names have been omitted and or changed in this post
It was a quiet evening… I was in the spare bedroom of the apartment I lived in with him. He, who I had been arranged to live with after living for some time with Bao who could no longer keep me under his wing. Bao had kept me safe for as long as he could… never expecting anything and always showing me the utmost respect and love. Even with our occasional language barrier we had a connection in friendship that would always be remembered and cherished.
How is it that we can feel more understood
and loved by a gangster than our own father?
We may find connections with others
in the most unlikely places.
Yet I was now in new territory and this new relationship had started with rape and then consensual sex… not really consensual but then again… who wanted to fight every time he initiated… I didn't. I didn't have the energy and wouldn't win. It was a bizarre situation… it wasn't okay with what he did and yet part of me had come to terms with the fact that this was the way it was. Bao certainly wouldn't have condoned it nor knew about it, yet staying with him was no longer an option. It was this new man or some alternative unknown scenario that might prove even worse… or go back home. Each day I chose to stay.
People often scratch their head at that… perhaps can't understand it. I equate it to voting… you are told to choose between two candidates, specifically two evils… so you choose the lesser of what you determine to be evil when really neither are a good option and both should be passed on. Staying with him wasn't a good choice yet going home wasn't either. Fast forward to 2012 when I would sit in the psychiatrist's office who diagnosed me with ADHD, he asked me about high school and the choices I'd made. He looked at me and said "Tell me… tell me what happened back in 1994." I didn't know where to begin. Because my story doesn't really begin the day I left school with Bao in the drivers seat but way before that… all the years leading up to that moment shaped who I was and making that decision to leave. Growing up not feeling heard, not feeling seen, not feeling valued… not feeling loved or worthy. It all adds up and it's ugly, it's tears, it's hiding in bathroom stalls, it's not understanding the math problem at the chalkboard and being teased, it's not being allowed to do anything but go to school, do homework, eat dinner and go to bed, it's a life devoid of any fun or spirit, it's not being told "I love you" by your father, it's constantly being told "In a minute", "I'm busy", "Let me think about it", "Go find something to do!" and more… it's feeling like an inconvenience, an annoyance and unwanted. I clasped my hands in my lap and looked at the psychiatrist "You wouldn't believe it if I told you. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes it feels like a dream. " But I have the scars to prove it. I have a startle reflex so heightened that when I jump I startle people who innocently sneak up on me. I have a quick reflex that if I'm driving and my phone goes flying from the dash I can catch it midair with one hand while turning a tight corner… I suffer from insomnia, I have TMJ and wear a mouth guard at night and have panic attacks that I'd love to turn off… we all have something. These things are born from wounds that were inflicted on us by others… coping mechanisms; our systems, our bodies, our minds have adapted to deal with what we've been through… we can wear them like marks of victimization or we can wear them like badges of battle scars… Everything you've been through has shaped who you are today. You are lovely. Don't accept and swallow the mental garbage people have fed you… that you are not this or that… that you are damaged or less than because of your experiences, your past, your trials. You are worthy, you are loved. Christ sees all you've been through and the bright future you have… sometimes we have to take a step backward to take ten steps, fifty or a thousand forward into the glorious future He has for us…
There was a knock at the door… then insistent loud banging and I froze. It was late… the middle of the night, he was at work on his night shift and someone was at the apartment door. But who? I instinctively knew it wasn't good. Dressed in khaki slacks and one of his white dress shirts untucked I opened the bedroom door and and peered around the corner into the living room. The wife of the couple we shared the apartment with got up from where she was perched on the couch watching television, gave me a concerned quizzical look and went to the door. Opening it she was accosted by two people. One, an elegant older blonde woman dressed in a dark pants suit who appeared to be in her late fifties and a stocky built man of Japanese descent who shot me a pointed look. The Japanese man spoke to my roommate in rapid Vietnamese and she appeared to be arguing… him gesturing toward me… her finally nodding and resuming her spot on the couch. He nodded to the blonde woman as if to signal she could proceed and then stood like a stoic statue by the door like he was guarding it… keeping me from leaving… or to head off anyone who entered. The blonde woman began approaching me and I backed away a few steps from where I'd now stood in the middle of the living room. "Jennifer… " She began, "I'm not going to hurt you… I just want to talk with you." She stressed to me and I was hesitant. "I'm not taking you with me." She added then asked "Is there somewhere we can talk?"
