Escalation – Love Dies.

Escalation - Love Dies. | Memee's Musings
Photo by Kumar’s Edit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

I wrote before of my friends, we’ll call them Joe and Barb. They were married in May of 2000. He was 30. She was 24. I don’t have to do the math for you. It’s been a long marriage and moderately successful. Long story short, she became very controlling of him, dictatorially so. She grew cold within first five years of marriage and turned their life into a business arrangement. And she cut him off from friends and outside influences.  Then she became verbally abusive.  He finally got fed up and manned-up and told her to get into counselling or he was leaving. If he were a woman we would all be cheering him on for finally taking control of his life, and being proactive for his own happiness. And it is for that reason I must say I am proud of him. A broken marriage that is not fixable, cripples a person. And he is splintered everywhere.

Tonight was hard for me. I cried for him. And I am so very furious with her. Today she went too far and passed the brink of repairing the relationship.

Let me back up. I saw them just a bit over a week ago, 9 days ago, I believe. You see I recently moved myself back to Washington, but needed Joe’s help tightening the belts on my car so I could make it safely and without loud squealing noises following me everywhere. Also, we needed to have our goodbyes. I had a very nice time visiting with her while he repaired my car and added fluids. She had her first glass of wine (I didn’t imbibe that night.) She tried to talk to me about their problems, but I told her that it made me uncomfortable and that I didn’t want to be giving advice. I just wanted them both to be happy (in whatever life had in store). That I was his friend and it just didn’t feel right to me having her try to confide in me. She respected my speaking up and telling her so. She told me of the things she was doing to improve herself. And it sounded like she was finally getting it. It sounded like her counselling was actually making a difference and she was willing to accept and take responsibility for her controlling and verbally abusive behavior.

She was probably on her second glass of wine when dinner was served.  I don’t know; I wasn’t counting.  They have red wine every night. Because I wasn’t drinking I observed them in a way I hadn’t before. Right there at the dinner table things started going south. I’m not sure how or why but the mood changed from fun to uncomfortable to painful. At one point I suggested I go. They both said no, I should stay. And so I stayed. And I watched as their behavior toward one another changed. It was hard. She tries to keep up with him glass for glass. But she doesn’t metabolise the wine like he does. She would say things to him that weren’t necessarily meant to be hurtful, but would come across that way. I would try and keep things from going that way, saying, “I think what she is trying to say is…” I just wanted it to stop escalating. But I couldn’t stop her. I told her that he heard her. That he understands what she is trying to say. But by that point she was too drunk to keep herself in check. And as her words become more critical, more biting, and more hurtful I became increasing uncomfortable.  I felt helpless to the trainwreck I could see coming.  He never raised his voice or lost his calm.  He didn’t snap back at her or return cruel jabs.  He squirmed in his seat with discomfort as he tried to talk her down, reason with her.  Eventually, he excused himself. He gave me a hug goodbye, and I could feel him trembling in my arms as he whispered to me, “That was bad.” All I could do was say, “I know. I’m sorry.” I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment. He went to shower and secure himself in the guest room. She walked me to the car.

At the car she totally lost it emotionally. Weeping and crying and feeling sorry for herself beyond what was necessary. Even throughout her behavior at the table he remained calm and collected, shifting uncomfortably in his seat, trying to speak to her rationally. Asking her to stop. Asking her to respect his experience and expertise.  He played the defender to her aggressor.  And she felt sorry for herself?   I reminded her again, at the car, that I didn’t want to be put in the middle.  Again, she said she respected that and appreciated my honesty about that. She understands that 31 years of friendship with him trumps my one year of friendship with her. She knows I don’t want to choose. She knows I want to remain friends no matter what happens with this marriage. Despite that she couldn’t quit crying and I couldn’t just stand there and let her cry. So I gave in to my compassion and gave her the best advice I could. I spent probably 45 minutes standing out in the cold with her.

