Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I don't even know if I should be publishing this....

I walk my son to his preschool class and sign him in. I have something pink and important in my hand, and I need to show his teacher....outside, privately. Of course she needs to tell the substitute for the day, as the head teacher is gone. The sub turns out to be one of the parents in the school.
They all pat me lovingly, knowingly.

I see a mom - a friend of mine. I try to explain quickly, cryptically, haltingly...
I ask that mom not to hug me so hard on the left side, please.

I tell the teachers what they need to know.
And I walk away feeling utterly humiliated, through no fault of theirs at all.

I walk my daughter's lunch to her room, hunched over. I didn't mean to interrupt the class. The teacher comes out to pat my arm and tell me to take good care of myself. She is 28.

I walk up the hill to the principal's office. She wants to see me. Soon. Am I in trouble? No, I am not. But she wasn't there yesterday - the first day I had to call the school and tell them. I assured them that my daughter was not hurt. She still asked to see me.

I walk into the office and the secretary quickly and carefully interrupts the principal's meeting; she has been waiting for me. The other member of the meeting (and another parent in this small mountain community) swiftly leaves the principal's office, making room for both me and my burden in one subtle nod.

I feel guilt, shame, humiliation.

Why?

I don't know.
Because they know. They know what happened. They know it happened.

I don't know why I feel like a victim, but I do.

I share my story with the principal, someone I respect greatly and have come to adore.
She does not make me feel like a victim - the farthest thing from that - but I take note of how I am feeling during this process. While she is grounding me, I still feel stupid and embarrassed.

Everyone around me is supporting me and I feel humiliated.

Clearly this is my problem.

42 comments:

...e... said...

no, this is not your problem. from the little i know about such things, i know that shame is the universal reaction in such cases and, unfortunately, not on the part of the perpetrator, but on the part of the victim. and yes, you are a victim. you did not do this, it was done to you. you are not to blame, no matter what, you are not to blame for what another person does to you! but the shame and humiliation is apparently inevitable, nonetheless. be gentle with yourself.

Sophie said...

I'm so sorry. :(

I wish there was something I could do or say to help.

Thinking of you.

xx

RoseRedHoofbeats said...

I am getting my metaphorical shotgun out of my metaphorical closet and loading it with metaphorical buckshot.

And it's not your problem.

Frogdancer said...

What a dipshit.

(Him, not you.) You feel embarrassed because you stayed long enough for it to happen, and now other people know. I can empathise. It happened to me, but 'luckily' no one else knew. That actually turned out to be a bad thing.... I stayed a lot longer than I otherwise would have if people had've known about it. This whole awful experience you're going through may end up being a good thing (in the big scheme of things...)

Look after yourself and remember what happened.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

You know that this goes without saying, but this is NOT YOUR FAULT. Every single word of advice you would give to any other friend, were the situations reversed, is what you need to be giving yourself. You are a strong woman and we all love you.

PLEASE don't feel humiliated. This isn't about something YOU did. It's all on the one who does the hurting...

J. said...

just to echo, this is not your fault. take care of yourself as best you can.

Governor Jen said...

I guarantee I would not be brave enough to talk about it, and am really proud of you for being able to do so. I hope you find peace soon.

Shea's Mom said...

Sounds like the people in your community care about you and are looking out for you and your kids.

Let them. This is not about humiliation. Don't let it be. Even if you feel that way which is understandable.

This is about making safe choices and taking care of yourself and your kids.

XOX Hang in there

Hey You said...

Oh, Gwendomama, I am so so sorry. Frogdancer said something that rang really true, it is good that people know because then it is harder for it to happen again. No one knew for a long time about me. And it got worse and worse. By the time there was no more hiding,it was really BAD. I kept quiet because I was embarrassed to, how does a smart strong woman let this happen? That is what I was sure they were saying, but you did not LET THIS HAPPEN. He did, and you have nothing to feel stupid about.

So the kids are not physically hurt? My prayers are with you.

capello said...

this is not your fault - but you are a victim (of him) and humiliation usually goes with that. it shouldn't, but it does. and you're doing the best you can, and continue to do so.

i've been thinking lots about you and the babes, and am sending lots of healing energy your way.

Miss Grace said...

That's just not fair.

None of this is your fault.

Is there anything I can do for you? I could go get my dad's shotgun, we're mountain folk after all.

Headless Mom said...

Ditto all of them.

(gentle hugs) to you and the kids today

kateohkatie said...

