Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hands of Friendship and Thoughts of Abuse

by:  Tigress Pen

As I sit here thinking of how friendship is special, I think of how it isn’t set on a time limit or penciled scheduling; it’s constant, vigilant and caring. I think of how it’s there any given time speaking words of encouragement, listening and understanding, that it’s not setting terms. I think of how it’s the hand held out in time of need, a hand saying I am here to help you shoulder your troubles, just let them go.

I sit here thinking of abuse and how I wonder if I’ll ever close the bedroom door again, if the fear someone could come up to it unseen will ever allow me to close it. And I think of that hand. I wonder if I’ll ever sleep with my back turned to the door again. I wonder if the need to have it wide open is so I can see down the dark corridor of the hallway. I wonder if the need to know, to see what and who is there will ever stop and peace will fill my nights again.

And while thinking I find a nervousness inside me begin to churn and that I need that hand of friendship to talk with. I think of how I must constantly move, not knowing true restfulness; of how I suddenly find myself awake and sitting in the middle of the bed or sitting with my feet on the floor, ready for a quick exit. I think of how the smallest of unrecognized sound brings my head up, my ears and eyes alert. I think of the need to shelter myself; I think of that need to self-protect emotionally by internalizing the actions of another. I think of the mind-set of an abuser, wondering why they can’t reach out their hands in love and caring and not resentfulness, anger or violence. I wonder if it’s something inside them that creates a spur of the moment action or if it’s been there all along and suddenly rages.

I wonder about the anger that stems from the abusers’ health, and how ones physical health causes personality changes. I wonder if a way exists to really understand what goes on in another’s mind; the ones who appear born without conscience and only know how to live with an urge to cause hurt to animals or their fellow human beings. I think about the ‘I’m in it for the long haul’ effect, that ‘till death us do part’ line. And I know I must be there for the long haul but also need help with that hand of friendship beside me.

While I sit in the middle of the floor with space around me, I wonder why I need that space; if the need to know there’s an escape is a persistent factor in back of my mind. Why small spaces are not an option. And, I think of the hand of friendship, that one friend, who with patience waited for me to talk, giving me time to speak between the tears that I was shedding. Who with so much caring held out a hand and said, let me help shoulder your troubles; don’t you remember the faith you often spoke of in the past, of how you leaned on that faith? Let the hand of faith reach you tonight, take that hand held out to you. Take my hand of friendship as it was His and let the light of His love fill your heart; know you have the strength to endure, you will persevere, you will become a stronger person. You will overcome the obstacles you feel are binding you.

I think of all the Advocates out there, those Hands held out like the hand of Susan Murphy Milano, Anny Jacoby and Delilah; I think of all the other advocates and how they daily reach out and help. I think of how, by being the shoulder for abused ones’ tears, they are true Hands. I think of the hand of friendship that reached out to me, of the shows I have heard, the tears I’ve shed for victims, the joy I’ve felt knowing an abused person has found just the right Hand.

And so, I sit here tonight and think of how friendship is mostly the hand of God at work, always waiting for me to take His hand and put all the worries on His shoulders.

But still, I wonder about that escape.
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Lee Brawley said...

WOW, I am so floored by what you have shared and can relate to so much. It is if you have been inside my nighmare and it is soothing yet frightening at the same time. The need for open doors are an absolute. It has been ten years in therapy and bedrooms doors MUST remain open. Bathroom doors only get shut when out somewhere.
I want to cry and laugh unsure which emotion to feel.
Small spaces are completely off limits.
Have we met???
It really is like you are talking about me and yet you are sharing YOUR story.
All of us, Sisters, so much alike, different yet the same.
I feel as tho I have rambled on but pray I have made sense to you or someone out there.

TigressPen said...


I can believe the likeness to what you endure, the emotions you have- the alertness. My situation is a result of the mental/physical health of the abuser. For 30 years all was good (other than little spats that's a normal part of marriage) but then it began to go downhill due to diability. Ten years later (after the disability)the intense verbal abuse began and it lasted 2 years before it became more and more in your face - a few months ago it went physical.

After the 3rd and worse attack, (attempts to smother me) I realized I could no longer handle the situation alone... He is in a home now and happy. - Since May of this year. - How I managed to fight off the attacks only God knows. But I did, and I am a survivor. I just have to keep remembering that I am and not let the abuse depict who I become - by going dark inside. When my friend told me to remember the light I always talked about and shared, that it was still there even in the shadows, I knew I would still try my best to search for it even when the fears seep inside my mind.

I am there for him, go visit and still care. I just know that the living alone together is no longer an option. Ever. I do not think he can get back to himself, the health issues are numerous. The man he was slowly disappeared but on days he peeks in and time spent is enjoyable. That time is never spent alone with him either.

I do still have nightmares and wonder if I'll ever stop jerking awake ready to 'escape'-

I'm moving from the home we lived in together, hoping that will help. In truth, I think that alertness will hang on for the rest of my life - just as that maternal instinct did when my children were small and I'd wake with a knowing that something was wrong, I needed to check on them- and would.

I am doubtful I'd had been strong enough to do what I did without the shows I'd heard of Susan's - without reading and listening to her and others tell their story. And I wonder if I'd be dead had I not heard them. If he'd be in jail instead of where he is now.

I keep so many in my prayers and you are in them also. God Bless my friend. You have not rambled, telling, explaining isn't easy- the thoughts, the words rush. You made perfect sense.

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