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#Pushed to the Limit

image from ogdenutahcriminaldefense.com

“Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

There are times when, irrespective of how much you try to do otherwise, you fly off the handle. These episodes are usually preceded by periods of intense pressure, things not going according to plan or life generally not playing out the way you hoped. Colloquially they are called “knee jerk’ reactions. They are usually regretted almost immediately as soon as the blood cools down sufficiently for coherent thought to return.

If, like me, that cooling off can be fairly quick, most of the time, it leads to a great deal of soul searching and castigation for behaving in a manner which isn’t liked. However, many times the damage has already been done. Trying to set things right is quite often impossible.

All my life I’ve been told I should behave in certain ways. I was “better than my protagonist” and so held to a higher standard.  “I knew better than that” and so should have controlled that impulse to retaliate.  When you are placed on a pedestal and expected to live up to everyone’s perception of who you are, it can be extremely difficult to find the real you.  You may not even recognise the‘real you’.

#Pushed to the Limit

image from cstl.semo.edu

There have been times, over the years, when that pedestal has rocked alarmingly as I tried to keep my footing living up to so many other people’s ideas of who and what I was. Can you imagine how difficult it might be to understand what you want in life when you are so busy living up to someone else’s ideal? The saddest part of the situation is that it all begins with the best of intentions.

Hard as it may be to understand I was a very shy and quiet child. Head down and mouth closed so I drew as little attention to myself as possible. Yet all the time I was trying to live up to firstly my parent’s expectations of me and later my first husband, my work colleagues, my brothers, and then it seemed everyone else. Everyone had this idea of who I was and how I would respond in certain circumstances.  My first husband had a whole list of ways in which I was allowed to behave and respond that I hardly knew who I was. Sad, pathetic but true. The fact that I did respond as they expected, because it was expected, simply cemented these thoughts in their mind. Sadly, very few of these personas held more than a grain of the real me.

Not wanting to disappoint anyone it was easier to continue to play the roles I was ‘given’. It was safer in one particular area to follow the ‘rules’ than to face the consequences. At the same time I was able to hold down responsible positions, firstly as a police officer, later as a bank official and mother, school chairpersons and so on. I wasn’t actually hidden away where it may have been easier.

Realisation, when it seeped in was the beginning of the real humiliation. Knowing I had been this milksop of a person when I could think, had opinions and could do so many things was quite devastating. The fact that my husband was a police officer meant that I had nowhere to go and no-one to go to. Who would believe me over a serving police officer? It simply didn’t happen, not when the domination is psychological and emotional.

It is still hard for me to write these words, to accept them as reality and realise what I allowed myself to become – a doormat. I was a slave programmed to perform to command. I can never look at a woman in a domestic violence situation and condemn her, man, woman or child in that situation because it can be started so insidiously that it is too late by the time you realise. I was a slave to my ex-husband’s drive to achieve financial stability. The fact that he failed to support his children after I left, usurped part of my settlement and told the children it was theirs, all added to the ongoing manipulation. He is still doing this to my children, though they are grown and through them he is doing it to me because he knows they are the only way he can reach me.

#Pushed to the Limit

image from paulissakippisms.com –

Why have I told you all this. Because if it happened to me it can happen to anyone and if someone reads this and recognises where they are in this cycle and can get out, it is worth my embarrassment. If it helps someone reach out, to me or to someone else it is worth the embarrassment. I am tired of allowing him this hold over me. I am taking my life back, all of it and I refuse to allow him the space in my mind, in my life ever again.

This is real. It can happen to anyone, at any time. Please, if you recognise someone who is drowning under this type of treatment, offer a helping hand. Tell someone in authority and help them before it’s too late.  Life is a precious gift and shouldn’t be destroyed by insecure bullies.

#Pushed to the Limit

I am a woman, flesh and bone, heart and soul.

“Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”
Shannon L. Alder
Everyone has the right to respect, like breathing, take it away and the soul dies. – Susan Jamieson

Blessings, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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