Dr. Philip Zombardo who pioneered The Stanford Prison Experiment defines evil psychologically as “…the exercise of power. And that’s the key: it’s about power. To intentionally harm people psychologically, to hurt people physically, to destroy people mortally, or ideas, and to commit crimes against humanity.
Evil and malignant narcissism sees love as power – nothing but a way to feed off of and control another human being.
Love is the ultimate power we willingly hand to others to wield over us, trusting they are decent and good and will not use that power to destroy, destruct, or dehumanize us.
I fully understand that I will never, ever feel safe to love someone again. I’m also unable to hate, but now I’m unable to love as well. What is life without love anyway? I could never allow anyone that power over me again. I could never be so naked and vulnerable emotionally to let love flow through me, well up inside me, open myself up to being vulnerable under another’s power. I learned this from my mother, overcame it, then re-learned it from my children’s father, then overcame it, in order to freely love my children and always believed loving my children could never be something used to hurt me. Believed that could never be an unsafe place to love!
Ohhhhhh I was wrong…it is the sharpest sword, the most vile hammer of destruction – the unconditional and infinite love for a child is the most destructive weapon of all when placed in the controlling, sadistic hands of evil.
Dehumanize: to deprive of positive human qualities.
In the recent wake of an unexpected and unannounced visit from my oldest daughter, I’m shaken, shattered, and thoroughly discombobulated all over again. I use the term “visit” loosely here, as no visit was intended whatsoever. As per a few years ago, she “had a friend waiting outside” and thus declined my offer to share the lunch I’d just been preparing for myself. A visit, it was certainly not.
It wasn’t five minutes until she was using the word “fuck”, as though there could ever be a single thing I’m permitted to say, do, or feel at this point which would not be scoffed, belittled, twisted, or flipped.
I’d been watching the documentary The Stanford Prison Experiment. And it occurred to me quite painfully after she left, that dehumanization is the key to it all. Dehumanization is how mother abused me for years on end, sometimes without lifting a finger. Dehumanization is how my children’s father did the same.
“How we went about testing these questions and what we found may astound you. Our planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress. Please read the story of what happened and what it tells us about the nature of human nature.”
“In only a few days, our guards became sadistic…and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress.” Likewise, their kind, thoughtful, healthy minded (all participants in the experiment were carefully interviewed prior to being chosen) peers – the one chosen to be the guards by a coin flip – became almost immediately “sadistic” toward the ones randomly chosen to be prisoners.
In fact, the cruelty and dehumanization the guards presented escalated so quickly under the established circumstances of being given power and the situation of encouragement to wield that power however they saw fit, that the two week experiment was shut down after only six days! Only one guard presented feelings of guilt while watching the sadistic mental cruelty grow more evil day by day and under the circumstances, he chose not to speak up and went passively along with the more assertively cruel guards – he never spoke up.
These people in the experiment were healthy, strong, college kids from good families and the prisoners weren’t physically abused at all, merely dehumanized and made to question reality and constantly put in no-win argumentative situations with people in power over them; these healthy, loved, psychologically normal young men only lasted 6 days before breaking under the stress.
I’ve been living it for over 5 years now, since childhood really if one starts counting there when it first began. I had about a 15 year break though in the middle when I was raising my children free from my mother or their father’s power over me.
Even when I saw it was she at the door, I instantly felt twisted in knots…the same way I feel when my mother is even mentioned, much less in my presence. The same way I feel when my mind flashes back to being raped, to being beaten, to those miserable, futile, desperate days jumping hoops living with her father just hoping for a crumb of kindness…the mind games… the utter helplessness of the unknown… would she be kind? Would I believe it if she was? Was she here to spy and run back to her fascist tyrant father with updates? Would she be cruel? Would she be conniving? Would she fling herself against the wall screaming OMG STOP CHOKING ME!!, as I politely offered her iced tea from the next room?
My own child fills me with terror.
She swore at me for no reason, so I swore back. She said she loved me “even if I didn’t believe that” and I said, I appreciate you saying those words so much but it’s really hard to believe that Lexi, when you treat me like less than an annoying dog begging for love for over 5 years straight now. That sure doesn’t feel like love to me. She didn’t reply to that.
I was determined not to present myself as the dog who’s been whipped for 5 years, huddling in the corner…flinching and waiting for the next random attack. After all, if I grovel for their love, I’m “pathetic and disgusting” and accused of trying to “manipulate and guilt” them into loving me.
