Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Empowering Work Epiphany that I was NOT expecting

I've been at the new job for a month now and I still love it. Not sure what I am doing half the time, but I feel useful and I am learning new things everyday.

We did a tabling event at the state capital today. I'm used to doing tables when I worked at the center, and I love the interaction with people....but before I was much more knowledgeable about the subject matter than I am now at the new job. I held my own, but there was one question that I had no clue what to answer. Some guy wanted to know if there were any other criminal activites that were precursors to someone sexually assaulting another person.....sorta like how killing small animals is a precursor to killing people. I had no clue...but if you are interested, I found out. Its burglary.

Anyway, part of today was bonding with co-workers who I don't see in the office very often. Somehow or other we got on the topic of my ex-husband aka Mike aka Scott aka Mr.3. I ended up telling her the extended version of the saga. I always find it hard to find the right words to describe what happened. I try not to call him a con man because I have always felt that it really diminishes the effect that it had on me. I've called the relationship psychologically abusive before, but always felt not quite right in calling it that either.... most the time I just try to remind people that I am not stupid, I'm really not. You just had to be living the whole experience to truly understand. My co-worker's reaction was not something that I expected. I expected her to roll her eyes at question my motives, my reason, like so many other people have had in the past. Instead she handed me this worksheet that is used with domestic and sexual violence victims called the power and control wheel. The object is to read the descriptions of abusive acts and circle the items that have happened to you. It is supposed to give a visual of your abuse. The wheel has eight spokes with topics like using intimidation, using emotional abuse, using isolation, using economic abuse, etc. On the other side of page is the equality wheel, that is supposed to mark the signs of a healthy relationship. Not only is there not one item in the healthy relationship wheel that I can attribute to my former marriage, but I have a lot of items that can be circled in at least 7 of the 8 spokes.

After looking at that the realization hit.
I am not some poor smuck who got taken by some con man. I was abused by my husband.
I've always been able to identify with being a survivor. I mean...I did managed to survive the relationship. But I never really wanted to call myself a victim, because that is kinda lame....but I need to accept that I am.

I am a victim of domestic violence.

Writing that sentence just make me break out into tears. Needless to say I wasn't expecting to have this sort of emotional whirlwind on Thursday.

But this isn't a sad story about me crying about my is more of an empowering one. I am really grateful to this co-worker, more than I will probably be able to express to her. She was understanding....she was the first person who I have told the story too (who had not known and lived the saga with me when it was happening) to accept it, and not question my actions. In past dates when I have talked about my ex-husband I've gotten the "well why didn't you see that coming?" line.....which has generally marked the end of dating with that person. According to my co-worker, that is called "victim-blaming". She also said that it was wonderful that I had started working where I had and that I was learning what had happened to me because now when I talk to people about it, it can be a teaching experience instead. I'm good with teaching.

So that is my work epiphany. I could write more, but to say that this has been a long and hard day is an understatement. And for my friends who feel that I don't write anything positive on my blog anymore......I will write soon about some light-hearted how I cut my hair super super short and how I am going to be a non-skating official for roller derby (I get a derby name and everything!!! Granny Panties in the house!), so you can all look forward to more of that sort of frivolity in my life.

And bed!


kathy said...

I love that you had this epiphany. We should chat soon.

Anonymous said...

So, I read the power wheel, and I know one of the things I would have had to circle would be the one about trying to make you feel like you're crazy...he used to move things in our apartment and when I would ask about it, he would tell me I was crazy and imagining things.

Years later I saw the movie Gaslight...and so now I call it being "Gaslighted", LOL.

nicole said...

That was really cool! I could identify about 7 too. I'm not even upset, but just feel pity for the man with no family, no name, no future. You are a strong, gorgeous woman, and he is just an insecure weasel that tried to dim your glow. I rejoice in your victory because I'm still healing. God bless!

Anonymous said...

This is quite an epiphany, I must say. Especially since the abuse at times went both ways...but we can't share that now can we, D? That would strip you of the right to play the victim. And you are and always were high maintenance. As for Anonymous's post, ask her why, if her 'Scott' was such an abuser, she didn't come forward to testify when 'he' was in jail in Florida? Ask her why she refused to be involved. Same was true with the ex-wife. It is too bad really - such a pity, as you always could have been and done so much more.

Delal said...

Well, hi Mike. It's been a while since you have directly commented.

You have stated that the abuse went both ways. Why can't you bring it up? So far the only thing that you have accused me of is being "high maintenance". I don't believe that I am. Others who really care about me, unlike you who left, don't believe that I am. In fact, you know full well that being labeled "high maintenance" and a "victim" are terms that will emotionally hurt me. And they don't now when coming from you. So please, try to strip away the victim guise I supposedly wear so well.
As for your questions for the other Anonymous commenter on my blog....I am actually not sure which one of your past ladies she is, as there are many that have been hurt by you. Maybe those are questions you should ask her yourself.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps in the past I would have been afraid to put my own name on a post, much like some of the other Anons here, but not anymore. For the better part of three years of knowing you, I was badgered, belittled, and held back by your sheer lack of motivation. How many classes did you fail on the way to a Masters? How seriously did you take your insulin-resistance diagnosis? If I ever took an authoritarian stance with you, it was to help you, not hurt you. But those details never come up, and that's too bad.

What also surprises me is that you don't mention to anyone here how much we fought, and how often I begged you to open your eyes and come with me to DC. You don't tell people about the conversations where I told you I couldn't stay with you in Salt Lake anymore because of your lack of drive and SLC's lack of opportunities. You only tell them what you want them to know so you can be the victim. Honestly it's really sad and I feel really sorry for you.

I would ask for your forgiveness for the things I did do wrong in the end, but lets face it, you won't ever give it because it would disallow your ability to feel victimized. As for me, I've moved on - past the cheating ex-wife who like to screw the UPS guy and then try to pass his kid off as mine, past Courtney who is Anon (get over it, won't you please?), past Kathy, the drunk, and past insane nicole-crystal-bella-whoeverthehellsheis and the kid who looks an awful lot like the guy she ran off to the desert with while I was left to work in Orange County. And most of all, past you, who four years later is still moaning and blaming me for all your woes.

Also, you might want to make sure you can back up every single comment you say on here. I am not above hiring an attorney to slap you with a libel suit should you keep this up. So you might want to find someone else to blame for everything in your life; something to think about. Oh, and by the way, my name is Scott.

Anonymous said...

The last thing a fugitive wants is to see the inside of a courtroom. Lawsuit - not likely.