Emotional Abuse…

In addition to the #MeToo movement, there is another issue that, until recently, was never addressed in polite company. Emotional Abuse is exhibited in many forms: parent to child; child to parent and spouse/significant other to spouse/significant other. The relationship will start out lovingly but over time slowly disintegrates. Usually the abuser lacks empathy and views their victim with disdain and jealousy especially if this person was a strong, independent individual at the beginning of the relationship. If the abused does not “toe the line” in the abuser’s eyes, punishment will be meted out in the form of reprimands some of which said “as a joke,” silent treatment, withholding love and affection, reneging on special time together and gaslighting, This slowly whittles away at the abused’s self-confidence. This person becomes too frightened to attempt anything new or different in life out of fear of the repercussions from their “loved one.” The abuser also does his/her best to separate the victim from family and friends thus rendering this person totally dependent on the “terror” in his/her life. The abuser, who has managed to maintain his/her friendships, will happily relate to the victim that his/her friends are in agreement with the persecutor and, in this person’s eyes, the mistreatment has been validated…if the truth had been expressed. What most individuals don’t realize is that the abused is usually a “people pleaser” and someone who had been mistreated in one form or another while growing up or in an earlier relationship. If you are experiencing this or know someone who is in such a relationship, there is help! Please check out The National Domestic Violence Hotline or www.thehotline.org or 1 (800) 799-7233. If you are connected to social media, there are numerous emotional abuse support groups listed on Facebook. Permission needs to be granted by the site’s administrator but the camaraderie and advice is priceless.

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Compass…

Why is it that some people are born with a sense of direction and others will always require a GPS in order to navigate their own home town let alone the neighboring communities?!? Our Mom NEVER lost her way when walking or driving! She rarely remembered street names but her internal compass was SPOT ON and she was able to draw maps that were so accurate she would have given Rand-McNally a run for the money if she managed to include street names and not just landmarks! Our Dad, on the other hand, ALWAYS relied upon a street map! When gas stations used to supply those awkwardly folded “picture books” he collected them as though they were going out of style! He would sit in the car with a small flashlight and determine where he was even though the Queen of the Internal Compass was sitting to his right with a smile as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa’s on her face. When he finally decided to simply drive without truly knowing the direction, Mom would chime in and start directing. Together, they rarely lost their way! The Sister is an interesting combination of the two. She requires a drive to her destination beforehand and, even though she doesn’t know street names and has a split-second memory, she will never forget the route! Me? I was born with Mom’s sense of direction! It failed me once on an ocean liner that was over 1000 feet long! I didn’t realize the carpeting changed colors between the bow and the stern! What about the Hubby? Total lost cause! He knows his way to the local airports and, as strange as this sounds, cemeteries but he manages to get lost pulling out of the driveway! His GPS is his BFF when driving as he does not know how to read a map! Last week, he decided to meander around one of the local malls on his day off. He managed to lose his way WITHIN the mall! My phone rang and there he was, describing his dilemma! I asked him where he parked and what store he was near in the mall. I was verbally able to direct him to the proper exit in order to find his car. What about you, dear readers? How is your sense of direction? Does a loved one need to gift you with your very own compass? Is this trait endearing or frustrating?

Marriage…

I realize this is TMI but yesterday I ventured over to one of the local health facilities for part of my annual Well Woman exam. While I was attempting to relax in the waiting room along with three other women, I overheard “The View” droning in the background. Whoopi Goldberg was commenting on Amy Schumer’s recent wedding and incredulously mentioned that the couple had only been together for four months. One of the women pointed to the screen and asked me my opinion. Conversation was just what I needed! Nerves were seeping in and this was taking my mind off the exam! I told her how my Grandparents married after meeting six months previously and were together for fifty years! Whoopi said something else I didn’t hear because at that moment my conversation counterpart yelled at the television, “Whoopi, you need a can of whoop ass!” I looked at her and she winked at me! Laughter is wonderfully cathartic! She proceeded to relate how she was shopping one day with her friend and spied a young man out the store window. She nudged her friend and announced, “I’m going to marry that guy one day!” Her friend informed her that they never met…they didn’t know each other! “I know but we WILL marry each other.” She didn’t explain how their paths eventually crossed but they did marry within the year and remained each other’s partner for over sixty years until he passed away. “And, when he died, I finally got my own checking account!” With that, she winked one more time and meandered off for her exam! What a lovely woman! I hope our paths cross again one day!

Marriage…

I realize this is TMI but yesterday I ventured over to one of the local health facilities for part of my annual Well Woman exam. While I was attempting to relax in the waiting room along with three other women, I overheard “The View” droning in the background. Whoopi Goldberg was commenting on Amy Schumer’s recent wedding and incredulously mentioned that the couple had only been together for four months. One of the women pointed to the screen and asked me my opinion. Conversation was just what I needed! Nerves were seeping in and this was taking my mind off the exam! I told her how my Grandparents married after meeting six months previously and were together for fifty years! Whoopi said something else I didn’t hear because at that moment my conversation counterpart yelled at the television, “Whoopi, you need a can of whoop ass!” I looked at her and she winked at me! Laughter is wonderfully cathartic! She proceeded to relate how she was shopping one day with her friend and spied a young man out the store window. She nudged her friend and announced, “I’m going to marry that guy one day!” Her friend informed her that they never met…they didn’t know each other! “I know but we WILL marry each other.” She didn’t explain how their paths eventually crossed but they did marry within the year and remained each other’s partner for over sixty years until he passed away. “And, when he died, I finally got my own checking account!” With that, she winked one more time and meandered off for her exam! What a lovely woman! I hope our paths cross again one day!

