returning to your attacker, not only to save your own life but also to keep your loved ones safe. After you have been threatened just one time and after you have been told who you are and after you have been hit just one time, in many cases, and even though a lot of victims do escape, even the ones who do escape will tell you that no matter what happens and no matter where you go to hide they find you. They find you and they promise you all kinds of stuff and then after they have lulled you into a false sense of security they begin to wear you down all over again because when you left you took away the control they had and now they are angrier and more ready to get their revenge on you no matter what. It is the eternal mind fuck.
You are never really free, either, because the memory is still there. You will live for the rest of your days with the memories of what you went through and it is up to you to do what you will with that experience. I chose to tell my story, to tell other survivors and current victims that yes, someone in the great big Universe gets it. I get it. I understand you. I know your fears and more, I know your frustrations, and many of your frustrations come from well meaning people who just cannot and do not understand why it is that you cannot leave as quickly as they would prefer that you would. I mean, this is not to say that it is never done, because it is done – I know. I have done it. And when he found me you can bet your okole that I was afraid, possibly more than I was the last time before that time that he’d found me. Every time I left, he found me. Sometimes, there is just no escape, and lots of times the cops do not care – you are not a priority until you have been beaten badly enough for you to warrant a visit to the ER.
No one wants to know or to accept that someone in their lives who they love immensely is being abused by someone else. No one wants to hear that you are, on a daily basis, trying very hard just to make it through the day without crying, without being so sad and down on yourself. No one wants to know that you are a statistic and no one wants to deal with the pain of knowing that you are going through what you are going through. They don’t want to know because they cannot rescue you the way that both you and they know you want them to, which is simply to just take you from the situation you are in. Yes, I have been taken away from my situation in the past, and everytime I left the motherfucker found me. He never didn’t find me. Eventually I got to the point where I looked him dead in the eye and told him that I would be his Grim Reaper, that I would be who would hold his hand and walk him to his grave and he has, over the last three years, made that the truth.
No one wants to hear that you have to go through this all, but those who do not know what you go through also need to be told what you go through and they need to be educated about your reasons for being so scared. Never think that I write these things in defense of an attacker because the opposite is true. I write this shit because no one has bothered to listen to the person they care about. Yes, we know that you are scared for us and our safety, and believe it when I say that we are, too, but the reason that we stay is because before we leave, we need to have an escape plan. EVERY person who has been abused knows this and you become very adept at planning when it is that you have nothing else on your mind than becoming free of the oppressive nature that someone else brings to our lives. We do not ask for this to happen, and it bothers me that there are still a lot of people on this planet who feel that if you do not run away you somehow deserve what you are being given. To those dickheads I would like to extend a cyber-bitchslap …you haven’t the slightest clue of what you are talking about and were it you who HAD to go through what abuse victims and survivors go through, you might not be tsk-tsking your loved one. You might be asking them how you can help.
Nobody Hears what is being said because what is being said is not what is wanted to be heard. Human beings are compassionate creatures and we want to know that those who we care about are not hurting, are not in a situation that they can rightly or quickly get themselves out of and surely what situation they are in is NOT their fault – no one asks to get their ass kicked or to be talked to like they are a piece of crap by a person who demands that their victim is enamored of them and them only. No one wants to hear that this person who they love so much is being hurt on a daily basis by someone who is essentially a stranger and no one wants to accept the reality that what their loved one is going through makes their loved one not but a statistic.
Nobody hears that what we go through must be bad enough for law enforcement to really do much about. There must be bruises and their must be blood – again, I know this because I lived it and I have the pictures to prove it. There is a song that perfectly describes what it is that a person going through what it is that we go through. Suicidal Tendencies is a band that spoke for the masses back in the 80’s, and in the 90’s they maestro’d a song titled “Nobody Hears.” And it is true – we talk through our eyes, the words, pouring down, and still, nobody hears.
Nobody hears what is really happening – they only know what they wish they could do, and God bless them for wanting to do something. What really needs to happen first is that they need to hear what we are saying. They need to hear our fears and our frustrations and they need to not try to put themselves in our place because no one would want to go through what I have been through, and what I have been through is nothing near what a lot of survivors have been through and what a lot of victims go through.
It is enough that we have to figure out how to get out of a mess that we alone did not create. It makes it harder when no one hears what we are trying to get across to them. It takes a while for an abuse victim to become a victim, and it takes longer for a victim to be able to call themselves a survivor. Nobody hears what we are saying but we want you to. We want you to be there, and we are thankful when you are willing just to hear what we are saying to you, and we are more grateful when you do not try to come up with a solution that just will not work. I have been to shelters, and I have run away more than a dozen times. I have hidden in places where I never thought he would look, and though I did not give up on trying, I gave up on doing what it is that was suggested to me that I tried, over and over again, and which did not work.
As a survivor of physical abuse, I can tell you right now that we never stop trying, ever. We are constantly thinking, coming up with new ways to relieve ourselves from our lives momentarily. We become sharper and more quick witted, but we also know that the way we end up that way was harsh, is harsh, and we never wish this upon anyone.
When you want to help your loved one, sometimes all you really need to do is listen, because truly, nobody hears what it is that we are saying to them. There is no one size fits all, even though the “symptoms” of abuse are the same for the victims, and even though the M.O. of the abusers are almost alike. No two stories are alike. Not everything you read or see or hear about will fit every person’s situation. I know this. I live it. There is no legal document that will stop someone who is on a mission. Yes, leaving is important and yes, needed, but leaving in haste only makes a bad thing worse.
When it comes to helping an abuse victim, it is important to hear what they are telling you because very truly, their lives are much endangered every single time they leave. Listen to what they are telling you, and get involved where you need to, but do not discount a single thing they are telling you because what they are saying is very important and absolutely is a matter of life…or death…
“When the last tear falls down, nothing gets washed away. Another plea put to rest, as nobody hears, nobody hears…so what did I do to you, that makes you run from me? Now I’m sittin’ here screaming inside myself. Don’t understand why nobody hears…”
(1992, (c) Suicidal Tendencies, Nobody Hears, ‘The Art of Rebellion.”)
I Love You All…
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. send an email by clicking this link . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)