Because, like the dog in this video, THIS is how I felt inside.
I tried not to beg. I tried not to be in the “victim” mindset, waiting for her to jump at me. I tried to smile. I tried to act naturally, as my stomach did flip-flops and my legs shook. I attempted to behave as a grown ass adult who has done nothing wrong except love this child apparently far, FAR too much… thus, giving this previously loving, kind, thoughtful child unlimited power over me with that love. So, I attempted to at least pretend I felt I was standing on solid ground and fake like I wasn’t afraid….or desperate…or clueless…or spineless…
My children have become experts in dehumanization. If I lack self esteem, I’m criticized for having low self-esteem. If I attempt to defend myself, no matter how righteously albeit humbly, I’m difficult and impossible. If I have human emotion, it’s wrong; it’s criticized. If I’m sad or cry, even unintentionally, I’m manipulating. If I’m angry, I’m abusive or hateful.
This is precisely the environment a malignant narcissist creates. Denying truth, denying fact, belittling feeling, ignoring to demean as worthless until the target is so confused, so desperate for acknowledgement, so pathetic for recognition of being a worthwhile human being, begging to witness a crumb of humanity, pleading for any tiny token of kindness; until the world just makes no sense anymore. Up is down and round is square; blue is orange and right is wrong; good is bad.
My children are now experts at this. Not only are they genius as dehumanizing, but they’ve been taught somehow that this is appropriate and acceptable.
She hugged me at one point and I tried with all my might not to cling to her or sob or shake, but I started to anyway. I enveloped her with my arms, closed my eyes and silently pleaded with God to let me see my child in there somewhere; to let me hold my daughter just one more time… Please? PLEASE???
She wasn’t there though; I could feel that this wasn’t my child at all. Even her hugs don’t have her in them anymore. She is a shell of a person, like my mother, like her father. She is an illusion of humanness, built on lies and betrayals, schemes and cruelty…power trips, judge and jury, and greed.
She wasn’t even there at all.
What is the dividing line of differentiation between those resistant to evil and those more likely to allow/follow/act on the power of evil?
Dr. Zombardo said of his experiment, “So my book, “The Lucifer Effect,” recently published, is about, how do you understand how good people turn evil? And it has a lot of detail about what I’m going to talk about today. So Dr. Z’s “Lucifer Effect,” although it focuses on evil, really is a celebration of the human mind’s infinite capacity to make any of us kind or cruel, caring or indifferent, creative or destructive, and it makes some of us villains. ”
Dr. Zombardo concluded that given the power and authority to dehumanize someone, being in a situation with power, along with encouragement and support that it’s okay to treat another human being cruelly, that nearly anyone can flip from good to evil.
Parental Alienation has made my children dehumanizing, cruel, heartless monsters. Their father is this way when it suits him and they’ve been expert pupils.
I haven’t been a mother for 5 years now, but now I realize and fully see that I no longer have any children at all. They no longer exist. They have been successfully eradicated and replaced with minions of their father, a pathological narcissist.
Narcissistic abuse is a dual edged sword. It will never admit … much less apologize.. for the damage. In fact, it denies and belittles, making you feel even worse, more vulnerable, more crazy, more abused.
More like a victim….. helpless and victimized from every edge….
The first boyfriend I ever had beat me senseless physically . He didn’t emotionally or mentally abuse me though…. Just random, irate, wild physical attacks. I was lucky to have survived a few of those vicious attacks, but still I’d choose that over narcissistic abuse like my mother, my ex, or my children.
Recently I got very reflective on that first boyfriend. And I texted him to just state my feelings. I wasn’t hoping for anything more than the chance to say how I felt about the abuse and a few things that happened concerning him after my dad passed. I truly expected him to actually deny it ever happened! That’s how distorted narcissistic abuse has made me…
But he just apologized. He didn’t deny. He didn’t belittle or minimize the abuse. He literally just apologized! He even went so far as to say ” I would pay the devil if I could take back how badly I beat you”.
He SAID that!!
And I’m just flabbergasted…. I’ve never had anyone hurt me deeply and actually demonstrate remorse or regret of any kind. It’s always been “I didn’t do that” or “sorry you think that’s what I did”. Never EVER just a straight out I’m so sorry for how I hurt you. I wish I hadn’t.
I’m amazed at what a difference just the acknowledgement of truth makes! Much less, the sincere apology. It’s astonishing actually!
It makes all the difference in the world.
