Alone at Christmas

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It’s Christmas Eve day and, for me, it’s a time to put my thoughts in order. So I’m afraid this post won’t be very Christmassy. Instead I’m going to talk about something that’s a reality for a lot of abuse survivors; being alone.

Christmas is that time of year when you’re with friends and family in a house with a fireplace and a tree and lots of presents and food. Christmas for me involves a pizza and Freddy Krueger. I chose this and, while I don’t regret it, it’s hard.

See, everything on the internet, television, media, songs, every damn place you go screams family and tradition. I would love to be with a family someplace with all those things just not with my family.

Anyone who’s read this blog knows that I survived a lifetime of abuse at the hands of my sister and I managed to get free of that. Many people cheer me on when they find out, like I’m some Wonder Woman who managed the impossible. For me it was simple; get out or die.

There is an aftermath, though, of abuse. Getting free isn’t always enough. Everyone knows that post-abuse involves therapy and rebuilding your life but what people don’t know is what life is like in the free zone.

Christmas is especially hard for those who have survived the narcissist. There is a sense of freedom that is especially intoxicating that you simply don’t want to share with anyone. It’s healing and invigorating. You get to eat pizza on Christmas Day while watching Freddy.

However, as hard as you might try, you can’t ignore those homily messages that talk about family and hearth and home. If you’ve left  your narcissist, you’ve probably left those things as well. This is where the clash happens.

On one hand you’re standing on the rocks of your freedom, shouting defiance to the universe. On the other is the voice of your narcissist alive and well in your head whispering what a loser you are for being alone on the one day when no one is alone.

It’s okay, though. That voice has no real power and you get better at ignoring it. I doubt that Christmas will ever be easy but it will get kinder. For survivors the Christmas miracle is simply being free. Maybe that’s enough. I don’t know. What I do know is pizza and Freddy await.


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If you’re a friend, there’s a few things you need to know before you start coming into my orbit. I grew up the victim of abuse and it’s taken me a very long time to learn that there are things I don’t need to put up with in my life. This freedom of self that allows me to embark on my journey of self-discovery is a wonderful gift that I don’t plan on giving up so if you want to be around me then you need to be aware of some stuff.

There is no one on the planet who will be as loyal as I am. You never have to worry about someone watching your back because I’ve got it no matter the circumstances. I may not know what I’m doing but I’ll be there and we’ll worry about raising bail later.

If ever you need anything, all you need to do is ask. If I have it, it’s yours. If I don’t have it, I’ll find a way to get it. If I have it and I need it, I’ll share or find more. There will never be a time, day or night, when you cannot call or text because you need a listening ear. Be forewarned, if you call in the middle of the night I may not be completely coherent but I’ll give what I got.

I will always try to add dimension and value to your life because I believe that’s what a friend does. I will always be honest even when it hurts because that’s important and you will know you can count on me no matter what.

You need to know, though, that as my friend I have certain battles that I fight and causes I believe in. I grew up in a racist, abusive family so I fight against racism and abuse in all its forms. I work very hard to understand other people’s view points even if they’re foreign or alien to me. I try to be kind to others even though I fail a lot of times. I try not to shame or humiliate anyone unless that’s their kink and then I respect boundaries. I will always rescue the animal who is hurt, lost or alone and try to heal them. I will always acknowledge the First Nation Peoples of North America and try to respect their culture. I will try to help newcomers to my country understand how to get what they need to succeed and I will cheer them on when they work hard to get further in their life.

I am a chaos witch and I do not choose my battles lightly.

The thing I will not do is be silent when my causes make you uncomfortable. When you spew racist rhetoric or jokes, I’ll call you on them. When you’re spouting rape jokes or dead baby jokes, I’ll be there to verbally slap you silly.

I will always try to understand your views because they grew out of your life and your experiences as much as mine did. If you are my friend then you will  respect my views as you do me. I don’t demand you agree with them and I may not always agree with you. But there are some things I will not budge on and if you are my friend you will respect that.

If you cannot do that, then leave.

Pound by Pound

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Today I got fat shamed by someone who didn’t like the fact that I called them out on their bullshit. They somehow thought that pointing out that I’m fat and laughing about it would make me slink away and shut up about their misogyny. They were wrong. They aren’t the first to try this tactic and they won’t be the last. I know who I am and I know my body. There is no shame in that. However, I’d like to show you where the shame in my obesity really lies.

Every time I was called stupid, there was a pound. Every time I was called lazy, there was a pound. Each time I heard ugly, freak, weirdo… there was a pound.