I told her that she needed to not drink as much as he does, and why. I told her that he needs her to be soft and gentle, a woman. That she needs to allow him to be a man. She needs to trust in him to know how best to do things that are in his expertise and wheelhouse. She needs to not police him. (Yes, she’s in law enforcement and he feels like a prisoner.) She says, “But I have to protect him.” She doesn’t understand that he is a 46-year-old, 6’2″ intelligent man with a black belt in jiu jitsu (could be some other martial art, I don’t recall. Point is, he’s a master). She needs to understand that her behavior and words strike at his manhood. She is being disrespectful to a man who is kind and helpful and tries to please her despite all the garbage she throws his way. But apparently she didn’t take my words to heart or perhaps she was too wasted to remember them because today she crossed the line.

Mind you, the evidence is all circumstantial but with things I know about her, I’d say she is totally capable of being the bitch that would do this. And I know her accomplice, and she is just plain evil.

1. 11:00 a.m. Barb sends Joe a text while he’s at work. “What will you do if you lose your job?” He doesn’t respond. She texts again ten minutes later, “You won’t be able to depend on me, once you leave, will you?”

2. 1:00 p.m. Joe gets a call to meet with his boss. He is fired on the spot. The reason given, “They received accusations against him by a woman.” No name given. No further information provided.

3. 3:00 p.m. Barb’s best friend posts a meme on a private Facebook group, that I happen to be a member of, tagging only Barb. I see it. Find it suspicious and curious. But then forget about it because I don’t know what has happened.

The meme was of Morticia Adams with a glass of celebratory blood and it reads, “That moment when you witness karma in its full, glorious splendor.”

He comes home and she goes out to dinner with another girlfriend. He is devastated that she’d be so cruel. To ruin this job which (yes, gave him the confidence and financial means to leave her) and sully his reputation in the process. He feels lost and confused, sick to his stomach with agony. He doesn’t understand her need to control him or the idea of a human being as a possession. He is a good man. She was blessed to have such a man. Me, I cried. I cried as he told me all about his day. And then, when we were done talking, I cried some more. I felt his pain.

As I said, I have the misfortune of knowing this new “best friend” and she is pure evil. She’s known Barb for less time than I have known her and I warned him, as did others, that she would be a bad influence on her. I think she was the woman who made the accusation. I think it was a plan dreamt up over cocktails and Barb may have even agreed to it thinking it was a joke. Unfortunately, she did “like” the meme, so maybe she knew it all along. The coincidence and timing of everything is just way too suspicious.

I begged Joe to go to a hotel or a friend’s house for tonight at least. I fear for both of their safety. When she was hysterical by my car the idea got stuck in my head that she could, if drunk and pushed beyond hope, kill him and then herself, Brynn Hartman style. When we had finished up our conversation he was going to shower and meditate and if he couldn’t reground himself he’d leave for the night. I think perhaps he thinks I am more worried about what he might do to her. But really, it’s either of them. He’s not violent. He is a very gentle person. But she is controlling and when drunk, she cannot control her behavior. I don’t trust her now. Not at all. Not after today.

By the time this posts, it will be tomorrow. He has promised to check in with me. I will likely sleep poorly tonight. My prayers are that God is in that house tonight. And that he will hear if God tells him to go. That she will hear if He whispers for her to stop. That tonight Barb will leave Joe alone and give him space, and that things do not escalate further.

(Update: both are still living and breathing and no one is in jail.)  Whew!  My domestic violence history takes me there as an option, always.  Feeling grateful, Lord, for your watching over them at this time of crisis.

Placed in the Middle

Placed in the Middle | Memee's Musings

So it is 2:00 a.m. and finally I am compelled to write something. This is not a post about me and the struggles I’ve been going through for the past month. This is about someone else’s struggles, two people’s actually. My oldest, dearest friend and his wife.

Around eleven a.m. I got on Facebook and found that she had made a post which was very out of character for her. It wasn’t up for long so I cannot quote it, however it said something like, I am totally heartbroken. Sometimes there’s just nothing more you can do.

The women who responded all interpreted it the same way as I did, uh-oh big time marital problems. I didn’t know what to say and I certainly didn’t want to be having a discussion on Facebook. So I said nothing in the hopes that I could get away with “not having seen it.” The fact that she later removed the post certainly helps me with that little pretend.

