Saturday, September 25, 2010

Group Therapy: Part IV

*This is Part IV of my run-in with Group Therapy.  If you missed the other parts, go here.  There's also another one coming after this one.  I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!

After Jimmy was escorted out by the big-guys-in-blue-carrying-guns, and I had returned home to an empty and somewhat cleared-out house, I sat on the couch so as to breath a sigh of "holy smokes it's over!"  Seriously that's what I did.  I sat down, said "aaaaaaaah," and grinned from ear-to-ear.  It was going to be a whole new world.  Complete with magic carpet and spastic purple genie.

The next day I went to work, giggling like a prom queen in a thousand dollar dress (not that I know what that's like because I've never had a thousand dollar dress or the luxury of calling myself prom queen.)  I recall having the most spectacular of days, like, ever.  I came home early for some reason, I don't recall why.  Prolly to celebrate or something.  As was customary in my home-from-work rituals, I hung the purse, stashed the keys, and listened to the phone messages.

The first phone message was a bit of a surprise.  "Hello, I am leaving this message for preRabid.  PreRabid, this is Betty from the Victim Advocate's Office.  We are worried about your safety.  Can you phone me as soon as possible?"

You see, the cops aren't stupid and Jimmy didn't fool anyone.  Even though no one was arrested or charged, their police report had declared me the "victim," not Jimmy.  I seriously hate that word victim.  Worse, I hate being the victim.  Anyway, as you might recall from Part III, Jimmy phoned the police because his wife (moi) was beating him up.  The cops can arrest anyone for a domestic disturbance if any property within the residence is damaged.  For example, that peach I threw?  If had thrown the peach and busted a window or any other item in the house, I would have been arrested.  I threw the peach and harmed nothing, therefore I wasn't arrested.  How lucky was I, then, that the peach was a ripe one?  Phew!

So I called Betty.  And I told her there's no need to worry, because we're over.  He moved out.  He's not coming back and my attorney started the paperwork that day.  We spoke at great length about whether Jimmy might be harmful in the future.  She stressed rather emphatically that he'd be back, that he'd be sweet, that he'd beg and plead.  He'd cry and confess, rescind and repent, pamper and promise that it won't happen again. "Be prepared for him," she said.

This was quite a loving character, this Betty.  Loving and firm.  After many minutes on the phone, Betty asked if I'd like to volunteer at the Victim Advocate's Office.  I said, "Most definitely" and made myself a date with her.

Here's the deal. Those Victim Advocate Office people are sneaky.  They reel you in with prospect of "volunteering," but when you get get there to "volunteer," they smile and announce firmly that you cannot "volunteer" until you have completed the "training."  I soaked it up, by golly.  I was free at last!  Gimme the training!  I had plans to save the world from oppressive shmucks by volunteering at the Victim Advocate's Office.

Part IV of Operation Group Therapy was spent at the Victim Advocate's Office.

Of all the therapies, of all the group hashing and slashings, Group Therapy with the Victim Advocate's Office -- or "training" wink-wink -- was by far the most serving and revealing.  By training me about other victims (there's that "v" word again), those advocate people were able to teach me about my inner-victim.  They explained the reasons victims become victims, why they are what they are, and why they can't get out.  And after they've painted that origination-of-the-inner-victim picture, they provide tools for getting rid of that inner-victim.  They firmly invite that victim to leave and warn gravely that it cannot come back.  It's a victim exorcism.  Or victimcism.

This victimcism is not a comfortable process.  Indeed it's painful.  The head spins, just like in the show, and some even project that awful green barf.

(Was that funny?  That was supposed to be funny.)

Basically, in order to learn about an individual's victimized possession, there are two main topics/questions that need understanding.  And by understanding, I mean the victim must fully understand their individual answers to these questions.  Each victim has their own reasons for being where they are.  There are some commonalities across the board, but generally speaking, each individual must figure it out on their own.  They are:

1)  Why does the victim stay in the abusive situation?
2)  How did they get in that abusive situation in the first place?

