Looking For Love In All of The Wrong Places: Part 2, PLUS What I've Learned About Domestic Viole
The Last Man I Dated.
Everyone's sensitivity levels vary. Because of the severity of the domestic violence that i have been subjected to, by the father of my child, and due to the fact that I almost lost my life during several of those episodes, I am cautious, very honest and straightforward when i choose to accept a man's proposal for a date.
First, I explain to the interested man that i have a blog and my dating life will eventually end up on-line. Secondly, I ask him to visit my blog, so that he can read and understand my struggles. If the man is still interested, I then explain that i am not able to date anyone who is not in a position to provide me with the emotional and financial support that my current life and circumstances demand.
October 2016 I met a man claiming to understand my emotional state. He claimed to be able to help me with several facets of my life and quickly began showering me with attention and affection. This partnership never solidified into anything formal, despite dating for over one year. It is my opinion, this is a suitable length of time to dedicate to one partner, before moving on, if no engagement is formalized.
When i left the state, he made quite a few trips to visit me, even though i am 4 hours away. Then, suddenly, pictures of him with his ex-girlfriend began appearing on his social media accounts. When i confronted him about this, he reminded me that there was nothing formal between us and blamed me for going on-line to his accounts. All communication between us was immediately severed.
Then, after living in different states for 6+ months and not seeing him since Christmas 2017 (granted, I recognize that he traveled across the United States via plane and then drove another 4 hours to come visit me for Christmas) we agreed to see each other this Easter week.
[Prior to dating this man, i was in another severely dysfunctional relationship with the father of my child. The dysfunction was different, yet both have had quite an impact on my life.]
Last Night Was An Important Milestone In My Dating Life, So I Wish To Share It.
Last night i was able to hear the manner in which i was being spoken at, for the first time. I was taken aback by the manner in which my words were disregarded and how i was being degraded when i expressed my opinions. When i confronted him on this behavior, I was told, "It is my fault that things are not different between us, because i refuse to give him what he wants." (A phrase i had heard repeatedly throughout the entire time knowing him.)
So, what does he want? He reiterated he "just wanted me to provide him with peace and calmness." He followed up the statement saying that he "doesn't understand why this is so difficult for me, when peace and calmness is free". Furthermore, he added, "unlike what i ask for, his requests don't cost a penny."
Translation: According to his point of view, it is my duty and my responsibility, not his, to make sure HE feels calm and peace all of the time when i am around him.
As always, the engagement conversation follows this statement. He reminded me that i would already have the engagement ring on my finger, were it not for my inability to do something so simple for him. He then reminded me that peace and calmness does not cost a penny, unlike the nice dinner we were having.
ONLY When I AM Happy and Healthy, Do I Understand My Self Worth
The patterns of speech were not new. Instead, i immediately recognized them as his usual manner of treating me and speaking to me. If HE was the same, and his WORDS were the same, why was i hearing them differently?
The only difference between us, during his lastest trip, was the way that i see myself now.
Yesterday I posted this picture to my Facebook. In the caption, I state that "When i feel beautiful, i feel invincible."
As i sat in silence thinking about my Facebook post, he sat in silence looking outside. I interrupted the silence to say that i was done with dinner and was ready to leave. The conversation had removed my self esteem. I no longer felt beautiful or invicible.
The remainder of the evening was even more insightful and is why i am posting this. To sum up the entire evening, i was blamed for not making him feel loved, secure, calm and at peace with himself and his life. I was also blamed for us not being engaged already, and was blamed for him not helping me financially, when all he wanted to do was to help me. I was blamed "for not allowing him to do all that he could do for me and my business." (no mention of my court case)
Here's What I Realized: The Root Cause and How I Destroyed It.
I will Start With My Maternal Grandmother's Passing.
My maternal grandmother passed roughly 10 years ago after her second hip replacement surgery had failed. I took care of her right before her passing and also years earlier when she was recovering from her first hip replacement surgery.