Narcissistic abuse is hands down the most vile evil abuse there is.
I’d so much rather be beaten.
I do not fear death. I no longer fear I am unlovable or unworthy. I have those irrefutable answers at last. I no longer fear the persecution of lies, ignorance, or huge misunderstandings. That’s all been decided, judged, and prosecuted already.
I fear failure. I fear I’ve not thought of something critical and I’ll cause more unnecessary and undue suffering on the people left in this world whom I’d rather die than ever hurt. Literally.
I no longer fear anger. I don’t have this chronic deep anxiety that deep down I’m going to be like my mother – ruling with rage, cutting sarcasm, and torrential tirades. I still feel immediate terror when I sense anger anywhere about my vicinity, but with all my habitual begging and pleading for forgiveness of crimes I didn’t commit and/or aren’t even crimes at all, combined with faults I am most certainly guilty of, I feel angry.
I think about people who have been wrongly convicted of violent crimes, like rape or murder, who spend years in prison – sometimes lifetimes even – and I imagine how they must feel sitting in their prison cell for all those years, knowing they aren’t guilty…knowing they’re not perfect either, but that they did not commit these heinous crimes against humanity, but there they sit. There they sit among hundreds of guilty voices who also cry out, “…but I’m not guilty!”, knowing their sincere pleas of innocence are useless, tiny ridiculous cries, begging for justice, screaming for truth, but drowning in a sea of guilt that continuously whispers, why bother crying out?
I’ve read over the years of cases where DNA evidence exonerates some poor innocent soul who’s served the time already; who wears that noisy scarlet G for guilty, in spite of their innocence. How angry they must feel! How invisible (other than for persecution purposes, of course), how hopeless, how senseless, and unjust. I once believed that anger was a useless waste of dangerous energy which serves no efficient purpose except transmitting unnecessary negativity out into the world. Yet, I can imagine these people feel quite righteously angry indeed! Yet, in great irony, if they expose their anger or noisily express the travesty of their wrongful conviction, most would just shake their heads and say, see? Look what an angry person he is! Look how “he doth protest too much“, only adding fuel to their guilty judgment with every righteous expression of anger, outrage, and shocking disbelief.
Trapped in their cell, wearing the blaring Scarlet “G”, do they even bother getting angry when it serves no purpose except to shine even more certainty on their misjudged guilt? Can you even imagine for a moment how horrifying that experience must be?
I’ve actually never allowed myself to really feel anger and be okay with that. I have to say though, uselessly senseless as it may be, I am angry. I am furiously angry. I feel angry that my voice is small and unsure, unsteady and without passion anymore. I feel angry that even when I get the words out, now they sound hysterical and imbalanced… rendering them uncountable. I feel angry that I tried so hard, suffered through so much, sacrificed without thought, and pushed myself past every hurdle life and narcissists threw at me.. just to end up defeated and hated in the end regardless.
A life full of consistent efforts to matter, and consistent efforts to help others and to use my struggles for good. A life of buying into the whole, everything happens for a reason, just use it all for good in the world and good will come around to you… No. No that is not true. I’ve lived a life believing in some non-existent karmic balance in the world, some ignorant notion that if I just keep doing the right thing no matter how hard that is sometimes, then everything will be ok; believing that deep in my heart, while drowning in a sea of evidence and experience which keeps slapping my face insisting otherwise.
Apparently, I’m a special kind of stubborn-stupid.
It’s wasted energy, I understand. It serves no purpose except to add fuel to the charges, but fuck that! I am angry. I am PISSED OFF. And I’m letting myself feel that for once in my fucking life.
I feel frustrated and angry that as invisible and non existent as I am and as senseless and futile as my words, life experiences, and feelings are, that I still exist. I still fucking exist!
I hate my body for functioning. I resent myself when I feel hunger. Why should I have to feel hunger? Why should I have to go grocery shopping or buy groceries? I don’t want to and I don’t even exist on any plane that matters….
I used to love to cook! Even after they first left, I confess, sometimes I’d still cook big dinners and send my kids pictures hoping to spark a memory of my cooking they loved, or maybe fondly recall the many dinners we had where we laughed. It seemed a safe topic to address when all topics and all my words are twisted into daggers and furiously flipped, taken out of context, and unleashed upon me backwards like boomerangs. My feather boomerangs I lovingly toss out there which return as daggers to stab and criticize.