1)Why does a victim stay?  This one I can answer in two separate words:  Fear and Denial.  Let's start with fear -- and note that "they" can be substituted for "I."  Many women stay because they are afraid.  They are afraid for their own safety or the safety of their children.  Many have been brainwashed with, "don't tell anyone or else..." and "don't leave me or else..."  Usually these types of threats work, because the past has shown that the abuser's threats are anything but idle.  They know how to follow through.

Victim's are afraid because they've been manipulated and isolated.  They've been backed into a corner and held there for so long they don't know how to get out.  They've been told several times that "no one will ever love you as much as I do,"*  They've also been subject to a black hole of unending criticism. By isolating design, the abuser has pissed off everyone possible -- friends, family, coworkers, you name it.  Friends, family and coworkers won't come around any more because they cannot stand him.  Which, unfortunately, leaves the abused one all the more isolated.  They feel alone.  They feel as if they have no where to go.  Hours of constant nit-picking have squashed the victim emotionally and left them without self-worth.

The other reason for staying is denial.  They (I) live(d) in denial.  It's not really happening.  I'm not really being mistreated.  If I were to leave, I would have to look at myself squarely so as to admit, accept, and own my identity as a "victim."  A few minutes ago, in a paragraph way up there, I said that I hate that word "victim." I do.  Can't stand it.  Being as I hate that word victim, you can see why denial had a big part in my sticking around for so long.  If I leave, I become a victim.  If I stay, I'm not the victim, and I get to live in a la-la-land where nobody knows my deep, dark, been-smacked-around secret.  If I blow the whistle, everyone will know.

2) How did they get in that abusive situation in the first place?  Or as Elvie asked so acutely, "Are you going to tell us how one as awesome as yerself ends up married to douche-bag like Jimmy?"  The answer to this one is rather simple:  I was attracted to douche-bags like Jimmy.  Simple as that.  I would also dare say that most women in these situations are there because they too are attracted to that personality.  For whatever reason -- whether it be self-esteem or boredom -- women who end up in obloquious relationships are there because they are attracted to it.  They must figure out why they are attracted, and stop.

So that's what I did.  I figured out why and stopped.  It's really as simple as that  -- with the addition of a big fat IF.  It's that simple IF you automatically assume that you're attracted to dick-weeds.   My dating agenda went something like this: "Oh, that dude, that one that made the sparks fly, he's prolly a jerk.  Find out his name and get yourself some background info."  You'd be surprised how many questionable Joes came across my field of vision after Jimmy and I split.

For me, there was some self-confidence issues, but most of it had to do with boredom.  I became bored easily.  Gents who treated me with respect were just plain boring (or so I thought back then.)  Spouse and I had dated on two occasions, each for almost a year (I had some serious chips on my shoulder and some seriously cold feet.)  When it came time to wed or get-off-the-pot, I panicked.  I thought, "He's so nice.  He's so pleasant.  He's so responsible.  He's so athletic.  He's so funny.  He's so smart.  He's so handsome.  But will I be bored?"

I relayed those thoughts to someone once -- someone who didn't know my "history," -- and to be funny she said, "You know what my mom always said?  She said, 'I'd rather be beat than bored.'"

That's when I decided I'd rather be bored than beat.

*Speaking of that "No one will love you as much as I do" declaration, there's a little rock-group called Band of Horses that created a tune called No One's Gonna Love You.  Seriously too bad that I have to hate that song.  Band of Horses is a band that's spectacular at making people feel emotions through their melodies, but I CANNOT cope with that saying.  The "I love you the most" proclamation is the most self-absorbed, narcissistic, controlling statement anyone can ever make.  Does anyone know if Ben Bridwell is an addict? Seems like I read something along those lines in a Rolling Stone this summer. 


Sparks said...

Rabidrunner, I love you the most.

lifein360 said...

It has been well over 20 years for me, but I can assure you, I have asked myself those questions. You really have to be living in the moment to experience why you stay, hope it will get better, make excuses...etc.