She was diagnosed as a diabetic at a very young age. She was also very young when she passed. My blog post on diabetes is here.
Towards the end, she was irritable and angry most of the time. She communicated her feelings of guilt regarding her behavior. She would also constantly apologize for how she treated others, including me, as i took care of her. She blamed her illness for her lack of patience and fast reacting temper.
My heart broke as i saw her so helpless. She was the most beautiful woman of her generation. Then, the strongest woman that i had ever known lay on a bed before me, incapacitated. She was bed ridden and could not walk. All i could do was think of how great she was before the fall. Memories of us laughing, her loving kisses and embraces, as she took care of me when I was a small child, merged with the deep emotional pain I was feeling at seeing her so frail.
The mixture of the fervent, healthy, protecting love she had once showered me with now intermingled with her short temper and angry words. All I could think of, was that if she had taken care of me as a child, the least that i could do was to take care of her during her time of need, no matter what she said or did to me.
Taking care of her during her final time on earth had apparently made a deeper impact than i had thought.
This dichotomy apparently opened, in me, the possibility that someone can truly love me, very dearly, yet hurt me due to their illness. I imagine that as I lived this situation, I began to accept hurtful and painful behavior towards me as acceptable. In a way, I had begun to agree that the more abuse that i accepted from my loved one, the more that i proved my love and devotion towards them by staying.
After much introspection, I believe that it is possible that this experience, the taking care of my grandmother right before her passing, is where i created the dysfunctional belief that if you love someone, you will put up with their abuse.
The domestic abuse pattern in my life appears to stem from my wishing to prove my selfless my love. When i thought I was helping someone I loved, and they were abusive in response, I seemed to have internalized their abuse as a normal by-product of their illness and as an acceptable way to prove my love and devotion to them, during their time of need.
I am still unclear if i was wishing to feel or hoping to behave in a selfless manner. I am still asking myself what my reward system was for that behavior.
Dating After My Grandmother Passed
Not too long ago I dreamt of my grandmother's home, despite knowing it was torn down many years ago. I have had this dream many times during the last decade. My emotional connection to that event seems to be very strong, to this day. After last night's date, i was finally able to realize the painful event and its memories had become destructive beliefs that were interfering with my romantic relationships.
I can trace the inception of dysfunctional sexual relationships to this single event. I began attracting and choosing men with health issues, who ended up treating me in a similar way. I can now recognize that i have been excusing the abusive behavior of intimate partners, as being a normal by-product of the man's illness.
Prior to taking care of my grandmother, i had NEVER had any type of emotional or physically abusive relationships of any kind.
I AM aware that the creation of this abusive consensual pattern has nothing to do with my grandmother or her illness. It was a personal and very dysfunctional subconscious decision that i chose to create for my life, as a coping mechanism for the severe emotional pain that I felt at the time of her passing.
The Last Two Men In My Life.
The father of my child is almost 12 years older than me. He is 5'7" and was 220+ lbs when i met him. His severe balding was a self esteem issue for him. He had a long list of criminal cases which spanned every state he had ever lived. He also has a frontal lobe brain tumor. Meaning, an entire cubic portion of his frontal lobe has been destroyed. Here is a more detailed description.
Due to his condition, he was prescribed AndroGel by his physician. Here is a link to what happens to children when exposed to men who take this drug. (The courts know this and still put custody of my 13 month old with this man.)
The physical abuse was subtle at first and quickly escalated. It is my experience, in this relationship, that when a partner begins to place more emphasis on his needs and his feelings, labelling himself as more important, and not on equal footing, that the humiliating behavior soon develops into more severe forms of abuse. If the partner on the receiving end chooses to allow this initial form of abuse, the abuse continues to escalate until the victim is killed.
This is not an exaggerated statement nor one that i make lightly. Within only 5 months, i went from being verbally abused to almost loosing my life on several occasions.
The second man i chose to allow into my personal life, has also not treated me as his equal. However, he has never been physically abusive towards me.