I nod and say "Okay" and gesture to the bedroom around the corner. She follows me into the tiny room and I can feel her eyes pouring into my back and piercingly appraising the room. She pushes the door just to but not all the way shut and glances around the four blank white walls with a despairing expression. I take a seat on the mattress and box springs draped with a navy blue comforter resting on the carpeted floor. Across from me sits the black dresser and mirror… to my right, the matching black chest of drawers and closet. She sighs and takes a seat beside me to my right. We sit in silence for a moment and finally she speaks "Let me just start by saying I'm Kathleen, a private detective and was hired to find you. This has been the most difficult case I've ever had…" She admitted, "And I should tell you that I'm not here to take you. I'm here to talk to you." She informed me. "Okay…" I said and sat waiting for her to continue. I felt defensiveness rise up in me. She was judging my surroundings and me. She cleared her throat "Jennifer… your family is very worried about you… they want you to come home. That's the message I'm supposed to relay to you. They are very upset and just want you to come home. They love you."
Sitting in silence she spoke again… "Don't you miss them? Your sisters?" She asked almost wearily. I studied my hands clasped in my lap. "Yes, I do miss them. I miss my mom. Very much. But I don't want to go home and see my dad… I know he's angry at me." I admitted. She shook her head "No… they just want you to come home. They just want you to come back and know you're safe." She stressed to me. I felt anger rising up… rage that was always simmering just beneath the surface… threatening to boil over. I was being treated like a fool and I knew it. I spoke "You say that now… they say they just want me to come home. But what about a week from now? A month from now? It won't just be okay. It doesn't work that way. I know all too well. The anger will set in… about what I've done… what I've put them through… and then it will be hell. It will be much much worse than what it's already been." I told her. She sighed and shook her head "I don't understand that… they seem like very nice people. Your mom just wants you to come home. I don't see how they could be angry. And even if they were I don't see how it could last very long. They just want you to come back."
More silence… I wasn't stupid… she acted like I was. More anger rose within. And what kind of snow job had my father pulled on her, I grimaced. I knew better than to believe he wouldn't be angry. I knew better and yet she was sitting here treating me like I was being irrational when I knew well enough to know I'd pay and pay and pay for ever leaving. He'd see to that. She finally broke the silence and spoke "Is he treating you well?" She asked, referring to the man I lived with. "I'm fine…" I replied with an edge to my voice and tears beginning to creep at the corners of my eyes that I blinked away. "Has he hurt you?" She inquired studying me closely. I ignored her. She peered at me seeing the tears. She knew. "Can you leave on your own or is he holding you here?" She asked. I cleared my throat and spoke "No, he's not holding me here." I replied although I wondered about the reality of leaving and if he would be okay with it. That remained to be seen if that was the choice I made. She winced painfully and glanced around the room again, "Do you really want to stay here? And live like this? In poverty? You could still turn this around… go to school, get a college degree and make something of yourself." She told me.
The words "poverty" and "make something of myself"
continued in my head like an ugly loop…
"No one should live like this! " I snapped at her, gesturing to the mattress and box springs on the floor. "But they do. Everyday." I told her bitterly. I suddenly felt extremely defensive for the people I lived with. They worked hard at jobs that paid very little… had little to no education and language was a huge barrier in bettering their life… why wasn't anyone doing something about this? Why were people living in poverty? It seemed everyone should have an automatic right to the very minimum of a comfortable life. If I had the money to fix it I would in a second. But I didn't. The world seemed so heavy, so exhausting and so hopeless suddenly. "I guess I'll have to think about what I want to do…"I told her. "I'm not leaving tonight." I informed her. She looked disappointed and I knew that wasn't the response she wanted to hear but I didn't care. I was angry. On so many levels… I wouldn't even know where to begin if asked to. She pulled a business card with her name and number on it from inside her jacket and I saw a glimpse of her gun. "Here's my card…" she told me and I took it. "Call me. Anytime. Day or night I'll come get you if that's what you decide to do. Please think about it. Your family loves you." She stressed to me and rose. I stood and she gave me a quick hug before I walked with her to the door. With a curt nod the gentleman and she departed without another word closing the door behind them.