Whenever I realized I wasn’t good enough, there was a pound. Whenever I thought I wasn’t being enough, there was a pound. Every time I knew I wasn’t kind enough, considerate enough, polite enough… there was a pound.

Each time I wasn’t perfect when it was demanded, there was a pound. Each time I fell short of expectations, there was a pound. Each fail, fall, foundering… there was a pound.

Those times I was told I was unlovable, there was a pound. Those times I was told I was good enough to fuck but not to marry, there was a pound. Whenever I became nothing more than a trophy, a fuck toy, a thing… there was a pound.

Times when I was the odd shaped peg that couldn’t fit into the square hole, there was a pound. Times when I asked questions that people didn’t want to answer, there was a pound. When I was too curious, confused, disorganized… there was a pound.

When I laughed instead of cried because jokes hurt, there was a pound. When I agreed that I was too sensitive rather than admitting words can wound, there was a pound. Those many times when it was easier to say nothing, to agree, to mimic… there was a pound.

When I was sexually harassed because of my large tits, there was a pound. When I was grabbed and assaulted because I wore a short skirt to a bar, there was a pound. When I was raped with a hand around my throat ready to choke me, there was a pound.

I carried shame with each and every pound I put on like an albatross. I’ve carried that weight most of my life it’s only now after the diagnosis of diabetes and thyroid and anxiety and depression and polycystic ovarian syndrome and… It’s only now that you can see the manifestation of words and actions taken on me.

My fat makes you uncomfortable not because it makes me less of a person but because it reflects on you those abuses that you have been guilty of. I am a mirror of your worst behaviour, of those dark parts inside that you’d rather not see. I am your own shame made manifest.

I am learning to love my body as it is. I am learning to heal it slowly. I am learning to appreciate it as it is. If you think to shame me for that then you are sadly mistaken. This body is my pride, my beauty, my glory and you will not take that from me.

It Never Happened – A True Story of Sibling Abuse (Part 6)

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Okay. We’re coming to an end of my story. I promise.

By the age of 16 I’d gathered enough courage from my friends and a feisty principal who dared tell my sister no that I started quietly rebelling. Not too much. Just a hairstyle here or a bit of makeup there. This resulted in my sister trying to ground me for an entire year. Which resulted in me trying to kill myself the first time. Thank god I’m a coward when it comes to pain or I wouldn’t be here.

I did start harming myself, though, and I was creative about it. I didn’t like the idea of cutting as knives made me feel squidgy. However, I kept my nails long and would rake them down parts of my body that I currently hated. Arms, tummy, legs, butt… nothing was spared. The other self-harm thing I did relied a lot on fate. I would walk out into traffic and not bother even looking to see if a car was coming. I heard the squeal of tires on pavement and drivers swearing many times, much to my disappointment. Not that I wanted to die. I just wanted to get injured. If I were injured then my sister would have to at least pretend to love me. It wasn’t much but it was something.

See, I was in a conundrum. I knew that how my sister treated me was wrong but I couldn’t stop myself trying to please her. When I did stop, I felt an insane amount of guilt. It was my job to make her happy and I failed at my reason for existing. My sister knew this and used my guilt to her advantage. To this day I’m a sucker for a guilt trip.

However, 16 saw lots of changes in my life. A few years earlier my sister married our first cousin. It was just another family secret to keep and then they had a son. Now that she had a family, I wasn’t needed. So, she bought a two bedroom home and my things were put in the basement where I was allowed to sleep once in a while. My parents got a two bedroom apartment that they shared with my brother.

Me? I was homeless and didn’t even know it.

It was two weeks before Christmas that year when a good friend was murdered in an arson fire. My world tilted and for the first time my self-harm was getting out of hand. When my sister moved into her house and my parents moved into their apartment, I had nowhere to go. My mother even took this opportunity to tell me that she didn’t want to be bothered being my mother any longer and I could do as I pleased. My sister was a real mom now. I had no one.

Several predators tried to prey on me but I was well protected. Remember when I said that John used to ride with a motorcycle gang? Well, he pulled in a favor and they spread the word that I was to be left alone. It wasn’t much but I didn’t realize how important that protection was until I was much older.

The problem with my situation was I was open to less obvious predators and got into many abusive relationships as a result. Only one tried to hit me but that stopped when I hit him back and nearly knocked him out. However, gaslighting is an insidious form of abuse.

I couch surfed for the most part. Slept in parks when it was warm and retreated to either my sister’s basement or a storage closet in my parent’s apartment. At least I had regular showers and no one denied me the opportunity to raid their fridge. I had a job offer to become a stripper but since I wasn’t yet 18, I turned it down.