Is it a coincidence that these last two men that i've dated, since taking care of my grandmother, have witnessed severe physical domestic violence abuse against their mothers and that their mothers fervently continued to love their abusive husbands?
Emotional Abuse Is Possible In All Types of Relationships?
The ups and downs are always very predictable. The dysfunctional pairing learn to enjoy these cyclical episodes. (At least at a brain-reward- level?) An emotionally charged intense event is followed by crying, on their knees, begging for forgiveness, blaming their illness, blaming the victim for not loving them, and blaming the world for THEIR inability to behave in a manner that is not abusive. The victim believes in her abuser once more, and they enjoy their period of happiness, however short lived it may be.
Each time the dysfunctional pair comes back to each other, they are proving to each other just how much they love each other. Similar to the dysfunctional belief that i created while taking care of my grandmother before she passed. She would not allow anyone but me to take care of her, claiming no one had my patience. Apparently she was right.
I took this feed back as a way to prove to myself that no one loved her more than me. I can now consider the fact that she was choosing me because no one would accept the abuse as completely as i did. However, she also said that i had hands of an angel. That I wouldn't hurt her when i bathed her and took care of her.
Therefore, in my opinion, consensual abusive pairings are not just in domestic, sexual, intimate partnerships. They can be with anyone and between anyone. (At work, at church, with friends, and with family.)
Domestic Violence Can Be Consensual?
For the first time in a long time, when my date ended last night, I did not go into a downward spiral of guilt and shame. Instead, i felt empowered over my right to be treated with dignity and i felt happy with my decision to believe in my self worth.
My parents spoke to me regarding the words i had chosen to describe the date. I AM "not willing to repeat past mistakes. I acknowledge that someone's illness and childhood traumas are not my fault. I understand that abuse can only happen with my approval. Finally, I declare that I will remove myself from any future face-to-face contact with people that have demonstrated a disregard for my humanity."
How I Destroyed My Consensual Domestic Violence Belief.
Yesterday i destroyed the belief that i had created while taking care of my grandmother. I replaced this belief with the following set of beliefs: 1. I allow myself to create distance from those in my life who are not as kind to me as i am to them. 2. I realize that i can love someone without putting myself in harm's way. 3. I realize that accepting abuse is an unhealthy way to prove my love. 4. I acknowledge that when someone loves me, they will treat me with respect and kindness all of the time. 5. I am not responsible for anyone's well-being. 6. I am responsible for my own well-being. 7. True love is supportive. 8. True love does not cause hurt to either party. 9. I choose to make healthy decisions that do not place me in harm's way. 10. I look for healthy ways to share my love. 11. Everyone deserves a second chance. 12. Forgiveness does not mean tolerance. 13. My boundaries are non negotiable.
Furthermore, I am demonstrating kindness to my soul by forgiving myself for the choices that i have made in my past.
Accepting someone's abuse is not a logical way to show someone you love them. It is a way to self-destruct and a way to allow someone to be hurtful to themselves as well. Yes, when we allow abusers to abuse us, we are hurting them by not allowing them to find healthy ways to feel love.
A Society of Abuse.
New Mexico's Legal System Encourages Domestic Violence. Look At DV Prosecution Stats.
If my blog posts and my petition to the White House and AG Jeff Sessions seem a bit outlandish and biased to you, read up a little on NM's national statistics on abuse against women, children and the death numbers of victims in this state. (Keep in mind the population of NM)
These are the search results on Google.
In My Opinion, Domestic Violence Is A Learned Behavioral Cycle. As Such, Can It Be Unlearned?
By abusing their consensual partners, (could abuse always be consensual on some level-subconscous?) their short term reward endorphins are short lived. IF abusers could realize just how amazing life can be when abuse is taken out of the equation, life, for them, could yield them the happiness and love that they are looking to abuse out of someone?
