Last night we went out to a nightclub with some friends. The guy I guess you could call my nemesis if you wanted to use melodramatic terms was there. An ex-partner I wasted 2.5 years of my life on, who was a psychological and physical abuser (and then some) who I had to get a restraining order against once it was all over and I started actually talking to people about what had happened (my therapist actually wouldn't stop bugging me until I made sure I got the order done). Like most people in a situation like that, I didn't know or didn't want to realise the kind of crap I was being put through, and once it was all over it hit me like a truck and I had to painstakingly work through all of the things that had happened. There was one thing I hadn't allowed myself to acknowledge in the 2.5 years since that relationship ended, and when I finally had the realisation of that last thing that he'd done, that I hadn't let myself think about, it hit me like a truck all over again. I'm in the process of finding a suitable therapist, and just trying to deal with the new feelings as best I can.
So it was a nasty shock to see him at this event last night. I'd left the goth scene because I didn't want to be around him those years ago (plus he'd started a chain of gossip about me that would make a sailor blush, and dealing with that as well was not something I needed) and moved to a different alternative subculture. In the last year, he's slowly made his way into it. I don't feel I can go to an event with the nagging question of "Will this sorry excuse for a human being be there?" There's not a thing I can do about it, as the restraining order has now expired, and anyone I try to talk to about the issue goes for the usual victim-blaming spiel, not acknowledging that there is a real sense of danger about this person, i.e. I do not feel safe around this guy, period.
I think it's rather unfair that the people who do these things to others aren't looked upon with the disgust their actions deserve, and instead the people they leave damaged in their wake are told they're overreacting, that it was their own fault, that the person isn't really so bad, why are you saying such horrible things about them? Because, y'know, they couldn't possibly do these things behind closed doors, like most manipulators and abusers do, so they can get away with what they do.
I'm not an outgoing person by nature, and going out every weekend really isn't my thing, but I would like to be able to just once in a while go out with my friends without fear that I'll be confronted with the fact that I was violated in every possible way, that the person that did this can stand next to me at the bar and smirk, and I can't do a thing about it except walk away. There is no way to keep this person away from me, aside from me never going out again.
There are countless women (and men) who this has happened to, whose spouses have done unspeakable things to them, and they can't get closure, can't keep running from the person who abused them. And our culture shelters the abusers rather than vilifying them. It's outrageous. I have thought it's outrageous before I'd ever experienced it, and now that I have, it enrages me more than anyone could imagine. Anyone who hasn't been through it, that is. The unfortunate ones who have know exactly what I'm talking about.
I have been abused before, when I was very young (kindergarten aged). It's not something I hide anymore, but it is something I'd rather never go into details with. The thing is, though... is I was young and very resilient at the time, and the abuser has also been through treatment... I think this helped a lot, because he is a family member... Both of us, at the end, came out as different people, and it's not something that bothers me anymore, although I still don't want to share the details... But I also don't want him to be portrayed as a bad guy because of it, because I know he's changed. Knowing that he hasn't (in your case) probably doesn't help.
It must be different there, or something. I don't know anyone who takes any kind of domestic abuse lightly, be it emotional, verbal, or physical. I know it's difficult to take the advice, but I wouldn't be too worried about him doing anything in a public place. I know there's probably a place in the back of your mind that haunts you, and is driven by your past... Anxiety, of sorts. Worry about something that you cannot put your finger on.
It sucks, because, what it left you is something intangible that you have to deal with. It's not a concrete object, like a restraining order... You can hold those papers in your hand, and see them, and know they exist for a fact... but the emotional scars left behind from such an experience are not concrete, you cannot see them or touch them, and sometimes, you wonder if you're just crazy. You're not.
And what you see in him, although others do not see it... That's real, too. Intangible, but real, nonetheless. And it's not easily ignored.
I can't say I know EXACTLY how you feel, but I can say I've seen, and felt, a glimpse of it. I did many, many years of therapy and was hospitalized twice, interrogated by officers, countless psychiatrists, put on medications, nothing really helped until I figured it out on my own. This happened over 13 years ago.