Everyday we choose. We choose to embrace our past and acknowledge it's made us who we are today or try to shrug it off like an unwanted ugly sweater denying it's existence. It's our choice. Our past and all it's specks have shaped us into who we are… our narcissistic parent, our absent parent, our dysfunctional childhood, our lost spirit, our brokenness, our choices made out of having to choose between two evils… it's all ours whether we like it or not… it's shaped who we have become… stronger, better selves… to deny what we've been through is to deny who we are today and most of all who Christ has transformed us into… we are each beautifully made no matter what our past or what we've done. Everyday no matter what we can each raise our hands to the Heavens and thank Him for pulling us through…
New International Version
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
names have been omitted in this post
this post contains some language
this post is an important one because it shows that all the crazy-making tactics narcissistic exes use to create chaos (specifically related to child custody) can and do affect men as well … not just women
"Hey…" I smiled at him and we exchanged warm hugs.
"Hey" He grinned back. The hostess confirmed there were two of us and turned to lead us to our table. We thanked her as we slid into the quiet booth located in the back of the restaurant. There were't any other patrons around so we had the area to ourselves. Sitting across from each other, she then handed us each slick laminated menus and told us our waitress would be with us momentarily.
I surveyed the IHOP menu wondering what I wanted… I knew him well enough to know he probably wanted an omelette… it would be just figuring out which one. I usually ordered the 2x2x2 but today wanted something different. He was debating which omelette and I finally decided on two eggs over easy, sausage and hash browns. Setting our menus to the side, I spoke "So how's it going? Tell me about your week." I prompted him.
He grimaced, "She's being the usual. She's petitioned a bunch of stuff that I shouldn't get any scheduled phone time with him on her weeks." He told me, referring to their son who they shared custody of.
I practically snorted. "Please. Good luck with that… " I shook my head. "No judge, no matter how terrible is going to go for that. You are each entitled to phone time on each other's week and you haven't abused it. You're not harassing her. You're following the days and times that were agreed upon." I stated.
He nodded "I know… but try to tell her that. It's just a phone call. I should be able to talk to him, ask him how his week is going, what he had for lunch, what he did that day… you know, those types of things. But instead she wants to petition a bunch of stuff and shut me out. I don't see the judge going for it either. My attorney is not agreeing to it. We want her to reimburse me for having to deal with all her filings."
"Hopefully the judge will go for that… but I'm not sure. It's pretty hard to get reimbursed for court costs because one person is acting irrational and filing stuff just to be difficult. It shouldn't be but unfortunately often is. Hopefully your attorney will be successful with it." I told him.
The waitress appeared with my water and his orange juice, took our orders and promised our food would be out shortly.
"So… she took him out of soccer… which he loved, by the way…"
He added. "And now she has him in baseball."
I raised an eyebrow "But why? Why baseball? Did he want to try it?" I asked.
He shook his head, his blue eyes looked tired. "No… he didn't. She chose baseball because she knows I like soccer… I played it when I was a kid. So she pulled him from it. He's at baseball practice and the games and he's off in outer space during them. It doesn't hold his attention like soccer did. He was really good at that."
I sighed "Geez… I'm sorry. Poor little guy. So petty."
He shook his head, "She doesn't care. She doesn't. She only thinks about herself. " He took a sip of his orange juice "And at one of the last games she made a scene."
"She did? What'd she do?" I asked.
"She was getting ready to leave… it was at the end of the game and it's her week, right? Well… I always stay on the opposite teams side during the games so I'm not near her. I see that their leaving and head over that way so I can tell him bye. That's all I'm wanting to do… is tell him bye. I'm about to them and I start to say I just wanted to say bye when she turns around and begins screaming at me:
"IT'S NOT YOUR F-ING WEEK!!!!"
I stare at him in utter shock, "What???! She said that??!"
He nods, "Ohhhh, yeah. She did."
I give him a look of disbelief that anyone would do that.