If an aggressor learned the behavior from a family member, from TV, from friends, can an aggressor learn how to stop the abuse cycle? It is my opinion that the aggressor can only begin the process of change when they choose to adopt a new lifestyle.
Similar to any type of addiction, an aggressor has friends who are speaking poorly regarding women, women's intimate parts, and see women as inferior. In order for the aggressor to make a stride into happiness thru love and compassion, those ties, with those influencers must be cut immediately. These other aggressors are reinforcers of the abusive behavior, keeping those relationships in their life will allow the aggressor to fall back to his old habits.
In my experience, when i have labelled my emotions, labelled ALL forms of abuse, labelled corrupt civil servants (and reported them no avail, yet!), and labelled my boundaries for abuse, these have been some of the ways that i have healed and have regained my humanity, after almost a decade of various forms of abuse.
Ending Consensual Abuse In My Life
The conscious act of acknowledging that i had made a subconscious decision to create this dysfunctional belief: that if I chose to help abusive people whom i loved, because they are severely ill, that i am proving the level of my love for them, has been my way to destroy this damaging belief. Being gentle with myself, by remembering that i only created this belief out of my extraordinary grief, has also been important to me.
When I rebuilt my life around this verse, i had not yet understood my involvement in the domestic violence cycle. After last night, I can understand that my role has not been that of a victim. The role that i had consensually agreed to, was to be a consensual partner to abuse, in many forms and in many areas of my life. It seems that when i internalized the abuser's pain, i felt close to my grandmother again.
I clearly understand now, that if i love someone, i will allow them to grow at their own pace and not try to change them OR HELP them with my love. (This lesson was barely apparent to me last night.)
I clearly understand that in order for someone to abuse me, they must have my prior authorization, be it conscious or subconscious.
(This realization was made with extreme pain and suffering due to my situation with my custody case.)
Different Types of Abuse Are All Simply Abuse, No Matter How Severe And No Matter The Source.
While the first man that i dated (after my grandmother passed) has physically, emotionally and psychologically abuse me to the point of almost ending my life, the abuse was no less severe than what i experienced during the second man that i dated, even though the second man did not physically abuse me.
In my opinion, labelling different level of abuse, as more or less severe, is not healthy. Abuse is just abuse, no matter in what form it is manifested. Are all forms of abuse equally dis-regulating and equally damaging to the brain? Here is a link. Can anyone guess how my 13 month old infant is being treated by his father? Or how he is being raised without me? He is now 4.4 years old.
Could the courts' illegal removal of my sole custody, when my infant was still being breastfed 24 hours a day, be considered child abuse?
When we, as members of society allow for certain individuals to commit crimes, especially when public servants commit the crime, it is up to US, as a community, to not allow abuse to perpetuate.
Moving Forward, Always Forward.
My last questions to you, reading this, are: 1. Where in your life are you allowing abuse to be a part of your existence? (I can guess that aspect of your life is in chaos) 2. Can you think of an event that may have prompted you to believe that if you truly love someone, you will be in a an abusive consensual cycle? (Like me with my grandmother) 3. Can you think of people in your life who are in this type of consensual abusive cycle? 4. Are you willing to share this post with them or are you worried that you will be judged? 5. Are you willing to apply these concepts in your life?
My dating articles are scattered throughout the sister websites. Consolidating all to this site is part of my to-do list. Today's blog is the follow up to this love & dating post dated May 14, 2017. This website used to be www.ElizabethSite.com, prior to the rebranding that took place Feb 2018.
One year later, after publishing the post in May 2017, I am reporting that i continue to be single. I turned 41 years old March 2018.
There has not been a stable man in my life recently. There have been incidents of interest, but the decision for a mutual agreement to become a long term term, monogamous, serious partnership has not been made.
Somehow, i am still hopeful and waiting for that one man of excellence. To quote the GREAT Rochelle Nieman: Excellence is doing the very best that you can, with what you have, in the situation that you're in.
Sign my petition at Change.Org
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