I know I mostly lurk (and I feel like I have to make that disclaimer every time I actually comment)...

I'm so, so sorry. Not in a pity way, in an empathetic and concerned way.

Everyone says that the physical pain isn't your fault, and that's true. But I think it's also important to remember that the humiliation, the negative feelings - those are not your fault either. NOT. YOUR. FAULT. These feelings are a very real, very relevant side-effect to the violence. It's part of the abuser's power trip and part of their ownership mentality and the best way to fight back against him right now is to fight the feelings. Try your damndest to be strong and don't let him manipulate you and get inside your brain. You can't control what happened to your body, but you can control what it does to your mind and your spirit.

I just saw a very close friend go through something similar, and while I know that everyone's journey is unique, I think there are some universal aspects to the situation. The best thing you can do is OWN YOURSELF, even when it seems impossible to do so. OWN your mind and OWN your actions and yeah it'll seem like the hardest thing in the world but I do think it's a vital first step to climbing out, to freedom.

I hope that wasn't preachy. And you, Supergirl and Bubbles are in my secular humanist thoughts :-)

Denise said...

Aww Babe,
My heart goes out to you. I will be keeping you close to my heart today. No it is not your fault. Love you.

RuthWells said...

Delurking to say, we are all with you. Whatever you need. And I so admire how strong you're being for yourself and your kids.

Lauri said...

SO not your fault...watch after yourself and watch after those precious kiddos...don't know you at all, but would happily open my home to you and the family...stay strong - it is NOT your problem...

maybaby said...

Listen to us.

Listen.

We are telling you...this is not your fault.

I lurk here, mostly; have admired your writing for a couple of years. I know the weird, comforting dynamic of the virtual support group, the unseen people who come to your site and read and comment.

Weird it may be, but we are real and we are women and we HEAR you.

And we say: not your fault.

We implore: take care. Of yourself, of your children.

I've taken two friends out of abusive households. Watched another fight herself free for her children's sake. It can be done. It IS done. It is being done. It will be done.

Listen to us; not your fault. Not yours. Ever.

Peace. Be well.

mamadaisy said...

love and strength to you.

Lunasea said...

Ditto to all of the above. Those feelings are pretty much standard for survivors of D/V, unfortunately. Because what I wish for you is for you to raise your head up high and say, "He hurt me, but I'm not letting it continue and he *will* pay for his actions."

InTheFastLane said...

It is not your fault. At it took courage to post this. And courage to face people you know. If you need more strength, your internet friends are all here to hold you up.

Which Box said...

Usually a lurker, but I have to join the chorus of support: NOT YOUR FAULT.

I don't know if this will help you, but for some people, it helps to imagine you are not yourself. what happened, happened to a friend. Now, imagine what you would tell that friend.

It is so easy to beat yourself up, to think you have a unique situation, there's something particular in this case that means.....something else.

But it doesn't. It is the same as you would advise any friend. It is not your fault. It was never your fault. And you are strong, and you are capable, and you can do what you need to do. You can. Hold your head up high. Hang in there. There are many, many people thinking of you.

Ashbee said...

I am so so so very sorry. I've been wondering where your words have been, and I'm so sorry this is why you've been absent.

Definitely not your fault. That awful bastard.

I wish I knew you in real life, because you and me lady, would take on the town.

You are a strong, wonderful woman, and you will do what you need to. You have no fault in this. And don't think less of yourself. You are a wonderful woman.

Shame, humiliation, anger.. all part of the package, BUT keep in the forefront the knowledge that this is not your fault, it is HIS and ONLY HIS. You will get through this, I know it.

I will be thinking of you and your beautiful babies.

themama said...

Just sending you love and support from over here.
I'm really glad you're telling people and getting support.

Anonymous said...

You wrote: "I swim alone, because I can't risk drowning. And I close my eyes, because I can't watch."

You CAN swim alone, even with a bad arm. You WILL make it through this. Please OPEN your eyes and feel the love and support all around you.

Swim away from this selfish wounded human before he detroys you. Elijah will forgive you for leaving. He knows.

Pat

nakedjen said...

i know that the gmamabear deep inside you really knows this is not your fault. but i also know she's fucking scared and confused and basically going what the fuck and how did this happen?

i know.

i also know that you, more than anyone else i know, will do whatever is necessary to protect your children. and that if this were happening to anyone else, even a stranger, you'd be ready to do whatever necessary to help them.

gwendomamabear, love surrounds you and supports you. and i just want to remind you that you'll make it through this.

xoxo

Carmen said...