In my 20s I realized there was something wrong with me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. When you’re scrambling for a place to live, anxiety and depression become comfortable bed buddies to keep you warm at night. The psychiatrist I first saw suggested I confront my sister.

That went over well.

My sister denied everything. Going so far as to say it never happened. I was confused. I knew these things happened but she kept saying the same line, “it never happened.” My sister has a great orator’s skill. She can bestow such grace upon her listeners that they would swear angels just landed on the front lawn. Her talents are wasted as a social worker. She should have become a cult leader.

After a year of this I began to believe her. This was the 90s when false memories were a very real concern. I began to fervently believe I’d made it all up. In this new memory, my sister was a sweet and doting sibling who gave me everything to make my home loving and warm. Holidays were a joy and birthdays never went unnoticed. This new memory took away my guilt of not being able to fulfill my role as her joy bringer. Yet, the anxiety and depression never went away. My sister had an answer for that, too; I was defective.

A few years later I was in the University of Alberta in my third year on my Bachelor of Arts degree when I met up with a childhood friend. Michelle and I reminisced about our childhood together when she started bringing up the instances of abuse. Confused and alarmed, I told her that these things never happened. I’d made it all up.

Michelle had a core of iron and was as strong a person as anyone I knew. She looked at me and assured me it all had happened. She’d been there. Still alarmed, I took Michelle to see my sister where she repeated everything she said to me. My sister never even missed a beat. Instead, she looked at Michelle and said, “it never happened.”

It was then I understood. I would never get an apology or confession. She would never admit the horrific things she’d done to me. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s when I realize how deep her need to abuse me went.

My brother James succumbed to colon cancer and finally passed away. It was I who had been caring for both him and our aging parents for the past year or so. At the funeral I was pretty numb and hadn’t yet started grieving. My sister sought me out and said, “I wish it had been you that died rather than James. James would have taken care of Mom and Dad.”

Those words still haunt me but I wouldn’t find the strength to end our relationship for another dozen years or so. Two weeks before Christmas, always a difficult time for me, and I dared ask her for a favor. She started screaming at me and my entire childhood flooded back. I was a two year old girl who had just piddled at her feet like a bad puppy again. The spanking was coming.

However, I was no longer the same person I was. I had a new friend in my life and I learned from his quiet and steady strength. He was the first person to accept me as a whole being, broken bits and all. He taught me that I was complete as I was.

Something in me snapped and I hung up on my sister, telling her not to bother me again. With the exception of concerns for my mother’s care, she’s out of my life.

My father has been dead these past 10 years and I think he’d be proud of who I’ve become. It’s taken me six years to write these words down and even now I still worry that I’m going to get punished for them. I’m starting a business and working on getting my life on track. A difficult job for a woman in her 50s whose entire being was once taken up with the job of making her sister happy. Life goes forward.

I am a survivor and a victim.

It Never Happened – A True Story of Sibling Abuse (Part 3)

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TRIGGER WARNING!! The following contains graphic descriptions of abuse and may trigger readers who have a sensitivity to these images. Be warned.

At this point in my story I need to veer off and talk about another part of the tale that isn’t wholly mine to tell. I had two brothers I’ll call John (the older) and James (the younger of the two). As I was the baby of the family, a large part of this story I didn’t witness but was told by John and James what happened. I’ve put the pieces together here. I wasn’t the only victim and survivor of sibling abuse in my family. In a lot of ways, James had it worse than I did but in many ways he had it easier. You be the judge.

John was the next oldest in age, being about a year younger than my sister. He was born premature as my mother decided to help my father move a sofa when she was in her 8th month of pregnancy. An idiotic move but the birth led to more feelings of guilt on my mother’s part. It became clear there was something wrong with him and my mother was positive it had to do with his premature birth. I didn’t. My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his 40s. Was he showing symptoms in his teens? I don’t know. I do know that he was one of those rare schizophrenics who don’t see or hear things but, rather, has delusions in his mind. Delusions of grandeur they’re called.

James was a year younger than John and a problem from the beginning. He didn’t speak until he was about 3 or 4 years old because he was simply too lazy. He would point and grunt at something and my parents would get him what he wanted. He was also a late walker for a similar reason. He simply didn’t need to as my parents would pick him up and carry him. The doctor put an end to it, though, when he told my mother to stop giving in to him. Within a couple of months he was walking and talking. He was later diagnosed as a “slow learner” by school psychologists. This was a catch-all phrase in the 70s meaning there was something wrong but no one could pinpoint what.

