SHE MONSTER

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We had a spat again last night. I mentioned Cory, the youngest of our two sons, not calling regularly Sunday nights like he has for over the last ten years or longer, ever since graduating high school. 

Immediately Samuel says, “Oh, he is busy with painting,” completely negating my statement which to me expressed a sadness that the need or want to contact his parents weekly has changed.

I don’t believe he is busier, but rather the opposite. With no job he has plenty of time of his own to do as he chooses. It’s a shift that may be here to stay and though I don’t like it, I don’t care to pressure Cory to call if he does not feel the need or urge to call.

But it turned bitter and as Samuel says, I attacked him. Try as I might, I cannot remember exactly what I said, but we each have our own approaches that do not seem to change nor work successfully between us for open or loving communication.  We talk on wavelengths that never seem to meet, a fourth dimension, though ours is not newly discovered, it’s been the battlefield all along.

I eat my yogurt by the fire, not by his feet on the couch before going to bed, like I usually do. I think about the fact that he is probably right, I attack when frustrated, popping the air from him like a balloon gone airless, deflated.

I look at him over the tip of the couch and don’t like what I see, a man who cannot get it, cannot, after all these years, come in with a different approach; not fix things, just listen and let me be how I am, express a feeling without making excuses for the other person, whoever it is, making me feel invisible once again, as if my take, my feelings, my thoughts are not to be.

I just want to express how I feel and be listened to. And oddly he says the same thing, that he gets no opinion and he’s better off saying nothing at all. I feel that’s just a cop out for his inability or choice not to talk. He can chat about inconsequential things which I’m not good at or interested in, but not the deep stuff which fascinates me, why people do what they do, what is underneath it all.

I wake and no warmth is blowing down the hallway. I turn the fan on high at the coal stove but it blows cold. Feeling the cast iron gingerly it is cold. The fire’s gone out? Opening the funnel there is no coal, and I immediately feel guilty over my treatment of Samuel. I did punch the life out of him. I attribute the fire not being fed to my feeding the fire of discontent between us. I did it again. 

I fight tightfisted, punching hard. I have fought all my life for my life. I come in fighting and make adversaries out of those I interact with even if that wasn’t their intention or mine. I’m my own worst enemy and I will not stop. I cannot. I cannot let my guard down.

Now is the time to put the gloves down but I don’t know how. I know my eldest son Shane grew up with a rage monster. I see it even now in his face and he is 34. If there’s an edge to my voice, or frustration, or other emotions curdling through, watch out, I’m on the prowl. His smile becomes forced, tensed, and I feel badly because I know he grew up fearful with a mother who wanted to bash someone’s head in but used cupboards instead.

How I did not cream my kids with the rage I contained, I just don’t know. It still surprises me greatly that they turned out as well as they did. And yes, they far surpassed any enterprises I took on at their ages. Both graduated from the same prestigious college. Both applied for and were chosen for the job of a Residential Assistant position which meant free room and board, making the outrageous expenses of college doable.

The job added an additional workload and responsibilities to their already pressure filled curriculum’s in the Information Technology field, a burgeoning degree being added to the cutting edge universities. Both graduated with great successes along the way which continue in all aspects of their lives. I know these men add to the world in so many ways, not just their ability in the work world, but their caring and compassion for others, and without the deep seated mistrust for others their mother is branded with. 

I could not finish the two year college I attended quitting one course short of one class. I did finish 20 years later as a registered nurse with Raymond’s help and support. So it blows me away to see what they accomplish and continue to accomplish. 

When the SHE MONSTER comes out, tread lightly. I have sons, their daughter-in-law’s and a few friends, one especially, who loves me as I am, yet I still watch, am wary, and ready to fight; even among those I’m most closest to, who truly love me. And a sweet, loving husband, a quiet man, but one I want to appreciate not fight with, yet the gloves are ready.

I continue on with the periscope up, looking for danger because danger is all I’ve known. Even interspersed with galloping up the hillsides with my horse during the most luscious of summer days, danger, that of the human kind was never far away. It exists in my psyche where my family put it. A family led by the eldest who hated his own crimes so much the only way to tolerate himself was to ensure the only girl who he sexually attacked was smeared consistently, continuously, and regularly over time and through the years.

