Tuesday, February 12, 2008

a woman post

The following is based on a number of things. I am going through some horrible stuff right now, that I can't deny. But this post is NOT about me. This is a post for women. (Although men aren't exempt from this either.) I haven't written this alone - Internet forums and a social worker have helped me to put this together. This is for those stuck in these various situations. Face value. Capisce?

The best thing you can do for a friend if they're being cheated on, is to tell them. If you're the last person to find out, this is almost worse than than the cheating itself. There's a high price for humiliation and trust.

The best you can do a for friend when you worried about how they're being treated, is listen to them. And be there for them IF the chips do fall.
Telling a person what to do in this situation is not going to work. They'll eventually be forced to choose sides, and down the line, they'll stop talking. You can offer your ears and your shoulder if things go wrong. Work with them, not against them.

The best you can do for a person who has been hurt physically and emotionally is to also listen to them. It is very difficult to understand the full extent of the situation if you haven't been there yourself. So just listen.

The best thing to realise is that some situations are more complex than what the stereotypes purvey.

Realise that people can change. I've seen this enough times to believe it. So always give people a chance. I've also seen people react differently with different people. Have faith in them.

Abuse can happen at work, or at home. You can't see verbal abuse. But sometimes this is worse than physical abuse itself. Abuse consists of name-calling, shouting, belittlement, isolation, physical harm, coercion, threats.

There are numbers of reasons why the person doesn't leave. Love, the hope it will get better, fear, unfounded optimism, fear of no support, pressure to make it work, religious beliefs, their self-esteem is shot, or they're apathetic, they don't want the "relationship to fail", the list goes on.

In the same grain, sometimes leopards do not change their spots. But they can if they try hard enough.

Try not to judge people based on the few facts you have about them, their situation or their past.

People who are in/have been in bad domestic situations have a number of reactions to very small triggers. If the fridge door doesn't close properly, and they collapse in tears, just listen. You don't have to understand, but you can listen.

People are multi-faceted. This is important to remember. If they handle things badly in certain situations, or are bad in a crisis, or have anger management problems, this doesn't mean they're bad people at heart. (As Izzie said so correctly in Grey's Anatomy last night - “People who do horrible things aren't necessarily horrible people.”)

Often people blame themselves for being abused (verbal, physical, psychological, etc etc). Or feel that whatever has happened to them is somehow their fault. This falls across many spectrums, from manipulation to battery and rape.

Often the most unsubservient, strong, outspoken and independent people are those that find themselves in a situation of emotional hostage. Always remember that stuff happens behind closed doors, even if the likeliness seems out of your realm of understanding.

And lastly, please don't read into this too much. I am not a psychologist, and I'd also prefer it if you don't relay this as “This is what Peas is sad about obviously.” I am far removed from any of these situations, that I can promise. These above suggestions simply might apply to anyone who can relate – or just know someone who has been in these circumstances.

In the meantime, I sift through my particular crap. Over lots of coffee, because I'm not sleeping too hot.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... there might just be a cause/effect relationship between the coffee and the not sleeping thing.

MamaMeeA said...

"Over lots of coffee, because I'm not sleeping too hot."

I'm sleeping just fine. But it's never enough... *sigh*

Peas on Toast said...

Kyk - even if I stop drinking coffee at say 3:00pm (after about 4 cups in the morgen?)

Mamameea - Lucky lady. One of lifes greatest pleasures is sleep (up there with sex, food and music of course!)


Sunrise said...

Hey Peas, your agony Aunt suggestion list is spot on, and was a good read. Especially after the day I had yesterday!!! I say, drink de-caff and sleep better.

Peas on Toast said...

Sunrise - are you feeling better today dear? I hope so. I'm feeling less emotional which is good. Tonight I will stock up on chamomile and hope it makes me all dozy-like ;)

Jam said...

