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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Then I open up and see, the person falling here is me

Recently, rather sweetly mouse suggested that she not be called a victim or survivor because both carried too much responsibility and weight.  Those two words, years ago were reserved more or less for people who had been in extraordinary situations.  The victim or survivor of the Holocaust, POWs, ship disasters, etc.  What mouse didn't realize by embracing that line of thought she was really minimizing what others went through.  In effect she was saying...who cares?  It's not like you were experimented upon by Nazi's.  In saying that she was ignoring what mouse went through.  Denying almost and diminishing her own suffering and that was wrong to do.

Now, she's learning that even probably those victims of tragedy resist the title of victim or survivor -- they have guilt, of not doing what they could have...the choices they made or didn't make. Guilt from just living through it when other's didn't.  Each decision is scrutinized by themselves alone, and they're much harder on themselves than anyone else could be.  A friend who had cancer once remarked that she couldn't understand how she lived when so many others hadn't.  How could mouse diminish even her friend?  Yet, by reserving the words "survivor and victim" for extraordinary circumstances, like surviving a plane crash, instead of having cancer that probably millions of people have had.

People with their narrow prism can blame mouse for not leaving.  They can say that mouse should have known what was happening over the course of that decade of her life.  The two biggest issues for mouse were:

  1. He never, ever apologized to mouse after causing her harm, scaring or whatever he did.  He felt no remorse that mouse could tell...but what that did was make it feel more normal to mouse.  That somehow this was simply how it was supposed to be.  There was nothing mouse could to change things.  Even leaving wouldn't change it, because who else would want her?  He bragged often to her that ruined her for other men.  He was proud of handiwork, he loved the fact if mouse even had sexual thoughts, they were so revolting that she physically became ill.  It just helped to confuse her, because he didn't behave like the stereotypical abuser did.
  2. When he became ill, when he knew and understood the gravity of his situation.  When the realization sunk in and he knew that chemo wasn't a cure; it would only give him time.  More time.  Time to get his affairs in order.  To take care of what he needed to do.  He didn't need mouse then.  He sent her away.  

These things all worked to confuse mouse, even now she has few answers, but she knows she must stop diminishing her past and hiding.  Yes, she has past, she was a victim of abuse and a survivor and it's all part of who she is now.

Omega said to mouse that he wished that we had begun differently.  He wished, he hadn't played with mouse hard, assuming that she could simply handle it (not to suggest that mouse didn't or didn't enjoy it).  He just felt that maybe if things had been different, mouse would be kinder to herself now.  Was mouse too hard on herself?  Omega certainly felt she always has been.  So much he ignored about himself too, like his own limits he refused to recognize.  Maybe now, we're both more honest, more real with each other than we were capable of before?  At least for today, it feels that way.

12 comments:

  1. I don't think anyone ever wants to diminish the reality of someone else's pain -- but I think we do whatever we can to cope with our own.
    If you can tackle it head on, great. But sometimes we have to set it aside until we feel strong enough to come to terms with it. Or maybe we re-frame it in a way that lets us set it aside and move on. As one of my friends likes to say, "You do whatever gets you through." No fault, no blame.

    The past will always be part of us but it only needs to inform our future, not define it. At the risk of being called Pollyanna, I honestly believe that love and working together really can overcome 'most anything. Go, Team O/m!

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    1. We don't want to diminish anyone's pain or suffering, but as humans, mouse thinks maybe we're all inclined to do that. Maybe more so with victims of domestic violence.

      We are totally working through all this, with a whole lotta honesty. It's helping in ways we couldn't imagine.

      Hugs,
      mouse

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  2. Words like victim and survivor do apply to mouse as well as words like courageous, optimistic and strong. In the end though our past defines who we are only in so much as how we use that knowledge moving forward. That is the key for both of you and I know you both know that. How we behave today and what we plan for tomorrow is so much more important a focus.

    I for one am so happy that you are both facing the demons of the past and embracing a future together. Keep going.