Tonight however she private messaged me. We don’t text or call each other so this was unusual as well. When we get together we eat, drink wine, and share like sisters… though honestly, I am much more upfront and revealing about my world than she is with hers. We click. We click like we’ve known each other our entire lives although we’ve only known each other in person for just under a year. Her husband on the other hand I’ve been friends with for 32 years. We click too. And in the same way, like we’ve known each other our entire lives. No, actually, that’s not true. it’s like we’ve known each other for a millennium of lifetimes. It’s always been that way. Even when we were fifteen.

We would come together and click. And then, as life does, we’d turn and go our separate ways, but life would inevitable put us back in each other’s paths unexpectedly and without intention on our parts. It has happened four times so far. Needless to say I love them both and want them to be happy.

And so I found myself having this online chat about the marriage problems of two very close friends who I love. I don’t want to be involved or put in the middle of it. And I was confused about her deciding I was the person she wanted to make her confidante, after all I have much lengthier history with her husband. I listened. I’m good at it. People open up to me. Even strangers will tell me their woes, especially on days when I really don’t want to talk to anyone (lol,it’s something I’m trying to learn to accept and embrace as the gift God meant for it to be.) I listened because I didn’t want to turn a friend in crisis away when a friend was needed more than ever.

I listened. I encouraged her to continue trying, and to not beat herself up for the mistakes she has played in the collapse of her marriage, and I reminded her that no matter what happens she is a strong woman and will indeed survive. I believe I did right by her in the conversation as a friend and as a “sister.” When she seemed to begin wallowing in the “I can’t live without him. He’s my life. He’s my soulmate.” I put her in check with that. Meaning, I told her I felt she was throwing salt on her wounds (but I was much, much gentler than that).

And now we come to the reason for this post. I told her the truth as I see it: This is a learning lesson and an opportunity for growth for both of them. They will either come out the other side of it stronger individuals or stronger as a couple… whatever is God’s will. Here’s the thing though. I’ve been witness to the workings of the marriage during this past year, and privy to the problems for several years. She is mentally abusive to her husband and she does not recognize it or take responsibility for it. In my book that there tells me they are not soulmates. If someone is your soulmate hurting them would hurt you just as much, if not more. You just couldn’t be abusive to a soulmate, no matter who you are or how fucked up you are mentally. Of course that’s just my opinion. I’m wondering do you agree with that idea? But then on the other side of the coin perhaps the three of us are soulmates to each other, manifesting relationships with one another in different life bodies and roles.

I know it seems odd that I claim to be a Christian and then I talk about past lives. I just don’t think we living humans have it all figured out yet. I think we agree to a contract before we are born of the lessons we will endure because with each life manifestation we become closer and closer to our god-like selves we are meant to be. I don’t know. I also believe in Heaven. I also believe that when we die our souls sleep and sometimes our souls dream too.

Life is complicated and while living it we never truly figure it out. My views expressed in the preceding paragraph are very dialectical. But you know what, so is life. I both believe I am unworthy of friendships and loving relationships while at the same time believe in equal measure that I am a great catch and wonderful friend. And so I say if I can hold two equal beliefs at the same time in life so too can I for “religion or faith.” God knows me, loves me and accepts me even if I happen to be wrong and even if I am a sinner. And you know what, He loves and accepts you too!

Sorry, I got off track there. I am a stream-of-consciousness writer so it happens frequently. Anyway, I’d like to conclude by saying that I definitely do not want to be counselor to either of them. I tried to make it clear to her, but she kept on and I was patient and kind. Please pray for me that this does not become a pattern for her to come to me. It really puts me in an awkward place. Likewise, I don’t intend to counsel him. I doubt he’ll come to me anyway… this is so much more complicated than past conversations. However, if he does I will tell him what I told her… “Shouldn’t you be telling [her] these things?” Marriage is tough enough and when people begin to drown inside of it, adding an untrained person to the mix is the worst idea ever! Thankfully, at his request, she will begin counselling soon. I honestly hope she learns to see and accept some of her behavior for what it is. There are things he has done as well. No one is blameless and no one is perfect and if they both want to fix it, then I believe it can be fixed by taking one step at a time and having patience and not relying on a non-professional’s advice aka interference to dictate your behaviors.

