A Rather Unpleasant Walk Down Memory Lane

It’s been a few days now since I wrote my last blog here. There are so many topics I could choose to write about which is why I have never written a blog before. I am passionate about many things – many of which, on the surface have nothing to do with each other – but that’s just the surface.

Had a call from someone earlier this week whom I had hoped to never hear from again. Serious wishful thinking on my part, but, there ya go. My ex, whom I wish to never speak to ever again had left a message on my machine and since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘bad’ relationships. I’ve met a lot of well-meaning people and supportive agencies as a result of my involvement with this individual, but they all have the same thing in common. Not one of them have the slightest clue what the reality of living with someone like that really feels like. Or how no matter how much they promote awareness and air commercials aimed at those who ‘know’ but do nothing, doesn’t change the fact that the average person, when confronted with a situation such as mine was, DO NOT GET INVOLVED.

It’s not an exaggeration, nor is it an angry statement. It is simply that all of these well-meaning people, who have never experienced this kind of relationship first hand, really have no idea what they are talking about. I guess this is my blog about frustration. You can mean well and have the greatest intentions all you want and believe whole-heartedly that if you became aware of an abusive situation you would ‘do the right thing.’ But, speaking from experience, those people are very rare – no one gets involved because no one wants to believe that something like that happens ‘next door.’ It is so much easier to pretend that you misunderstood or mis-interpreted something you heard or saw, than it is to accept that what you see portrayed on tv is real, not fantasy, living next door, not somewhere in a different town, city or province.

Aside from all that, I had the opportunity to visit a local shelter and it was not comforting to know it was there for me in any way. Many think that people stay in situations like mine because they have lost their self-worth or they believe they ‘deserve it,’ or that if they didn’t like it they would ‘do something about it.’ I can’t speak for everyone – since I don’t know anyone’s situation other than my own. But from my experience, the fact that there were so many limits and expectations placed on the individual who desperately needed  a shelter was so degrading and overwhelming that after my initial visit to one I never gave it another thought. And I never once believed I deserved it, there was nothing wrong with my sense of self-worth and I was doing something about it – up until I saw the shelter – at which point I changed my plans to something that would work for me.

Never mind the stress and strain of leaving behind everything familiar and up until this point in your life, what you consider “safe” – you are only allowed to stay in one of these places for a maximum of 28 days. There is mandatory counseling  and mandatory job placement and resume writing. Regardless of what your situation may be, you are required to become employed as soon as possible – there are no considerations for children with special needs and the shelter I saw separated the children from the parents. Not what I considered conducive to healing yourself or your child(ren), in any way. As a result of that experience, I found a better way to change my situation, one that empowered me and did not put me in yet another situation where someone else again had power over the direction my life would take.

If someone were to ask you to give up your home, leave everything behind but the clothes in your suitcase and move in with a bunch of strangers who are just as, or more stressed out than you are, change your life and turn it upside down in hopes that ‘maybe’ things will get better, would you do it?