I think that discussions about the Dr. Coleman forum could literally go on forever, because as long as their are people in the world, there will be abuse. Maybe someday I'll stop reading posts from estranged parents on that forum, maybe I won't. I don't think it's completely useless reading them because I find the discussions there to be eye-opening. Sad, devastating really, but they provide me a look into the black and white world of an abuser's mind. If a psychologist wanted to do a study on narcissism and anti-social personality disorder, I think the Dr. Coleman forum would provide him with the most accurate portrayal. All narcissists lie, and their stories on that forum are, no doubt, laced with them. But, they are also honest in some rather surprising ways. As an example, when they say things like, "I think our kids can be so cruel just because that's who they have become." (Dissapointed Mom, August 12, 2011). It is one of the marks of a narcissist, when she perceives that every action towards or around her is an active attack on her person. I believe that is truth talking, when a person admits that she feels the people she was once able to manipulate and control for NS are being "cruel" to her by going No Contact.
To be clear, I think we all know in this community that No Contact, on the part of the abused, is not an act of manipulation or cruelty. It's an act of self-preservation. In my opinion, it's a smart move. The only way to stop abuse is to move away from it.
So anyway, I've decided that occasionally, I'd like to talk about some of the posts I read over there, more as a means to educate myself than to try to convince anyone that they are behaving in an abusive manner. I know I can't convince an abusive person to stop being abusive, or make them see that they are abusers in the first place. One of the lessons I had to learn the hard way is that no amount of talking is going to convince your abuser to quit it. An abuser is a giant rolling ball of razor blades. And they LIKE being a giant ball of razor blades. (Credit to Lisa for that phrase) So the only way to avoid being cut is to get the fuck outta there.
Today I read a new post on the forum and it really bothered me. Bolding and enlarging for emphasis, mine. In a new thread titled, "They Left Me For My Abuser," Doreen wrote on August 22, 2011:
My teenage, 15 & 17, sons left to live with their father last year. I have been sick every since. I can't find any peace and when I do find something that brings me some happiness, I feel guilty. I try to talk to my kids, but they seem to go thru the motions. They spew the same lies that their father has always spread, about me, drugs, women, etc. They don't want to be in the middle, but when they say that to me they might as well be telling me that they want me out of the picture.
This man abused me for 9 years. He never wanted children, He uses drugs. Is, at least, verbally abusive to his current wife. He boasts about telling my oldest son that he can hit him so hard that "if" he gets up he won't ever want to get hit again. When I try to talk to them, they deny, argue, blame me, lie to me, cover for him. I am so desperate. My life ended last year I can't seem to get it together. I want them away from their father as badly today as I did in 1998 when I left him. I feel like they chose him in spite of me, but now they want to try to convince me of the same lies and torture that he put me through all of those years. My heart hurts so badly I can't put it to words. Their father is still abusing me the worst thing is that he is using my kids to try to convince me of his lies. I miss them so much.
To that, she's gotten one response so far, from Helen Marie on August 23, 2011:
I understand the heartache and pain of 'losing' your two children. My abusive alcoholic ex used our two children as a weapon 'to get to me' also. He was able to get our teenage son on his side for several years, but in his early 20's he no longer wanted anything to do with his father – then his father turned on him, like he turned on me. Unfortunately, he became very depressed over his father's lack of love and verbal and physical abuse. He took his own life at the age of 24.
Our daughter was sexually abused by him while in elementary school, but tried to stay neutral until around the age of 30, when he was able to turn her against me. She became verbally and emotionally abusive to me and defended him! So much so, that I had to distance myself and 'let her go' the end of 2010. I had tried everything to change the way she thought, but that doesn't work. I was extremely depressed for several months – holidays are especially bad.
I realize that my ex is behind all this, and by me being depressed and driving myself crazy trying to change her, wasn't helping me – just ruining my health and my peace and happiness. With the support of a few wonderful friends, I realized I can't change anyone but myself. I read many different articles on the internet on "how to let go" and slowly my depression lifted. I keep busy working outdoors, taking walks, keeping in touch with friends I met at a support group for abused women, and volunteering at a local hospital.