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    1. Omega had mouse read your comment and then read it again. Thank you so much Sir! Your comment was most appreciated!

      Hugs,
      mouse

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  3. Dear Mouse,

    i don't have the right words here - but know that i have some idea how hard it is to do what you're doing now. i have so much respect for your work on it - and for Omega, who is also struggling in his own way right alongside of you.

    In the long run, yes, i think one of the pay-offs is what you say here:

    "Maybe now, we're both more honest, more real with each other than we were capable of before?"

    Yes. i bet you are. :-)

    {{{Hug}}}

    aisha

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    1. aisha,

      The book you recommended is helping mouse to see things a little differently...your recent blog posts were lightbulb or aha moment for mouse. So was something Little Monkey wrote about herself in her own blog. It's like slowly, painfully slowly at times, things are coming together for us both.

      We're both coming together now in a way that's even better than it was before...it's scary at times.

      We also don't spend all our waking hours talking about our issues (tho it might seem that way on the blog. We spend equal time being gentle with each other and loving each other which ironically is easier now than even was before.

      Thank you so much aisha for helping mouse in a very indirect way understand her own feelings better.

      Hugs,
      mouse

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  4. The interesting thing about words like "victim" and "survivor" is that they look backwards by their very nature. We all have our pasts, and where those pasts contain traumatic events, we carry the scars -- however visible or invisible. Life, however, is a reality only in the present moment. We have to hold on to one another, touch one another, listen to one another, be with and for one another, battle and snuggle and learn and grow and laugh all in this present.

    I am glad to sense that you and Omega are shaping a new life in this present. I am glad that that work includes the true witness to that past; the true honoring of the scars born in the flesh and in the psyche. That is important work. I will, however, continue to wish for you a string of moments that help to build something precious for the two of you -- now and now and now ...

    Hugs,
    Sue (swan)

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    1. Sue,

      Gotta say your comment made mouse weepy...so beautiful and yes we're totally working toward figuring out who we are now. It means tearing down the past...it means acknowledging things that mouse has never wanted to admit. All this is good...well it doesn't feel good but ends up being good...if that makes sense.

      Thank you so much for understanding!

      Hugs,
      mouse

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  5. Those same people who are narrow minded and judge you by your past are hypocrites. We've all been there and made decisions at times, that in context seem liked the right ones. It wasn't until we stepped away from the situation that we were able to see what others saw. They most likely tell themselves that they are better somehow, but the skeletons are there. It's a shame the first instinct for some is to tear down instead of building up. I keep my skeletons close to my heart, hoping that it gives me the compassion and understanding needed when someone is hurting. ((Hugs))

    Tonya

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    1. Tonya,

      Oh mouse likes that idea of keeping the skeletons close to your heart to add a little compassion. Humility too.

      Ooooh that's a wonderful way to look at it.

      Hugs,
      mouse

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  6. I have recently read through your blog and I wanted to say that your honesty is beautiful. Thank you for sharing so much about yourselves.
    Your comment about mouse being hard on herself struck a chord with me. After reading through many blogs, I believe that this lifestyle attracts people who are hard on themselves. In this world we are told not to strive for the best, not to work to improve. I personally have been put down, taken advantage of, and rejected for my inner desire to do good and to improve myself every day. I don't understand why others would react so strongly to my personal goals, but they do. While being hard on yourself can be detrimental, at the same time I have realized that it can also be beautiful.
    I believe that is where my Master came in to rescue me from myself. He gives me opportunities to 'pay' for my mistakes and MOVE on from them. Without that cycle I refuse to let go of my past mistakes and continue beating myself up about things. His Majesty has taken the negative away while encouraging the positive aspects of my desire to improve!
    Know that you are not alone.
    anne

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    1. Anne,

      Thank you and thanks for reading the blog (seriously, you read the whole thing?!).

      That's really what this whole lifestyle is about, taking away the negative and encouraging the positive.

      Hugs,
      mouse

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