It is incredibly hard to tell someone to leave when they are in an abusive scenario - and you're right, the best thing to do is to be there, to watch, to offer a space to the person to talk in. It gets down to self esteem - feeling so low that you don't feel like you can leave.
And in order for people to change, for leopards to change their spots, there needs to be some kind of acknowledgement of the fact that they have a problem in the first place.

Peas on Toast said...

Jam - 100% spot on. And this applies generally - for change to take place, there has to be an acknowledgment of a problem.

And getting involved or posing an intervention into the relationship as a friend won't work, as you said. You just have to be there when they ask for it.

Champagne Heathen said...

The thing about listening is, it is not at all easy to do. Properly, anyway. This is not to say, we shouldn't & it isn't what is probably the best way to help, but just to acknowledge how difficult it can be.

Hearing someone's story/ troubles/ fears can be unnerving. The contents can be so hectic that we are completely uneased. The other person just wants to talk, while often we feel (Maybe just I do?) we want to smooth as much over as soon as possible.

Silences especially are uncomfortable. Rather, we feel, rather fill them up with inane comments, or random superficial advice, or anything, to get away from the exposed pain.

But instead, we should just sit in the silence. That's what this person is asking from us, to bear this amount of pain & uncomfortablity.

I ended up watching WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN (again) on Sunday night. And one of the issues in the film is "listening". Really listening. Many people, and men especially, are taught to seek out the solution in the problem. I've heard what you have to say, now here are the practical proactive steps to take to SOLVE it.

But often solutions are not are what is being asked. Just for someone to release to, to sit with you through some of the kak.

Thanks for this post! And sorry for the babble, just what you inspired from my typing fingers & head.

Sunrise said...

Feeling tip top, thanks Peas. But hell, I been beat up. GF has been the medicine to help me up. Stay the course and get out of your slump, lean on fam & mates. S.

Peas on Toast said...

Champs - for sure. One of the problems with our now-now-now society these days is the ability to truly listen. I for one, am bad at it. And need to focus. As for uncomfortable silences, I don't find they're uncomfortable. Because it will make the person continue. I'm also working on my listening skills. They're so important.
Yip, and too right - men have an inner "fix-problem-must-fix-problem-right-now" engineering. When often all a woman needs is a hug and an ear.

Sunrise - that's good. Yes, 747, my mates and family have all been helping me so much. Up an donwards eh? xx

GoneWithTheWind said...

I admit I have raised my fists to my boyfriend/partner. Twice.

The last time was more than a year ago. It was at about 4am and we'd been drinking. Then, I get accused of spending too much time with my friends (which isn't the case, he's always with when I go out). My boyfriend called the cops after I hit him and I cut my finger after slamming a plate into the kitchen counter and blood was squirting all over the place.

Whats my point? Sometimes one gets pushed so far to the edge and any words from you fall onto deaf ears and the unfounded accusations compound so badly that your only wish is for them to just shut the fuck up, so you lash out with fists.

We've been together for almost 9 years, and its going strong. Maybe a klap every now and again is the solution...

Peas on Toast said...

GoneWithWind - Fuck. That sounds pretty hectic. First thing though that struck me as interesting - it was at 4:00am and when you were both boozed. Common denominator in everything it seems.

Secondly, I still don't believe striking out with fists is the way to go. Because already it breaches a line that can't be fallen back on.
Yip and often words do fall on deaf ears, let's face it. Theoretically it would be better to go to bed and try talking again the next morning, when tempers have calmed down. Theoretically. But as I have learnt over the years, when booze come into play, this all goes out the veendow. Thanks for your thought-provoking comment! xx

Revolving Credit said...

How many shrinks does it take to change a lightbulb??

Only one, but the lightbulb must want to change!


Ok, now you realise that I'm a guy so whatever the innuendo or implication of the post was, it went right over my head...so simply said, what is bothering you and making you so sad?

Peas on Toast said...


Ag don't worry about me m'dear, I'm gonna be just peachy. I think. I hope. Just stuff that I realised wasn't quite put to bed yet, and it was unexpected. But I'm ok. :)

Jam said...