"I know." He tells me, seeing my expression of horror. "So, she screams it and I'm like kinda hanging back now cause everybody just freezes and is staring at us. I mean, they are STARING AT US, Jennifer." He stresses to me. "I mean, people at the OTHER games on the field are staring at us like who are these people??? You could've heard a pin drop. Everyone just stopped what they were doing. The coaches, everyone. I was so embarrassed. I wanted to die right there. I told her that I had just wanted to tell him bye and she grabs him, practically DRAGGING him to the car and just throws him in the backseat. By now, he's crying and screaming for his Daddy…"
"Oh my God…" I murmur and run my right hand through my hair.
The waitress made her appearance with our plates of food and we thanked her. Digging into my eggs the yolk dispersed into the hash browns making a yummy mess of deliciousness.
He glanced at my plate, "Runny eggs in your hash browns?" He asked.
"Yeppers" I replied and stuck a forkful in my mouth. "They are great this way." I informed him. He looks uncertain about that but smiles and shakes his head in a I don't really think so but you're cute kinda way and continues…
"So I'm trying to talk to her and she just gets in and drives off. Won't let me say goodbye. He's crying and screaming for me and all this could have been prevented if she'd just let me say bye." He says and takes a big bite of his omelette with bacon on top. I was amazed at the amount of food he could consume. Kinda in awe of it really. I liked that he liked to eat… food took up a lot of my thinking… if I wasn't eating a good meal I was certainly thinking about the next one.
I shook my head "Well, yeah… this is what happens. You're just trying to say bye and she's making it out like you're going over there to have an altercation with her… like you're trying to take him or prevent them from leaving. She's trying to make you look bad when it's all her." I sighed "It's all ridiculous. So… did you whip out your phone and video tape it?" I asked him.
He looked disappointed "No… I didn't. I wish I had. I had my phone on me but I was SO shocked I wasn't thinking clearly. I couldn't believe she'd do that. I mean…" He shot me a knowing look, "I SHOULD have believed it… but I didn't."
I nodded "Oh, I know. Just when you think they won't do something… you let your guard down and they do some of the craziest stuff." I sat there chewing and pondering "So… What if you got statements from the coaches? I would ask the coaches for statements that they witnessed what she did and then take them to court. You can use those." I told him. He nodded, "That's a good idea. Thank you. I will. I'll text them… I'm sure they'll be happy to help… they were pretty horrified. "
"I'm horrified. " I told him. "And I wasn't even there. Ugh… I'm sorry you're having to deal with that. And for him… He's being treated like a piece of property by her. These people have no idea that eventually the kids will realize what's happened to them… how they were treated… and one day they won't want anything to do with the parent causing all these problems. These parents will one day be alone and they won't have anyone but themselves to blame."
He nodded "So true. So tell me about you… how are things going?" He asked before he took a bite of his hash browns alongside his omelette.
"Good… things are good right now… " I smiled. "He's keeping to himself for the moment which is always good." I remarked, referring to my ex. "Hopefully it will stay that way for awhile. He's getting married end of July so maybe that's a good distraction." I told him.
He nodded with a smile "Good…I know it's stressful. If I could do something to change it or fix it I would." He offered.
"Thanks, me too." I replied. "Just ignoring him and only communicating when absolutely necessary seems to work best." I pointed out.
"Yeah…" He affirmed. "Well… his loss is another man's gain." He smiled at me warmly. "Don't take this the wrong way… but in a way I'm kinda glad he screwed up… I thank God everyday that you're in my life." He smiled and reached across the table and squeezed my hand affectionately.
"A steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action"
I really thought I'd heard it all until I'd read that sentence by Brock Turner's father.
I've heard of people not taking responsibility for their actions until after the fact.
I've heard of people not owning up to what they've done due to embarrassment or shame.
Brock Turner is none of those things.
Brock Turner is not a
"swimmer with a promising Olympian future."
Brock Turner is a rapist.
Brock Turner CHOSE to forfeit his future
when HE CHOSE to rape.
And his father… ? Where do I begin?
He is an evil all of his own…
The apple doesn't fall far from
the tree boys and girls.
Brock Turner's father is an enabler
through and through.
