Towards a new year ……. Resolutions for building resilience.

Christmas has gone.  Presents unwrapped. Memories left …..

“Oh!” “Isn’t it what you wanted?” he says, waiting for her answer.  The dart is thrown. She understands the message. She gets the point. She feels the sting of emotional pain as she wrestles with an appropriate response.

Of course it’s not what she wanted.  He asked her beforehand, when they were out shopping – “Show me exactly what you want for Christmas” he entreated, though she didn’t want to.  She knew the web was being woven.  “Ah! This shop, those earrings” he studied them intently.  “Ok.” She felt a vague unease, a twinge of anxiety.  Not a good feeling.

“They’d changed the window display”  “The shop assistant said they’d had a run on the ones you wanted”  A different shop.  In a different city.  She knew. He told her to read the address on the box.  “I can’t take them back.  They’re earrings.”

She said not a word.  She knew that she was in a potentially dangerous situation.  He had set his target up and behind the straight face – no smiles – he was waiting for her response the way a hunter waits for his prey to move before striking.

She looked at the earrings and a strange thing happened.  Her brain seemed to short circuit.  Her thoughts went dead as she gave herself to the memory of him throwing a cup of hot tea into her face when presented with earrings early on, 14 years ago.  Her stomach knotted and her brow creased into a worried frown as she literally did not know how to respond.  She felt trapped.  He waited.  “I liked them” he persisted. Waiting.  Like the wolf in Red Riding Hood.

She handed him a present.  “Here you are!”  She beamed too brightly, “Open this one – it’s special – bet you can’t guess what it is!”

The narcissist inside him could not resist the offer and he accepted the carefully wrapped gift eagerly. “Ah! this is great!”  The moment passed.  The web broken. She escaped.  For now.

As New Year approaches, she wants to make a couple of resolutions.  She almost lost her spirit this year.  Something has to change for something to change or she will lose herself.

He’s on his way back from visiting his children. He tells another lie – blatant, challenging her to retort, to acknowledge.  Then he will pour foul verbal abuse upon her and wish that he never had to return.  She knows the script.

Change – “Ok.” she says lightly.  “See you when you return” And she closes the conversation.  No point in getting into the lie’s narrative. She has decided for the New Year to employ a cutting off philosophy.

If she can disconnect from his schemes, e.g  unprovoked rage, terrible verbal abuse, lies, stonewalling, projection, – See them for what they are – traps, she can start to reclaim her battered emotions.

She has a vision.  Toxic people left behind in their toxic world.  She is walking towards a peaceful path.  She has done as much as she can, her conscience is completely clear.

She will hold onto the vision and make it her New Year resolution for 2017.

Peace, health, contentment, a positive attitude inside and out, and ……no one’s fool.

Christmas – on the shelf

She has a place at home, outside of work.

At work she is professional, efficient, a hard worker and a good colleague, knowledgeable, friendly and respectful.  She enjoys the challenge of her profession and is happy.

Once through the door, when he is in, she has a place.  Imagine a shelf on a wall.  There are ornaments placed with care to create a harmonious scene, pleasing to the eye.  If an ornament is out of its place, the tableau is lost, the look messy.

In his head, he has a shelf for her. She has a place, a space on the shelf.  It is her responsibility to stay put, to accept, to put up and crucially, to shut up.  In his head, she has no rights to opinion, “Shut the f~~k up!”  She has no reason to question the house functioning in any way, shape or form, “It’s MY house, MY rules,MY way! F~~~ing B~~ch!”

So she sits on the shelf, hardly moving, losing her spirit.  Alone most evenings, living in dread whilst he turns it all around to those outside that he charms with his words, lamenting on the ‘awful woman he has to live with’ and they feel his pain.

Christmas will come and go. On New Year’s Eve, she may ponder, may take some time to consider change.  Perhaps the start of change will be to refuse his swearing put downs. Perhaps she will decide to refuse to listen to his words and ask him to stop it.  Even if he follows her, she might decide to shut off her ears with her hands until he retreats.  She might decide to create an invisible sheath of shimmering stronger than steel Avenger like protective shell around her emotions so that his words splash off like water off a duck’s back.