In Love with Love…

On the eve of the holiday that celebrates hearts and flowers and sweets, I have a question. Who is in love with their significant other or in love with the illusion? Does the partner make the heart go pitter-pat or is the thought that the individual is only complete with a mate? I know several people since high school who have NEVER been without a partner in their lives. I don’t mean the couples who are childhood sweethearts. I specifically mention those who have a je ne sais quoi…those who attract the paramours like bees to honey. These individuals may not be the beautiful people or popular but their pull is magnetic and they have grown to believe, for some strange reason, they are failing if they are on their own! Over the course of two decades, people have asked me why am I with the Hubby? We are opposites. I’m an educated worrier who adores theater and museums. He is a laid back guy from Brooklyn who loves sports and rarely ventured into a museum before we met. As sappy as it sounds, our hearts belong to each other! He makes me laugh…and scream and cry. I make him THINK! He is CRAZY for the opera and enjoys visiting museum exhibits. I have accepted the fact that I will always be a sports widow. A relationship is difficult and requires work every day! But what of the person who is in love with love? Are these people in it for the long haul? For richer or poorer? Or was the bling on the finger and the trophy on the arm the ultimate goal?

Love…

What exactly is love? One of the definitions provided by Merriam Webster reads thusly:

attraction based on sexual desire; affection and tenderness felt by lovers

Ancient civilizations questioned love. The Aztecs had their goddess Xochiquetzal. Hathor represented this emotion for the ancient Egyptians as did Aphrodite for the Greeks.  The Yoruba worshipped Oshun and likewise the Norse with Freyja. Still, as we near the holiday that embodies all things heart-shaped and sweet…what is love? Is love all-enduring? For some couples, yes. Our grandparents had a great love that lasted over 50 years until our Grandfather passed away. On the day our Grandfather was buried, our Grandmother’s soul remained with him until the day she passed. Was their love the exception? Our parents married young.  The Sister and I have been told they loved each other totally and deeply at the beginning of their union.  Our Mother remained by our Father’s side through financial droughts and severe illness. Once our Father recovered from almost 3 months in the hospital and rehab (and his wife never skipped a day to be with him even if it was for half an hour) he informed the Sister and yours truly, while Mom was in the room, that although he still loved her, he surely didn’t like her. Love is a cruel weapon when wielded in such a manner. Does love diminish with time? Can “butterflies” in the stomach devolve into merely caterpillars? If cruel words are exchanged between a “loving” couple, does an emotional Berlin Wall need to be erected until a détente is reached? Do angry words mean that one half of the couple must punish the other half by reneging on promises? Does letting down the one you love make the other half feel superior and righteous? Do those wonderful, heady feelings diminish with time? When a couple starts out on the road of togetherness, they can’t get enough of each other. Why do the feelings evaporate so that they no long want to “jump each others bones” but merely peck the other on the cheek, roll over and go to sleep? Are we humans meant to stay with one mate for the remainder of our lives or is this something that society has dictated? Please do not look to me for answers. I have none. Talk amongst yourselves.

 

 

Nativism…

When the European explorers ventured out from their home ports centuries ago, they were looking for a shortcut to the Far East for trading purposes.  In the early 1500’s Amerigo Vespucci determined that the lands he and his crew encountered on a westbound expedition was an entirely new continent which, in 1507, was named America in his honor by Martin Waldsemuller, a German cartographer. In 1565 the first surviving settlement in North America was established in St. Augustine, Florida by the Spanish admiral Pedro Melendez de Aviles.  The site of New York City was originally explored by Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 but was settled as New Amsterdam by the Dutch in 1609.  Virginia came into existence in 1607 when Jamestown was established by the Virginia Company of London, England. Among the settlers were colonists from Poland and Germany.  The Pilgrims landed on the coast of what would become Massachusetts in 1620.  In 1682, the French named the area near the mouth of the Mississippi River Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIV and the first settlement was established near present-day Biloxi, Mississippi in 1699. During its infancy African slaves, human beings, were forcefully removed from their homelands and reluctantly settled into this new world. This country was created by a melting pot of various countries and cultures! The current inhabitants of this fair land should keep in mind the fact that the only original citizens of the United States of America were the Native Americans who, after the immigrants asserted their dominance on this continent, stripped them of their ancestral lands and settled them onto reservations. What the conservative public is now calling “Patriotism” was originally labeled Nativism over a century ago.  After this country passed adolescence, the former immigrants decided anyone new wishing to reside in the USA was suspect.  The Irish were frowned upon during the 1840’s.  In the late 1800’s, those living on the West coast forced an immigration restriction originally from China and, in the early 1900’s from Japan as well.  In the 20th century, the Nativists targeted Jews, Germans, Italians and Poles.  The Sister and I are third generation Americans on our Mother’s side.  Our predecessors emigrated to this country to escape pogroms in Russia and were looking for a better life.  We’re second generation on our Father’s side as our ancestors were looking for a better life as well.  The last family member to pass through Ellis Island was our paternal grandfather.  He had been conscripted by the German army and was forced to fight in WWI.  He was looking for peace and a better life.  The current Nativists aka the “Patriots” and their leader in Washington have chosen new groups to exclude from this country.  It’s the Mexicans and Muslims turn at the plate.  Will they succeed and enter the country where the streets are “paved with gold” only time will tell.  Will the wall be built separating this country from its Southern neighbor?  Only if the Isolationists are successful. It is unfortunate the citizens of this country have forgotten about the birthing pains of the land they claim to love so much! It’s richer with all the various elements blended into its soul.  The “Patriots,” if they pursue this route, will dilute and stagnate our growth.