I want to talk to you about brutality. Different women have different reasons for staying with someone who is brutal to them. I'm not talking to the women who claim they would never allow anyone to brutalize them. I used to be one of those women. I thought I was so tough. But then I met someone who was tougher. I thought I had a powerful mind, but then I met someone who truly did NOT know the meaning of the word quit. I stood up to big men. Men who were hurting their women. I thought I knew everything.
But I didn't know anything.
And frankly I'm sick of hearing from people who only think they know what they will do when they stand to lose everything. They do not know--until they have truly--lost--everything.
A woman will walk away from the wrong, wrong man--but she'll never know what she's capable of--until she mets the right, wrong man.
I met mine. And for so many years, one of the greatest mistakes I made was underestimating his emotions. You see, I am an empath. I feel other people's emotions to the point that it use to nearly destroy me. That was before I found Reiki--but that's a different story.
He was the boy who had slept on people's benches in their back yard in the dead of winter--in Chicago. He was the boy who rode the L to stay warm. My world own had been brutal in its own right. I was the little girl who was so sensitive I nearly willed myself to death at six years old, because I couldn't handle all the pain I felt from the world around me--and my parents betrayal--my father molesting me--my mother's lack of protecting me. But he was an extremely sensitive little boy, too, and his world was so much more brutal than my own. I have no idea how he had survived it.
His parents lost everything when he was around 10 years old. He had learned how to hustle. And he wigled his way into a family's home, but he couldn't stay there all the time. Years later, he would feel guilty for having had a meal while two of his sisters melted snow on the roof top for theirs. But years later, those same sisters would remember him yelling at them to run when they came across street gangs, and run they did. And they would remember that he turned to face those gangs--but they had no idea how he survived such confrontations. Nor did they question, at the time, that he would. They wouldn't question how he had, until they were much older.
I knew the level of pain inside of him. I could feel it, and it drew me to him, as I've seen it draw so many others. He is always good to people. He mows the lawn for the little old lady next door. He carries something heavy for the woman who cannot speak a word of English. He loves them all. And he will sit while tears run, unchecked, down his face, while he listens to his old, blind mother tell stories of her own brutal life, living on the south side of Chicago.
Some of this he has only learned to express in more recent years. He has grown. It was all he expected of me--and all I expected of him. He to be a be WANTED to be a better man. He wanted to be a good man. But I gave him the depths of my own emotions. And while he could be so kind to others--he could be the cruelest man I'd ever known--to me.
His mother disappeared for some period of years during his childhood. He has no memory of when she returned. His sisters have also blocked out many of their memories, from what I was able to gather from listening to them as they sometimes tried to puzzle together the pieces of their pasts. But only one of them ever married--and that was recently--though they are all well into their fortys and fifties. And they all chose not to have children. He carries an anger towards his mother. And though he will listen as she tells her stories--he doesn't believe a word she says. And it appears that neither do his sisters. That anger spilled over on me. And as much as he called his momma crazy--he also did so to me--and nearly every other woman who didn't--do right--in his eyes.
He is highly intelligent. His momma could ferret out answers within minutes--and leave you standing there in awe of how she had done so. He could cross examine you like it was nobody's business--brutally so. And heaven help you if you were hiding a lie. Everyone around me, including my four children, either loved him--or hated him--but they were all in awe of him. He has a dynamic personality. You cannot help but just want to watch him, when you're around him. And I often loved to watch how others acted around him. Most loved him. Some hated him. But all would act different around him. You wanted his approval. He moves people to a depth that has always been so interesting to observe. And yet, he was, and still is, the most brutal man I have ever known.
In the beginning, he would terrorize me for months at a time, tirelessly, and without let up. It was much like being set on the witness stand and brutally cross examined by the best attorney. He was relentless in tracking down all your truths--particularly your lies--and ferreting out all your flaws. The problem was that sometimes the only truth he would settle for--was the one he had written in his own head. To gain peace, after months of tyranny, you were apt to give him his version of truth. But I was much to stubborn for that. And I had a thing for when people were doing something grossly wrong to another living being. He was wrong in his brutality. And I had an iron will. I didn't know HOW to say die. Neither did my kids.