Brock Turner's father wants to whine and bemoan how his son may not have the future he so vividly had once upon a time… never once considering that the woman his son raped never envisioned HER future including being raped… and the thing about rape is… it never completely goes away. It stays with you. I know this. Because having survived an attempted rape and also an actual rape… even with time you always look over your shoulder, you still have memories you'd love to forget, you still have flashbacks and PTSD is alive and well; a dark companion you carry with you everywhere you go… it making it's presence known with a high startle reflex, nightmares, anger and an anxiety that is a whole different animal than generalized.
But your son knows nothing about that.
You obviously know nothing about that as well.
All you know is your son is "suffering"
because his steak dinners
just aren't quite as tasty as they once were.
Awww, that's too bad.
No one cares.
Your son seems to have not gotten the memo that men should PROTECT women. That is one of their responsibilities. They are not here to prey, stalk, physically assault or sexually assault. You seem to believe the victim in this passively laid there through "20 minutes of action". She was out COLD, completely unconscious and even if she WAS conscious… guess what? No consent? STILL RAPE. You make a deeper wound and you hurt this sweet innocent woman even more than what she's already been through when you say it was "20 minutes of action". Really? HOW DARE YOU. How dare you invalidate what she went through… what she luckily lived through at the horrific actions of your son. Reading the victim's letter of what she went through… I was DISGUSTED. I have never read anything more DEMEANING and DEGRADING than when I read what she endured.
Obviously you have no decency much like your son… and that is shameful. A father can love his son, yes… a father can want what's best for him… a father can be completely devastated that his child's future is ashamables… that his son is the one in the papers… that it's his son's face whose splashed across televisions and article after article. I get that. HOWEVER your reckless, un-empathetic and grossly atrocious statements about your son not deserving his future being ruined? Your son did it. YOUR SON RAPED HER. Your son did not enjoy 20 minutes of action. Your son enjoyed raping an unconscious woman who was completely helpless and was treated like a mere object to toy with. Your son had her strewn out on the bare ground like wayward litter behind a dumpster as he defiled her. So the response you had does not fit what your son has done. Your response... since you show such GROSS INEPTNESS at best but most likely display signs of a personality disorder should have been as follows:
"I am sorry. On behalf of my son I am deeply, utterly, grossly sorry for what my son did to you. I am sorry that he raped you. I am sorry you were treated as you were and I know those words don't even begin to touch what he's done but I need to say them to you all the same. I need you to know that even though I love my son I DO NOT CONDONE what he's done to you. I need you to know that even though I love my son and will be there for him… I do not condone rape. I need you to know that my son must take responsibility for raping you. What he chose to do is heinous and requires, DESERVES punishment and a hefty one at that. I need you to know that what he did is not okay. I need you to know that I am appalled my son did this. I need you to know that I am deeply disappointed in him and who I believed or knew him to be. I need you to know that there is zero excuse for his behavior and he must be held accountable. I hope for healing for you… I hope for comfort from friends and family and a higher power… I pray for you and your family and friends as you navigate this and it's long aftermath. I hope for strength as you go through this and I hope one day my son realizes the enormity and reality of what he's done to you… I pray that he will realize the depth of pain both physical and mental he's put you through and the future ramifications of his choices that you will endure. I pray for his heart to be turned and for him to recognize that him raping you was not only an act against you but all women and God. I pray for his sincere repentance and for him to acknowledge what he's done to you. Lastly, my heart goes out to you and I must say always remember you did nothing to deserve being raped. You did nothing to deserve being treated as you have. You did nothing nor wore nothing nor said nothing to deserve being raped. No woman does. You did nothing wrong and I will do everything I can within my power to raise awareness about rape and ensure that this never happens to another woman again."
© gracepowerstrength.com ~ 2016
names have been omitted in this post
I coasted along the curving lanes on one of the main thoroughfares in the city… wide grassy medians divided the middle of the road, the sun shone brightly through the sunroof, temps in the seventies beckoned that summer was soon approaching… nearly every place in this town had a memory of someone for me. The radio lyrics spiraled out at us as my hair whipped from the wind blowing through the open windows…
"And I remember what she said to me
How she swore that it never would end
I remember how she held me oh so tight
Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then…"
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - Against The Wind
"You know… Daddy still asks about you, Mommy." My daughter spoke from the backseat.