I remember thinking, why am I the one they are trying to fix? They ask a ton of questions, but they are always asking the wrong ones, always going the opposite direction. And eventually, a few years after all the therapy and meds and psychiatrists ended, I figured it out on my own.
I don't know if that makes sense and I'm really not sure how to explain it...
Oh my. I'm sorry you had bad things happen to you when you were young. That's so awful... But I'm glad you came out the other side and aren't bothered by it anymore.
Time really does heal all wounds, I suppose. Time to sort through everything, right?
What you say about that "something intangible" is so spot-on. Wondering about sanity, about whether what happened really happened, if I am just making it all up like some people have thought, if it's all some elaborate construct I've concocted to paint myself as a victim and garner attention... But then I remember that a couple of friends who were around for a couple of his outbursts have told me what they saw, and realise those thoughts are just the brainwashing from that time talking to me.
I guess I'm not yet at the point of having worked through everything, and am still at a point of indignant disbelief at it all. But with time I'll work it all out.
I don't think abuse is as widely ignored as I think I've made it seem in my last entry. People pay attention if they're outsiders, if they don't know the person, for the most part. But mutual friends or acquaintances seem to opt for the more pleasant option of "She's just making a big deal out of nothing" because it's not confronting to them. The one bit I don't get is the judicial system. The restraining order I ended up getting wasn't really that effective - he just wasn't allowed to talk about me to anyone (that is, he could hint but not mention my name, and he managed to talk about me just fine using that rule) and he wasn't to come within 5 meters of my person. So he could sit at the opposite side of an average-sized room to me, and not be violating the order. It was pretty ineffective, but at least he couldn't talk to me for 16 months. I had friends and family tell me I was being unreasonable by even pushing for that much, that I should just ignore him, but the problem with this particular person is that he revels in screwing with people, and had told me and a couple of other people just that in the past (I don't know why I didn't run screaming at that point, though it was quite late in the relationship when I learned those things) so it's not as though he was remorseful, or looking to turn over a new leaf. I'm unsure as to whether that's changed, but judging by last night, it's the same smug attitude of "I can do what I want, you just watch me."
People react to bruises, to seeing things first-hand. They don't take it lightly when they see things with their own eyes, or hear it with their own ears. But most seem to react to someone coming to them saying, "I need your support, because this has happened to me. Can I have a shoulder to cry on, or a hug?" with thinking that person is just seeking attention, that what's happened isn't actually as severe as what they're being told.
There's TV campaigns run by the government against domestic violence and abuse to try and educate people, open their eyes to what goes on, but what I see in people's attitudes, not just about myself, but women who are assaulted by their partners, friends, strangers, whoever - often the first questions asked are "Well, what was she doing that provoked it? What was she wearing? Was she frigid? Was she stuck-up? What was she doing to make him angry?" because it would seem that the general consensus is that if a woman is assaulted, abused or raped, she must have had it coming in some way. I don't have the words to describe how angry that attitude has always made me.
I know this is random, but you both have really pretty sigs xD
Hokay, le journal for today...
Just finished sewing hems on pieces of fabric and attaching velcro to them and the tanks so everyone can have lovely interchangeable fabric backgrounds... And Falkor's at it again with the flaring now that we've finished his 100% WC and added the background. I did try putting all the different fabrics up against his tank to see which he'd be the least upset about, and chose the one he flared the least at (took him a while to flare at all) but apparently when it's actually attached it's no longer satisfactory.
This time, I'm going to have to stick to my guns and just not remove it, and allow him to become used to it. I've gone to an awful lot of trouble to find something to his liking, and I think this is as far as I'm willing to go. I spent hours trawling through eBay, trying to find some highly patterned, good fabrics to make backgrounds out of, and ordered quite a few different ones, not knowing which he'd accept, and spent all day sewing today (I haven't used the sewing machine in a while, heh) and got all frustrated because I kept stuffing up.
After making all that effort with this round of trying, plus all the previous attempts at finding something he'd accept, I'm going to have to just let him flare his little heart out until he basically accepts the background. I've read of a lot of people just waiting it out with things like decor, backgrounds, positioning, and their bettas getting used to them eventually, so I'm going to have to count on him getting used to the background, because it's beyond ridiculous now. I need to have the back of the tank covered so I can store my tank maintenance stuff behind it without it being an eyesore, and he's going to have to learn to deal with it.