All the talking in the world won't change the way they think. Now, almost eight months later, I can say 'I am happy again'. Don't get me wrong, there are days I am down, again, thinking about her, but they don't last long – thank goodness. Hopefully, you will be able to move past this, and say you are happy again too. Life is too short to let anyone else ruin it. We can stay positive!
Is anyone else as appalled, disgusted, and horrified as I am about these two comments? I'm going to start with Helen Marie's comment first because hers, at least to me, is the more devastating of the two.
This needs to be written in all caps: WHERE THE FUCK IS HER SADNESS FOR HER CHILDREN? HER SON COMMITTED SUICIDE BECAUSE OF THE TERRIBLE ABUSES HE SUFFERED AND SHE SHOWS NO EMPATHY FOR HIS DESPAIR. WHERE THE FUCK IS HER EMPATHY FOR HER DAUGHTER WHO WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED BY THE MAN SHE CHOSE TO HAVE IN HER KID'S LIFE? WHERE IS THE SELF-BLAME? WHERE IS THE INTERNAL RESENTMENT OF HER SELF FOR LETTING THESE THINGS HAPPEN? DEAR READERS, WHAT THE HOLY FUCK???
Good for Helen Marie, that eight months after being estranged from her daughter, she has found happiness. Good for Helen Marie, who isn't going to let the abuses her son and daughter suffered ruin HER life. Good for Helen Marie, who discovered that trying to convince her daughter that she is wrong is just ruining her health and peace and happiness. Good for Helen Marie, who keeps so busy that she doesn't have to think about the one child she has left. Thank GOD she only has to think about that burden of a daughter every once in a while. Good for her for being able to "stay positive!" despite her son's death and her daughter's misery.
If ever I've seen a rolling ball of razor blades, this woman is one of them. I've been reading about these abusive parents for months now, and it still surprises me each time I read another of their stories.
You know what, Dear Reader? I was in an abusive relationship once too. He was emotionally and verbally abusive, and by the time I left, his abuses had started to turn physical. I was lucky in that we didn't have any children together. I can't even imagine, don't even want to think about the horrors that might have been suffered by any child unlucky enough to have that THING for a father. I would be a physical and emotional wreck, every single damn day, about what kind of harm he would have inflicted on my babies. It would have been my goal in life to get my children away from him at ANY COST to myself. If I had to run away with them and lose everything in order to save them from being abused, I would have.
Having babies now makes me so hyper-aware of their well-being, so anxious about their physical and emotional safety. I could NEVER forgive MYSELF if I let someone abuse them. I could NEVER walk away from my children the way these two women have.
Their kids may have walked away physically, but it's only because their NM's were NEVER there for them in any way that counted. In all their sentiments about being "left behind" by their kids or being "abandoned" by the people whom, they feel, were created to protect THEM, I don't see any empathy. Tell me, where the fuck is Doreen's concern for her children who are living with this supposedly abusive man? I have to question the truth behind her claims that he is abusive, but let's assume that he was. If that's the case, why isn't she an emotional wreck thinking about how her sons are faring and whether or not they are being abused by that man?
And another thing - Sometimes, when kids have to suffer at the hands of TWO abusive parents, they are forced to choose the LESSER OF TWO EVILS. If their father is truly physically abusive to them, and they've picked him over her, well then that is saying something about how SHE treated them.
And still, I'm shocked and appalled by the "me-me-me" attitude of these women. Never once did they express genuine concern or sadness for the trials and tribulations their children have suffered. It's all, "I'm so sad, pity me, pity me."
I feel for those children. Wherever they are, I'm wishing they find peace and love. They haven't been given an easy lot in life and it's up to them now to own their own dysfunctions and find strength to overcome them. I'm thinking about them with all of my best and most positive thoughts.
**Credit to Lisa for the awesome title of this post