Now, I feel pissed off when I’m hungry and when I can’t push past it anymore, I drag myself to the kitchen and eat a spoonful of peanut butter or anything readily handy that will shut up my hunger pains when they’re driving me crazy.
Maybe those food pictures were manipulative? Maybe I’m selfish to want them to remember being happy with me, loving me, being a family with me…? They’re admittedly gloriously happy, why would I want them to remember those things when they’ll either be twisted to hurt me or twisted inside them as painful reminders of the depth of lies they’ve told and the depth of senseless destruction they wreaked?
I once got an irrationally inordinate pleasure out of- of all things! – lip balm! I used to get so excited over a new chap stick or lip gloss… and I adored the feeling of applying lip balm on my chapped lips, that moment of quenching that annoying thirst of my lips and how soothing it felt.
Now, I deeply resent my lips when they’re dry. I don’t feel pleasure from buying a new chapstick and I feel just annoyed when my lips dare to be so dry. I get no pleasure whatsoever from the soothing sensation of quenching that. Why do I even have lips anyway? And how dare they have needs!
I’m angry that I’ve no one who will stand for me even up when I’m gone. I fear that all my abusers and those who’ve used, deceived, and demolished me for their own purpose and angrily threw me away only when I finally stood up for myself against their abuse, that every one of those people will just say “see? See what she did now? See how far she’ll go to manipulate? I told you so.”
As a child, I wished for death almost as much as I craved and begged for love. And I would play the scenario in my head, mother will be sad that I’m gone. She will see how much I loved her after I’m not around anymore. She might even miss me and realize that she did love me a little… I see now that I’m an adult, how childish and selfish those thoughts were. I loved my mother in spite of everything. Why would I have wanted her to suffer missing me? Suffer regrets she could never rectify? I didn’t yet know about NPD and that pathological narcissists are incapable of feeling regret, remorse, or love.
Regardless, as angry as I am, I still don’t wish any pain on anyone… not even my abusers or persecutors. I’ve never intentionally wished any of them pain and I still don’t. I don’t believe that their experiencing pain like they’ve inflicted on me would vindicate or bring me any satisfaction.
I have far more anger at those who stood by watching it happen, knowing it was horribly wrong, and did nothing…said nothing… And will most likely even express sympathy (real or fake) with my murderers after I’m gone.
And my children… my children who are merely accessories and pawns in a bigger narcissist’s game than they could ever comprehend. And the more they scream that they’re NOT and throw cruelty at me like they have zero heart and less than zero compassion for anyone weak and unlucky enough to have been abused, the more I accept that what I know is true, even if I’m surrounded by naysayers. Truth is still truth whether or not anyone believes, respects it, or remembers it.
What’s kept me from ending my suffering these past 5 years was the very fear that my children MIGHT remember they loved me too late… that they might remember the truths and sort out the lies, that they might suffer even a moment’s doubt about their choices and their actions. I do not have any desire to “show them” what pain feels like nor any wish for them to EVER know even a fraction of a second of the level of pain they and my abusers have created inside me.
While I still ignorantly tried to believe that truth and goodness will prevail in the end, I could not end my own pain knowing that might someday cause them pain even if they can’t or won’t realize that today…
Most of all though, I’m angry that after everything, no one will stand up to say, “another fatality of narcissistic abuse” another senseless victim for parental alienation “. No one will call it murder by the fiercest and most damaging of bullying… adult bullying via children.
No one will scream, SHE DID NOT COMMIT SUICIDE! SHE WAS DESTROYED BY PARENTAL ALIENATION!
I’m confined to the prison my abusers specifically created for me.. a hell I can’t escape no matter what I do… for my heart will still love and long to be loved by my children.. until my last breath. They created my prison, and like a person on death row for a crime they didn’t commit.. my screams of innocence and demands for justice are just more proof I deserve this prison sentence.
Yes, I am pissed off.
And if my existence and all my lifetime of strenuous efforts to matter, to love like I wished for love, to believe in the goodness of people even when monsters were whacking at my head, to help others like I wished someone had helped me, to hold to faith when it was smaller than a mustard seed.. and hang on hope even when it was the prickly noose around my neck..
If none of that mattered and none of it made any difference in this world, then maybe I do deserve this prison of nonexistence, but if so, then I also deserve the death penalty… a death free from the burden and stigma of suicide, free from the heavy conscience of that tiny remote possibility that my death might hurt someone I love – someone I love who (unwittingly or otherwise) also tightened the noose others placed around my neck.