And so expertly done, not even the wisest and smartest among the other six brothers noticed. A shadow was cast on the little girl and she believed it too. To this day, the undercurrent that I’m bad and undeserving of life exists within me like a scourge that cannot be extricated or erased; a shadow not blown away no matter how much light shines through.

And that is the damage most thorough. Not the attacks on my body, but my mind, my psyche, my precious core of a personality growing that sucked up the looks, comments and attitudes of those around her, adding blackness to the thoughts about herself, becoming her. That is what I’m left to live with and hear it all around me wherever I go. She is bad, unworthy, it is OK to treat her like dirt.

I am always fighting. I will not stop. I cannot stop. This is my Fight Song…

 

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10 thoughts on “SHE MONSTER

  1. It sounds as if you have your radar turned up super-high to any indications that you are being mistreated. And it is completely understandable because of what you went through. But, you also understand that it is hard on those that love you. But, how can you change when you constantly feel that you are “bad, unworthy, it is okay to treat her like dirt”? I used to feel like this too. I was raped repeatedly by teenage schoolboys and then when I told my father he started to sexually abuse me. I have been in therapy for 19 years. And somewhere along that journey I stopped believing and feeling like I deserved the violence and the abuse. And you didn’t deserve it either. You were a wonderful child who deserved to be safe and loved and protected. You didn’t deserve to be abused — they did wrong. May today be a good day for you.

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  2. This is just so raw and honest. I love your writing and how real you are. I hate that you are hurting like this, and wish I had magic words to make it better.

    You are not bad or unworthy; you deserve love and kindness and compassion. These messages and beliefs run deep. It’s so easy to believe them, but try to remember feelings aren’t facts. You feel unworthy, but that is not a fact— you have so much value. The she monster has value, and is deserving of love and kindness, too. Of course she is mad, wary, full of rage. She was violated and hurt in the worst possible way, and betrayed again when no one kept her safe. The she monster has every right to be full of anger and rage and hate. I would bet that the she monster is a fighter; that she is one of the parts that kept you alive, that helped you to survive.

    I’m hoping winter ends soon for you; that the gray clouds part and let sunshine and warmth back in. Because you deserve that. Xx💟💟

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    1. Oh, of course you kindness warms my frigid interior melting the ice into tears, or at least moist eyes.
      Samuel came down the hall almost with his tail between his legs this morning, wondering if the monster was still ravaging.
      Instead of saying I was sorry then doing the same thing all over again, I’m trying to show him a better me not tell him.
      I could see him immediately become relieved. (once again)
      The beast has fallen back into her cave.
      My mother once said, “Poor Samuel.”
      And I didn’t like it. Comments like that tend to go deep and become more than what they are meant. But sometimes she’s right. More often though, I tend to put others needs before me or at least make room for them.
      Thank you Alice.
      I’m ready to get the Easter baskets out!

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      1. You know, I don’t think it’s okay to say “poor Samuel”. That statement doesn’t cover the complexity of a relationship. Maybe it is more accurate to say that there are times Samuel is yelled at when he doesn’t deserve it, but there are also many times where he is treated with kindness and love, and times when he has said hurtful things, and times when he has treated you with kindness and love. I struggle with seeing the grey in my own life, but I do know this– relationships aren’t black and white. They are good times and bad times, and feelings from our lives before we met that person, and feelings from our present life with them, and up’s and downs and hurts and joys and sometimes we are forgiven when we don’t deserve it, and sometimes we forgive when the other doesn’t deserve it because that is love and sometimes we fight and say things we don’t mean, and sometimes we lift each other up and support one another. Relationships aren’t black and white, they are complicated things. You aren’t bad. We all have that beast part of us— even Samuel.

        Easter will be here soon. Maybe buy yourself a bouquet of spring flowers and look at them when winter feels too long and never ending and remember spring will come. It always does. Xx💐💐

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  3. I love your fight song. That fighting spirit was necessary to keep you alive and to bring you where you are today. You are an inspiration to many and have done a wonderful job with your sons. I sense that Samuel knows more than he says and stays by your side for all the facets in your character. I am hopeful that those voices of unworthiness will get weaker and weaker until they are almost unnoticeable. Sending much love to you my dear friend.

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