And she might decide to leave the shelf.

How much does it take to break a spirit?

She asks an ordinary normal question.  She receives sarcasm, scorn or is not answered. Her shoulders slump. Her head lowers.

Something inside curls up in pain

She must not ‘demand’ – company “Why are you so needy?”

She must not offer an opinion “Know it all!”

She must accept his plans without a word. She must not ask details of his whereabouts when he goes away.  “F***ing Bitch” and much much worse.

Something inside  turns to charcoal. Black powdery, sore

He whistles and sings around the house until she comes into the room. He falls silent and busies himself with his back to her. She knows not to say a word

Something inside is rotting

He reassures her – “Of course we’re buddies! I want to be married” when she asks him for a divorce. As he walks out of the door he calls her names under his breath for her to hear

Something inside dies

She dreams of someone attacking her, pulling her hair, hard, sore, She sees him watching, silent.  In her dream she calls out to him for help,  He stands watching. A vacant look in his eyes.

Something inside grows from the ashes of her sorrow.  Something hardens, wrapping coils of strength around her heart, holding her wounded spirit once more

She worries. How much more can she take?  Her health is failing. “It’s related to stress” her doctor informs her before asking kindly, “Can you take it easier at work perhaps? Cut down on your hours?

She drops her head and smiles, “Yes, perhaps” she hopes he does not hear the tears  close to the surface causing her voice to tremble a little. She smiles a too bright smile. “Thanks”

She wishes he would ask how things are at home.

At work she is bright, sunny, positive., productive, efficient.

It is exhausting

Such a silly woman………..

Such a silly woman.  She has a problem at work. In tears that particular day. She anguished what to do. She felt empty when she arrived back at the house.  Unsure of how much to share – it’s only ammunition.  It’ll be shot back to wound her. Heavy words, carefully thrown.  She held back : didn’t tell.

He knew something was up. He could smell trouble.  But he wouldn’t ask outright. Not his style.  So he waited and did not speak a word to her for hours until late.  ‘Tell me’ he says. She is fearful – any weakness he will pounce on and use against her. ‘I can’t trust you not to fire it back at me’ she says, truthfully.

‘F##k off’ she hears

She weeps silently.

Eventually she tells him. She is authentic and truthful. She has no one else to turn to.   Bad. Such a bad mistake. He is not there for her emotionally. She is his prey. Not his confidant.   Questions, Not about how she is and how she is coping.  ‘Who’s this? What does this one do? You should do this. You should tell that one to eff off!’

She’s made a mistake.  There is no sympathy. No empathy. Nothing except one upmanship. Same for 14 years.

His parting shot?

‘You’re a b##ch!  I’ll get #####’ (his eldest daughter)’…. up here. She’ll sort you out!’

What’s that about?

 

 

 

How you play your cards……………

 

I wonder why Ms Fielding penned the following thought…………………SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It is not what happens to you in life that counts but how you play the cards you are dealt.” 1958
I have a feeling that these wise words were written from a heart that knew pain, distress or sorrow.
It is definitely a strengthening affirmation, one that is useful when life throws a side ball.
But such words have their limitations
When he swears at you for some innocent, normal question
When he calls you names, derides your job, ignores any feelings you may show, talks only about himself and behaves as though he absolutely dislikes and despises you
You walk away – he follows you and changes into decent human being until you return
You ask him not to swear at you – he smirks and says a hollow, sarcastic ‘Sorrreee ‘ in a silly accent.
You appeal to his decent side – he ignores you
 He interrupts every sentence halfway through with another subject
 He tells you he doesn’t need a lecture – you asked him to give the little dogs some water
 He tells you to eff off and die a slow horrible death – then says later of course he was joking
 He blanks you, does not speak for a day but will engage the postman in conversation
 He walks away and disappears when you’re out with him and you feel like crying
 You feel diminished, weary, belittled, bullied, dismissed, disregarded
 You feel sad, small, empty, day after day and you know you have no where to go to and no one to turn to.
That’s why he is there with you, that’s why he follows you
He knows no one will say anything to make him change his style
He’s King of the Castle and you are the dirty little rascal
It’s hard to make sense of Helen’s words at times like that