I admit that I am the kind of person who always needs answers to everything. The problem with that, obviously, is that there is not clarification for everything in life. Actually, there do not seem to be a lot of ways to satisfy my need to elucidate. Try as I do to explain that to myself, I just go on asking questions and expecting answers. I can’t lay an issue to rest if I don’t find some way to correlate. And so I think. Some people I know would say I think too much. Really, though, is it thinking too much or just doing what I need to move forward?
Sometimes I allow myself to get so bogged down trying to enlighten myself that I stop progressing. Ironic, isn’t it, that my answer-seeking in order to keep walking forward causes me to stop dead in my tracks? Sometimes I see it and can begin to move forward again, but other times it takes someone else to give me a jump start.
So, what do I do when I’m trapped in this quicksand of inquiries? I turn very literal. I look at the concrete world and try to find parallels for my uncertainties. Sometimes it works quite well, and the proverbial light bulb blinks on. Other times I really have to search – to mull things over and over – turn them round and round – to find any answers with substance. But I do find answers.
I have been blessed in life with an artistic nature. I learn things easily, usually after seeing them done only one time. I am forever teaching myself new things, and bettering the areas where I truly find satisfaction. During the 16 years with my abuser, there were times when he would encourage me in my pursuits, often going out of his way to find some item I needed (or just desired) and offering it to me. When I was with him I thought he did it out of love, because these tokens were always given during the ‘honeymoon phase’ of our abusive relationship. In other words, during the times between the anger and abuse – the ‘making up’ times.
After I left my abuser I slowly came to the realization that love was not ever something he felt for me. I was an object to be possessed and controlled – dominated and destroyed. And this is when I began to wonder why he had ever encouraged my gifts, and then eventually why he had ultimately taken them all away from me.
I have no contact with my abuser, nor do I want any. I cannot pick up the phone and ask him questions. He wouldn’t give any answers even if I chose to ask. His conclusion for everything is that it was always my fault – that I had done something wrong to garner punishment. So I knew I wasn’t going to receive any enlightenment from him.
I know I became quite anal in my quest to solve my very puzzling question. But I could not let it go. I had to understand why in order for my brain to begin believing that I had not merited the sanction from my abuser. I spent month after month consumed with finding the answer. I prayed, read anything I could find on the subject, cried in frustration, and prayed some more. There just wasn’t an answer forthcoming. So I turned to my concrete thinking and began asking questions I knew I could answer. The following is a description of my journey…
We possess because we desire dominion and control over objects. We also want those possessions to reflect certain aspects of ourselves, or what we want others to think of us. We often purchase homes/clothing/automobiles in order project a desired persona, whether it is wealth, stability, happiness, etc.
I was a possession – an object to be manipulated. My abuser saw that he could use my talents to magnify the persona he had created for the outside world. I complemented his deceit. So he encouraged me to better myself in order to make himself look better. At first he was the center of attention, playing the role of the loving, supportive husband. Oh, he played that role well! All I would hear was how lucky I was to have such a supportive husband. Interestingly enough, I heard that the most from him. He would use this time to make sure I knew how he struggled and sacrificed to help me attain whatever small goal I was pursuing. It was all about him and what he gave up and how much it hurt him. When the time eventually came that people would begin to see a glimmer of me, my abuser would immediately banish that mile marker from my life. I excelled at photography, so he smashed my professional camera in to tiny bits. I excelled at painting, so he locked all the supplies away from me. I excelled at cardmaking, so he built me a work room then sealed it off from me. Every time I excelled, he eventually removed what ever I was doing. Eventually I stopped excelling and learned to be nothing. And I excelled at it.
So he encouraged because it was of benefit to him. It was not about me, not about loving me, and certainly not about wanting the best for me. This conclusion satisfies me. I believe it is correct. When I was comfortable with it, I shared my thoughts with another who was abused by him. They wholeheartedly agreed.
You can read this and say I’m just making up whatever excuses I feel like in order to make my abuser look bad. I don’t ever have to do that. He did that himself.