So Falkor doesn't flare constantly at the background, only when he makes his way to the back and realises that the big ugly thing is still there. It's not actually ugly, I can only assume that he thinks it is uglier than the hideous backing for my shelves... He's not getting as upset with it as he was yesterday, so perhaps there's hope!
Now that I've ordered everything I need to do the tank makeovers, I just need to sit back and wait for it all to arrive, then the ridiculous amount of work can commence! I'll need to set my spare tanks up to store the plants in until the driftwood soaks most of its tannins out, and until the sponge filters get here... But that's okay. My grandmother has kindly said that one of the tanks can go on the kitchen windowsill to get natural light while it's all happening, and I can make some room on my bedroom windowsill to do the same thing there. So it's all good, it'll just be a bit of a pain. It'll be nice and rewarding once it's all done though!
I think I'm really way too fussy about the way I deal with our fishies. My partner got upset last night because he doesn't feel like the fish are an "us" thing anymore, just a "me" thing, because it all has to be done my way, and I'm always insisting on the long way around everything and getting really angry and irritable when it isn't done my way. I can see his point very well now that I'm not annoyed, but my view is still the same though I can see it from his perspective. I sit on here during all of my free time, and I learn and research constantly. I'm still very inexperienced, so I absorb all the information I can, and think that slow and steady will win the race, because I want the best for the fish I keep, even though my experience level is low. I admit I get aggressive when I think they're not getting the very best treatment, and perhaps that's a fault of mine I'm going to have to work on.
Aside from all that, I've been eyeing off shrimp online, because I'd like to see if they can live peacefully with my bettas once the tanks are cycled. I realise this is months away, and I can only look wistfully at them until then, but it's still nice to look. It's unfortunate that Weehawk just cannot deal with the colour red, because I'd have loved some cherry shrimp. As it is, we'll have to get glass shrimp. Probably better considering they're cheaper, just in case they end up as a meal for the bettas. I feel terrible knowingly wanting to introduce them to the bettas' tanks when they may end up as food, but the tank layouts I have planned would provide more than ample cover for them, so I think I'd be giving them the best chance of survival I can.
It's a pity you can't get Amano shrimp here in Australia. I've heard whispers on other forums about a native species that is relatively similar, but have heard nothing on where I can acquire some.
Ugh, I'm so tired after the weekend I've just had. Two nights of clubbing in a row, one with a stressful bit, the other just great catching up with mates, but I think I'm getting too old for that kind of thing, haha! That and dealing with crowds isn't something I like to do on a regular basis. Then yesterday a full day of sewing backgrounds and 100% water changes, I'm pooped!
Come to think of it, since getting the beautiful fishies, I've become so active, more active than any time before having them. Sure, I used to be fitter doing dance and stuff, but when I got home I'd just plop down on the couch and not budge. With these little guys I'm constantly pottering around, checking on them, planning things, it's awesome!
It's good to know that Falkor is getting used to having a background, I've tried that with Shosta, and it just worries me how much he flares at it. Thankfully the wall behind the tank is white and I don't have anything to store back there, so he can get along without for now, I just personally would like having a background of sorts to give the tank a fuller/professional look *sigh*
The flaring worries me too! It's kinda nerve-wracking, sitting here and watching him do it when he decides to. But after nearly a month of searching for something he'll be okay with, I've finally found something he doesn't flare constantly at, so I'm going to leave it for a bit to see if he gets used to it. Just now, I watched him swim right past the back of the tank without flaring at the background, so maybe it just takes fiddling around for a while and finding something that they can eventually tolerate. So there's hope for the problem children we have! Haha.
Haha, Shosta's problem is with the color black, anything black he flares at... no matter what... Dark room? = flare, me wearing a black dress = flare, me wearing black pjs = flare, black pen? = flare, black computer? = flare. It stinks because black is one of my favorite colors xD
So I tried a white background... No luck with that either, it was almost worse than the black one, and the green/jungle one was no good either...
I'll get up the nerve to try something else eventually, but I'll just leave him be for now xD