Just read GoneWiththeWind's comment. I don't know if you're trying to be contentious?
No one deserves a "good klap". Once you condone that kind of behaviour, you condone a disrespect towards the other person and towards yourself. It becomes a spiral eventually.

If you're pushed to a point, rather walk away because hitting someone certainly won't make them LISTEN in the way that you want them to.

Also - you're condoning the fact that a man can hit a woman. And let's face it - there is certainly a strength disadvantage here. When does it stop? When someone is beaten to a pulp so they're forced to shut up????

Jam said...

What I meant about condoning this - you're making it seem as though it's somehow okay for a woman to hit a man, but if you condone that idea, you condone the idea that it's okay for a man to hit a woman.

Peas on Toast said...

Jam and Wind - yip I missed the "good klap" bit too. And I have to agree with Jam - women shouldn't hit men as much as men shouldn't hit women.

From what I think, any violence or form of violence bought into a relationship can never be a good thing. Perhaps it just comes down to communicating better. I haven't been the best communicator in my life, that's for certain. I usually choose really inopportune moments to express something. So I think in order to get heard, timing, place, tone and soberness really counts.

But on that note, you said you've been with someone for 9 years, and if you're happy - then that's great. Nine years is a long time, and if you're both happy, there's no faulting that.

bobajob said...

its atonement

that movie is evil, and it'll take u 2 weeks to fix yr mind up again!

whats the worst word u can think of

Peas on Toast said...

Bobajob - definitely not "cunt." :)

Nah, although beautifully scenic, great acting, etc etc...I didn't think Atonement was THAT spectacular. And maybe its ratings lead me to a false sense of security, who knows!

thing said...

Loves to you and any other person in a hard spot at the moment.

Peas on Toast said...

Thanks thing! :)

(PS: That makes for some awesome alliteration :)

Immi said...

Amazing, I've been through exactly this and this is the first time I've come across anyone who actually gets it.

Good work, thanks for putting it out there.

Jozimemories said...

Peas, thanks for putting this out there. I dedicated a page to this on my blog as well. I think that what also prolongs the problem is that people don't know that they are being abused, especially emotional/mental abuse, so they suffer in silence and can't see that they have a problem.

Peas on Toast said...

Immi - Hi my dear, and no problem. I just hope you get through the trauma that comes with this.
What I've found as this is a lot more common than we perceive (thanks to the "closed door theory"). Big hugs to you and hope you get through it.

Jozimemories - pleasure and thank you! You're a 100% correct - no one wants to be a statistic, so often the situation is downplayed as any of: "My situation isn't as bad as other peoples," "It's not really happening to me, and can be fixed," "it's just a phase", "I can't see bruises so therefore it could be worse" etc etc. And the stigma behind abuse doesn't make it better either. You don't want to seem powerless, or in some way victimised. So people don't talk about it. Hope your situation gets better, if you're experiencing any of this.


Anonymous said...

Way off the topic here, but another site is being punted for the blog awards this year for best new blog and original writing?! The problem is, she has plagiarised a lot of your sayings and mimicked your style of writing. I'm not a blogger by the way, I am loyal to a few sites that I read occasionally, and on one of these sites, the author is punting this phoney blogger! The layout of the site is exactly the same as yours - are you aware of this sad individual?

Peas on Toast said...

Hi Anon - thanks for the heads up my dear. Am not aware of this blogger now, can you paste a link here for me at all?

It's so hard to keep track of plagiarism on the Net. Someone has taken my actual blog posts before, and it always makes me a little antsy. Thanks for letting me know - could you provide me with a link?

MidniteGem said...

Hey Peas,

Really good bolg - and all so true. It sums up just how I try and be with my friends. I just know that most times even though they do just want me to listen they also want a different opinion to their own and therefore are wanting advice. Mostly my rule is just to always add as much as possible to my advice the phrase 'but this is just what I would do but I dont know if it is right for you and you have to do what is right for yourself and only yourself'

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Hope you still get this. I will paste it onto today's post too.

Baglett - www.baglett.blogspot.com