I pray that the outcome, whatever it may be, is ultimately in the best interest of both of them.

p.s. It is interesting that my entire life seems to be coming full circle. This blog began with my own heartbreak and crisis. If I can survive, she can too (she’s actually much stronger than I.) I have another longtime friend who says his life is coming full circle. Is yours also? If so, let me know… I’m curious to see if this is a universal pattern.

This wonderful photograph was taken by Josh Pepper and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out!

Why Valentine’s Day Matters

Why Valentine's Day Matters | Memee's Musings

If you are among those that don’t appreciate Valentine’s Day it may be that you have been looking at it from the wrong angle.  Participating in Valentine’s Day is important. It will enrich your life and the lives of the people around you, so please open your heart to why I believe Valentine’s Day matters.

Life moves so fast and as adults we have so many responsibilities burdening our plates that we can lose sight of what truly matters.  Hint: It’s not the house, cars, furniture and toys.  It is the people that make us laugh and hold our hands, the ones that hold us up when we’re about to fall and who put a happy rhythm in our hearts; the people who hold our secrets and share our burdens; the people who dance when we dance and sing when we sing; the people who pat us on the shoulder when we accomplish a goal and celebrate when we cross the finish line.

Life is hard and we cannot get through it alone.  Valentine’s Day is scheduled on the calendar so that even the busiest of people can step out of their mundane routine and celebrate the blessed relationships they’ve been given. Every single person in our life who adds positivity is a gift.  A gift that it is important and not one we should take for granted. Those that love us and give so much for us deserve to know how they make us feel while they’re still around for us to share their significance.  Valentine’s Day is both a reminder and an opportunity.

Personally, I don’t focus on the day. I use the days leading up to and following February 14th as well.  I reach out to the people who enrich my life.  I tell them I appreciate them and love them and specifically why they matter to me, the difference they are making in my life experience.  It enriches my experience with them.  It makes me aware of how blessed I am in this life and it strengthens our connection. It is me taking one brief moment to honestly acknowledge all they do throughout the year that makes my life worth living.

Valentine’s Day is about gratitude and showing thanksgiving for the people who take it upon themselves to share their time, love, friendship and souls with us.

So please stop and take a moment today, who comes to mind. Who makes your world a better place?  Now tell them.

Thank you for reading, you keep me writing and I have found writing to be very healing for me! Happy Valentine’s Day, Minions!

Love,

Memee

 

P.S. While editing this piece I felt my dad’s hand on my left shoulder. Thanks daddy for the Valentine’s Day gift of a visit. I miss you so!

The image above if a composition I put together. The wonderful photograph was taken by Josh Felise and acquired through Unsplash. It’s a great source for free photos under the Creative Commons Zero license, so check it out: Unsplash!

I have two blogs. This one is Lovely!

one lovely blog-award
One of my favorite people in all the blogging kingdom worldwide is Carlos.  I didn’t think he could do anything more to make me cherish him as a friend any deeper than I already do. But now look at what he has gone and done… he nominated me, ME as being the hostess of a lovely blog and I am really touched. I don’t get a lot of comments from people on my site and awards are a rarity so getting nominated is big, but being nominated by one of the people who I admire and respect and who inspires me as a human being, well… that’s so swell my heart is now bound even tighter to him!  Please visit Carlos and listen to his Thoughts of a Trainwrecked Pineapple. You won’t regret it, I promise!


The rules are as follows:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Display the award on your post of the award.
  4. List seven facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and comment on one of their posts to let them know you have nominated them.

 

Seven New Facts About Memee:

