The Power of Words

We’ve all heard the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” chanted at us when we were young, and crying because someone had said something cruel.

Of course, that phrase is supposed to put us in a mind frame that says “what others say to/about me doesn’t matter!  I am __________________(insert the opposite of whatever was said)”

As we all know – this is not true.  Words do hurt.  They can cut deep, and leave scars to rival, or even surpass the physical.  Bruises fade.  Cuts heal, grow smaller, and some physical scars will fade away completely – even if the gaining of them stays sharp and clear.

Words however, leave no physical evidence.  They are sneaky and insiduous.  They worm their way into the head, and pop up when we are most vulnerable to them.  They take on a life of their own – especially when you are already unsure about/insecure about whatever it was that the words addressed.

Struggling with clinical depression – struggling with a lower self esteem, and second guessing all the time makes this even more invasive. I fight with myself over every mistake – every word I have uttered that may have been misconstrued – even years after the fact.  I worry about what and how I said something, because I know this to be true:

Words can indeed hurt.  A lot.

When those words are uttered by someone who is supposed to love you?  Devastating.

Why do those we love do this?  Is it because they are hurting, and know that it is safe to lash out at us?  I mean, we love them – we should forgive.  Right?

I ask, because this happened to me today.  I have been sick for going on a week now.  I don’t know if FMLA will cover the second part of the sick.  It overspans the covered timeframe for the month that we have set up.  I need to see my doctor to ask about having that amended.

My sister called while I was napping – so I missed it.  Called her back after I woke up – and she was screaming at me.

I am here, running a fever of 101 – 102, coughing, hacking, and generally feeling like crap.  She?  Is flinging mud.  Starts with the fact that she has been trying to get ahold of me (facebook and phone) for THREE MONTHS.  It isn’t a matter of her catching me – I just don’t give a fuck, and don’t call back!  (Truth is – I checked.  NO messages on facebook – and one, from JUNE, that was missed.  She had called when I was at work, with my phone off).

She moves on to trying to throw down a guilt trip about my mom.

See, before my mom died, she sent me a Logitech webcam for my computer, and Skype.  It was my birthday present.  I hooked it up, but couldn’t get it to work correctly.  Mom died before I could get the damned thing figured out.

My youngest sister was telling me that I broke my moms heart – denied her her dying wish – wouldn’t use the camera mom bought for me, so she could see me before she DIED.  Didn’t I feel bad that I denied that wish?

Yeah.  No.  Not going to accept that one.

Sorry.  I managed to get over/not fall for guilt trips a long time ago.  Not gonna fall for this one. My youngest sister was just trying to pick a fight.  So, I told her that I wasn’t gonna do this, and hung up.

She called back.  I answered, and the first thing I asked was “are you going to be a reasonable adult?”  “Yes!  Just answer the damned question!”  I hung up again.

The third time, I answered and said that I would speak – but only if she were civil.

Nope.  “Just answer…”  I hung up again, and turned off my phone for about 1/2 hour.

Turned the phone back on (because I was waiting for a call from my FMLA coordinator, to figure out how the messed up claim was going to work), and she called one more time.

“So.  Are you going to be civil, and speak to me calmly?”

“yes.”

“ok.  How are you?”

“Fine.  Just answer the question.  What about…”

“No.  I am sick – running a fever of 102.  I am not going to do this.  Check your facebook.”  and I hung up.

I think she got the message.  She hasn’t called back.  My facebook message to her is private, but basically says, “I love you – but I won’t do this.  I refuse to do this.  If you want to talk to me, I am happy to do so.  If you want to abuse me because you are unhappy with something in your life, don’t bother.  I am not the cause of your unhappiness, and I won’t do this.”

I do love my sister.  She has problems, and I understand that.  She has let those problems dictate her life, instead of trying to figure out how to overcome them.  She has trapped herself in a victim mentality – and now doesn’t want to take responsibility for anything.

I however, refuse to be her punching bag.  I refuse to let her try to drag me to that level.  AND – I know that she is doing this, because she has something that is bothering her, and feels that the only way to deal with it, is to make herself “better”.  Better than someone, or…  I don’t even know anymore.  I am sick, and I am tired, and I am so over drama.