I recoiled inside and after a moment spoke "Oh, really? Why?" I asked her.
She seemed to be thinking… "I don't know. I mean… he can't miss you. Because he acts like poop. But he does ask. He asks how you're doing." She told me.
I cringed. I didn't want him asking about me. It was so funny really. I never asked how he was. Did he truly believe that by him asking her how I was made her believe he was acting with good intentions?
"So what do you tell him?" I asked with curiosity.
I study her expression in the rearview mirror as we wait for the red light to turn green so I can make a left turn into the shopping center and pick up a rotisserie chicken at Tom Thumb. They usually have them for five dollars on Fridays.
Her face breaks into a grin big as a cheshire cat's… "Oh, I tell him you're doing excellent." She replies.
"That's true…" I murmur and make the left turn into the parking lot to locate a space. Charleston's is nearby… a restaurant my ex and I used to frequent when married and where I always ordered the chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and glazed carrots… those carrots were his favorite; he'd always try to snag mine.
It's funny how people try to take what's yours.
It's funny how people try to sell you a dream and deliver a nightmare.
It's funny how people promise it will never end and instead it comes to an end in blazing flames.
It's funny how no matter where you admit you could have done better…
Some may be ready to use those honest acknowledgments against you instead of graciously accepting your inadequacies and flaws.
It's funny how no matter how hard you tried it was just simply never good enough.
Some may accept what you can give with appreciation and yet others… nothing is ever good enough… like a game of limbo where you must go lower instead it's the opposite… you're expected to jump higher and higher until you just can't anymore. You're so exhausted your feet don't even lift off the ground anymore.
And then…. and then…
They have the audacity to ask how you are.
Like they care.
Like they really care.
Like they really still love you.
Like they ever really did.
It's mind blowing really.
Because you know it's all a front.
A ruse to look like a good caring person.
It's all lies.
A narcissistic sociopath can stand there all day and ask how you are…
but mark my words… despite the smile… despite the words that tumble from their mouth…
They are holding a knife behind their back.
Their actions… their long time pattern of evil actions that were shown to you… those can't be dismissed with the lovely asking of how you're doing. No… nothing can out shine those in your eyes. Because you've seen the real them. Their true self. Not once and then they made amends. But time and time again they made their true intentions, their true heart very transparently apparent to you. And now you know better.
Once inside the grocery store we make our way past the fragrant flower arrangements and bundles of tulips, sunflowers, hydrangeas and roses for sale. Next we choose a warm rotisserie chicken and then go check out the cakes displayed in the case at the bakery. We ohh and ahh over the various pretty confections they have decorated in pink frosting, swirls of piped chocolate and white edible flowers… her begging me to buy something because they all look so girlie, lovely and delicious. I agree to four chocolate cupcakes with chocolate filling and we slowly make our way to the produce section.
"I forgot to tell you… "She suddenly says.
I cringe. This always means something bad. Always.
"What is it?" I ask, trying to keep my tone not sounding terse.
"You remember how last time I went to Daddy's and I forgot my t-shirt for school?" She asked. I nodded and she continued "And you know how you drove it over to Daddy's and I ran out to get it?" She confirmed.
"Yeah…" I replied.
"Well…. you pull up and Daddy goes "Oh, I hope your brother doesn't get home right now with Mommy parked in the driveway. She might run him over."
I pause from searching for a tomato and turn to look at her "What?!" I ask horrified.
She nods "Yeah… he said that. And I was like "Mommy wouldn't do that!" And he goes "Welllllll….. I don't know about that…" It made me so mad! Because he is lying!" She exclaimed.
And then there it is.
Who says that?
He can't cover that up with "How is Mommy doing?"
It doesn't make up for it.
It doesn't erase it.
I look at her "First of all… I would never hurt your brother. But I've had plenty of bruises where he's hurt me. I think your father has a selective memory." I said pointedly. "He should have never said that. It's a lie. And he's trying to plant seeds of doubt in your head… to make you doubt what you know. You know the truth." I tell her.
She nods and carefully bags the tomato I hand her "Oh, I know. I know him. And his lies."
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2016