  1. I am the kind of person that when walking down a sidewalk or across a parking lot or street, will stop to pick up earthworms and return them to safety, in the dirt, beneath a bush where cars and people won’t crush them and birds won’t eat them.
  2. I am the kind of person who instead of screaming at the sight of spiders, runs and gets a drinking glass to take it outside.  (It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that I realized the spiders are in the house for a reason… they’ll die of exposure, they’re inside spiders as opposed to outside spiders!  My bad.  Still, they cannot stay so I continue the practice, just adding a scant prayer/hope they’ll find a warm place to shelter (a wood pile perhaps?)
  3. I am the kind of person who will scream at the sight of a tiny mouse scurrying across my path yet at the same time will own, hold and cuddle a pet mouse or rat. They’re very social and affectionate not to mention cute.  It’s just that their movements are so sudden and so erratic it is always startling!
  4. I am the kind of person who will inform your children that they are doing wrong when you are not there to correct them.  I believe as adults it is all of our responsibility to make the world a better, happier, safer place and that the only way to do that is to treat each other with respect, dignity and patience.  I am not disrespecting you by helping your children find their way. I am respecting that your children’s lives matter, their futures matter and helping them find their way is respecting your great love for these little humans.
  5. I am the kind of person that will bend over backwards to encourage you and build you up, and help you see in yourself everything wonderful that I see about you.
  6. I am the kind of person who loves others unconditionally, warts and all, because it is those warts, those flaws that make you the unique and beautiful perfection that you are.
  7. I am the kind of person who is very lonely in this world.

Not the ending you expected? Sorry about that, but this world needs attention. Each and every one of us needs to do more for others and less for ourselves. Our world is changing every moment of every day and I do not like the direction we’ve been heading in. Please make the decision to do better, be better. Everything we do as adults is watched by the younger people in and around us. If you think that because you don’t have children or younger siblings that you’re not a role model you are wrong! Very, very wrong. Every word that you speak, every action that you take, what you post online, what you do in public, how you behave towards others, and how you allow others to treat you, everything, EVERYTHING is being watched, studied and absorbed for future reference by whatever child is within range of you. Even if you do not know that they are there you are teaching them by example. So please choose to be a better example today and tomorrow than you have been every moment before this moment. You will be rewarded.  We all win.  It’s what they call a win-win-win-win-win situation all the way around!

(I will nominate in a follow up post and link it up.)

Make Your Escape Great!

safe_escape

via BetterNotBroken
About: BetterNotBroken

Let’s face it, plan B in life is not really a plan. Plan B is a strip club in West Los Angeles, but a plan it is not. Plan B is winging it, improvising, making the best of it and involves more letting go to obtain power more than carefully calculating your future through a systematically engineered strategy overseen by NORAD. My “plan” involved an excruciating amount of collateral damage due to unforeseen events, perhaps I am John McClane and a true ISTP.

Get a plan. Just leave.

Honestly, you need to give abuse victims better advice than that if you want to take on this game. Coaching women to leave and encouraging them to continue to be ruled by fear will backfire on them no matter what their plan is or what is in their safety bag.

Are you in an abusive relationship now? Let me share with the other readers what you are thinking:

What the %$#@ do you expect me to do? Get a plan? You give me a plan. I cannot escape! %$^$! your plan, it’s not a plan.

Have faith readers, you can escape and here are some things to remember:

Do not tell your abuser you are leaving.

This is the Golden Rule. Consider a Polish woman in 1940 informing the Nazis patrolling her hometown, “I am leaving you! You’ll be sorry suckers. I am getting out of here and leaving your bullshit behind!” Ill-advised to say the least, and a lethal misguided misapplication of self-assertion. Yes, you want to show them hah ha-ha hah you are going to be living without me now, you will pay for all you have done to me, you will be sorry you treated me this way, but in doing so your unconscious motive is to get your abuser to change, to declare his repentance and sorrow at your leaving change and then you can get back to Plan A without any discomfort and live happily every after. But escape from a controlling person is not a fairy tale unless you look at domestic violence as a curse and then look to break it by following the cardinal rule of power, you do not announce your plans!

Report the abuse. Get a restraining order and then another restraining order when the temporary one ends.

To reiterate, report it, get a restraining order and then do not take them back once you have reported it. Do not take them back! If they are so dangerous why are you taking them back?

Understand that the hoopla and fear about you losing custody and being a bad parent is a distraction while your abuser hides the money and lines up another gal, so get the money before you pack some stupid bag with flashlights, canned food, mace, firearms, passports, terrorist trac phones, family photos and a bunch of other crap.