And yet.  I know that while I loved my mother, very dearly – it was a LOT easier from a thousand or two miles away.  I did try to set up that damned camera, but did I try hard enough?  I know that I was ashamed of the way the thyroid issues I have developed made me look, and the weight gain they have caused.  Did I not try hard enough because of NOT wanting to be seen that way?

Is she right?  Did I deny my mother the chance to see me – and ME of my last chance to see her?  Even subconsiously? (realizing of course, that mom died unexpectedly.  There wasn’t any warning.  Talked to her on Sunday night – Monday morning, sis called to tell me mom had died in her sleep.)

Still, I don’t know.  And not knowing, I guess that question will add itself to the other million little nibbling spiders of self sabotage in my subconscious – trying to weave webs of tangled doubt.

I guess congratulations are in order.  The guilt trip?  Seems to have worked.

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All of my love – and support

So. I have a friend that is going through a very very tough spot right now.

Out of the blue, a few days ago, her husband was upset over the clutter in the house, and the fact that the dishes weren’t done. An argument ensued. He ended up being physical. She had handmark bruises on her arms, and has a fractured wrist. He went to jail, and she moved out.

My friend, who is very young, is obviously going through a lot right now. It is a lot to take in. The person you love, you trust, you share your life with, has done this monumentally horrific thing, and shattered every single ounce of trust in what IS, and should be, in a normal relationship. She is hurting, and not just physically. Her heart is hurting, and she doesn’t know how to move from here.

I grew up with this. My biological father was an abuser, in every sense of the word. Physical, mental and sexual. I have seen a knife held to my mothers throat, and a gun pointed at her head. I have been beaten, seen and heard how “worthless” we were, and have had acts performed on me that a child should not EVER be exposed to. Ever.

It took DECADES of therapy to work through. It was not pleasant. It was scary, and draining, and often seemed too hard to cope with. I have, however, managed to come out of the other side, and while I have my share of neuroses, I know that I can handle most everything life has to throw at me – even if I don’t like it. I am strong. I am capable. I am worthy, and I am good. I know this without hearing the affirmations of friends, family or other. I know this, because I have come through it, and I have kept my sanity, my ability to live and love, and my ability to look forward through it. There are rough patches. There are still times that I doubt what and where I am, who I am, what I am doing, and how I am doing it. I keep on keepin’ on, because the alternative is… to not do so.

Don’t get me wrong. That alternative has been examined. I have some scars to prove it, as well as an extremely vivid memory of sitting in my garage, with the car running and the dogs locked in the house (they had a dog door to the garage, and then out to the outside so that they could do their business at night) when I was going through my divorce with my first husband. This was brought on by a panic attack – I didn’t know HOW to be an adult without being with this man. I had met him at the tender age of 18, and had lived my ENTIRE adult life with him as my spouse. I am extremely thankful that I came to my damned senses after 5 minutes or so.

This blog is for her.

Hon – I know that it is hard. I know that you want to just move on, and heal. I know that it seems as if hiding in the corner, and not acknowledging this outside of sympathy from friends and family is the easiest road. Unfortunately, easy isn’t always best. The restraining order is there for a reason. USE it. I know – GOD how I know you just want to forget and move on. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible. I know that you feel that I am not supporting when I remind you of these things – but I am! I am trying to give you the tools that you need to ensure that this works right, for YOU. You work in the same company, with shifts overlapping. The order is needed, and necessary – even if it seems like too much to deal with.

Take your time next week. Go to your mom, and start the healing process. Just please, please remember to keep YOUR safety in the first and foremost part of your thoughts, actions and plans. Make sure that the order is enforced. Texts are NOT acceptable. I know that you love – but remember the recidivism rate – and remember that you h ave made the choice that is best. Know that I always have a shoulder to cry on, and arms to hug – as well as a kiss on the forehead. I will do all of these, and gladly – in person or zen form. Know as well however, that I will also stress how to keep yourself safe, and true to YOU – because in this, YOU are my top priority.

I love you hon. Never, ever ever forget that.