John had a streak of cruelty and violence in him that seemed to come from nowhere. Now, it is uncommon for schizophrenics to be violent unless they’re protecting themselves. My brother, however, seemed to revel in cruelty, especially toward James. Some of the incidents are too graphic for me to relate but I will speak of a few so readers can get an idea of what was going on.

James was the scapegoat for whatever John had in mind. Many times he’d make James stand in a corner while John and his friends threw darts at him. Another favorite game was to make James crawl on the floor yelling, “I’m a pig!” and squealing. As I said, there were others but those will give you an idea of what went on.

Is it any wonder, then, that James continued to wet the bed his entire life? Part of it was laziness. He simply didn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to go pee. Part of it was John. If James did make the mistake of getting out of bed, John was there waiting to pounce. Eventually, James just learned to stay in bed and stay asleep. It was a survival trait as much as anything. However, the behaviour never changed in his entire life.

John also had a violent temper and the walls of the apartments where we lived were a testament to that. He would often put his fists through walls and doors, threatening anyone who got in his way in a blind rage. As a baby I was largely shielded and so was my sister by virtue of being a girl. My brother, James, and my parents, though, were the usual targets. Neighbours often complained about these violent outbursts and managers would come to inspect the apartment. We got creative, though, and learned to hide the holes with pictures and posters. One of my favorite pictures was a replica of “Blue Boy”, a painting I still find haunting and attractive.

My parents did try to get John help but in 70s, child care was much different than it is now. Desperately they reached out to doctors, teachers, even social workers who gave them the spare the rod, spoil the child speech. If John was a torment, it was their fault because they were bad parents. Given my mother’s history, it only added to her sense of guilt and anxiety.

I’m not sure exactly what happened as the incident has largely remained a family secret, hidden even from me, but by the time John reached 15 he was evicted from the family home. Years later my father related much of the story but I have no recollection and don’t know the intricacies of it.

It was about this time that my parents began fearing for their children’s safety when John would act out. They had three other children to think of and one of them wasn’t even in school yet. James had all but retreated into himself and refused to speak of the abuse he suffered at John’s hands. James and I learned to keep the family secrets or else.

John was being violent again and my father was trying, in vain, to contain him. As a child, the physical violence of my brother and the verbal violence of my sister was simply too much for me to handle. I would often come out, begging in tears for everyone to stop. Please just stop. Even to this day I cannot stand a voice raised in anger. It’s enough to make me shake and cry uncontrollably.

I must have stepped in between my father and John. John swung out. Whether it was with his fist or his foot, I don’t know. I don’t know if he connected or not but it was this incident that caused my father to eject him from the home. My father later said he had to choose between John’s violence and my safety and he chose me though he didn’t love my brother any less.

Let me make it clear that my brother John never turned his violence towards me intentionally and he was just as hurt and shocked as my father was that I was nearly the one injured. He left the home, becoming homeless at that age and was later taken in by some friends who were part of a motorcycle gang though he never officially became a member of the gang. His life was a daily struggle that no one in the family could ease and it weighed on my father heavily.

Later in life, before my brother James died of cancer in 2001, James returned home to accept responsibility for what he’d done as a teen. He’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia by this time and was dutifully taking his meds. In a heart to heart conversation, John apologized for what he’d done to James. They both acknowledged that an apology didn’t change what happened but it did much to heal them both. I know how hard it was for John to swallow his pride and give that apology. I also know how much he needed to say the words and how glad he was after my brother’s death that he’d given it.

I never received even the acknowledgement that these events occurred by my abuser.

(to be continued…)

It Never Happened – A True Story of Sibling Abuse (Part 2)

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By the time my sister was 11, my mother had built up enough guilt to satisfy the Vatican for a decade. She was determined to be a good mother but how could she when her child’s life was a daily torment? Part of her lived in constant fear that her children would be taken away again.

She came up with a brilliant plan, have another child. My mother hoped I’d be a girl so that my sister would have a playmate. It was my job from the moment I was conceived to make my sister’s life better.

However, long before I was ever thought of another problem was brewing. My sister would often come home filled with the rage, frustration and tears that bullying brings. Without any other venue to release those emotions, she would vent them on the family in the form of verbal rages. My parents began giving in to her demands as a means to try and make her happy. My father was at a loss as to how to fix the situation. A quiet man, his solutions to problems were often direct and swift. Bullying, though, is a complex problem and, at the time, was seen as unimportant.

So the situation at home was quickly becoming centred around my sister. Getting pregnant and giving birth to me specifically to make my sister’s life more pleasant just cemented the deal. My mother often joked how I never belonged to her, that my siblings took over my care. Especially my sister.

