I Will Not Give Her a Weapon

I like words. I like to write. At first, I didn’t defend myself because stirring the pot could upset custody issues and take the focus off of the important things. I didn’t want to turn into Jerry Springer. So I said nothing. It cost me dearly. I’m not the kind of person who spouts off ill-considered words. I filter most everything I say. All I wanted was to defend myself in a straight-forward way, but I was told that would be risky.

Now we are at the point where if I put together a retort of grievances old and new (I have written several that never got sent), my sister is right–I look like the crazy person, no matter how even the tone, no matter how logical the points.

And on some level, it doesn’t matter any more. We had a bit of a shocking financial issue two weeks ago. I realized that we had so far exceeded the bounds of normalcy that in a way nothing mattered any more. I don’t quite know how to put it. There is not much left to say. Sure, I want to ask, “Why am I teaching this summer, and you are not? Why did I teach last summer, and you did not?” Or, “How dare you try to make us pay $40 for tutoring, when you are still getting child-support for a child who doesn’t live with you and $1650 in alimony?!”

But then you come to the realization that the time for that has passed. I will encourage my daughter to protect herself at the moment something happens, in an even-keeled but forceful way. Because what happens is, if you give that kind of person–a weak, mean person–an inch, they will try to crush you. You have to stand up for yourself, or you will get bullied. If you can defend yourself and walk away knowing what you said was right and true, then you’ve acted according to your own integrity.

Now, words thrown out there addressing grievances old and new is spewing more negative into the environment. Instead, I am trying–with limited success–to make my home a safe place from the negative. But because the children bring their mother into the house, the boundary is permeable. That is hard to live with. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Even if every word I write now is true, it no longer defends my reputation the way it would have at the time. Now it becomes spewing. I am glad I said what I had to say in my own driveway last spring. At least it showed I’m not a coward. I’ve only taken it on the chin because I was given no choice. And I’m angry because I was given no choice. I begged for different, pro-active courses of action to no avail. I know being angry isn’t healthy. I’m doing what I can to bring that back in balance. It will take time.

Defend yourself rigorously when you are attacked. When the moment has passed, defense becomes agitation. If my own words were used against me in a proceeding–and she is a master of this, it’s uncanny, since she herself struggles with language (a coping mechanism she has learned to make herself feel less vulnerable?)–I couldn’t live with it, I couldn’t recover. So I say nothing, because to speak will only be sending negative out into the world.

Sooner rather than later, I may stop this blog altogether. I may branch out more into other topics (sometimes I have). I have another blog I may focus on more. I have projects that are meant to create change; I can work on those. It is time to shift to making. I am trying.



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