If I give in to these impossible persecutions, the years of agony, the desperate climb up and past so much abuse just to be kicked back down again… if what they say I am, I really am… then I also deserve to be free from further blame at accepting their truth even when it wasn’t mine to accept or bear.
I fear that my entire life was in vain and now, without a voice or a leg of worth or value to stand on… as a fragile shell of my former spirited, hopeful self…that my death will also be in vain.
These are the only fears I have left.
I’ve a deep drive to attempt simplification of the thoughts in my head regarding experiences I’ve endured and the jumbled, shocking feelings associated. So far I’ve assigned two phrases that encompass my life experience. I wrote of them in A Single Sentence and in Damned if I do; Damned if I don’t .
Today, I’m adding a 3rd motto:
This has become so abundantly true for me that it’s altered my soul and jumbled my heart.
Someone could write a Netflix series based on how my life has defined this as a cautionary tale of factual and outrageous truth. However, I’ll just address my latest go around with it here and spare you the redundancy of different characters and different scenarios all leading directly back to this.
I purchased my dad’s house after he died. It’s a massive historical home built in 1896 and the upstairs has been renovated into two studio apartments. The previous owners renovated the upstairs like this in order to assist with the huge cost of maintaining a house of this age and size.
Owning rentals and being a landlord is not something I would have intentionally sought out. I’m aware of my weakness for sob stories and excuses and I’ve always been driven by a fervent unmitigated desire to help others, and often to my own demise.
However, my daddy’s house is particularly meaningful and sentimental to me. For years, this has been my safe haven from storms, homelessness, and just a point of safety I don’t have anywhere else. So, here I am playing landlady in an attempt to keep a house I can’t actually afford.
Last fall, I had a vacancy and began accepting applications for new tenants. These are simple, small, inexpensive studio efficiency, all-utilities-included apartments, so they rent quickly. I already had 22 applicants when a very young couple contacted me claiming they were both working, but were homeless and living out of their car for months.
Oh Lord, here’s my Achilles heel… A downtrodden couple just fighting to get a leg up in this impossible world. I met with them, showed them the apartment, and really liked their seemingly sweet and quiet natures. I had far more promising applicants, but I wanted to help these people! After all, they were both working and so young, I thought this would be the perfect place for them to live while perhaps saving money to buy a house someday in the future.
The trouble began about 3 1/2 weeks after they moved in. The screaming, fighting, and physical violence tore throughout the halls of this entire old house. It sounded like someone would not get out of this argument alive. They pushed each other up and down the stairs for an hour or so then eventually carried this fight out onto the porch, then to the sidewalk, then right out into the street!
My PTSD from domestic violence and abuse was racing through every nook and cranny of my mind and body, but I tried to calm them. I tried to help. I tried to separate them so they might calm down. Eventually, I had no choice but to call the police for help when it continued to escalate and I was shaking so badly and so confused from PTSD, I no longer could get my vocal chords to work or my brain to process my words intelligibly. The police came and it calmed down.
Unfortunately, this became a chronic bi-weekly nightmare going at all hours of the day and night. My other tenants moved out after begging me to make the unbearable noise and fear levels cease in any way. I understood completely why they left. This was taking a huge toll on my nerves and emotions and sleep as well.
The same time the other tenants moved out, the fighting tenants started making excuses for not paying rent. Suffice to say, they didn’t pay their rent in full ever again. The first month was they were just a “bit short”. Okay, I let that slide. They didn’t have food or rent, so I gave them food. They were out of cigarettes, so I gave them cigarettes. With every sob story they gave me, I just tried to help as best I could although I was struggling myself. Then they were late and short and “short” turned into no rent at all, etc., etc., etc…
In February, they brought a “friend’s” pit bull (pets are not allowed) into the hallway and left it there for 12 hours screaming/whining for attention and shredding the hallway carpet. And I’d had it. I’d tolerated this as long as I financially (and emotionally) could. After three straight months of no rent, the utility bills and property taxes were falling seriously behind. I could literally could not afford to keep them here, paying for them plus tolerating the chronic fights. I finally served them with an eviction notice.
The notice was reacted to by the tenants bellowing in the hallway things like “YOU FUCKING GREEDY BITCH!” and text messages about how my karma was going to be awful for doing this to them (“LEAVING THEM HOMELESS”) for “NO REASON”.
The 7 day notice was served…
The 30 day notice was served..
Court judgment to evict was granted for 30 (more) final days…
Forced removal notice was posted
They refused to leave.
