Photo by Anna Z. Kendall, who wrote a book of poems about her abusive ex husband. It’s called Sex, Porn & Hotel Rooms: Poems From A Marriage. He was not only abusive, but near the end of the marriage became a full fledged sex addict. The book is still available here and there. Anna never promoted the book because she was too ashamed to come out as the woman she became – before she became the women who got away.
About this photo: Taking this photo was an emotional drain. As I kept posing for my camera on 10-second timer, I got so frustrated. I couldn’t get it right. The angle was all wrong. What’s the matter with me? (Kind of how I felt in my marriage) And as I viewed each photo, I wondered “Who’s this old woman? Why did I waste my good years on that terrible husband? Look at me – who would want me now?”
People ask women like me: Why did you stay? How could you stay so long?
First, let’s clear up a dreadful word, “battered.”
Battered = dumb word. But its definition rocks.
Battered women are not tattered and torn or crawling around on their hands and knees. Battered women are regular women who are stuck in a relationship with a man who uses “a pattern of intimidation” to dominate and terrorize his woman. aka domestic abuse and domestic violence. (and for now, I’m writing about women in relationship with men)
This pattern of intimidation wears us down. He confuses us. He is our own personal crazymaker. He hurts us, hits us, infantalizes us, and. And. And… Just when we think we can’t take any more, he becomes the nicest person we’ve ever known. Nice. Gracious. Loving.
So we stay.
We think this is Love.
When things are bad, we dissociate.
I’m not really here.
When things are good we dissociate.
I’m not really here.
The world swirls around us while we can’t think straight.
We remember being happy as a girl.
We don’t remember being happy as a girl.
I’m not really here,
not in this marriage.
You may have read my post about a “shadow” Dissociative Disorder. I used the name “Mira” for that post. How easy it is for me to blur out of focus and slip into a different name. Even Anna isn’t my real name. But maybe my life hasn’t been my real life. It’s easy to imagine because I’m not really here. I’ve never been here at all.