Any parent should be aware that leaving the care of an infant to your children who are just entering their teen years is a bad idea. Especially when the only peer interaction one of those children had was one of torment. Now, in the home, my sister was quickly becoming the little dictator of the family. If my sister wanted something done, she would scream until it was done. Everyone just learned to get out of her way to keep some peace in the house.

My mother saw how happy I made my sister so she turned more and more of my care over to my sister. I’m not sure when my discipline was included in that but the daughter that was quickly ruling the house with an iron fist was allowed to rule over me as well. As my sister grew into a woman with her own life, my mother’s guilt slowly eased. Even if it never went away.

I feel a need to interject something here. My mother suffered from something few of us can understand and I don’t blame her for that. However, she used that suffering as a justification for rejecting me and not bonding with me as a mother should. She further used her past and state of mind to enable and condone my sister’s abuse. She not only saw what my sister did but she encouraged it and it’s that for which I do blame her.

There is a story that my mother found outrageously funny about my early years that she would tell repeatedly. I find it alarming.

When I was a toddler, probably about 2 years old or so, I was being potty trained. Like any child, the concept was a bit beyond me still so I was still having accidents. There’s every possibility, too, that my bladder wasn’t yet ready for full potty training. However, that didn’t stop my sister who was tired of changing diapers.

One day I was playing in the living room when my sister asked if I needed to go. I said no and kept playing. It’s likely that I was engrossed in my play and simply didn’t have the attention required to know if my bladder was full or not. I was a toddler and knowing when you have to go pee is a new skill that requires some thought.

I have many memories from my early years. My first memory is waking up in my crib from a nightmare and pulling myself up by the bars, crying as I did so. I was probably a little less than a year old at the time. The potty training memory is another memory but it comes in bits and flashes. Not like the nightmare one which is fairly clear.

I chose that moment to let my bladder loose. Right in front of my sister who was already done with this whole potty training business. Convinced I had done it just to spite her, my sister picked me up and turned me over her knee. My mother wasn’t opposed to spanking and she had allowed my sister more and more freedom regarding my care. When my sister began spanking me, she did nothing to stop it.

It’s at this point my mother always began to laugh. She would tell me in mirthful tones how my sister spanked me so long and so hard she began to get frightened. Once I asked why she didn’t stop my sister. My mother merely responded by saying she didn’t see a reason to stop her. Still, the spanking went on. I don’t remember the actual spanking but I do remember my sister grabbing me.

It was my father who intervened. I don’t know where he was until then but I do know he came into the room to my screams. Apparently he ripped me away from my sister and cradled me protectively. My father rarely got angry but he did at that moment and proclaimed that no one was to ever spank me again. I still received spankings, mostly from my mother and with a wooden spoon or such, but it was always when my father was away. She knew I didn’t dare tell him of these things.

According to my mother I was magically potty trained from that moment on and I never had another accident. Even when she took me on a two hour train ride. Not one single accident. Yes, I’d learned. I learned that crossing my sister had consequences and it wasn’t my mother that would intervene.

My father rarely came between my sister and I. Although he was physically imposing, he was a gentle, quiet man. At 6’1″, he had a distinctly Clark Gable look about him with those same distinguished good looks. Even complete with the moustache which always looked handsome on him. A look few men could ever pull off. However, confrontation and violence of any kind weren’t his way. While he was prepared to fight for what he believed in and protect what he loved, he preferred a quiet solution to problems.

My mother laughed about the incident for years until dementia finally claimed her memories and she no longer told the story. It is the one thing I’ve been grateful to dementia for giving me. Peace from that sickeningly gleeful way she talked of my sister’s physical violence towards me. I suppose, then, that emotional and psychological violence weren’t even worth noticing for her.

Although my sister’s physical violence was curbed, her penchant for emotional and psychological cruelty wasn’t and it was here she excelled.

It Never Happened – A True Story of Sibling Abuse (Part 1)

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I am a survivor and victim.

Yes, I am both those things and what follows is the hardest thing I’ve ever written in my life. Even now there’s a fear that what I’m doing is wrong and that I’ll get punished for it. That never really goes away, you know. The sense that my abuser is watching and disapproves is always there, always in the background. I always feel a sense of impending punishment.

I still have problems speaking about it. I hear the same old justifications in my head; at least you weren’t hit (I was) or at least they weren’t addicts or there were others who had it worse than you. Yet another part of me wants to speak out. The writer in me needs to tell the story.

I was born the youngest of 6 and it’s here that the stage was set for my abuse. My mother lost her oldest two boys to her father’s cruelty and laziness and a system that was stacked against the poor. She met my father and three months later she was pregnant with my sister. A scandal at the time and one of the first secrets I was taught to keep. It was the first of many.

