abusive relationships

The only "protective custody" availa...

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At least for a few more weeks according to my older nephew N1, who at my behest called his mother, Baby, last night to tell her  – from me – that ignoring my calls would not make the situation go away. Fortunately, DNOS had already managed to get my rock star sister to take a call and proceeded to royally ream her backward ass, setting her straight on the new world order.

Baby cried persecuted to her son though he informed me that he didn’t believe a word of it, and when I spoke to Mom late Sunday afternoon, the harassing phone calls had stopped.

This was not before she received at least two more after her trip to the police station and was a nervous wreck.

As I chatted with Mom, I called her the traces of anxiety and exhaustion in her voice. This latest incident with Baby being a baby strained her, but unlike times past, she didn’t cave. She’s determined that the Bank of Mom is closed, and she hinted at “other changes”, which can’t be good for Baby. Whereas my dad didn’t believe in punishing us from the grave, Mom is perfectly capable of playing behavior accountant from beyond. Dad was a hammer in the moment, but Mom had the longer memory and could wait patiently for the right opportunity to throw youthful indiscretion squarely back at you when the moment presented itself.

LawnMower Man is on work release, so apparently he was tormenting Mom before or after milking and field work at the farm where he is one of several hired men. My late husband, Will, used to refer to such a set up as “baby jail”. An old high school friend of his wound up in a similar program early in our marriage, and he was mercilessly teased about it.

Between Baby’s broken back and LawnMower Man’s incarceration, they are a hurting financial unit. In days of yore, he would simply phone Mom and inform her that if she didn’t help them out, he would pack Baby up and dump her on Mom’s doorstep. Since the beginning of the year, however, DNOS and I have made it clear that there is no way on any level of hell that we’d allow her to take Baby back. Normally, Mom listens to us not even the littlest bit, but we’ve made surprising headway in the influence department and Baby’s going to have a difficult time getting out of the corner DNOS and I have left her to manuver this time.

“She has the numbers of all the women’s shelters,” Mom told me. “It’s time she got herself out of her own messes.”

Forty-three at the end of the month, she looks a decade older and telegraphs “poor white trash” with her every word and action. No one in the family has an ounce of patience left. If she had  real emergency right now, she had to rely on the kindness of strangers quite literally because anyone who knows her is done with her. She’s played too many people and the chickens are roosting for real in the yard of the possibly condemned trailer she lives in.

A lateral Xray demonstrating prevertebral soft...

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Not the emergency room staff or the policeman who they called.

“Your car doesn’t have a scratch on it,” he told her. “Are you sure it was a car accident that caused your injuries?”

That’s the question she’s been asked over and over. And over and over she’s lied.

L1 and 2 fractures, whiplash and a bruise that covers the soft tissue just above her wrist like a gladiator’s arm band.

Pneumonia set in. Oxygen rate plummeted to 60%. Her lips turned blue. And still she lied.

He hovered around the nurses’ station demanding that only he be allowed to make medical decision for her and that only he be contacted in case of emergency. The nurses’ suspicions confirmed.

He took her home on Tuesday when no one from the family offered to take her in. She cried, but still lied.

“We’ll see what happens, “Mom said.

“He’ll kill her next time is what will happen,” I replied. Or if she’s not that lucky, cripple her more than he has.

She won’t work again. The doctor told her it’s unlikely given the injury. She’s not quite 43.

No one believes her and I thinks she knows this, but she can’t quit or walk away because she’s submerged in the idiotic notion that love should be complicated or it’s not real. That the more awful – the more love. That men who treat you like crap just need more understanding, sympathy. That if you can just can’t a little more abuse – verbal, emotional, physically – he will finally see your worth and repay your persistence with the same level of love.

I’ve been reading about the plight of the woman dating the widowed man. It’s bad romance ala the Louisiana trailer park.

“I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” Translation? “I appreciate that you hang on and have sex with me but I am looking for someone who is not you and I will leave you for her the moment I find her. And I did warn you.”

Men who love you don’t hit you. They don’t make you cry. They don’t keep pictures of their dead wives on the night table, knowing that it creeps you out and makes you doubt yourself. They don’t play word games or mind games or take frequent “potty breaks” from you.

Men who love you don’t string you along. They don’t insist that “marriage is just a piece of paper and our love is beyond that” when they know you are only agreeing to keep from losing them. They don’t let their friends or family mistreat you and they defend your goodness and honor. They chose you in all situations

Men who love you show it. It’s in their tone and their eyes and their touch. Always.

She lied again. He took her home to that FEMA double wide reject off a cornfield in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin where no one will hear what happens next.

Which should be just about the time we arrive if history counts for anything.