Friday, January 27, 2012

Standing up to my abusers

My family of origin tried to terrorize me again today.  How?  Well, my maternal grandmother has been staying with me in my apartment to help me adjust for nearly a week.  Grandma and I have had a wonderful time together.  Grandma has helped me to set up the apartment, to clean the dishes and the furniture, and to cook food.  She has been an enormous help.
I had one amusing incident with her yesterday.  So she woke up at 8 a.m., and I got up around 10:30 a.m.  I saw that grandma had not made herself breakfast.  When I asked her why, she explained that she had no bread in the house.  She absolutely refused to make breakfast without any bread, even though we have plenty of eggs in the house.  So we walked together to Publix and made sure to buy her white bread (and also meat, dairy, and pareve dish towels for the household).  I didn’t make breakfast until after we returned from the store with the bread in hand.  Grandma waited four and a half hours for her first meal on Thursday, all because she wouldn’t eat breakfast without bread.
So back to the story.  My mother is supposed to come on Sunday to deliver some things to me and to see me.  She is also supposed to pick up my grandmother and bring her back home.  Well, my abusers thought they could pull a fast one on me.  My mother insisted that my dad had to come on the trip, using the flimsy excuse that she needed my dad’s help to carry the dresser with her.  I said we could easily hire the maintenance people in the building to put the dresser together for me. 
Then I realized what was really going on.  My mother was trying to convince me to let my dad back into my life on a full-time basis.  My dad and I had enjoyed ourselves at dinner watching football last week.  However, my dad also terrorized me when he, my mom, and my grandma came to visit me in the domestic violence shelter on December 25.  Based upon that experience, I had made a firm rule that my dad could not see me face to face. 
My friend Monica warned me that my family would try to test the limits that I had set for them. And this is exactly what happened.  My mother was testing my limits by pressuring me to let my dad come to visit me at my apartment.  I knew in my heart that it was time for me to set very firm limits with my abusers.  Having spent her whole marriage in captivity, my mother is trying to drag me back to captivity alongside her. I refuse to let her do this to me.
When I refused to let my dad visit me, my mother hurled the worst insult she could possibly issue against me: comparing me with my dad’s mother.  My mother said that I was doing to dad exactly what his mother had done to him. His mother was a profoundly evil human being who never did a good deed in her whole life and who brutalized my father severely, definitely emotionally and possibly physically as well.  I knew this comparison was ridiculous and said so.  In response my mother escalated by telling me I am not allowed to email or call her anymore.  I am now restricted to texting her.  That’s fine with me.
My grandmother also sided with my parents against me.  She threatened to leave my apartment immediately if I refused to let my dad visit me.  She also told me that I could not come to her home if I persisted in my refusal to let my dad visit me.  My grandmother tried to terrorize me with threats that my dad would kick me out of the apartment and leave me in the street.  My grandmother does not understand that financial support does not give my dad the right to terrorize me.
I responded by calling my friend and fellow survivor in Boston, Monica, who had offered to let me stay with her for three weeks.  I told my grandmother that I was fully prepared to move to Boston if need be to escape the abuse.  I was prepared to give up this apartment if need be to put a permanent end to the abuse.  I also notified my best friend in Boston Elana to be on call if I should need her support.
My abusers see me as prey to be controlled.  They don’t realize that I am now a survivor of abuse and not a victim anymore.  Having claimed my freedom, I will never return to captivity.  But I know in my heart that the only way I could recover from past abuse is to put an end to present abuse.  There is no way for me to help my fellow survivors escape from abuse if I am still in captivity.  I am determined to continue on the path to freedom no matter what the cost.  Having spent my whole life up until 7 months ago in a state of prison, I am determined never to return to that awful state in life.      

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