I lied when the counselor asked me if I was suicidal. Because I knew that would be the end of my being a mother, in spite of what was being done to me. I held my back against a wall of evil that was caving in on me. “Of course not,” I stammered. But I knew I was lying. Because living each day had become too painful. I’d even been accused of being suicidal in a legal letter, which my abuser had skillfully placed, knowing my mother had committed suicide when I was 12.
I was being dragged to court AGAIN for something I did absolutely responsibly and right by the court orders. And I knew that I would lose because of the corruption in my system; because of my judge and his political relationships. While I was watching my life fall apart piece by piece, and my children suffering day-by-day, it was like watching a part of me die in real-time.
I had to sit in doctor’s offices in near proximity to my abuser who not only lied about me to others and to the system; who also had been physically abusive at times as well. He was bankrupting me and taking my life, my career, and any other energy reserves I had to lead a productive life, because of my natural defense of my children’s mental health. My inner self knew that I had to draw on every resource I had for my outer self to create the appearance of co-parenting and cooperation while being circumvented constantly. In spite of this, I knew that I would lose in court: the question was, how badly?
I learned soon enough what PTSD was, and had an understanding of how combat veterans sometimes can’t tolerate sudden loud noises. It was a kind of brain shearing where an email or even a glare could cause a panic attack of epic proportions. I began to sit up at night and grab my throat; that’s how I’d know a new case was coming before my attorney ever did. My instincts became superacute, and I learned this is called ‘hypervigilance’ in clinical terms.
I did lose in court, and I suffered harassment even long after our big, devastating loss. In fact, it never really stopped until the children reached adulthood, when there was no more basis for court action. Somehow, God helped me survive this storm, with deep ragged gashes where some of my optimism and youth used to thrive. Still, I believe some of the most beautiful desert flowers are created through harsh conditions. And we carried on.
Some of us, longing to commune honestly about our journey with narcissism and abuse, can’t wait to get our hands on an honest conversation. We need to feel our heads stroked spiritually and with ‘our-kind’ support. Most of the time, this isn’t coming, because of the fear and anxiety people get even hearing an inkling of our stories. “It will be ok,” they say, because the terribleness of it needs to make sense to them. They have to believe some other Truth.
Still, I pray that this monolith of post-divorce abuse and court abuse that looms above us as big as a fallen planet, yet still unseen by most, is taken down by a spiritual David with a ‘rock from a sling’. I have to hope that God has it in His plan to dismantle the lies and corruption that are laced up with dollars from our tired labor, in the defense of our Constitutional Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Does this phrase ring a bell to the legally deaf and blind?
Slavery is defined in part by restricting freedom, of making one person subject to another. I can’t think of a better illustration of modern-day slavery than what the family court system allows abusers to accomplish. Folks, this is about our basic rights to freedom, and this includes our children. I challenge legal pencil-pushers to debate me on this stark definition of slavery which speaks to me so vividly.
Those of us in the cycle of domestic abuse have experienced bondage that goes unrecognized. That doesn’t make it any less real. This is a CORRECTABLE societal and judicial holocaust that has CLEAR boundaries and easily implementable solutions. There is no excuse.
I lied when I needed to, and you should too, until things change. You must be as wise and stealthy as wolves, and as gentle as sheep to your children who are also victims. Just like in Moses’ day when the Hebrews were freed, our day is going to come in a wave of prayer and ‘blood painted on the doors’. The proverbial Red Sea will part, and I pray that it is in your time, and that you and your precious ones walk through the sandy bottom to freedom.