The Writing on the Wall

Sometimes you can have a close friend, and still not know everything about them.

The Writing on the Wall

In today’s rapidly changing society, we are starting to dialogue about gender equality. No matter what side of the fence you stand on, both sides can mostly agree we’ve made some positive strides as a human race.

This is why the story I’m about to tell you troubles me. It all seems like something that would happen back in 1950, or at least twenty years ago, but it hasn’t.

Just a week ago today I found out my neighbor and close friend was a victim of spousal abuse. I had noticed subtle signs of marital problems with them before. However, there was nothing much to indicate her husband had been abusing her.

So why is it that I feel so guilty?

Perhaps the few hints that were shown, I should have added up.

Not Exactly Coffee Chat

I remember one early evening when our kids had just gotten home from school. My son and her daughter often played together. The little ones have been friends since we first moved in, when they were both just toddlers.

The night had begun to set in, and it was nearing dinner time. Her husband, for the first time ever, was visibly uncomfortable by my presence. I could tell he wanted me to leave. I started to corral my happily-hyper son, but anyone that knows me, knows that can take a while sometimes.

As I gathered my son’s things, I heard my friend’s husband yapping off something in the back of the apartment. He was on the phone. His voice read as obviously angry about something, but I’m still not sure what it was. He blurted out:

“Yeah, it’s like a friggin’ daycare here some days. Everybody just drops their kids off.”

I was insulted by this comment, but I said nothing. My neighbor “made eyes” at me as he said it. She knew I heard and gave me a look of “Ignore him”. Still, I couldn’t ignore him. I never “dropped my kid off” there like he said. Maybe he was confusing me with some of the other children’s parents she babysits. Whatever the case was, his comment pissed me off. So I said goodbye to my friend, hugged her and told her we’d see her in the morning when the children go out to school together.

My hands turned the doorknob to leave and behind me I heard:

Make me coffee! C’man!”

It shocked me at first because I thought it was directed at me. When I turned back to my neighbor to realize it was her being bossed around, my shock didn’t fade.

I could tell she was embarrassed that this happened in front of me. Somehow, she winged it anyway and continued to “serve” him, but not without throwing a little sass his way. I think she had more-so added the sass because I was there.

When I left, that was my first time realizing something wasn’t quite right in their marriage. He appeared to be very controlling of her, and this was the first I had seen of it. This wasn’t just your average “Make me dinner, honey” request. This was flat out “Do this or there will be consequences” and I should have noticed it then.

The thing is, this man never quite sat right with me in the first place. There were times he made the women in my building feel uncomfortable. None of the men here liked him either. One night, when he got a little inappropriate with me, another neighbor/friend got involved and told him to back off. He never bothered me after that, but I’ve kept an eye on him ever since.

I never allowed my son to go there by himself. I always tagged along, because that’s just how I am. I can tend to be the trust no one, over-protective type.

Lately, I haven’t allowed my son over there at all. Ever since I first noticed her husband was “off” which has been about two years now, that’s been reason enough to keep him away. It sucks that the kids have to suffer, but I always still welcome them to play at my apartment.

What’s Going On Here?

Then, last week I found out.

I kind of stumbled on the truth, actually.

There’s been a lot of police activity in our development lately so I asked my neighbor if she knew anything. This normally would be common conversation between us, but when I asked, she started to cry.

“Me.”

“What?!”

“You asked why the cops have been here. It’s me.” She said.

I already knew the rest of what she was going to say before she said it. What hurt was I had no idea just how bad it was. She had caught him cheating. They proceeded to get into an argument over his phone. When she went to take the phone from him, he beat her—severely.

She showed me the bruises that were hidden by her shirt. There were watermelon-sized welts in three or more places on her torso and upper thighs. She had bruises up and down her legs. The entire time she described the horrific scenario to me I couldn’t help but notice the cut across the bridge of her nose. I had noticed it when we first started talking too, but now it was like it was staring at me.

I’ve been here before. This road looks familiar.

Back Then

My sister’s father used to enjoy beating on my 5’3”, 110lb. mother. There’s a reason I’ll never refer to him as my step-father.

Let’s just say their time together didn’t end well. If my family had not intervened in their situation, my younger sister may not be here today.

I know how this story ends, and it’s not pretty. That asshole almost killed my mother and sister. I was only seven years old at the time. I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do.

I vowed to myself then, I would never let that happen again.

I failed to see the writing on the wall, at first. Perhaps it’s because the wall was covered in stained blood and masked with perfectly groomed, cookie-cutter wallpaper. But oh, I see so clearly now.

Never Again

The proper authorities have been notified. My friend is taking the steps toward a divorce, while filing for sole custody of their daughter. Up until now, she’s been a stay-at-home mom. She doesn’t drive. She’s an immigrant, from humble beginnings, with not much knowledge on how our legal system works. He left her with nothing. He hasn’t contacted their daughter. He’s not allowed to set foot in our building.