My mother worked as a waitress and got a job while in the early stages of her pregnancy. The job required her to get a test for tuberculosis. An x-ray. Why my mother got the x-ray when she knew she was pregnant is a mystery even to her. It would have been easy to opt out or to ensure precautions were taken but she didn’t.

My sister was born with Hallermann-Streiff Syndrome, a congenital condition that affects mostly the face and skull. In short, my sister looked different and that difference was the cause of some extreme bullying she suffered in her early years. Did this affect what was to come and who she became? Of course. Does it excuse it? Not at all.

In the first 12 years of her life my sister was tormented by her peers as a freak and it affected my mother deeply. She blamed herself for the loss of her two oldest boys, now adopted legally by her very good friend, and she knew that the x-ray was to blame for my sister’s condition. My mother swam in a sea of guilt and I have no doubt that there was an element of depression involved.

It’s here I need to touch on my parent’s relationship. My mother had been married to a man who had a habit of just walking away from the family for weeks or months at a time whenever the whim overcame him. He lived homeless and partied with friends most of the time. When my mother lost her sons, she walked away from the marriage and filed for divorce but was unable to locate him. That’s when she met my father.

My father was a good man who lived a wanderer’s life. He was much like Bilbo Baggins, content to roam the earth with nothing more than a backpack and a smile. Sometimes not even that. As a teen and young adult, he often “rode the rails” or what is now called being a hobo. He would jump on trains and ride them to the next stop. He even once told me it wasn’t uncommon for him to get himself arrested loitering or something small so he’d have a place to sleep and a good meal. Not a glorious life but my father had a good heart and he never caused harm to anyone. He later joined the Army because, as he put it, he wanted a job. After that was finished he joined the Air Force and then the Merchant Marines. He even went to Korea as a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Yes, he was a ground pounder.

My father and mother met when he was in the Merchant Marines. He’d missed his ship and met a waitress whose life had taken a bad turn instead. My mother had just lost her sons and left their father when she met my father. Although he would help her fight for their return, they were never successful. When she became pregnant, my father chose to stay at a time when, if he had chosen to leave, no one would have thought anything about it. After all, in the 50s, a pregnancy was the woman’s problem and her job to find a man to provide for her and the baby but it was a man’s choice to take on that role.

By the time my mother met my father, she was wrung out. Too much had happened and she’d had no help dealing with any of it. She often told me that she didn’t care if my father stayed or left. My father, being the man he was, chose to stay and be the best father he could be with nothing more than a grade 6 education and determination.

This, then, was the back story into which I was born. I didn’t stand a chance.

Where Is Melania?

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Before I begin, let me be clear about something; I loathe the Tyrant in Office, Molesty the Clown otherwise known as Donald Trump. My feelings for him go back to the 80s when he stole those kids from the only responsible parent they knew, Ivana. Okay, saying Ivana was responsible is something but she was a damn sight better than Donald and even as a teen I knew it. So before I start, let me say I can’t stand him.

Nor am I a big fan of Melania. At best I find her to be the kind of twit I would pull passive-aggressive shit on at parties just to emphasize her twithood. I’m not a nice person sometimes and I’m okay with that. Especially when it comes to twits. However, I find I need to speak out about recent events.

When Melania first appeared next to Captain Orange after he became president, I found myself watching her closely. Two things caught my attention. First, there is a muscle in her neck that seems to bulge whenever she’s around him. I know that muscle. It pops out on me whenever I’m around someone I can’t stand but I can’t say anything to make them go away. Second, no matter what she’s doing; smiling, laughing, talking, standing; her eyes are flat. Believe me, I know that look.

When I first started watching her, I began saying I believed she was being abused. People laughed. The list of things they said was alarming.

  • She was in the marriage for the money.
  • She knew what she was doing.
  • She could leave.
  • She deserved what she got.
  • No sympathy because she’s wealthy.
  • Donald wouldn’t abuse her, he’s rich.
  • She doesn’t look abused.
  • She doesn’t act abused.

The list goes on. What it all boiled down to was because of her new position as First Lady, she couldn’t be abused but if she was, she deserved it. There were no signs of abuse so she couldn’t be in an abusive situation. Lastly, each and every person said she could leave at any time but didn’t because of the money.

The look in her eyes, though, told me something different. This was the look of a woman being held hostage by an abusive husband. I knew that look and every abuse survivor has seen it in the mirror far too many times. It doesn’t matter if the abuse is from a spouse, a parent, a coach or a sibling. It’s the look that has given up and believes there is no way out.