NOT YOUR FAULT.

The end.

I'm sending you warm, gentle hugs. Do what you need to do and I'll still be here, reading and supporting you.

Me (and mah boobs) love you.

Musings of the Mrs. said...

I am so glad you are able to write about this. That is so important. Hiding will allow you to go back - talking will make you mad! and then you will never go back. I'm glad you have support in the community and here.

Anonymous said...

hi babe, just checking in from Pismo. Email or call me on my cell if you need anything. I will be in touch later today.

Love you sista, J and the girls send their love as well

Vodka Mom said...

aren't we all- and I mean ALL- of us human? We are full of hope and trust and love.

If we were full of hate and suspicion the world would be an unbearable place.

It is when we are armed with hope and love that we ar most vulnerable. PLEASE know that we ALL support you, and are praying for you. May you heal quickly- and may you learn to open your heart again....

Anonymous said...

All I can think of when I read this is that disgusting sister of his in PA who defended him in a past blog when you were fearful of him deflating your tires. If she reads this I would like to say to her....your brother is nothing but a lowlife and any man who would abuse a woman is not a man at all but an animal. Get away from this jerk quick!

Norma Metcalfe said...

You are better than all of this. The reason I read your site is because you are my alter ego. I often describe you as the person I would have been if I stayed on the west coast, where I was born. I mean that in the most admiring and adoring way. And I would hope that I had the strength to get the fuck out of that situation. Therefore you have to do it for us; all of us who live through your actions and find solace in your being. Think of your kids and what you can teach them. And if it helps, I just left an alcoholic to save my daughter.

I love you and you are doing the best thing you can ever for yourself which will teach your children the best lessons ever.

Please believe in yourself

flutter said...

Hi

I think you and I should talk.

Maia said...

Take care.

ashley on fire said...

Hope things are going a bit easier for you today! Thinking of you and your little ones.

Steve said...

No, it is not your fault. It is not your problem. The problem doesn't lie with you, it lies with him. You and the kids do not need to live in fear. Get out of there and stay out of there. Arm yourself with the people who love you, most importantly
yourself.

Stand tall.
Stand proud.
Rip 'em a new one.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I like the way you think. gmama, it is going to be ok. You are armed with love . . .tons of it,

Love you, the godmother!

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope that charges are brought against him. In CA. I am sure they will be. Men like this have serious issues and they need to be criminally charged. There is no excuse and he will do it again if given the chance. Think of OJ Simpson, Chris Brown...the list goes on. You deserve a life without this POS doing something like this to you or his kids.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I happened to me too...a lot...before it finally ended. And I think it would have kept happening if he finally didn't cheat on me because that was the final straw...not the physical violence or the emotional abuse. I thought it was my fault too, that I'd let it get that far or made him into that. But it wasn't. And no one since then has ever hit me. It was him. Not me.

It is not you, and you are so brave to talk about this, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Like everyone else has said: This is not your fault, and abusers simply feed on this shame and humiliation. I'm glad you and your kids are safe. Keep leaning on those close to you. Remind yourself that what is more important is not that it happened in the first place, but that you got out the instant it did.
You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are a strong wife and mother. You deserve love, compassion and respect.
All my very best wishes.

Anonymous said...

And: You are so brave and so wise to publish this. It is absolutely the right thing to do.

Rachel Inbar said...

Whatever you do, don't even consider giving him a second chance.

And like everyone else said, it's not you. In my 1st marriage (13 years), my husband was abusive (though rarely physically). I lied constantly, about everything. I yelled at him at the top of my lungs for hours. I prayed for him to die every time he left the house, just so he would never come back... and I had no energy to be a mother...

Knowing that I was going to go through with the divorce already gave me some freedom. After that, things kept getting better. I remarried 5 years ago (2 years after the divorce) and I never lie to my husband. I almost never yell at him (and when I do it's because I'm tired and frustrated and not because he deserves it) and I wait for him to come home in the evening. I love him and respect him and I tell him every night how happy I am to be sleeping beside him.

It wasn't me who was the problem. It was being with him that made me be who I was then. And it's not you. Be strong.

mimi4now said...

Someday, you will be glad they know. You will see how others knowing is freeing you and your children from a life that was not healthy.

I've been there. And the day that "others" knew is the day I finally was able to break that hold, with no regrets.

You will be in my thoughts.