Carys Weldon Blog

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

SURVIVING ABUSE

Most of us know other women who are abused. Maybe we don't want to admit to it at first, because we hope it's not happening. Or we hope it'll stop.

I had a friend that mentioned to me one day that her husband didn't want the hamburgers she had been fixing for dinner. (The night before). So, after asking him several times, she fed herself and the kids--not making extra for him because he pushed into the kitchen and put a can of tomato soup on to boil. She said he came home from work in a mood.

Anyhow, it annoyed him when one of the kids said, "This hamburger is really good, mom."

So, he started in on her about how rude it was that she didn't make some for him. Not wanting to fight, she said, "Do you want me to make you some hamburgers?"

By that time, she'd actually washed the skillet already because he was a neat freak and she didn't want to make him mad that way. Both of them looked at the skillet in the drainer.

He said, "No." But then he picked up the saucepan with soup in it and slung it across the kitchen walls. "You can clean that up, though. I'm going out."

And he stomped out. She spent hours scrubbing the walls down, trying to find all the soup drips...because you know that stuff will stink if you don't get it all, and turn moldy.

The next day, I was over at her house, and went into the kitchen to get a glass of water and asked, "Uh, hey...what's this on the wall in here?" I thought I would make a joke. "It almost looks like blood. You're not killing things in here when I'm not around, are you?"

I added, "I haven't seen Jim in a few days. You didn't do away with him, did you?"

By then, she'd come to see what spot she'd missed, and my last comment had her breaking down in tears, confiding in what he'd done and how he'd stayed out most of the night--then come in and not touched her--but she'd lain on her bed smelling perfume over the odor of beer all over him.

What to do when a friend opens up? At that point, we were not huggers. We were awkward, leaning against the kitchen counters, opposite one another and I was hugging my glass to my chest, appalled.

Counseling was out of the question. He wouldn't go. And he didn't go to church, so there was no way to get some nice clergyman to chat with him.

I'm sure I didn't handle it as well as some would have. I said, "Well, I hate tomato soup, but I wouldn't have thrown it around. And I thought I had an attitude about it."

She laughed, and said, "You're good for me." And we went and sat down and changed the subject.

That was one day. Only a few days later, she got the rock to the ankle. Limped around for a couple weeks over that one. He, apparently, was showing her how he could skip rocks over the driveway. But, he'd told her to look, showed her how he could aim it, just so--then nailed her in the foot. Thought it was funny as hell when she started hopping around. She chalked that one up to an accident. (yeah. right.)

It was the bb in the middle of her back that made me wake up to the fact that she was really being abused. Oh, most of his stuff was covert. He was one of those "Can't find a nicer guy" to your face people.

He was a hunter, and one day, she turned her back to him in the yard while he had his bb gun out, and he shot from the hip. Popped her dead center of her back--said it was an accident--laughed the whole time. Yeah. So, you can see his anger at her--for whatever reason--was escalating. Since he had a wide range gun collection, that was scary. What if he got a mood when one of those were in his hand?

A week later, he had a .44 out and started carrying that in his truck. Leaving it on the coffee table when he came in at night. Loaded. Yeah, she got scared about that, but how to talk to him about it when he seemed like he was waiting for just that?

I told my husband. Next time we saw the other guy, a discussion "came up" about how uncool it was to have loaded guns down low when little kids were in the room. My friend said the gun got taken out to the truck--thank God.

And it wasn't that she was squeamish about guns. She liked to shoot. It was the way he was putting it there, after the bb to the back thing, that scared her.

One time, he called looking for her. I answered, and he was sweet. I liked him--I didn't want to believe badly of him anyway, and he wasn't giving me visual on any bad behaviors. It was all her word against--nothing. But, I handed the phone over to her and her face went from smiling to horrified in seconds. So, I picked up the second receiver--and sure enough, mister doesn't melt in your mouth was laying on the ugly talk.

Jekyll and Hyde. I was sick. I felt like the worst friend. It wasn't that I thought she was lying, but I hadn't really believed her, if you know what I mean. But, I think, what if I hadn't witnessed the phone call? What if I hadn't started putting all the two and two and two's together? And found out more about abuse and how to help a friend going through it?

And I'm not taking credit for anything here. She managed to get away from him before it got too much worse. All I did was my best to be supportive, and offer her a place, and options. She didn't take me up on any of them. She cheated on him. Said it was the one bridge she didn't think he would forgive her for crossing. And then she moved out and gave him word by phone--while she was in hiding.

I think about that quite often. Mostly, how I ignored the signs because I didn't really want to face the truth. I vowed that I wouldn't ignore the signs again. And I've since noticed that most of the women I know who were abused do cheat to get out.

I'm not making any judgments here. Personally, I'd prefer it if the world were rosy and no one had to deal with abuse, or a cheating significant other. But that happens in life.

I'm fascinated by one thing...what is the impetus--the thing that makes a woman finally get out?

I have one friend that said it was the threat of him hurting her kids, too, that made her move out.

Frankly, I wonder why more beds aren't burnt when the drunken abusive men are passed out. But that's me. What do you think?

Posted by CarysWeldonblog :: 5:30 AM :: 3 Comments:

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3 Comments:

You did what you could and I'm glad your friend extricated herself from the situation.

By Blogger snowflake, at 9:19 PM  

Carys, its up to them to make the move to get out of there. You can't say what if I did this sooner, etc. Its always a sad situation hearing about these stories and I hope they keep putting out shows and all that let woman (and men too) know there's a way out. You posting this yourself, put some awareness out.

By Blogger Caffey, at 9:49 PM  

i love the naked men

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:54 AM  

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