Yet people said she could leave if she really wanted to because she was rich. Really? If she leaves him, what happens to her son? I don’t know of a single mother who wouldn’t go through hell to ensure their child’s well being. Ivana already proved that Donald was ruthless when it came to the children. Why would Melania believe her situation was different? It took me 48  years to be able to say the words, “I was abused.” I don’t think it would be any easier for Melania whose situation is far more precarious than mine.

Then, suddenly, she goes in for a mysterious “kidney” operation. At first I joined in the jokes. It was the nervous laughter of someone who knows things have gone horribly wrong and aren’t likely to get better.

Now…. nothing….

No one has seen or heard from Melania since her “operation” except for one very suspicious tweet that was an almost clone of Donald’s tweets. Pointing to empty windows. Where is Melania?

It doesn’t matter. I’m not the only one who has wondered about her situation and whispered about possible abuse. Now those whispers are growing louder. What alarms me, though, is the reaction to it. Everyone seems to think this is a great joke. That this suspicious event is something to have a laugh over.

Here’s my question; if Melania were your neighbor or coworker, would you still be laughing? If your child’s teacher mysteriously went for an operation and then disappeared, would you be joking about it?

I don’t care what you think about any of the Trumps. I don’t care if you’re convinced they can turn water into wine or if they’re the biggest steaming piles of shit on the heap. A woman is missing. Can we talk about that now?

The Words Were Stones

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When I was 6, I was brushing my teeth before bed. I was one of those kids who put way too much toothpaste on the brush and took way too long to brush my teeth. However, I found it fun at the time. It meant, though, a mess to clean up for the adults in my life.

This particular night, my sister, who was 18 at the time, came in and saw the mess. To say she was less than impressed is probably an understatement. My sister cannot abide the smallest chaos around her. Everything must be orderly and precise within an inch of everyone else’s life. She always blamed this need on her lack of ability to see (she had glaucoma and was legally blind all her life). I think, though, that it was just her pathological need to control everything in her environment. Something I’m not unfamiliar with.

As I said, though, she came into the bathroom, saw the mess and it was on. Even though I was only 6 years old, I knew when I’d displeased her. Suddenly I felt a funny feeling in my stomach and waited to see what was coming. I didn’t want to brush my teeth any more.

She picked up the tube of toothpaste and said, “if you squeeze the tube from the middle you’ll get divorced.”

Even at 6 that made no sense to me and I laughed which was exactly the wrong response. “That’s silly,” I said.

She made her angry face and I cringed. “No one will love you if you can’t do things properly. You’ll be alone all your life and no one will want you.” With that she threw down the tube of toothpaste and left the bathroom.

Tearfully, I went back to brushing my teeth but it wasn’t fun like it was before. I cleaned the bathroom sink as well as I could, spending so much time doing so my father came in to see what was going on. I never told him what she said.

Brushing my teeth after that night became a chore filled with anxiety. Was I squeezing the toothpaste wrong? Was this too much toothpaste? I would measure the amount with my little finger every night. I brushed quickly, barely brushing at all. I began to associate the taste of toothpaste with that sick feeling in my stomach.

Even after I grew up into an adult, the ritual of brushing my teeth, once filled with fun, soon became a nightmare. It was reinforced by the twice yearly visits to a dentist I’m sure learned his bedside manner at the hands of the Nazis. He’d scream at me for not brushing properly then dig into my gums painfully while I cried and begged him to stop.

Years later, when I was in university and beginning to understand my own past, I asked my sister about it. She barely even remembered the incident that had scarred me so badly. Her only response was a mumble about joking around. I was shocked. It was one of the incidents that defined me as an adult and left my childhood a nightmare. There were no apologies, just a scathing remark about my “oversensitivity”.

Whenever my sister didn’t want to admit that her words hurt or that they cut deeply, the problem became my oversensitivity. I was too sensitive, too quick to take offense. I took her words to heart. After all, she was the person I saw as a mother figure in my life. My life’s devotion was to please her. If she said I was oversensitive, I grew anxious about every thought, every gesture, every word I uttered. Her word was truth. My need was to please her.

This is the Dance of the Abused. Please the abuser at all costs just to gain an ounce of love and acceptance. The abuser withholds that love unless it’s given with pain. Still, the abused welcomes it. It’s love from the one they’re trained to please no matter what. Sometimes the abuser will give gifts but these are not without their price. Each gift is a constant reminder that behaving, doing the abuser’s bidding, being perfect is the only way to gain their love.

