Right off the bat: will you take a moment to click vote 10 times for my poem and essay in a contest?
Now, here’s the story…
Earlier this year I asked for your help. I asked you to donate so that my family could pay off our last month of rent in Seattle, and get to Florida in order to stay with my husband’s parents. If you follow my blog, you probably know my relationship with my in-laws has a…history. One that, looking back through the lens of the past few months, very much resembles the abuse cycle typically associated with intimate partner violence. There would be periods of unexpected, unwarranted gifts, intense generosity, and inclusion in family dinners and outings. Always followed by the inevitable gutpunch. Demands that I leave their home. Below-the-belt insults that prey on the vulnerabilities I was naive enough to express during times of peace. Shouting fits that ignored my children crying in the same room. Cruel gossip tearing me down to every other member of the family, ensuring that if my in-laws don’t like me, no one else will either. It was because of this that I wrote shortly after arriving, “I don’t know what the future will hold, but for now I’m going swimming.” Continue reading →
Though not yet an official diagnosis according to the American Psychiatric Association, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is being informally recognized as a more severe form of PTSD caused by prolonged trauma. Often, that trauma begins in childhood. Trauma that takes place during a person’s formative years is incredibly damaging. It establishes a sense of normalcy around abuse, creating a harmful pattern that can be extremely difficult to break from–or even recognize. The earlier the trauma begins, the more difficult it becomes for the victim to understand her experience as abnormal.
I spent yesterday afternoon at a parenting seminar.
Correction: I spent yesterday afternoon at a parenting plan seminar. Because I am supposed to be preparing to design a co-parenting plan with the man who beat me, raped me, robbed me of the last few years of my childhood, and possibly even caused my son’s autism. And I am supposed to be doing this because he feels like it. And the fact that he feels like it matters because according to our judicial system, even a father who spent the last nine years completely neglecting his nine year old autistic son, who has never paid and still has not offered to pay a dime of child support, and who was charged with “Assault 4,” which means physical assault against a pregnant woman, even that guy has the right to make claims on his biological child.
There are a lot of things to celebrate about our judicial system. This past week, a judge from my hometown used the judicial system to salvage the lives and families of thousands of innocent people who were being detained and deported due to Donald Trump’s unconstitutional, anti-Muslim executive order. My abuser spent four years in a state prison because of our judicial system, and although I believe he deserved much more time, there are some countries in which he would have received no punishment at all. Some states, even. So I will concede that the judicial system can do a lot of good. But the lack of protocols in place to combat domestic abuse via Family Law court is an enormous failing, and one which is destroying my life.