That hasn’t stopped him from threatening her, though. He said he was going to “get even” with her for contacting police. He’s angry that he may lose his job. After all, that would make him look bad with his shiny, new blonde.

I’m keeping an eye out. I’m staying alert. I’m aware that helping my friend also puts me in danger. I know that I’m also a mother and need to be careful.

This is mostly what my family has told me.

“Stay out of it. Don’t get involved.”

I can’t stay out of it.

I made a promise to that seven year old girl.

I’ll never stay out of it again.

Advertisements

Anger Management

Anger PangsOne of the most powerful of our human emotions is anger. Sadly, it’s also the most destructive. It can ruin relationships, void employment, and cause a monstrous amount of anxiety to the person it holds captive.

Anger can manifest in a variety of forms. Some studies say it is most commonly followed by sadness or vice versa. There are facts that support fear being anger’s long lost cousin.

If you or someone you know is having trouble with anger the tips below may be of some help.

Before reading on – Read this 1st

 Please do not mistake these tips and tools for medical advice or treatment. (This is specifically vital in cases where you or the person in question is indeed in crisis.) These are simply some steps I’ve taken that have helped me and those surrounding.

  • When you come in contact with your trigger[1], be aware of it. This mainly translates to being aware of your surroundings and trying to avoid things that set off your anger.
  • Don’t let disagreements turn into heated arguments. Simple and concise. If you feel yourself wanting to scream, take time to breathe deep and calm yourself. Don’t even respond if you can’t do it calmly. If the other person nags at you to respond…you may need to reconsider the friendship or relationship. Someone that knows you have an anger problem and only fuels it may be toxic to you. (That brings us to our next point.)
  • Dump toxic relationships. These will only hinder your progress. (It may even render it useless.) This is relatively self-explanatory. People in your life that do the opposite of supporting you shouldn’t be there. They’ll only cause more heartache and eventually more outbursts from you.
  • Let go. Walk away. This is the golden rule. It sounds so cheesy but it really is true. When you feel your skin get hot and your blood is boiling – there’s still about a 30 second window to step right out of that situation.
  • Meditate. It doesn’t take much to set some time aside and clear your head. Even if it’s only 10 minutes of your day, you’ll be better off for it.

 

The above mentioned tools are just some of many. These are just the ones that have helped me and those around me the most. If you know someone dealing with severe anger, there is help out there. There is a long list of resources available in each county, state, and even country. Anger management groups are held in countless clinics everywhere. It’s not such a bad idea to try them out.

There are two other articles of mine that have been a great deal of help to some people. This is part of that series. Think of it as a “Part 3” of sorts.

The others are: Stress Management and Grief Management.

 


[1] trigger: In psychological terms, this means something that sets a person off. It could be (but is not limited to) an object, an event, a place, or even another person.

This form of the word is most commonly used in treatment facilities, in group or individual therapy, and amongst psychologists and psychiatrists alike.

In Dreams


20120801-213322.jpg

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write a book about dreams. As some of you may know, I only write fiction material. With, of course, the exception of here and a few movie reviews I’ve done in the past.

I’ve tackled this topic with only close friends and family. However, it remains a recurring theme and a powerful force in my fictitious psych-horror stories.
This begs the question: Do I really want to share my thoughts on this with the masses? Well, the answer is yes. However, I ask only one thing. Those that read any further keep an open mind and don’t…please don’t be judgmental toward anyone that may share their opinion or myself.


It can be agreed upon, that some dreams have a psychological significance. They could be traced back to trauma, subconscious wants or needs, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), just to name a few.
What about the other half? The dreams or nightmares we can’t explain? The ones that seem like (and may very well be) premonitions..

I’ve done years worth of research on this topic and would enjoy sharing with you the results (as I see them) from both sides of the proverbial coin.

There are a large amount of people from all different parts of the world that sometimes believe a loved one, relative, or even ancestor, can “send” them a dream. Telepathically, so to speak.
Another group of people believe it’s their psychic gift that helps them to have a so-called “prophetic dream”.

Lastly, a bit of us believe all three. They embrace all possibilities. Both from a psychological and spiritual standpoint.

I can’t tell you which way my own mind bends. However, sharing the following may be of some comfort. I don’t believe it’s possible to lump anything into just one small category or perspective. Things need to be analyzed deeply before anyone can make an assumption.

A great deal is still being learned about the human mind and dreams themselves. R.E.M sleep research, neuroscience, psychology, psychiatry are all trying to get a better grasp and understanding of the subject. That’s not even a fraction of the people and professions trying to understand it.

I barely have a grasp on them myself. They definitely have a huge effect on me, though. Those around me tell me the same about themselves.

The photo displayed above is one I took just earlier today. When I saw how beautifully it came out, inspiration for this post flowed like water. It was a gift to me from my cousin. She said “It reminded me of you.” My closest friend echoed that sentiment when I sent the picture via text. They couldn’t be more right..
🙂