By Monday May 1st, court officers arrived to “forcibly remove them”. At this point, these two fully capable people, both under the ages of 25, had lived rent and utility free in my home (while terrorizing me) for six full months.
This removal was a nightmare of all the nightmares. They were forced to put their things in the hallway to prepare for removing it from the home altogether. As this was happening, I suddenly smelled a strong odor of gas. I followed the smell upstairs to their apartment and went inside to discover they had turned every gas stove burner on high and shut all the doors behind them. This easily could have blown up the entire house.
I turned off all the burners and opened all the doors and windows to the bellowing of “ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, BITCH?” outside in the hall.
After a few hours, they were gone. I was still shaking from the ruckus when a loud and fierce BANG BANG BANG came upon my window. I looked out the window and saw a middle aged woman, looking furiously angry and demanding she be given access to her son’s apartment to “GET HIS MOTHERFUCKIN GROCERIES FROM THE REFRIGERATOR”.
Food is expensive and I had no desire to keep any of their things or make their lives any harder than necessary, so I opened the door for her to get the fridge contents although by law, I had no legal obligation to allow this additional access.
Upon which this woman, screaming vile obscenities and distorted accusations at the top of her lungs, then attempted to physically assault me and was prevented by a male co-worker of mine who had come to help me through this horrific process and had stayed behind to help calm me down when it was over. He politely escorted her out the door with her screaming threats and childish taunts at him.
After she was gone, my phone rang from a blocked ID and she left a message threatening that if she “SEES MY GREEDY BITCH ASS ANYWHERE SHE WILL SNAP MY SCRAWNY NECK” among a plethora of other lovely insults and threats. It seems six months free rent and utilities wasn’t “ANYWHERE NEAR ALL I COULD AFFORD” according to this lady.
I wanted to help.
Famous last words… I can only hope I’ll still be able to somehow squeak out when my scrawny little neck is snapped for trying to help.
NO good deed goes unpunished, indeed.
I am a naive, ignorant woman. I’m at the end and it’s my choice yet a teeny tiny piece of me still can’t comprehend this as reality. As though this is some movie where the happy ending comes at the last minute. Where my children call and say “OMG Momma!! I’m so sorry…the truth matters so much. I’m sorry what you’ve endured.. I love you.”
I wanted to make it perfect. A spotless house, pretty pajamas, the perfect letter saying all the right things….
But I think those were ignorant thoughts begging for a righteous, happy, lovely little pat ending to this nightmare. Some delightful made for TV movie where good wins in the end.
Me though? I’m watching Criminal Minds. Kinda in honor of how much Savannah loved this show… And in great irony, the last three episodes I’ve watched were about sexual criminals with a predilection for teenage girls.
Here’s my world : I’m “disgusting ” because I had sex in my bedroom with my boyfriend while my children were sleeping.
What’s *not* disgusting is having a sexual obsession with teenage girls…
I’m disgusting because I drank to numb my pain at helplessly watching my children hurt sometimes after our home was stolen by their father.
What’s “not” disgusting is stealing your ex’s home in an attempt to leave her and your children homeless … all “for their own good”. Because it’s okay to steal what’s not yours as long as you tell the people it was “for their own good”.
I stole a lip gloss once when I was 14. I still feel ashamed.
I’ve never once raised my hand in anger, but my ex has abused animals, women, and children, I’m sure “for their own good” though.
I peed in a parking lot once and I’m the worst mother ever.
Welcome to a tiny glimpse of my world.
I know the weight of the world,
never getting anything right,
I know whippings and the snide rip of my flesh stinging with bewildering confusion for my crime,
I know the desperate longing to belong,
and the relentless ache to be loved.
I know hate without cause
and wondering why…
I am a rape survivor.
I know helpless.
I know disempowerment,
the emotionless vacancy in blank eyes,
I know the feel of odd objects thrust inside me
and the tearing of flesh from the inside
I know terror
and wondering why…
I am a domestic violence survivor.
I know caking makeup to hide black eyes,
I know the sting of broken noses, the bruising of ribs,
I know the bloody lips, chipped teeth, bald spots,
I know the cuts, scrapes… the not-so-delicate finger shaped bruises adorning my neck.
I know fear and the impossibility of walking on eggshells
and wondering why…
I am the daughter of a loving father.
I know unconditional love from a distance.
I know big southern breakfasts
and daddy’s that laugh til their whole belly jiggles
I know feeling my mistakes were forgiven
and the feeling of home.