This led to endless brutal fights that would go on for weeks and months without let up. And each of us were probably shamed, I know I was, when at long last he would turn his attention on another. For me, that was one of my teenage children--or my youngest, who was 10 when I met this man, and 16 when he chose to stay with his own drug addicted father. I wouldn't see him until he was nineteen, but that is also a different story.
Where I began to realize that I had given this man too much benefit for having deeper emotions, perhaps he does have them, or perhaps the brutally he had lived through had given him a different perspective to what is brutal and what is necessary, but for me, when I began to understand how deep he was able to carry this brutality was after nearly three of the most difficult years--I've ever survived--AFTER I left him--after I had already lived though the brutality itself--after I had survived it--and now was looking back on--exactly WHAT it was I had survived.
I loved him. I love him still. Yet I had once had an affair on him--when I was so love starved and touch starved that I had thought that such a thing would force me to leave him--it didn't, but what it did do was to bring about his full wrath. I knew how much I had hurt him, so I didn't fully blame him for the way he brutalized me that night--though I bled for months after.
During the first five years, I had attempted to throw him out. He pointed out the cruelty of doing such a thing, in his own cruel way. He had no where to go. Years later, that would not prevent him from throwing me out, when I truly did not have anywhere else to go. He had gone, willingly so, to a homeless shelter and faced his fear of once more being homeless--he wanted me to face the same fear. I knew only that I could never be so brutal to someone who had begged me to stop. I could never throw someone out into the street who had begged me not to, because they had no where else to go--or the place they did have to go was so much worse than the street.
And I could never tell them that they should choose the street over the place that would be their cage--yet refuse them shelter--and still be able to look at myself in a mirror. But, then, he'd never believe it was that brutal for me.
He can't even believe his own mother.
I have gone to a safety shelter--or had he forgotten where I'd been forced to live when I had first moved to Colorado. So I've served my time. And I have no desire to go back. I'd sooner live in my car--or in a tent in the woods. I have been forced to face all of my fears--even to face death itself. I had brutalized my body surviving this--and for months it appeared to be touch and go whether I would survive it after all.
I have lost all of my fears these past two years. I will go live in a tent--if pushed one step further. Try me.
And then again, he has truly lost everything--and found his power in never backing down from his fears. I have lost everything--and chose to live in my cage until I can regain my will to live.
Right now, to me, I have chosen the lesser of two evils. I exercise and work to heal my mind and body. When I have regained my level ground, I will decide where I go from here. But I have learned one thing. I didn't force him out into the street--because I am nothing like him.
Perhaps it was his childhood and the horrible atrocities he was forced to face so young, and when he was such a sensitive boy, that made him incapable of seeing, anymore, when he is truly being brutal, or perhaps he truly believes it is a form of tough love. But to me, it is close to evil to force someone to the brink of madness, to say die or learn to swim. Where is the humanity in that? Or have we become cruel in our belief that we know so much about humanity.
So many choose this method of teaching. I would think it was cruel to do to anyone--yet I've witnessed some version of it used by parents to their grown children. Am I the one who was being cruel--by coddling my own children. I don't know. I know I have a grown son who is so angry with me for not being a crueler mother he's practically quit talking to me. So perhaps I know nothing at all--once more. But then, I have had to face the fact that I really do know nothing at all.
Once, I thought I had the world figured out. Now, I realize that everything I once believed--has been proven to be a lie.
Yet I couldn't be stronger.
But perhaps not nearly so forgiving.
And here again, is it weakness, or strength that allows such forgiving? Is it weakness, or strength that allows us to keep our hearts open, even in the face of such brutality--when everyone else would close their own? I find I always return to opening mine. I love my enemy. Is that weakness then?
A shaman would tell you that often our greatest teachers come from those who we just might call--enemy.
I know I have learned much from someone who appears to have been my enemy but who also fought for to free me from the prisons of my mind, sometimes brutally so--and someone else who would have me believe that I can find safety, love and even happiness in his beautiful cage. Perhaps I will still find that my broken wings can fly-but that, once again, is a different story.