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 times...to 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 life....it 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 things....like 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 now....to bed!