Yet the other half of this dance is darker. There is no perfect. The abuser will always find some flaw, no matter how small, to justify their actions or words. Watching the abused dance for them is the abuser’s entertainment, their mana, their orgasm. It is this dance that the abuser focuses their every action and word and the abused will dance it. They must. They don’t know any other way.

Outsiders don’t understand this dance. They can’t. They can’t feel that drive that seats itself deep in the soul of the abused. All they see is the trundle of the abused and the glee of the abuser. It makes no sense to them. So they give such sage pieces of advice as “just don’t put up with it. I wouldn’t.” Or, “just leave.”

I hear people say again and again that words don’t hurt. There is a myth within a truth in that. Words are like stones in a sock. One word or two won’t hurt when they hit their target. 20 words or 50 words hurt. A hundred, a thousand words can kill. Yet, how many words does a person speak in one day? How many of those words are a stone in a sock? No person speaks a single word. Our words come together in the soul of their target and have impact.

I was a little girl. Those words were stones.

BDSM Vs. Abuse


Chain_BDSM_Corset_WristsLast week I was asked why I would want to be hit. I didn’t have to think about it. I like the sting of the slap on my ass. I like how it feels and the thrill it gives me. The person stared at me in horror and proceeded to threaten their spouse should they ever think to hit them. I wondered about the marriage in question if this person was so quick to threaten them but I said nothing. This person then got angry at me and told me I needed help and should seek psychiatric care and possibly medications. They then turned abusive to me and told me that there was something wrong with me.

I put the brakes on the conversation and asked why they were so angry. Self-righteously I was told that no woman ever wants to get hit. Hitting was abuse and that was that. The subject was so black and white for this person that I no longer talk to them. Which is sad because I truly did enjoy our conversations.

It got me to thinking, though. There is a very clear line between abuse and BDSM and most people don’t understand what it is. So I thought I’d devote this week’s blog to making that line a little clearer. I hope that by doing so more people will understand and, by understanding, they will be more willing to speak up against abuse.

  • Control – In an abusive relationship, the abuser removes all control from the victim. It’s a no-win situation that leads to learned helplessness. We’ve all asked, “why don’t they just leave?” The truth is they can’t. They’ve learned, over time, that no matter what action they take they will end up on the losing end. If you were in a situation that there was simply no happy ending for you, you’d curl up in a ball and give up, too.

    In BDSM, control is never taken from the other person without consent. There is an exchange of power and energy and that’s part of the appeal. As a sub or bottom, I can relinquish my control to my Dom or Top. I often tell people I kneel because I choose to not because I’m forced to. I know I have control even though I’ve given it over because I can always take it back again.

  • Safety – Abusers don’t care about their victim’s safety. Every year many abuse victims wind up in hospitals or the morgue because their abusers just didn’t give a fuck. Many victims suffer long-term damage from the abuse, both physical and emotional. This damage lasts years or is sometimes permanent. Yet, if you ask the abusers, they simply don’t care. Abusers will often launch into excuses as to why it was necessary or why they did it. At no time do they ever think about their victims.

    A Dom’s first concern is his sub’s safety. During a scene you’ll often hear a Dom asking, “are you doing all right?” or “is everything ok?” A Dom will often stop a scene even if his sub says they’re okay just because they’re concerned for safety issues. Good Doms will take time and effort to learn their craft. They talk to others and are very careful about what they’re doing. A whack across the bottom with a cane can be fun but it can do damage if you don’t know what you’re doing. Even a spanking with a hand can do damage if you don’t do it right. That’s why Doms are forever watching their subs and learning their craft.

  • Communication – Abusers don’t care what their victims have to say. As a matter of fact, they go to great lengths to shut them up and remove their voices. Secrecy is an abuser’s greatest weapon. Keeping things in the dark is their greatest ally and if their victims don’t talk, they don’t have to hear what a shithead they’re being. They’re not interested in what their victim has to say.

    Many subs are confident, assertive people outside a scene. They have no problem making their desires known and are very vocal about it. This is what many Doms say attracts them. When working a BDSM scene, it is vital that all participants know they will speak up if there’s a problem. BDSM is edgy play and that’s part of the appeal and the only way it works if everyone participates fully. Think of it like skydiving. It can be dangerous and fun if all the safety rules are followed. Part of that is making sure all the gear is in good working order, that everyone knows what they’re doing and no one does anything stupid. You respect the tools and your partners because it’s stupid and dangerous to do otherwise.

There is a big difference between abuse and BDSM. A little understanding of the difference might make people more willing to speak out against abuse and that can help stop it. BDSM can be fun if both parties take their roles seriously and understand what they need to ensure the experience is a safe and enjoyable one.


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