Yep. There I was on the corner Temple and 1st, outside the lovely Stanley Mosk courthouse, which now has a cafe on the roof by the way, I had just departed through what my attorney affectionately called the James Brown door and she said to me, “They get the women scared about custody while they hide the money.” I stood there stunned. Where was this woman six years prior when all of a sudden after a promotion and late nights out on the town and receipts from Plan B left for me on the dining room table to balance the checkbook, MY parenting was under attack as being unfit? If you are packing a bag your abuser still has power over you mentally and you are giving it to them by acting like scared prey. I don’t deny your abuser is dangerous but your mindset should be, “This dangerous person is the one who should be packing their bags not me. I am not an abuser. I am not weak and I am not going to be ruled and controlled by fear. I am taking power back. This game of control is for rookies.”

Prepare to live without a single penny from your abuser.

Regardless of the familial wealth pre-split, in spite of any court order for support, prepare for the price and responsibility of independence. It is expensive it is worth it. Otherwise the legal system will become the next theater of your abuse and you will live every day stressed out because you are living on eggshells unable to buy necessities for you and your children. You may feel pressure to restart the abuse cycle with some man who for some miraculous reason perceives a destitute mentally shaken woman as an attractive partner and wants to fix her, rescue her, control her, knowing nothing about her but her appearance and her history of dysfunction. Here we go again . . .

Instead, accept that the money gained during the marriage or relationship was never ever viewed as yours by the abuser and will never be viewed as yours. Understand that your leaving will be used as an excuse to shortchange you and the children. Accept that that in many cases angry controlling men will liquidate all assets, quit their job and destroy everything to win at all costs. Oh well, their loss. Unless you cut the financial cord, you will spend your money on attorneys and court fees for years and continue to be controlled and endure abuse with your life revolving around the abuser which is ultimately their objective. So in other words, get a job or focus on keeping the one you have and sheild it from your familiall drama.

Before you leave, find a place to live.

Your abuser(s) taught you that you are worthless and cannot make it on your own. Charity workers teach you that you belong in shelter, you know, the same shelters that the same do-gooders feel are unfit for dogs. You are a human being and the shelter is no Four Seasons! Shelters have some kind and well-meaning people volunteering but the experience is one to be avoided. Society objectifies you by portraying you as all bruised and battered and splattered you all over the seats at bus stops. You are a person, one capable of great things and you need to put more thought into the place that will serve as your nest for recovery than dwelling on the infinite number of things your abuser may or may not do when you leave. You need a haven not a stall with a cot you will share with your kids and numerous other shaken strangers all under the pressure that you have to vacate in two weeks and find another place to live anyway! Take your time to find the nicest place you can. Prepay the rent to allow some breathing room during your escape. Do not be afraid to move out. Many people will tell you not to leave the family home so you can keep it. How will you keep it and pay the mortgage and taxes on that home?

Your focus should be on you and mindset should be to do so with as little collateral damage as possible. I have faith in you. Take your power back. Discomfort is a given but not an inevitable eternity.

While working my way through my second college degree, I had the privilege of working every weekend with a woman who left Germany in the era of the Nazis. She escaped in a truck with her children hidden under the front seat hidden pressed under the bench while a do-gooder drove the vehicle. How did she keep them quiet? How did she do it? Did they not know what the Nazis were capable of? Some people thought they were great leaders and were so impressed! There was no telling what horrors would unfold next! HORRORS!

And yet she did it, fear was not an option and the money was left behind.

Make a plan but don’t get too caught up in it. Plans fail, plans change, and just like your life cannot be perfect nor can your plan.

You have what you need to leave, the rest will fall into place.

You just need to find your power and put it to work.

I heard if Plan B fails there are 24 more letters in the alphabet and 24 more plans to go. So what plan are you on?

A Portrait of Compassion

Sometimes you need a hand to hold

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Last Sunday my 91-year-old grandmother fell down and could not get up. She tried calling out for help but could not find her voice. I was the one who found her sprawled out on the floor at ten a.m. She reported that it had been dark outside when she fell. She spent the night terrified because none of us knew she had fallen, none of us knew she may have been hurt. Fortunately, she was not hurt, no stroke, no heart attack and no broken bones. Unfortunately, it was very traumatic emotionally and as she lay there, her body stiffening and cramping from remaining in the same position hour after hour, she did not know herself that she was, from a medical standpoint, fine. Continue reading