I am a momma
I know singing lullabies with babies breath in my face
I know the peace of watching a child sleep in safety and contentment.
I know giggles and token rocks as priceless gems.
I know chasing away bad dreams
and mending little hearts
with sweet kisses and gooey cookies,
fairy dancing and pretty dresses.
I know tiny hands reaching confidently for mine
and feeling strong for the first time,
knowing I’d rather die than allow this child pain.
I am a targeted parent.
A cancer that grows stronger with every word or action.
I know helpless.
I know worthless.
I know empty.
I know hopeless.
I know how it feels to be vilified,
persecuted, falsely accused,
Without a voice, a prayer, or a single hope.
I am an erased momma.
I know of everything I know,
of this , I am no survivor.
I know parental alienation by narcissists
killed me in the end.
Killed by obliteration; insidious erasure of all that was my past, present, and future.
This one’s a hard one to force out. Even anonymously, I feel nauseated at the thought of sharing such horrifying intimacies of my horrific flaws.
I’m of the opinion though that I must write of it though, and especially because it’s so hideous and shameful. I must blare it out somewhere in the universe so it can be known that I admitted even the most mortifying true aspects of my unworthiness.
I peed in a parking lot. Actually, I’ve peed in many bizarre places in my life. I’ve peed in bushes, I’ve peed my pants, I’ve peed on dates, I’ve peed the bed. I’ve peed while sleeping. I’ve peed while awake. I’ve peed myself while drunk. I’ve peed myself while sober….
I recently read Sarah Silverman’s biography, The Bedwetter, and I confess, it’s helped me have the courage to openly (albeit anonymously!) address my personal issue with this. For the first time ever, I realized I’m not the only one who suffers from such unwanted struggles! So here goes nothing…
My bladder sucks! My bladder sucks so badly that I’d be willing to bet the only way it could be worse is if I had no bladder at all. And even then, I could pee safely in a bag I carried around…. so, maybe that’s not actually “worse”.
My bladder is a cruel bitch. However, I refuse to offer excuses about that here. I have zero excuses, but I very much want a platform to be free to discuss the myriad of bullshit behind my stupid fucking horrible bladder. It may seem like a black and white issue, but I assure you, it is not. This issue has more shades of grey than those Christian Grey books. Yet, not once have I had the opportunity to discuss it beyond “yes, I did pee in a parking lot. Yes, I have a weak bladder”, so fuck it, I deserve to tell the rest of the story behind this confounding, humiliating, and unreliable bladder of mine.
Not that the why’s or story behind this matter for what is or change what is. What is, just is.
1st shades of grey:
- I had chronic bladder and kidney infections as a small child.
- I was the dreaded child to take on road trips because I had to pee every 10 miles and couldn’t hold it very long or very well.
- I was very slow to stop bedwetting and to train myself to wake in the night to pee. I didn’t kick this fully until around 6 years old. (I was very proud of myself when I finally did!)
- Incidentally, there has been much research which indicates that children in an abusive, scary home struggle with bedwetting and bladder problems longer than the average child.
2nd shades of grey:
- After I was molested in the 1st grade, I started having night time accidents again and occasional day time accidents as well. This continued well into my teens and was a huge source of embarrassment. By around 16, I had it mostly under control again aside from occasional accidents which accompanied night terrors.
- At 17, I was gang raped by three older boys from my school. They not only raped me with their penises, they also thrust random objects inside me. This did a tremendous amount of damage to my urethra, cervix, vaginal tissue, and you guessed it, my bladder. The damage was so extensive, the gynecologist suggested it highly likely that I possibly would not even be able to carry a child to term later in life. I also suffered a concussion from this event.
- After the gang rape, my bladder issues resurrected with full and added force, as did my night terrors.
- I met my first boyfriend 3 months after the gang rape. He was charming, fun, and very loving, except when he beat me. After the initial domestic assault at 18, the assaults averaged once of twice a month. I dated the man for 2 years. Throughout those two years, I suffered three diagnosed concussions and the emergency room physician who examined me the last time he beat me, suggested the possibility that I’d had more concussions which were undiagnosed because I didn’t come in for treatment.
- By my early to mid 20’s, I was back to only the random accidents…usually only accompanied with night terrors or extreme emotionally and psychologically stressful events.
3rd shades of grey:
- My boyfriend at 24 (my children’s father) was physically abusive on occasion as well. Not as frequently as my high school boyfriend, but every bit as violent when it did occur. I believe it highly likely I suffered at least two undiagnosed concussions in the duration of this relationship. I didn’t go for treatment after these incidents or call the police because I didn’t want to get him in any trouble and possibly be the reason he might lose his job.
- I had an acute ischemic stroke at 26, paralyzing the entire left side of my body. Among a plethora of other obvious issues, my bladder issues resurrected yet again. At this point, in addition to the physical damage, the night terrors, and the lifelong effects of PTSD, my brain literally lost its ability to communicate effectively with my bladder.
- Over time and various neurological and physical therapies, I’m back to #4 in the “2nd shades” section with some added complications. On most days, I typically can force my brain to communicate somewhat with my bladder, but if I’m quite stressed, especially fearful, or overly fatigued, the communication is difficult at best. Often, by the time my brain is alerted that my bladder is full, it’s a race to get to the bathroom in time. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I can’t. In addition, the residual weakness and imbalance on my left side from the stroke hastens my ability to walk quickly to the bathroom and I no longer can run at all without falling.
- I still struggle with bedwetting when I have night terrors, which can be brought on by stress, fatigue, or highly emotional or frightening events. I exist in a state of chronic PTSD since my father passed and my children turned against me.
It’s my fault. It isn’t my fault. None of that matters. It is what it is. My bladder and my brain have apparently been at odds since I was born and beyond that, life has not been kind to my brain nor my bladder.
Yes, I peed in an empty parking lot once with my 15 year old daughter in the car. I have also peed in empty fields and woods throughout the 15 years my children lived with me. Once, I even peed my pants while driving my car on the interstate when I couldn’t get to a bathroom exit in time. My children knew well of my bladder troubles, perhaps not the extenuating causes of the struggle but they watched me for years – me, trying to get to a bathroom in time and terrified I would not make it. I always tried to laugh this off with my kids out of embarrassment for how deep the struggle really was for me.
My oldest daughter chose to tell her dad, my mother, and her dad’s attorney (and subsequently an entire courtroom via dad’s attorney) only about the parking lot incident; using that as evidential proof that I am an alcoholic.
In court, I did not go into detail about my bladder issue or its extenuating causes. I was mortified and ashamed and could barely muster up the voice to say, “Yes, I have struggled with a weak bladder all my life”. In hindsight, I realize it’s good I couldn’t summon up the courage to go into further detail anyway, as things like my stroke, my rapes, and the domestic violence I tolerated were already going to be used as nails in my “bad, bad, worthless momma” coffin anyway.
Lexi has also thrown the parking lot peeing incident in my face every time we’ve talked in the five years they’ve been gone, citing it as clear evidence of how horrible of a mother I really was. Were I even able to get her to listen to the various shades of grey which surround my lifelong bladder issues (which I’m not able to do), I know she would simply scoff, cut me off mid-sentence, and say I’m just throwing out excuses for being an alcoholic, making myself out as the victim again, and just trying to manipulate her by garnering up pity.
I suppose we could just sum all this up to say, quit making excuses for yourself Chloe and just accept the dirty fucking truth.
The simple truth is, women with heinous crimes like bad bladders should not be allowed to be mothers.
*Sheerly as a side note: While I carried both my children inside my body, the two traits of mine I fervently begged God not to curse them with were my big feet and my awful bladder. My prayers were answered. Neither of them suffer from either of those curses. YAY! They’re the luckiest ones after all!
screams of agony are merely
Scream and writhe, plead in pain.
No one wants to hear that shit
or see that squirm.
But even before…
No one stood up to help
No one cried out the injustice
No one stood next to me
or for me.
I suppose no one knows what could be done
while they’ve murdered me
yet kept me alive
to feel death every step of the way
every inch of the process.
Killing off piece
while everyone has watched
either in agreement
in judgment of me
or in silence.
Not all suicides are self inflicted.
There are strong relentless hands around my throat
Barbed wire squeezing my heart
Vacuumes sucking out my spirit
Furious flames blaze my will to live.
I’m a useless puppet who never worked properly
so they’ve destroyed me slowly
from the inside out.
There was silence while I was abused
or the noise of blame thrown in my ears.
Stillness as I was raped.
Silence while I cried.
Apathy while I begged.
My pleas were ignored
all my life
This is no suicide.
This has been a long, slow execution
started at my birth.
…a painfully slow torture to the death
among a gallery of silent, apathetic observers
watching with blank stares
speaking empty words